YEDaily: Nicolas Rousseau

Nicolas Rousseau is a 27-year-old entrepreneur who began conceptualizing Urban Foliage in early 2010. In July 2011, he officially launched the company’s products – a range of Living Frames that brings foliage and plant life to urban interiors in an innovative way. Find out more about this young entrepreneur in today’s YEDaily.

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
Urban Foliage is Vertical Nature for Living interiors. A Living Frame – the first of its kind in North America – is a sustainable, healthy, highly-customizable and convenient way to maintain solutions for creating greener, healthier urban living spaces. The Living Frame is best imagined as a framed painting in which the colours are actually vibrant, living and breathing plants. Structurally designed as a compact, space-conscious ecosystem of plants, soil, nutrients, irrigation (tank, pipes, pump) and stylized frame, the Living Frame is replete with all components necessary to guaranty self sufficiency and healthy, viable plant growth.

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I love nature, so I started to work on how to introduce nature in our urban environments. Many researchers show that greenery has a huge impact on people’s health, wellness, happiness, and even productivity. We really need more plants in our homes and offices. I’m inspired by this vision I have; bringing nature and wellness to people by changing what the world looks like, inside and out, through our green Living Wall (vertical garden) and Living Frame innovations.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is to wake up every day with a goal I am passionate about: bringing nature to people. The most challenging part is to educate people about our unique products. Living Frames as well as living walls and green roofs are fairly new technologies; people are not used to thinking or looking for these solutions to improve their living spaces. We then have to focus on marketing and communication to make sure they discover these amazing products.

urban foliage

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
I am very creative. One of Urban Foliage’s goals is to become a reference for innovative products associated with foliage. In five years, Urban Foliage should have a large range of unique products, available all across North America.

What does success look like to you?
Making our world look greener, and our people looking healthier and happier.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
I have many amazing memories, but the first that I can think about was when I became a finalist for the best concept award organized by Small Business BC. At that time, I was still in the development process but already, the BC community showed its support and recognized my innovative Living Frame as one of the five best concepts in BC in 2011. Thank you very much BC!

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Three words: courage, perseverance, and creativity.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I am a board member of Projects in Place Society. Projects in Place Society is a volunteer-run non-profit society that brings young designers, tradespeople and other construction professionals together to design and implement projects that make communities better. I am very happy to be part of such a great organization as we share common values.

What is Notable to you?
Seeing Vancouverites actively green their city. People really want to improve their living spaces and this is exactly what Urban Foliage does. I am also impressed when I see how local people get involved in their community, participate in non-profit organizations, and support international causes after natural catastrophes. Vancouverites are truly engaged in their city and they make it a lively, thriving place!

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I used to have a Blackberry. Never again. I have an Android now.