Zoe Pawlak: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is artist and designer Zoe Pawlak, who creates versatile pieces for galleries, private clients and interior designers. Here’s what inspired her career path and where she sees herself in five years…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I create artwork and designs that are both custom and for exhibition and gallery sales for my galleries, private clients and interior designers.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I have been working as an artist and entrepreneur for about 10 years now. I knew first that I wanted to be an artist, and learned the term entrepreneur after. This combination is what has always inspired my career route. I am passionate about the work I make as an artist and am driven to create strong relationships with my clients. 

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my career is traveling and getting to collaborate with intelligent innovators. I love my clients and connecting with them is a total highlight.

The most challenging part of my day-to-day is commissioned work. It’s a true test of my artistic and communicative abilities to create a custom piece for a client. It’s incredibly rewarding when you finally reach the point where the client falls in love with the artwork.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
My family is extremely important to me, so I’m always trying to balance work and life – it’s certainly a challenge. A good measuring stick is how much time at home is spent emailing with clients. If the balance is off, I will find myself obsessively corresponding when I’d really rather be with my kids. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Designing more! It really excites me to be able to expedite my process as I’ve been able to do in my collaboration with Burritt Bros., Nicole Bridger and most recently, Jeff Martin Joinery. It creates so many more creative possibilities for me.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Having children early on really took me for a ride. It was very stressful on my family and marriage. We had to work through it and communicate like crazy! We learned so much. One person has to support the other while the other grows their career. This is easier said than done. Reaching out and asking for help were all that got us through. It’s possible!

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Yes, to an extent. Money can be a powerful inspiration because it allows me more freedom to do what I love.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Being curated into the Westedge show last fall with 16 other designers I admire by Design Milk was certainly a highlight. Seeing my rugs up on the wall on the opening night almost broke me into total tears. It was very moving! 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Work, work, work. The vision has to be extremely focused and still fluid and flexible. 

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Oh man, Montreal is so great for food and drink and we love eating out. Tea at Cardinal with my daughter is super special and we love Communion in the Old Port and Le Meac for a good old traditional, French-French meal. 

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Physical activity and body movement is so important to me. I do yoga regularly, and play on a women’s basketball team. I love to read and write poems that I let no one read. And I just got a keyboard!

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I love LA for the combination of quirky shops, sea and sand, and awesome art and shopping. I feel it has it all and I have great friends there! 

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Push the Envelope by Asteroid Galaxy Tour

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I have a passion for leadership and feel I might be a public speaker or teacher. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support friends who are doing work they believe in. I love seeing them thrive in what matters most to them and it affecting their families. I want to give more! 

What to you is notable?
The courage to create and innovate and be generous along the way! 

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