Audvik: Warming up our winters, one parka at a time

Audvik : Réchauffer nos hivers, un parka à la fois   

What an inspiring moment to discuss entrepreneurship with Sophie Boyer, a dynamic young entrepreneur who seized the opportunity to start a business out of university! Despite her youth, she rushed towards her goals, believed in her project and made her passion her livelihood. She wants to become “the reference for chic and technical parkas”. I invite you to discover Audvik and its owner !

When opportunity knocks at your door

In Montérégie, Audvik has existed since 1979. The initial creators developed their trademark from their workshop, right in the family home, while developing other business projects. The production of parkas therefore took a back seat for a few years. In order to allow Audvik to grow, they decided to sell. Sophie Boyer then finished university and, in 2012, seized this incredible chance to buy a business. She knew the popularity of the product and was looking to develop a project related to sportswear. The alignment of the cards allows an easy transition since Sophie shares the same values ​​as the owners. Her university studies in business administration with a concentration in marketing, her work and internships at Sports Experts give her the tools to undertake this new project, as well as a good knowledge of the sports fashion industry.

Sophie Boyer, owner of Audvik; credit: Geneviève Giguère

Product development and start-ups

Sophie knew she would have a business one day. She grew up with inspiring role models of entrepreneurs in her family and also wanted to run a business. What a surprise to see his dream come true when he leaves school! Her youth helped her seize the opportunity and jump into it with both feet without thinking too much about the risks and sacrifices. During the first three years following the takeover, Sophie worked two jobs in addition to managing Audvik, which is now based in Montreal. She set up an online store from the start. “I saw the importance of taking this technological shift, even if online sales were minimal in 2012,” Sophie explains to me. She is reaping the benefits of this decision today since she sells everywhere in Canada, even in the United States and France. During the first years, she put all her energies into her project to the detriment of her personal life. In 2015, she took the plunge and devoted herself 100% to Audvik.

credit: Eric Lamothe

Female involvement and entrepreneurship

Sophie considers herself lucky to have been inspired by the entrepreneurs in her family, including her mother, who is self-employed. She wants to see more models of inspiring entrepreneurs in order to sow the desire for entrepreneurship among young people. "It's great the big success stories that we see in the media like the Dragons, we also have to show the accessibility of neighborhood entrepreneurship or the success story of the girl next door", m explains Sophie when she talks to me about her involvement in women's entrepreneurship in her region. A piece of advice that she offers to young entrepreneurs: "You have to jump, give everything and avoid questioning yourself too much". She maintains that you have to surround yourself with the right tools to be able to overcome the challenges that will come your way. It is also necessary to take the time to assess the economic situation of the company, to verify its viability and to take the time to analyze the path taken, especially when the famous five years of business arrive at our doors. .

Profitability, determination and a new project

One of the challenges to overcome: to rejuvenate the clientele of the product that has existed for nearly 40 years. Sophie needs to rejuvenate the brand image to attract younger customers. In addition, it is trying to distribute its product to sports and outdoor retailers in Quebec, and also in Alberta and Ontario, while looking for qualified labor for production. “The biggest challenge to overcome in the field of fact in Quebec (and in Canada) is the shortage of manpower,” says Sophie. She puts everything in place to promote the maintenance of human resources and hires self-employed design workers, like her mother, who allow the development of a quality product. Thanks to its representatives, it is present in three territories (Quebec, Ontario and Alberta) where it offers its products to boutiques and buyers. Audvik participates in industry trade shows, such as the one organized by ARISQ , which allows them to easily meet buyers and traders in one place.

credit: Eric Lamothe

In six years, Sophie is proud to see that her perseverance has paid off, and that for every ten NOs she receives, the YES she receives is always worth the effort! By dint of knocking on the doors of retailers, she can proudly affirm that it is they who are knocking on her door today. “It's important to celebrate all the milestones, even the famous 'milestones' that allow us to keep going,” adds Sophie when talking about her successes. Sophie is proud to have doubled her online sales, but says that you should also be proud of what is accomplished every day.

Sophie and her team are preparing the unveiling of their green shift for the fall of 2019. “We will be the first to do so in Quebec in the field of sport,” adds Sophie without being able to give me too many details on this novelty. From September, Audvik wants to become more actively involved in protecting the environment. We invite you to follow them to learn more about it!

Reviewed By Melanie

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