CASS’ accessoires pour cyclistes

Managing to combine one's passion and one's talents is an art that is not given to everyone. However, this is the feat that Élène Beaudoin, owner, designer and seamstress of Cass' , managed to accomplish. Passionate about cycling, she uses her skills as a seamstress to design accessories with a modern and casual look for city cyclists.

Elene, founder of Cass' bicycle accessories

Elene, founder of Cass'

A rolling business

Like many people, Élène Beaudoin did not begin her studies with the goal of becoming a small business owner. It was rather political science that occupied her for a few years, before she took the plunge into entrepreneurship. She hesitated for a long time between indulging in a safer occupation, which would allow her to meet her needs, and what she considered a hobby, namely sewing. “I've always had a manual side, I like to be independent and do something with my hands. Having worked for several years as a bicycle courier, she was able to see that there was a lack in the market for city bicycle equipment, both for practical and aesthetic products. This is what led her to start Cass' in 2014. The name was inspired by the company's very first product: the cycling cap, designed to be worn comfortably under a bicycle helmet.

Cass' bike accessories

The challenge was perfect for the seamstress-patternist, who prefers neither to have a boss nor to be one, who likes to work on projects, and who has a thirst for creativity that is quenched by the opportunities her business offers her. Since the conception of Cass', she has also taken refresher training to refine her entrepreneurial skills, such as selling or using Photoshop software.

A progressive journey

Cass' bike accessories

Since the beginning of the company, Élène has slowly developed a collection of accessories such as various bags and hats that she designs and manufactures specifically for the needs of city cyclists. Its goal? "Not looking like you've just been on a tour of France," Elene said heartily. Cass' products allow customers to go to work or to a meeting wearing accessories that look more modern than sporty. “It's really for people for whom cycling is part of their daily life. To do this, she uses waxed cotton as her preferred material to make her bags, giving her products an urban look, while being water resistant. In addition, the bags have integrated fastening systems that allow you to tighten or loosen the bags (going from backpack to messenger bag and vice versa), to attach a U-shaped lock securely, or even to insert a bike light. “Everything is thought out for the bike. »

Cass' bike accessories

From year to year, it develops new models or new versions of previous models to offer to its customers. The company's offer is therefore developing little by little, without rushing. “I don't feel the need to go fast. I'm going one thing at a time. »

A path strewn with pitfalls

Many businesses have been impacted by the COVID pandemic. For Elene, this difficult period in many ways has actually been beneficial. “It freed up a lot of time that I ended up not having. Indeed, the period of isolation and distancing allowed him to rest more, and even to work on various projects such as the development of his website, which will be available shortly.

Cass' bike accessories

That said, the pandemic is not the only obstacle Élène has had to face in her journey. Since she started growing her business slowly, she unknowingly missed out on several seed grant opportunities available to new businesses. "I feel like it's been with me for a long time. Nevertheless, she continued her efforts and was eventually accepted into the Conseil des Métiers d'Art du Québec (CMAQ), which she considers to be one of her greatest accomplishments. “It gave me continuity. She has now joined a community of artisans with common values ​​and passions.

fall to get up

Cass' bike accessories

Élène believes that discipline and resilience are qualities that have enabled her to persevere and achieve success today. For her, the important thing is “to be able to celebrate the good times and be resilient for the bad times”. She gets up every day with the goal of finding new ways to succeed. She also believes that taking pleasure in her work and taking care of herself are essential to ensure her entrepreneurial success: “meditating, moving and laughing every day is the key to keeping my balance”.

Cass' bike accessories

Although she considers herself well surrounded by her work partners, Élène mentions that there is a particular circumstance in which she imagines herself collaborating with other people in the context of her work: "I would like to work with members of my family”. She says it with a laugh, knowing full well that her family is scattered and that this dream is not necessarily realistic, but she admits that she would enjoy running a family business.

The future of Cass'

Cass' bike accessories

Cass' products are currently available on Etsy , as well as other sites listed on the company's Facebook page . Élène also usually attends the Salon des métiers d'art in Montreal during the holiday season, as well as the Salon plein art de Québec during the summer (or at the very least, she was there before the pandemic - remains to be seen if holiday fairs will take place this year and what form they will take). Her products will also soon be available on her new website and she will soon be part of a special collaboration with Fabrique 1840 de Simons, as part of a virtual market. Élène is also preparing the launch of new products, including a fanny pack, which has come back into fashion in recent years.

You can expect Élène to continue to find creative opportunities that will allow Cass' to be as ethical a company as possible and that communicates the pleasure of cycling. “Cycling in the city is such a vector of freedom. »

Ariane Blondin

Reviewed by Marie-Pascale

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