Category_Tranche de vie

Realities of a "momentrepreneur" in 1990

Réalités d'une «momtrepreneure» en 1990

Since I have been interested in entrepreneurship, I have been able to discover inspiring people and entrepreneurs with extraordinary backgrounds. It's amazing what you can learn by talking with friends, relatives or family members on the subject. Inspirational models are often closer to us than we think.

Recently, I started thinking about the business my mother had when I was growing up.

She was the one behind the Bibi Créations Enviro clothes. My mother sold, among other places, in the Clément, Petit Bateau and La Baie stores in eastern Canada. I believe you will love his journey and that it will inspire a few.
In my own way, I hope to show you the importance of buying local and its concrete effects in our lives. A bit like a ricochet on water, this small gesture contributes to supporting an economic and social ecosystem of suppliers, workers and actors. By supporting a company, it is people and families who work, live and dream.

So here's the story:

In the early 1990s, my mother was a young high school English teacher. Work was rare and the hours irregular in the school boards of Quebec. She had always loved fashion and sewing, even more children's clothes. Having a small business seemed an interesting solution to make a little more money. This would allow him to keep a flexible schedule for school and to take care of his family. That's how my mother started in the garage, making eco-friendly diapers and pajamas that she sold door-to-door. Then word spread around the neighborhood and she started having special requests.

Little by little, my mother added new products: pajamas, clothes, diaper bag, maternity linen, coveralls, blankets, baptism costumes, etc. The company grew, it developed its signature and its style thanks to the passion, the creativity and the determination of my mother. Clients appreciated and recognized in his work all the quality and originality of his collections. His studio and warehouse eventually overflowed into the basement when stores and boutiques wanted to sell his designs.


It is in this universe of textiles and clothing that marked my childhood that:

I remember sleeping in rolls of fabric under the assembly table and caramel puddings given to me by our seamstress Lise.
I remember following my mother to the fabric suppliers and being amazed by the vastness of the place.
I remember catalogs of colorful fabrics that I looked at like an illustrated history book.
I remember the visits to the cutting factory, the noise of the machines and the fluffy dust of the fabric. There was also this…indescribable smell.
I remember the deliveries in La Baie and that I had fun hiding in the displays.
I remember educational holidays listening to tapes, drawing or putting stickers on hangers in the pattern room.

So much memories…


Lise, our seamstress


Me and my brothers in pajamas

When I returned to elementary school, the factory moved to the Saint-Malo industrial district in Quebec. Until the early 2000s, my mother continued to persevere in developing her business. The factory operated until conditions became too difficult. Globalization and upheaval in the textile industry swept away many children's clothing companies first. For those who stayed, it was often " Go China or go home!" in order to survive. With 5 children and a thriving second career in real estate, my mother resigned herself to closing up shop in 2006.

Yes, the end of my story is a bit sad. You have to put things into context and be understanding when you learn of a business closing. Starting a business is not easy, it takes a lot of work, a little luck and a lot of sacrifice. Her situation was not exceptional and it would have been difficult to fight alone.

This story is repeated everywhere, every day and in all areas. One of my professors told us that one out of four companies does not survive its first year. You have to be aware of it and accept it. Hence the importance of supporting and encouraging enthusiasts in the success of their business.

In the end, despite the closure of her business, my mother managed to accomplish something extraordinary. During the best years, my mother will have employed more than twenty people thanks to her work. They were our seamstresses, salespersons, delivery men and designers. But indirectly, it was the suppliers, the subcontractors and the retailers who worked thanks to it.

It's still impressive to see what she has been able to accomplish in a dozen years. This was before the democratization of the Internet and without the technologies, tools and social networks that we have today. It was also before entrepreneurship was trendy and women were interested in it for their careers.

For those who have experienced it, are considering it or have witnessed it, starting a business is a colossal challenge. This is why we must pay tribute to those who do.

To discover portraits of today's Quebec entrepreneurs, visit our blog in the At the heart of business category!


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