Even those of us who seem to know exactly where we are headed in life can experience full-on life turnarounds. Sometimes what starts off as a hobby becomes a full-blown passion, and sometimes a connection transports you into completely unknown territory. Such is the case with Annie de Grandmont, general manager of the eco-boutique La Gaillarde right here in Montreal.
Annie studied technical theatre and worked in the entertainment industry for 10 years before jumping at an opportunity that completely changed the course of her life. She was offered the job at La Gaillarde and hasn’t looked back since. Sometimes the desire to act on impulse and listen to one’s gut feeling can be the lynchpin of a fulfilling and successful career.
Annie made the switch due to the similarities between managing a play and a boutique. She was fully prepared to change the way she had worked for so long to reflect the needs of a retail non-profit organization. She was also extremely interested in the mission of La Gaillarde: spreading Quebec talent while offering environmentally-friendly fashion products to the inhabitants of Montreal. The store offers products for everyone and anyone, no matter their gender, age, income, or unique style. Stand-out offerings include recycled wood-framed sunglasses by Bôhten and graphic womenswear by N3R. A chic section of second-hand clothing is also offered for both men and women, and every piece goes through a selection process to ensure La Gaillarde’s high quality standards.
The boutique also runs a design competition in association with Cégep Marie-Victorin, always using recycled materials and with a theme chosen by their team. The winner’s design is produced and sold by the boutique, which is quite an honour for Montreal’s young up-and-coming designers.
Annie has a couple of tips for those of us who are rather impulsive when we buy fashion products. Number one: always walk away from something you want and think about it for a day before buying it. This will allow you time to think about whether or not this item really fits into your individual wardrobes. Retail clothing businesses have set themselves up to encourage impulsive buying and, as a generation, we are not yet immune to their strategies. In shopping, as in life, there is such a thing as ”too convenient”.
Secondly, develop a personal style that is different from everyone else’s. What works for your best friend should not always work for you as well. Buying a striped t-shirt at H&M is easy because everyone can look OK in it, but finding an item that truly speaks to you and represents who you are takes a little bit of extra effort. Like Annie says, it’ll make you feel so much more confident and you’re much more likely to stand out from the crowd.
And if La Gaillarde could ask you for one small change, it would be to think a little before buying. Nothing too crazy—just a day or so—to make sure your desired product is really worth it, and that it’s really for you. Considering our generation’s carbon footprint, that tiny bit of advice could help change the world.
For more information on La Gaillarde, visit their website or stop by 4019 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest.