Sophie, you founded BonLook following your experience as an eyewear customer for several years. Can you tell us more?
I have been wearing prescription glasses since I was young. I have always loved fashion, and found it limiting to only be able to get a new pair every two or three years. When you wear your glasses every day and under different circumstances, it becomes bothersome to have just one pair. I couldn't understand why people couldn't have a collection of them for every activity or occasion, the same way we have different pairs of shoes.
You mention that you love fashion. Has this always been the case?
I've loved fashion since I was a teenager, and my first job was as a sales clerk at Simons in Quebec City, my hometown. I really enjoyed interacting with customers, but I also liked being surrounded by people who were passionate about fashion. I then worked for L'Oréal Canada, for the Redken brand. The experience gave me a solid foundation in terms of analysis, which is crucial in our field when seeking to offer customers the best product. After that, I completed a Masters of Fashion and Design Management in Milan, Italy. During my year of studying, I worked on a project for eyewear giant Luxottica. The experience helped me understand the structure of the industry and margins. It gave me the idea of what would later become BonLook.
In 2011, you made the leap. What helped you decide?
I'd been thinking about it for a while, and professionally, the timing was right. I had a short-term job for an event, and I told myself that it was now or never. There is never a perfect time to start a business: at some point, you just have to take the plunge!
The company has been growing rapidly for three years. What was the turning point?
For a long time, we offered our products exclusively online in the United States and English Canada for various reasons. But we could see that people wanted to touch the product and experience the brand. Thus, the company's growth really sped up when we opened stores where customers could experience our collections. After that, we joined forces with investors who are true partners, and who support our ambitions.
How would you describe the BonLook customer?
A man or woman who likes to be fashionable and wants to buy a quality product at a reasonable price. A person who seeks advice from professionals, including our opticians, and likes to own several pairs for different occasions.
What's in store for BonLook?
New store openings (again!). For our customers, we are working on new collaborations, adding low-bridge fit glasses, and even more promotions, launches, and brand activities.
What are your favourite cities?
Hong Kong, Paris, Milan, Tokyo.
Who are your favourite designers?
Ralph Lauren, Giambattista Valli, Alexander McQueen, and Burberry.
What is your dream destination?
A deep dive trip to Southeast Asia.
Would you rather have a discussion over champagne, rosé or coffee?
What is a book you recommend?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
What would you say to yourself as a young girl?
Better done than perfect.
Want to hear more from Sophie?
Check out recent guest appearance on a podcast called The Brand is Female, a series that shines the spotlight on inspiring women and what lead them to their professional success.