I often went to see my mother at Maison Victor Gadbois. This house located in Beloeil offers exceptional care to people with terminal cancer. Mom was one of the lucky ones to live out her last days at Maison Victor Gadbois. She was staying in a peaceful room. Mom had pancreatic cancer.
Supporting a dying woman is not easy. And the house’s staff, often volunteers, were very caring. My family was relieved to see my mother in such good hands.
At that time, I often talked to Mom about my entrepreneurial project.
I explained to her that I wanted to have my workshop to produce bags, briefcases, backpacks. I wanted to fabricate durable accessories. Above all, I wanted all to be made here to exercise good quality control and to use my designer skills in the most efficient way.
Mom thought this project was incongruous. It’s true that the economic landscape of the 21st century made life difficult for local production.
-It’s a competitive world, you know! Making bags here locally takes a lot of willpower, she said.
-Yes, I know, I confessed.
-They make millions of bags per day in China, you must know that!
-Yes, it’s true.
-Your bags won’t be able to compete with Chinese production …
-A single company can make 100 bags per day, while you in your small workshop won’t even have completed one in your day! Your business doesn’t make sense, she thought! On this point, she was right, because some models take me more than 35 hours to finalize …
-I want to make products that will appeal to a clientele… people who like well-made, lovingly pampered products. (I defended my project as best as I could).
-You know it’s an old trade, that which you want to do… Even shoemakers can’t make a living here anymore. It’s become too difficult. And your business, you also have to pay the rent, do the accounting, it’s not just production and then there’s also advertising … Did you forget that?
-Partly you can say it’s true, Mom, but I will succeed. I have the guts, you know that.
-Quebec produced shoes in the past. Production ceased in the 1930s and then quietly the whole industry disappeared.
-Ah, I didn’t know.
-You cannot revive a field of competence like that… The clothing sector in Quebec is dead or almost. It’s like me… on life support… (She still had a sense of humor).
-I’m not talking about shoes, but bags.
-It’s the same, it’s tailoring. And people no longer pay for good confection. It’s always the cheapest that wins. And the cheapest is the industrial product, the Asian product. Go over there to have your bags made. Maybe that way you will have a better chance.
-No, I want to do them here. I am not even thinking of going to Asia. And then I wonder what name to call my company. (Finally, I arrived at my goal).
-Ah, you think about that?
-Yes, mom, you see how serious I am …
-You’re not serious. You have a hard, hard head!
-Yes maybe! But I still wonder what to call my handbag business?
-Call it: I misplaced my bag… Then her face tightened in pain.
-Ah, it hurts here… Call the nurse. I have a fist in my stomach. It’s unbearable!
-Yes, she’s coming mom.
Mom takes her pill while gazing at me to learn more about my plan.
-Ah, mom … so the first name on my list is: L’Élan (The Elk or momentum)
-Well yes, the animal with a antlers and in a second sense, it also means the momentum for our takeoff.
-That’s too trivial.
-Okay. I thought of that too: Me and my bag.
-No, that’s too common. It’s not a name that resonates, that stands out … your name has to ring loud and make an impression.
-So what do you think of Madame Sac?
-She burst out laughing. Her lively, playful laugh convinced me that I had found the name of my company. I was proud and happy with our conversation.
A few days later Mom left the premises for her bluer skies.
My thoughts are for her, she will always live in my heart. And as for Maison Victor Gadbois, I would like to thank you for your exceptional care. You are the guardians of her sky …
Signed: Madame Sac