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Office tale of Marie-Pier Auclair, designer at Umake & Dululu

Office tale of Marie-Pier Auclair, designer at Umake & Dululu

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :
My name is Marie-Pier Auclair from Montréal (Canada) and my partner’s name is Luke James Kirkwood from Dysart (Australia). We are the owners of Dululu Creative Living ( and Umake ( Dululu came about when we were traveling throughout rural Australia and we stopped at the Dululu Pub for a beer. We were drawing some ideas on a napkin at the Dululu Pub and decided to launch a brand when we returned to Montréal. We discovered when returning to Montréal that contract manufacturing was very expensive, with no margin left to wholesale our products. We had to create a solution for cost effective manufacturing so we started

Your current job :
For Umake, designing and manufacturing. We also offer consulting for some of our clients. We do a lot of things but mainly we offer laser cutting and engraving services, CNC machining, 3d modelling and printing. We also make sure that our client’s products or projects get to market on time and under budget. Dululu is our creative side, we develop affordable fun and functional items, easy to give as gifts, all locally made using local suppliers and local materials.

In which city are you located?
Montréal, QC, Canada

A word to define what kind of worker you are :
We are slightly workaholics but we have fun at work. Every day is different, every day someone comes in our shop with an interesting problem that has to be solved. We always make sure the customer leaves with a smile or that people who buy our products through dululu are happy with their purchase.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
CNC machine, Laser Machine, 3D printer, Screen Printing, Hand tools, 3D modelling software, Graphic Design software, Paypal, Square.

What does your office space look like?
Office area organized, workshop looks used but clean.

What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?
Old Crow Medicine Show, Triple J (Australian Radio Station) music they have good selections, we listen to The Smiths, Concrete Blonde, Little Red, Francis Cabrel…many more.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?
Production schedule is planned the night before and we leave 5x 15 minute windows open each day for customers with short lead time. For Dululu we always have stock on the shelf ready even if the 22 stores that sells our products order at the same time.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?
We offer customers with a long production lead time a great discount. This ensures our machines run at 100% capacity 14 hours a day and it also allows our customers to find a compromise for their cost and time constraints. We fit the low yielding profit orders around the schedule of the high yielding orders. This system offers a great advantage for customers who wish to wholesale or retail the items we manufacture if they schedule their production with advanced notice.

For Dululu products; always have stock ready to go.You’re better than your colleagues to : We work well together; we are only 2 with different tasks yet we
can achieve each other’s tasks as well. If I absolutely have to say who’s better at what, Luke is very very organized. He is very good at multitasking and can fix anything on the fly. You need to be able to fix machines in a machine shop, always. Customers rely on us so reparation delays are not acceptable. I am very reliable, very good with graphics software’s and a problem solver. I deal well under pressure and I am very good with finance.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?
Stay positive, negativity slows you down and don’t lie, its a waste of time cause you have to remember your lie, keeping track is hard!
Luke says: spread your bet if the race isn’t fixed.

What is your best tip for saving time ?
Empower your customers with as many resources as possible. Don’t be shy to be transparent with your pricing. For repeat orders from your customers, they don’t ask for an estimate once they understand you cost structure. They just ask you to send an invoice when the order is ready.

What is your routine start and end of the day ?
Machines start with orders that run on their own. Coffee. 2nd coffee. Answering emails, cleaning the shop before customers start to arrive. Non stop for 8 hours. Slow down and service all machines so they are ready to start first thing in the morning.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not go without?
I have no other gadget, well except my machines so I’d say my laser cutter, absolutely essential. I love this machine. Luke has a tape measure on his belt and vernier callipers in his back pocket.