Who are you :
We are three friends from very different backgrounds: Étienne Côté, a former translater reoriented barista and multi-entrepreneur; Maxime Leclerc, sound engineer; Julien Blanchard, bartender/waiter/wine-guy. We decided to create a line of products for men because we had tried many (and rarely quite to our liking) products for our beards/moustaches/shaving. Nobody was making them in Canada at the time, but we had gathered the critical sense to know what the best is in that respect. So we did it.
Your current job :
We split our time between our part-/full-time jobs and Groom. Since the project is still very young, there is plenty to do and we have limited human resources to delegate the job. Within Groom, tasks are mainly split this way: Étienne does research & development and production line, Maxime manages stock, orders and production, Julien does everything related to customer service, billing and paperwork.
In which city are you located?
We are from different areas of Québec, but Montréal has become our home and it is the home of our business. We’re proud to mention on the label that are products are crafted in this city.
A word to define what kind of worker you are :
Maxime is the calm, methodic man. Étienne is the innovative / mad-scientist guy. Julien is passionate / slightly anxious guy meaning he doesn’t know when to call it a day. (He’s sending these answers at 2am…)
What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
Our mobile phones of course, with all the SMS and inboxes linked to them. The apps Square, Pages, XE, Canada Posts have become essentials. Otherwise we use rather rudimental softwares so far and are quite ready for upgrades. Suggestions anyone?
What does your office space look like?
Right now Maxime and Julien are flatmates, making their flat the Groom Headquarters. The large kitchen is where the production line comes into existence a few times a week, and the small former-bedroom (you know, that windowless one) has become a crammed office/stockroom. We’re looking forward to moving the operations in a more appropriate space, but in the mean time there is something quite comfy in having your business just across the corridor from your kitchen/bedroom.
What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?
Production happens to the sound of various inspirations (Maxime being in the music industry, his iPod has the most impressive selection of music North of Rosemont Boulevard), but we also have our classics: Metals by Feist, Islands, Beach House, Budos Band. Office work often goes silent.
Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?
Julien will go through emails and flag those needing answering from bed. Then it starts with Maxime or Julien -whoever gets up first- fetching some takeout coffees at Odessa (local third-wave coffee shop). Once they are finished, Julien or Maxime -whoever hasn’t gone in the first place- will fetch a couple more. The plan of the day’s work is laid out during that second coffee. That’s also the moment they try to reach Étienne who, when he finally turns up, will immediately leave to grab takeout lunch. After lunch the kitchen is then turned into a seemingly chaotic yet very precise work line where R&D, full-on production and packaging of orders mix up for a unique dance. It might sound strange, but we keep a very clear mind and precise hand in all we do. The day usually ends at a local joint for a bite and a drink.
What tips would you give to improve productivity ?
We all know the obvious tricks: have a clear mind, be healthy, work out your priorities should be. Having a team of people you love, respect and trust is a beautiful thing. Close friends and business partners make that rock on which you can leap confident into what you want to achieve. So here’s the tip: surround yourself with good people who keep the good energy flowing. It also pays to keep an open mind and take no set-up for granted: any system can be improved. Also don’t forget to have a laugh. You’re more efficient if you have fun at what you do.
You’re better than your colleagues to :
Étienne is best for reading pages of near-scientific-grade information and crunch it into ideas for our formulas. Maxime is best for keeping a cool head and making the right decision at the right time for the right reasons. Julien has the charismatic, out-going character that will pay in all PR situations.
What is the best advice anyone has given you ?
Advices: only listen to the good ones people give you.
What is your best tip for saving time ?
Use the right energy at the right time. Doing something you don’t feel like will take twice as long as normal. Also: good-quality coffee, of course.
What is your routine start and end of the day ?
Since Groom hasn’t been turned into a full-time job for neither of us, it has to be fitted in the cracks of our schedules, making routine a word we haven’t used in a long time. Looking forward to using it again though.
Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
Post Its and notebooks. I guess we can’t quite call them gadgets, but in this world of omnipresent touch-screen technology, they somehow have an innovative, gadgetty feel. Our Keep Cups (those reusable takeout coffee mugs) have become essential tools too.