Your current job:
I am 60% a Communications Director for a fashion group in Montreal called Corwik and 40% freelance Creative Director for other brands under name of my agency Yourinfluentialagency.com . My main mission is to spark storytelling around a brand in order to define it. Once the muse is defined it becomes a natural process to launch into creating images and writing the copy that defines the brand. My goal: to give a brand a soul so that it becomes (nearly) as tangible as a person
In which city are you located?
I am located in Montreal but lived in Paris for twenty years and go back frequently so I also consider it my city.
A word to define what kind of worker you are:
I am a finisher. I am incapable of leaving any loose strings hanging.
I start and work intensely until I finish entirely. When I have a mission, I think about it incessantly. So, if I am reading a book or watching a movie or visiting a museum it can all serve as inspiration for whatever I am working on and if I am on the treadmill or running errands I will also be thinking about it most of the time.
What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc.)
I am so grateful that Photoshop exists. The possibilities are limitless. Any vision that comes to my mind I can materialize before my eyes. I also use InDesign and Illustrator. My favorite leisure app is Shazam. I came back from Paris to Montreal, my hometown only 8 years ago so I am rediscovering all the music I grew up with. Sometimes I will be grocery shopping or in a pharmacy and hear I song I didn’t have the pleasure of listening to in Paris and I can be seen waving my phone in all directions, trying to find the speakers in order to Shazam it and add it to my playlist. I also love Microsoft word. We tend to take it for granted but when you write a lot of copy it really helps.
What does your office space look like?
It is very organized. I am a clean and neat freak. My office space is virtual and physically super organized in files. Inspirations, ideas, favorite words, color combinations, deco or ads are all filed away and I pride myself on finding anything I look for. If I don’t find something I will look for it and practically hold me breathe till I find it. I am very controlling about organizing myself and having processes for the teams I work with. They are usually ok because they are made to make everyone’s life easier.
What kind of music do you listen to when you are working?
Rock. Soft rock, country rock, hard rock, old rock, new rock, American rock, and some French rock. Even heavy metal. Some soul too. People are always telling me I don’t look like the idea they have of a rock lover but no other music touches my soul the way rock does.
Aerosmith, U2, Led Zeppelin, Pink Zeppelin, Guns & Roses, The Who, Chicago, Cage the Elephant, City & Color, The Damn Truth, Amy Winehouse, Florence & The Machine, Texas, A Flock of Seagulls, Greta Van Fleet, Genesis, Jackson Browne, Credence Clearwater, Queen and of course Rolling Stones and David Bowie…
Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work?
I start by getting all those small niggling details out of the way. Emails, phone calls, bills to pay. Then I face the less time-consuming missions such as in progress or small to medium-sized projects and finish with the most time and creatively demanding ones.
What tips would you give to improve productivity?
Plunge into your must do list. Start by addressing the boring, unpleasant or tedious ones. Do not procrastinate because the energy that procrastinating takes up is huge. Also, usually everything is less difficult than we think it is. Give yourself deadlines way ahead of the real deadline in order to make up for any unexpected delays.
I delete an email that corresponds to a request only when all parts of the request have been finalized. Until the mission is 100% completed I will leave at least one email (the last one) in my inbox to serve as a reminder that the mission is still pending even if I have answered that specific email.
When you feel swamped think of everything you have already done. Focus on all you have been able to accomplish rather than dwelling on what needs to be done.
You're better than your colleagues to:
Never ever leave the ball in my court. I will reply immediately to emails with requested attachments. If I need to work on something in order to reply to an email I will tell them what date I can deliver and usually deliver it before. I never leave anything pending. I am also super organized so I don’t get swamped if I have to juggle many missions. I actually like the adrenaline I get from bouncing from one mission to the next. I feel like I am in a tennis court and I keep hitting the ball back.
What is the best advice anyone has given you?
The power of positivity and visualization. Every time I have asked for a raise or for a promotion I visualize myself getting it and it (mostly) works.
Also like Steve Jobs said I don’t want to accept too much compromise in my life: I could get hit by a bus tomorrow so what would have been the use of doing things I really don’t like?
What is your best tip for saving time?
Leaving no time for procrastination, being very organized, making phone calls in the car, having a treadmill at home so I never lose time going to a gym. When I am waiting somewhere I will sift through emails, delete pictures, sort my agenda, make calls.
What is your routine starting and end of the day?
I am a big sleeper so I cannot work out in the morning. I get up as late as I can, shower, have a healthy breakfast with quinoa bread and coffee. I carpool my youngest daughter and a few classmates to school, my elder daughters are more independent. Once the kids have been dropped off, on my carpool days, I am free to blast my playlist or listen to Montreal’s best rock station Chom.
I get to my office in Montreal’s fashion district, get emails out of the way and then work on my main projects. Right now, I finished working on our fall 2018 fashion campaign and am starting work on a campaign for our swimwear line. I have been brainstorming about it this weekend so I have a few ideas to simulate on Photoshop.
I stop for lunch in a restaurant in the office building if its colder than minus 10. Otherwise, I go to the best Italian restaurant in the city, Gentile that has been there since 1959. It’s nice to remember that when my father was a consultant in the fashion district that is where he used to go for lunch. In the afternoon, I am back at the office or if there is a photoshoot planned, I go to a photo studio or shopping for accessories for an upcoming shoot.
As soon as I get home, it’s shower and treadmill or a yoga stretch in front of a youtube yoga teacher. Then I prepare dinner for my daughters and myself. After dinner, again I grab my computer to work on freelance projects in front of whatever series I am watching. Some of my favorites are: Mad Men, (the ad environment I live in but in the 50’s), Vinyl (the rock star life I want in my next life) and now Curb your Enthusiasm. I missed out on all that American culture when I lived in France for 23 years so now I get to catch up.
I read at least thirty minutes every night before falling asleep. I love reading books on Communications, History, Mysteries, Autobiography, Self-Improvement, and novels so I always have a good book. I need 10 hours of sleep so usually, Saturday morning is when I catch up all the hours I missed.
Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without? My Sonos sound system.
Top 5 x Nathalie Benarroch
Cafés | Crew Collective Café
Shop | Hudson’s Bay Company and Bon Marché
In Montreal, I shop French brands like Maje and Sandro at the Hudson’s Bay Company and in Paris I love going to Bon Marché because it is a small sized department store with a great selection and off the tourist’s grid.
Grocery | Atwater Market
in Montreal, I recommend Atwater Market and in Paris, I recommend Le Marché de la rue Poncelet.
Extra | Marché Finnegan - Finnegan's Market