Meet Éco-Boutique Un Monde à Vie, a small business helping its Quebec community live more sustainably.
After discovering entrepreneurship and the importance of community support during an internship in Africa, Marianne Girard decided to start a business selling local products. With over two decades of experience as a speaker on the topic of waste management, she now dedicates herself to improving the health of her community through her store, Un Monde à Vie. 90% of Marianne’s sales revenue comes from products made in Quebec. All the products she carries in her store are biodegradable, certified organic, natural, and chemical free.
What is the most meaningful part of being a small business owner?
For me, it’s helping to drive Quebec’s economy as a woman-owned business. It’s also supporting other members of our tight-knit community. When a customer is looking for a product that I don’t carry in my store, I usually suggest other small businesses close by. To start a business that truly makes a difference in people’s lives, you have to work tirelessly, act with integrity and treat people with dignity.
What has been your greatest contribution to your community?
My greatest contribution has been spreading awareness in my community about topics that are important to me, such as sustainable development, environmental responsibility, and waste management. I try to promote healthy consumption habits and encourage customers to ask themselves whether they really need a product before purchasing it. I only sell essential products in my store, nothing unnecessary. All the products I carry are necessities.
I’m also very proud of my community education efforts. I carry sustainable and environmentally friendly products in my store. For over 20 years, I have been giving talks on ethical consumption in schools and workplaces, as well as for municipalities throughout Quebec. I’m a firm believer in community education, and I make it my daily mission.
What advice would you give to another business owner or someone starting their own small business?
My answer to this question has certainly evolved over the past few years. Our reality has changed substantially, but some things are still just as important. Discipline is key. Being a small business owner means wearing many hats. You have to be thorough in everything you do and make sure that all your departments are doing well. You also have to know how to delegate effectively. You can’t take everything on by yourself. Having a team that works well together is key to the success of a small business.
What has been your proudest moment as a business owner?
I’m especially proud of having made it through the pandemic with dignity. It was an extremely difficult time for business owners and families in my community, and I was able to keep my 14 full-time employees. I was so proud to pay them every two weeks, knowing that they would be able to make rent and put food on their tables. My business also made a difference in the lives of so many environmentally conscious consumers who turned to my essential products to feel better in their skin. My store was an essential business to so many members of my community. I’m very proud to have been able to serve them and provide them with personalized advice.