Meet the Maker: An Interview with Velvet Moustache

Posted in Blog, on September 19, 2014

At Make we live for what is creative and what comes from the heart. What lights us up is meeting people who live the same values as us.  Meet 32 year old Marjorie Lebreque-Lepage, the owner and founder of Velvet Moustache of Montreal.  When you meet her pillow characters, you will fall in love.  This artistic, sustainable, local-loving, mom of two runs her business from her heart. We hope you enjoy meeting her as much as we did!

 

The Art and Politics of Pillows

Make:  Marjorie, your pillows are so unique, we've never seen anything like them.  What was your inspiration?  Why Pillows?

Marjorie:  At the beginning, I studied fashion and a friend asked me to make a plush pillow. I found could do what I wanted - all from my imagination!  I wanted to found my own business and I had studied the art-toy movement.  It was exciting.  I wanted to make something for everyone in the family.  Not too childish, not too classy, well made, well finished with nice fabric and with a funny touch. And, something useful and something everyone could enjoy!

 

 Beaver: $79 {BUY IT}

 

Make:  You began in 2007 and you've grown substantially.  How did that go?

Marjorie:  Velvet Moustache is growing a lot because of word of mouth and the internet.  People can find what they like now, on their own.  I'm not a salesperson, I concentrate on my design and I have to take care of production so I need to work directly with the manufacturer in Montreal.  Our materials are also manufactured in Montreal.  So things have grown on their own as we take care of production.

Make:  I'm guessing your decision to manufacture in Montreal is unusual in the toy industry?

Marjorie:  Yes! I'm the only one to use local production, even for the fluffy insides. Its unique. I like to encourage local labour.  Without work, these companies will close so its important to me to keep them working. I am sad that my prices are higher as a result, but I feel the quality and materials are great.

 

Hippo: $79  {BUY IT}

  

Make:  The pillow designs are so distinct!  We absolutely love their eyes.  How did your design come about?

Marjorie:  The eyes are the difficult part to make but they have become the trademark feature. It is very hard to do!  The eyes have been around since my very first pillows. I called them the Arctic Warriors, a family from the north with a man, a woman and a child.  They were living in the north where its so bright you can't keep your eyes open.  I created it when Harper was talking about taking the north.  This family was going to fight for it.  From that point, the eyes just stuck.

 

Owl: $79 {BUY IT}

 

Make:  As you grow, have you found it hard to keep your values?

Marjorie:  Yes. At the beginning I could upcycle everything and that's the best way to be eco-friendly. But, I couldn't sustain my business that way. So I had to produce my own fabric but at least I found a local place and organic material. It bugs me, but every shipment must be packed in a box with plastic and shipped.  I wish I could be 100% in all areas but it's not manageable. I try to do the best I can, we recycle boxes, cut our fabric as close as possible and try not to waste anything.

 

Pug: $79  {BUY IT}

 

Make:  You have a 6 month old and a 3 year old.  How do you balance family with being an entrepreneur?

Marjorie:  You have to accept that you can't be perfect everywhere.  I have a great assistant, Ariane, in the workshop when I'm not there. She thinks for two, she's like a sister.  We are surrounded by a team of friendly people.

 

Raccoon: $95  {BUY IT}

  

Make:  We love all your animals!  Which is your favourite?

Marjorie:  I love the raccoon!

 

Fox: $79 {BUY IT}

  

Marjorie is one of many talented Makers that we seek out and support at Make.  Come to Granville Island to see her collection!  Visit www.makevancouver.com to meet all of our Makers, the artists, craftspeople and entrepreneurs who make's us who we are!