English

Solem Launches a High-End Collection in the Colors of Regional Talents

JOHANNE SAINT-PIERRE

Le Quotidien 

Barely two years after starting their business, the co-owners of Solem, Marie-Hélène Doucet and Mylène Lessard, made a big splash on Tuesday marking the launch of their new collection of Signature towels, thanks to their partnership with two talented artists, painter Laurie Marois and high-flying diver Lysanne Richard.

The two young businesswomen and their mentor Suzanne Arbor of Gestisoft experienced an afternoon full of emotions as they unveiled the magnificent works of the native Normandin animal painter, Laurie Marois, which will adorn the new exclusive collection of suede microfiber towels, a product that has made them successful. The launch took place in front of several relatives and friends who have supported them from the very beginning, which added to the emotion of the event.

Then, Lysanne Richard, who also has a high-end towel bearing her likeness, made a dive from a 22-meter-high boom lift platform into the bay of the tourist site to mark the occasion, dressed in a wetsuit bearing the name of the company and of course, with a towel from Solem.

For all the artisans of this project, the launch at the magnificent resort center site in Alma was the fruit of a year of efforts to stand out, which materialized. 

Fans of the work of Laurie Marois, the two founders of Solem first contacted her, telling her of their appreciation for her work and their desire to possibly establish a collaboration between them. They also sent her some of their products.

"It was when I saw the finish of the towels, the quality and the subtlety of the printing that I saw that it all made sense", said the artist whose work presents a luminosity and rich nuances of colors. "We were able to see the high quality and I was reassured."

Painter Laurie Marois (centre) also produced a work featuring high-flying diver Lysanne Richard for the Signature collection of regional company Solem. The two co-owners, Marie-Hélène Doucet and Mylène Lessard unveiled it shortly before the Saguenay native athlete jumped from a 22-meter basket in the bay of Dam-en-Terre.

They have also joined forces with the talent of graphic designer Josiane Fortin (J'ose Concept Communication), who spared no effort or time to offer the most faithful rendering possible of the three selected works. “They did a lot of tests. I knew that the two entrepreneurs and their team were going to do everything possible to ensure that the rendering was as faithful as possible. I suspected it wouldn't be 100% identical, but I think the confidence I had in them made them work even better. I had confidence from the start and I am not disappointed, ”says the one who has been living from her art since 2015.

As for Lysanne, the idea of ​​being able to partner with two young women entrepreneurs from her native region specializing in a basic product of her work appealed to her, as did the courage of the two young mothers who left their respective jobs to embark full-time on the entrepreneurial adventure.

Great growth

Long-time friends, Marie-Hélène Doucet and Mylène Lessard dreamed since their early childhood of creating their own business. It was during a camping trip that the idea arose. “There had been a lot of rain and we had major irritants with our traditional cotton towels which were slow to dry, filled with sand and for the most part, developed smells of mold. That's when we had the idea that we had been looking for for years. We found suede microfiber which had all the advantages: compact, quick-drying and weighing only 250 grams. At that time, it was an extremely popular product in Europe, but in Quebec there was practically no company,” mentions Marie-Hélène.

The company was born in February 2019 and despite the pandemic, their “baby” has seen great growth. They were able to build a team and as online commerce exploded, it was exactly what they envisioned. 

“One thing leading to another, our business has grown and we now have 59 points of sale, including two in Vancouver, one in New Brunswick and four in Ontario. We also have our online platform where most of the transactions are done and we are also on Amazon. The company has become very popular because it really meets a need for camping and traveling mothers,” she adds. “We grew faster than expected. Our second year was four times better than the first and it is still growing!”

The new Signature collection will be available only online (Solem.ca). The towel, which comes with an identical pouch, is signed by the artist. “I really believe that Laurie Marois fans and the public will fall in love (with this collection). I have the impression that it will attract boating customers. We can also put it on as a throw,” concludes Ms. Doucet.