Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in a clothing line but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mélanie Ellezam, founder and designer of Olmsted Outerwear, located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

High in conscience, utility conscious.

Positive luxury eiderdown outerwear, carefully crafted in Montréal with sustainably harvested Canadian eiderdown and organic waxed cotton proofed in Scotland.

Eiderdown is perhaps the most desirable down in the world. And unlike downs from breeding farms - which invariably come from slaughtering birds - no duck is harmed during the down harvest. Instead, this sustainable harvest establishes an extraordinary partnership between humans and eider. The benefits derived from the harvest have led to the acquisition, protection, and conservation of several nesting islands and promote biodiversity.

Olmsted Outerwear is, Alive And Warm!

Tell us about yourself

I wanted to create a supply chain that positively impacts people and the environment. Using business for good – as an engine of change – is something that I find highly stimulating.

Entrepreneurship and the textile industry are in me – it's inevitable.
I have always aimed at aesthetic precision and ethical practices. For me, they have to go hand in hand for a project to be relevant. Durability and functionality are constantly at the heart of what I create. Timeless simplicity is key in Olmsted's design; it is part of being sustainable as a brand.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Selling online directly to international customers is in itself a captivating experience and a great accomplishment.

Creating and marketing a desirable product that inspires confidence without the power of a big luxury brand behind is in itself a reckless adventure. Still, a growing more informed clientele is looking to make independent, enlightened choices, using their buying power to do good. Addressing this clientele is very stimulating.

Taking the eiderdown bet is also a great source of pride. It was an improbable decision. Eiderdown is precious, very expansive, and available in extremely limited quantities. But the story behind the harvest is so positive! A natural fibre harvested while preserving natural habitats and positively impacting a wild species is more than rare it is an achievement!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

It never leaves you - it's always on your mind! As a designer and business owner, I always find the creative portion surprisingly minimal, as it involves so many other things! I think it's essential to find pleasure and satisfaction in the business's different aspects, such as production, management, logistics structure; otherwise, it's exhausting!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Start somewhere you never know where the journey will take you - you don't need to have everything planned out.
  2. Accept imperfection, things take time, and by doing it, it will improve to what you envision.
  3. Try to trust your intuition and convey good energy.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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