One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how my career lead me to start a business and the story of Saevil Row. While I’ve shared this on a few podcasts and interviews that I’ve been on, I realized I should probably have this live someone on our site, too!
So, buckle up friends, because I’m about to take you wayyyy back.
It was a windy day in 1985, when…
No, I’m kidding, it doesn’t really start there.
But what I WILL say is that the entrepreneurial spirit has always been in my bones. From selling lemonade at the end of our driveway to braiding hair at the farmers market. I’m pretty sure that was illegal, but hey, we were kids! I’ve always been eager to make an honest buck and not take orders from the man.
Ever since I was old enough to have a job, I did. From paper routes to coffee shops and retail. You name it, I worked it. So that didn’t stop when I finished College and entered life as a working gal.
Fast-forward to finishing my degree in Advertising & Graphic Design at Humber College in Toronto, I landed an internship at a top Canadian Women’s magazine, Chateline. This was the start of my career in design and more specifically Editorial design. While I jumped between a few other magazines as a freelance designer, I had a short stint at a Celebrity Magazine then called Weekly Scoop. It was here that I met Michelle Bilodeau, who was an editor at the time, and we would go on to creating our very own digital magazine together. Weekly Scoop ended up folding about 6 months after I started working there, but it wasn’t the end for Michelle and me.
A few years later, an idea came to me that I felt passionately called to pursue. If you’ve ever read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic, it was one of those ideas that came and sat around until I took action. It was one I couldn’t let slip away. That idea was to create an online fashion and beauty magazine, combining everything I loved about editorial, but without the budget of a print-run.
Michelle was the first and only person I thought of to partner up with me. After all, I was a designer, not a writer. When I called her and shared the idea, she was hooked and we began planning out our website and strategy.
We came up with the name Front Row Mag, secured the domain and started putting wheels in motion to create our very own online space.
To say this was a complete whirlwind is an understatement. From attending international Fashion Weeks, attending countless events, appearing on TV segments and panels, our off-line lives provided immense content for our online world.
We held this space for 5 years, before folding the magazine. It was time. We evolved and moved on to other projects, but it’s one of my fondest memories and Michelle is still a very dear friend today.
In 2014 I packed my bags and life as I knew it in Toronto in pursuit of a big adventure. I was yearning for more in every sense of the way and had a feeling of being ‘stuck’. So, once I made the decision, I applied for a working holiday visa and started to prepare for my new life in France.
I packed all my things into 3 hockey bags, because, well, I am Canadian after all and boarded a one-way flight to the city of lights. I had been to Paris twice before and spoke fluent french (thanks to my parents for putting me in french-immersion). Before moving, I booked an Airbnb apartment for the first 6 weeks. But other than that, I didn’t have a job, friends or a permanent home. Although I will say, the first morning waking up in Paris, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.
I did end up finding the cutest one-bedroom apartment in Le Marais soon before my first 6 weeks were up at the Airbnb and it was there, that Saevil Row was officially born.
Saevil Row pulls inspiration from the London tailoring district ‘Saville Row’ and a play on words with my last name. A perfect fit, because our approach to design is bespoke and custom to the needs of our clients. I also love the European flair to it all. So, I did what we now help other start-up businesses do: create a brand and a website. Once I ticked that off, it was time to spread the word – Hello Facebook! Sharing the news with friends, family and colleagues saw new business arise through word of mouth. And the rest is history.
Ok, I’m skipping through a lot of details here, but I want to paint the picture to this point. It’s been the most rewarding and challenging journey ever. I’ve made new friendships, learned some difficult lessons and have taken on clients from all over the globe. Someone once asked me how I got into branding, and truthfully, it wasn’t an initial direction. But it was a collection of new businesses, who I got to help create a strong identity that allowed the focus to be on branding. If I could offer any advice for budding designers, it’s to strengthen your craft as much as you can.
So, you’re probably wondering how the heck I found myself in Australia. Well, a few series of events had me leave Paris for a new life here and I haven’t looked back. The beauty of a digital business is being able to re-locate and bring it along with you. And for that, I’m truly grateful.
Saevil Row is 5 years old this year (2020) and we’re stronger than ever. I have no idea what the next 5 years will look like. But, what I can tell you is there’ll never be a dull moment.
Each month we’ll send you a business thought or tip to help you along your journey. Let the good times roll on to your inbox.