Canada Luxury: la petite histoire

Canada Luxury: a brief history

Posted by Stéphanie Blanchard on

My name is Stéphanie Blanchard, and since 2020, I've been making my dream come true: Canada Luxury.

Canada Luxury is not a multinational owned by a few wealthy foreigners. It's simply the project of a Quebec woman, perhaps a little crazy, who wants to break outdated norms and promote a circular and sustainable economy in the Canadian fashion and luxury industry. :)

There was a time when I knew nothing about fashion or the luxury goods industry. A native of Sherbrooke, Quebec, I met my husband at the age of 19 at a tennis tournament where he was playing. Vincent Millot, who was to become my husband and the father of my children, was a professional tennis player on the ATP circuit (he's the Frenchman you hear commenting tennis matches on RDS!).

During my studies at Université de Montréal and when we lived in France, I accompanied him to his tournaments whenever I could. Paris, Barcelona, London, Monte Carlo, New York, Miami, etc.; I was lucky enough to follow him to many magnificent cities, where I also discovered...

Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton.

Tennis players' wives were true fashion icons. European fashion was at its peak, I assure you!

I was amazed, captivated... completely charmed.

The young girl from Sherbrooke was immersed in a world of luxury, surrounded by tennis stars. Can you imagine the shock? I loved analyzing the women's outfits, handbags, shoes and jewelry too!

Meeting Nadal, Murray and all the others was impressive, but the diamond-studded Rolexes and Chanel, Dior and Hermès bags of the players' wives around me were just as fascinating. "What a materialist that one is!" some might say.

Well, maybe. But I embrace it..

I embrace it as Americans and Europeans do by wearing their favorite luxury accessories.

I embrace it like a Montreal businessman driving a Ferrari, because I too am proud of my work.

I embrace it because I'm proud of Gabrielle Chanel, that extraordinarily visionary and audacious woman who defied the norms dictated by the men of her time. Yes, I'm proud to wear and perpetuate her legacy today!

I take pride in wearing my luxury bag or watch, because behind a Chanel bag or a Cartier watch lie hundreds of hours of work. It's an art.

I digress, forgive me... It's just that this subject is close to my heart, you know?

All this to say that during the eight years I spent with my husband in France, I observed women from all walks of life proudly wearing their Louis Vuitton bags and Prada shoes. I also discovered numerous sites for buying and selling second-hand luxury goods (second hand, vintage, used, they're all synonyms). But what are the options in Canada for buying second-hand goods?

When I moved back to Quebec in 2018 with my family and placed my first order on Vestiaire Collective (a gorgeous Louis Vuitton scarf), I was shocked by the customs fees I had to pay.

It was mind-boggling.

So I started looking for sites where I could buy second-hand luxury goods in Canada (to avoid customs fees, as you may have guessed!).

Rebag, Fashionphile, TheRealReal, TheLuxuryCloset and so on. All foreign companies.

LXRandCo is a Canadian company, but 90% of their business is in the U.S., offering little choice here in Canada. Honestly, if you visit their sites, you'll be transported to a dream world. But get your wallet ready!

Oh yes, I forgot. It's also difficult, if not impossible, to consign your goods with these companies. Too complex with customs and shipping costs...

Unable to understand why the purchase of pre-owned luxury goods in Canada, especially Quebec, was not as democratized as in other parts of the world, I decided to challenge myself to create a Canadian platform that would guarantee the quality and authenticity of pre-owned luxury goods.

The man who helped me take the plunge.

I was fortunate to have an extraordinary father in my life. An accomplished businessman, respected by all. But after honourably battling cancer for many years, he left us for a better world on March 26, 2017. It was the worst moment of my life. He was my mentor, my pillar. He was my father, and I loved him deeply.

I thank him every day for teaching me perseverance and giving me the wings I needed to launch my business. It's important to me that you know this, because it was with the money he left me that I made my first investments to build the Canada Luxury inventory.

The items for sale on my site were purchased from private individuals at renowned auctions around the world, and over time I built up a reputation that gave me access to private sales in Europe (which are only open to companies like mine).

Now, I won't lie to you. For the moment, 95% of my sales go abroad...  But maybe one day I'll be able to convince you that second-hand luxury accessories are worth wearing and worth being proud of!

All the best,

Stéphanie B.

 Merci pour tout papa, xxx

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