Eille, me it’s Gab, I want to talk to you a little bit me and my journey!
Where did you grow up?
I come from a small town, Marieville, 30 minutes from Montreal. Worse, it was really the suburbs like we went by bike to school. On the other hand, my father lived in Montreal because I spent my weekend in Montreal in the southwest, playing hockey in the streets.
What were your living conditions during your childhood?
Middle class I will say. I think 100% of the people in Marieville were workers, so we had a house, a bungalow, it was a good place. When I travel I realize how lucky we are to have a house, a free baseball field.
Do you have any siblings ?
No. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old, as I have always been, as far back as I can remember, trailing left to my father’s house at my mother’s house. Then, when I left home early enough, my parents came back together when I was 16 years old. And today they still live together.
What little child were you?
Horrible. I was the child no teacher wants in his class. Because school for me was pretty easy, but I saw it as an entrepreneurial project because I always negotiated with the teacher. I was painful but I still had good grades.
If your teachers described you in a word, what would they say about you?
What is your school career and why are these choices?
I was talented at school and I knew it was important that I did my primary and secondary school. At Cegep I was faced with several choices and I tried a lot of different business. Also, I went into sound technique, so I went back to school because everyone was pushing me “you have so much potential in school, you should have a good degree and you would have a good job”.
A few years later I realized that school was not for me. When I was at university, in computer science, I already had the job that I wanted and I did not need the diploma so on my resume I wrote “BAC computer in progress”, today is still on my resume.
What were your hobbies in your youth?
I am a typical Quebecer, Canadian, as I spent my weekends playing hockey. Otherwise from 12-13 years I started the guitar, how it remained. I have always loved music and sports: skiing, hockey, diving.
What career path did you take after your studies?
In the light of my school career, I wanted my own job, my business. Now I know it is particularly hard to do. In time I did not know it. It was a bit like this: go into entrepreneurship, let go … Take a job, let go … Go into entrepreneurship, still let go …. Because I was doing projects, but it was not working particularly well as I was letting go and I was going to take jobs, often in the programming of web site, etc …
But I still had the dream to create my company and quite quickly I let go of the job to try another project, and by dint of doing chess bah there you learn the pitfalls to avoid. Always that was it until I started my business.
Are you more serious or a party animal?
Party Animal. I am not particularly serious, I do not take myself particularly seriously either so between the two choices it would be rather “party animal”.
What place do your friends occupy in your life?
A central place for a very long time. I have always found it particularly cool to spend time with others. Afterwards I understood that what makes us happy is the social capital, cay, the people who will surround us. Things like external circumstances: money, house, apartment, renovate your bathroom … it does not matter. What’s important is the people around us. Faque there we see a lot with my friends, we are a close gang. But now I understand a little why that’s why I did business where I was surrounded by people.
What are the three words that best describe you?
I qualify as: entrepreneur, geek, traveler. It’s not bad what I do in my life.
What was your first trip? When?
My friends planned a 5-week trip to China in 2005. I was 25 at the time. And it was one of my friends who was studying East Asian. I join them for the first two weeks. Faque it was my first real trip except the United States, which I do not count because it’s right next to Canada.
What are all the countries you visited?
Aouch aouch. I visited 45. It’s easier to say the places I did not go. I did not do South America but I went all over Central America and North America. I visited Europe several times but I have never been to Africa except Morocco. I also miss the Middle East and Russia. But I did a lot of Oceania and worse Asia. I do about 2 trips a year and I go for 1-2 and 3 months. Never longer than 3 months.
But my way of traveling to change. At first I wanted to do all the places during my travels but over time I know that I’m a traveler and I’m going to get back to these places so I’m in no hurry to do everything and I do not care to miss full of stuff. I just want to have a good time.
What do you like most about traveling?
It’s a mix of some things I would say. When traveling, we meet people and discover things at an incredible speed compared to our sedentary lifestyle. And it brings a lot of memories compared to a year of work. Traveling is remembered every day just because the landscape is different. Worse, the planet Earth is incredible, there are so many different cultures. If not, it’s the classics: heat and discovery.
Which country did you do the most?
Thailand. She has several criteria that I like: People, who are just too kind. It’s the land of smiles, no conflict. Also, the food is amazing, we often eat different things everywhere we go. Then the temperature is 34 ° Celsius all year round. It’s incredible.
What are your next planned trips?
I would like to go to Africa. I’m curious about Ethiopia because we all come from there “Homo-sapiens”. Also, Egypt is the cradle of civilization. And then also Eastern Europe like Bulgaria, Croatia and all that is Balkan area. And finally, I’d like to go back to Thailand, go to Bangkok.
Are you more “road trip” or organized trip?
Road trip. I often take my ticket “go” and book my first hotel out of the airport. And then I let myself be carried by the wind. I do not plan my trip like that if I like a city I stay longer. And if I have unexpected with the work I can go back earlier. I often book a return flight from where I am to Montreal.
Where did you get the idea for the “GAB Café” project? and the “House ATM”?
It was precisely when traveling. This way of life that I love I wanted to reproduce in Montreal.
While traveling, I immediately triumphed on youth hostels. The meetings of fire that were made there, it was just magic. Jaze in all the languages around the table comparing our strange customs before leaving to discover the country together. In short, it was life what.
After, I came back in my daily life here, worse, although I liked my life here, with my gang worse, all the meetings I missed. I said to myself: well, my personal goal is going to be working from a computer and an internet connection, it’s going to be the best way to live while traveling. Cool setup, I traveled like a good working hard on a package of projects as programmer and sys admin.
But, on a trip, I would have liked to be with my gang. And when I came back, I missed the meetings. There was not a place that would do both, live here by systematically meeting new world.
Well … you know my passion for starting new projects, there was something missing in my life, and potentially, others who are in the same situation as me. The concept was very simple: live here, like in a hostel, city style room, and meet people, become friends, drink beer and be happy. Not worse hen?
So it’s really a good environment between youth hostels that are too “party” and hotels that are too “serious” and “flat”.
What were the difficulties encountered during the launch of the company?
Oh my God. Let’s talk about coffee, the difficulties were incredible. Already furniture that costs a fortune when you want a “commercial” quality. That’s 6 times the price of a “residential” furniture.
Then the customer who was hard to find the first months. At first it was empty we were 3 or 4. It was hard to have enough money to stay alive. We were lucky to have the local newspapers that advertised us for free and the customer problem solved itself. But it took us 2 years.
And finally, the banks who did not want to finance us. When I went to explain my project to the bank; that I was going to move the cafe on the first floor of a commercial triplex and make an inn of happiness upstairs, I could see their little smirk by saying good-luck-but-the-kid-but-forgetful -It-you-on. Pfff, I’ll go see another bank … refusal … another … refusal … another … refusal.
Ok, no commercial triplex in this case, I will buy a house elsewhere than above the coffee and prove to you that it works, after, I will be able to ask you the money for my commercial triplex. Refusal refusal … … refusal. (One day will have to repair our national coop aka Desjardins-common-fund-of-investment-one-invested-all-in-the-United-States-and-nothing-in-our-entrepreneurs, but that is a subject for another time.) Refusal … refusal. 16 refusals … 16 !!!
But on my 17th attempt … miracle! A bank is ready to lend me a bridge loan (one year loan only) with a package of conditions and a rate not very advantageous, but it was better than a “no”. Suddenly, all the conditions fulfilled, I had a year to prove that it was going to work. Bing bang, notary, sunglasses, painting, bed, pictures, learning, all kinds of words of the same.
I had difficulties with the coffee project but I had fewer problems with the house.
And here it’s been a year. And it works there.
If you could have done things differently, what would you have changed?
I would start the project of the house before launching the coffee, because it is simpler to manage and it gets a customer more easily. The customers of the house bring customers to coffee, which is not true in the opposite case.
What do you like most about this job?
I like creating new projects. Challenge myself and everything.
With whom did you start this project?
Six years ago, I was chatting with graphic designers colleagues who were being interviewed.
“[…] And then said, Do you want what you want? … or do you want something beautiful ?!
“Hahaha.He must engage!
I was just beginning to experience Montreal-to-30-year-old life, as he took on the mission of being my coach.
He taught me everything; from latte to IPA.
We had a lot of fun and it became a boyfriend.
But there … there … we did something so stupid that it turned out beautiful: we decided to leave a coffee to work. (Not just stupid in the sense of “eille, are you crazy enough like that?” … no, stupid in the sense of “Do not do that, Seriously.”)
There we learned everything; from the commercial space on St-Laurent to Revenu Québec.
We had a lot of fun … and it became a brother!
His bruised arms give us the torch, it’s up to us to carry it high.
But after two years, my boyfriend realized that he had lost too much money and that he wanted to refocus on graphics, his field. Faque, I continued my projects alone.
What are your plans for the future ?
Today the GAB house is several blocks from the cafe, I would like to bring the two together in one unit. Near St. Laurent. Worse, I would also like to reproduce this concept in many other places in Montreal and elsewhere.