Exploring Enterprise is a series featuring new local businesses in the Southwest. Here we interview Mathieu Forte, founder of Chez-Vous Fashion Exchange.
1. What is Chez-Vous?
Chez-Vous is gently used second hand clothing store. It’s for men and women, but the women’s section is a bit bigger, as they tend to be. It’s located at 515 Atwater, on the corner of Notre-Dame, one block away from Lionel Groulx metro and the Atwater Market.
The concept is to reuse and recycle clothing. It’s buy/trade/sell. So there’s an incentive to bring your clothes here. You’re not just ‘getting rid’ of stuff or donating it to a place that knows nothing about clothing or fashion. You’ll know that your clothes will have a second home here. That also makes us pretty picky about the pieces we take. Everything is high quality. It’s rare that you’ll find something from H&M, although sometimes they make quality pieces.
2. Why did you start Chez-Vous?
I started Chez-Vous for many reasons. I knew I was the entrepreneur type and I had been looking for an idea that serves a need, contributes to the community and reduces waste. I found what I was looking for in New York last year, which is the buy/trade/sell concept for clothing. It was exactly what I was looking for. Not for business initially, but for myself. I used to skateboard – a lot – and had a couple of sponsors, so I had a tun of great clothes I didn’t wear. In fact most of the men’s section initially was from my wardrobe, and it’s almost all gone now.
Everything about this business made sense to me. So I did my research, met with a coach and things lined up seamlessly, so I said “screw it – let’s do it”. I never thought I’d open a clothing store, but thing’s just worked out that way. If I didn’t start this business I’d be working for someone else, earning a lot more for a cause I probably didn’t care for. I think for more than anything I started this for the experience. 2 months in and what I’ve learned so far has been priceless. I knew that coming in.
3. How is Chez-Vous of value to the people of the southwest?
The south west is a diverse area. There’s still a ‘poorer’ population, but there are also wealthier districts – and everything in between. McGill has an entire residency a few blocks away and St-Henri is filled with students.
That being said Chez-Vous’ priority is to reuse and recycle clothing. The business’s bloodstream is providing affordable and high quality clothing. It’s a fashion exchange. We get clothes from all types of people and people get to make a couple of bucks from their clothes, rather than donating them. So everybody wins.
Address: 515 Atwater, on the corner of Notre-Dame
Tuesday-Friday: 11-6; Saturday: 11-5; Sunday+Monday: Closed
Check out their Facebook page to keep up to date on new merch, sales and upcoming events.
Exploring Enterprise is a series featuring new local businesses in the Southwest. If you’ve recently opened a business in the Southwest or know someone who has, email us at email@example.com for a feature.