How long have you been a member of the cooperative?
To start with, I entered 130 rue St. Paul on a snowy day in November 1978, asking if I could sell my crafts. This address was the first location of L'empreinte. The answer was positive on the condition that I join the Coop, so I did. 42 years later, I'm still a member of this very interesting place.
How would you describe your work?
At the moment, we are three persons in the studio making every year a ladies prêt-à-porter collection for the fall and winter seasons, and some pieces of jewelry and accessories such as hats and scarves. In the last 42 years, we did change more than once the items of what we do.
As a craftsman, how does it benefit you to be part of the cooperative?
Immigration is, for most of us the newcomers, quite a lonely experience. I moved to Montreal from London U.K. Even if I am of Polish origins and I was accustomed to polish winter, I had difficulties adapting to Montreal winter with these extended snowfalls, very cold temperature periods, and very short springs. L'empreinte was like a new family, with a lot of friends that give me advice and provide help when needed. It is much easier now with skype, the internet, and inexpensive flights to any place in the world. But the basic value of belonging to a great group of people is still as important as ever. However, it is still unfortunate that the spring season is so short in Montreal.
Do you have a memory or a memorable moment related to the cooperative that you would like to share with us in this page?
Now for the fanny memories, one day I was working with Arnoud, and we were told that a customer from Los Angeles had to show up to complete a purchase of over $5000 of goods. This guy who was a bit odd came in and bought some more. The final purchase went up to $7000. We packed all the goods in two big carton boxes, and went to his hotel by foot, two streets down from L'empreinte. When we arrived, what we saw was a bit of a shock in that the guy shows us a Mini-Cooper which was already fully packed. On top of all what we had in the boxes, was the big Emmanuel's cascade. The guy had no problem with that. He just opened the rooftop in his car, put a laptop on his lap, and drove away to Quebec City. There was no rain in the forecast. We told him that in any case, he could rent a small truck if needed.