23 Oct Temiscom : The Lifebelt You Can’t Pursue Without!
ENTREPRENEURSHIP STORIES BY SUZIE BEAUDOIN
Temiscom… sounds like Témiscamingue, doesn’t it? … Or rather like Témiscouata? Yes! That’s it! Témiscouata!
The reason being that its founder originates from that little beautiful region. She was born in Notre-Dame-du-Lac, to be more exact, a small town that once barely hosted 3000 people. And she is so proud of her roots and believes so much in the positive influence of remote regions, that she named her company TEMISCOM.
Let me tell you her story…
Born and raised in a French-speaking Quebec “pure laine” environment, Cindy was exposed to three things in large doses when she was young: French, creativity, and “we’ve got you covered”!
If you wonder, where “we’ve got you covered” comes from, well it comes in part from the fact that her mother was raised in a very large family of 19 children (yes, yes you read that right!), and that between her cousins who are all very tight-knit and with whom she spent a lot of time with, her immediate family circle numbers well over 100 people… And because Cindy, is herself, the eldest of a family of 5 girls. She was “covered” and she covered alright!
In addition, as if I had not yet convinced you of the deep root of this statement, know that her mother ran a daycare at home and that her father is a contractor. The values of well-being, community, great working relationships, sharing and simplicity have therefore taken root from the get-go. With all this, easy to figure out where her legendary family spirit comes!
At this point of my story, you are surely saying to yourself “what an angel, what sweetness this child!” … Um… yes and no. Little Cindy carried her very own self in her very own way! She didn’t often do much like the others. For example, while other were looking into conventional careers, Cindy dreamed of being a stunt performer! Yep! But since at that time, the only school specializing in this kind of craft was in the United States, for a girl who didn’t speak a word of English, as she would say, that dream went “Fall Ball!”
So she switched to the idea of becoming an actress… but that too, she quickly had to give it up. Why? Because being from a small town, she had not seen many classical plays and therefore her trials at the two different schools where she auditioned were not conclusive enough …
The Leap of Faith!
It was at 17 that she decided to make the leap to the big city.
While the majority of her friends naturally headed to the regional Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup, Cindy, who does nothing like the others, decided to leave for Montreal to begin studies in Fashion Design, another dream that she cherished.
Too excited and anxious to work in the field of her dreams, she unsurprisingly consumed her 3 years DEC curriculum in only 24 months – sooooo her! She was just too anxious to finally make her marks, show the world what she was capable of.
We are now in 1999. I don’t know if you remember the fashion back in the 90s, but it was very “grunge”.
For those who don’t remember, it was the washed-out look that reigned alongside with the “Doc Martens” and combat boots, chunky sneakers with big soles and lots of “slack” and flannel. Nothing wrong with that, right? Except that our Cindy had a pronounced weakness for the 50s and 60s, with neatly pressed clothes and well-defined cuts… those years when, as she likes to say, “men opened doors for you… She therefore began in this world of fashion with a deficit of 1000… even the lady responsible for the student placements had clearly made her understand that she was not “fashion enough” to make it!
It’s not that Cindy wasn’t good, on the contrary… maybe she was simply just ahead of her time.
So, what they ended up finding her was a position as a Fashion Coordinator, whose main responsibilities included the assembly of technical data sheets and diverse quality control responsibilities.
“I was responsible for controlling the quality of ski clothing when what I really wanted to do was be a Fashion Designer”! », she tells me with exasperation. “I was bounded by being too good at what I hated to do. At that time, I told myself that I would never be a Fashion Designer because I’ve let others decide my fate for me, choose for me “.
… and at the same time, although it now seemed impossible to her, she had never really let go of her dream of working in the fashion design world. She didn’t know how she was going to do it, but she knew she was never going to let others decide for her ever again! After a few years, she finally resigned to give it a try somewhere else as a Fashion Designer.
What Cindy wants, Cindy gets. She quickly found a position as a designer of ski clothing for men and boys, a position where she would be able to put all her creativity to work and demonstrate her know-how. What she did not expect was that the working atmosphere would be this toxic. And so after just 6 months in, that trial ended.
Resentful, Cindy returned to her previous job as Quality Controller… for a few more years… until the company declared bankruptcy, leaving her without a job, while she was expecting her first child.
We are now in 2007, and that year marks a new chapter.
Unemployed and a single mother of a beautiful 8-month-old baby boy, she knows its time for her to do things differently and that includes respecting her visceral need to create.
After more than 10 years of cumulative experience in manufacturing and distribution on the customer side, Cindy really felt that it was time for her to craft her own future, choose and focus on a career she would do for the rest of her life, one that would enable her to care for herself and her son following her recent separation. Its in this mindset that she decided to enroll in a Graphic Design program at the Collège Salette.
At the end of her courses, she worked for 2 years in an agency before pursuing on her own, as a self-employed Graphic Designer, offering her skills to whoever wanted her services. This was it. She did not have a Plan B. She was dedicated to make this work.
“Even though I was all alone in my basement, to attract high value design contracts, I decided to act “as if”, using the word “WE” instead of “I” as if I was “big’. I ended up believing it, and so did they, and it became more and more true. ”
The proof that her strategy worked? She landed a great graphic design contract with Station Mont Tremblant! She was so good, by the way, that her then only client quickly started recommending her to others.
Great news right? Yes, of course, but it once again pushed her out of her comfort zone, moving her very quickly towards the next steps she was more or less ready for, because “Cindy all alone in her basement, that doesn’t sound too serious!” she tells me, laughing.
Two weeks later, TEMISCOM was born, duly incorporated, with a storefront premise. A decision that turned out to be the right one, because that year, she flat-out doubled her revenues!
Cindy had finally found her way! feeling even more in her place, to get rid of the imposter syndrome she often felt in front of her clients, the famous “I’m afraid of not being up to the task”, she engaged in evening classes in Relationship Selling and in Management, at the HEC, for two years, while continuing to work full time during the day.
Completely aligned with her deep values of well-being and community, TEMISCOM proudly inaugurated the opening of a new office in Bas-Saint-Laurent, in Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac (NDDL), Cindy’s native region, in December of 2018,
With the opening of the new premises, Cindy hopes that major marketing and graphic design contracts will be able to remain in the region and thus better meet the expectations of her local customers.
A Crazy World!
Like many, many businesses in Quebec, Cindy’s was born quite opportunistically, on a fluke, on an “opportunity”. You have a need, I am here. We wave on the wave, by intuition or not, from mandate to mandate …
For Cindy, at that time, the bulk of her mandates came from a single source, with seasonal activities. This meant that her services were needed sometimes for yesterday, sometimes not at all. That was just her reality.
It’s a fact, the world of graphics and communication can be an hectic one, mainly due to the fast pace imposed by customer demands, and the high competition that exists in this area. It’s a crazy world, it’s a performance world, both on the client side and on the agency side.
It is also known in the business, that all the responsibility often rests on a single point of contact at the client’s end. This person is responsible for everything. “It’s a lot, a lot of pressure to have gone through it myself. Back then, I often wished I had someone to rely on, to take some of that pressure off me. Even me in my basement for my own projects, when I had my own “peaks”, I wish someone was there to support me! … Today, I want to be that person for them. I want them to receive a “High Five” from their boss! ”
Be True to Yourself!
What the industry generally lacked was getting increasingly clear to Cindy: the human side!
The traditional client-agency relationship did not quite correspond to the representations she had envision to carry her own values of well-being, community, working relationships, sharing and simplicity.
So, she decided to go with her heart, to be bold and offer her services differently.
She completely changed her internal processes so that the human would be at the center of the entire production cycle. Her approach is quite simple in the end when you think of it: she personally matches the personalities and aptitudes of each in each of the projects!
“On my team side, I individually ask them what they like doing and what they like less, and from there I match the projects!” she said with a big smile. “The results is that my employees love what they do and when they have fun at what they do, my clients are happy because they obtain in return a project that is top quality! “.
She continues, “On my client side, I set up hour banks, and I ask them the same questions. I then take all the overflow: what they like less to do, what they have less time to do, or what they don’t have the skills to do. Work should never be complicated, hence the amalgamation of complementary follow-ups to give them the choice to keep only the parts of the work that they like and feel efficient in, and this, whether we are talking about the client or my employees ”.
The result? Real human bonds of mutual aid and deep trust. All the stress of performance that we feel when we are more or less comfortable in something we have to do falls, and work gets done more quickly, on both sides, simply because you are always in your field of excellence.
I admit that I am personally in a good position (and perhaps a little bias) to acknowledge the exceptional customer experience TEMISCOM provides, having lived it myself, not as a Coach, but as a client. Not only was the result of the mandate far beyond my expectations, but it was also delivered extremely fast. They are able to do this because they take the time and have the ability to capture who you are, to understand your vision and to hear what you don’t necessarily say – a rare toolset!
Loyalty x 1000
By putting its client and the members of its team at the center of its activities, TEMISCOM has not only been able to attract a large number of new clients, but they still work with these individuals years later, even though they have changed companies along the way.
“What we’re very proud of” Cindy tells me, “is that we don’t just retain companies, we retain people. They bring us with them in their luggage! ”
TEMISCOM has won its bet to value long lasting human relationships above all. A process that was once again confirmed during the first wave of COVID-19 as Cindy was deeply moved by just how much her employees and customers were attached to the company.
Her mission, vision and values are understood and lived by, in a completely natural way.
“I wanted to bond with people, become their ultimate fan and that’s what happened. I really feel lucky and privileged that this is felt on both sides.” she confines.
From Vision to Reality
10 years later, TEMISCOM is a one-of-a-kind graphic and relational communication agency that offers a wide range of services that include graphics, marketing, turnkey Web sites and print projects that are as diverse as one’s imagination can be!
TEMISCOM now has 5 full-time employees and two locations, which includes new premises in Montreal West Island.
With clients like Exo, Lussier Dale Parizeau, Station Mont-Tremblant and MEGA Brands, to name a few, Cindy no longer sees herself as a small agency, but rather a big-hearted agency that has carved out a place in the heart of service companies and manufacturers/distributers of products of all kinds.
The fact that her personal belief that a company can be fundamentally human and make everyone grow, is understood, conveyed by all, and in addition, that we come and look for them for that particular reason, makes her extremely happy.
… And speaking of happiness, “The little girl from Témiscouata who should not stand out” as Cindy likes to say, is now absolutely standing out and on her “X”!
Clients come to TEMISCOM to be our official strategic ally, to act as the “watchdog of our brand”, and to fill the punctual needs, rushes, overflows, lack of know-how or a temporary empty chair.
TEMISCOM has become their lifebelt, the graphic and relationship communication agency they can blindly count on because they are, in some ways, part of their team!
As for Cindy, she was able to create a collaborative environment, both as the founding President of TEMISCOM, and as the regional President of RFAQ of Montreal-west (Réseau des femmes d’affaires du Québec), to only name these two leadership roles she currently holds. And On the more personal side, she enjoys happiness with her spouse, their two children and their dog Fougasse.
The little girl who had difficulty finding her way, living her dream, ended up creating one in her image, in accordance with her values. I like to say, that the one who has “branding” as one of her expertise, has finally found HERS… and we buy it… 1000 times!
Why Join TEC Canada ?
“You know, in challenging times, or even in all the times you qualify as normal when you’re in charge of your business, you doubt a lot. You constantly question yourself. As if this was not enough, I always have a lot of projects in mind. I’m a machine of creativity, so it’s not easy to make the right choices, to sort it all out. I need to validate with someone, and I need to be challenged on my thoughts and ideas”.
She continues, “The problem is, I’m kind of allergic to coaches! That’s why I joined the TEC group. It’s not the same and it helps me make the right decisions and do what I say I’m going to do, with methods and tools that resemble me, that go with my values, and, at the same time respect the good business practices. ”
… one thing is certain, it’s that Cindy, we love her, and are very happy to have her with us to co-propel us.
Thanks, Cindy, for being who you are! #urock
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