Ever since she was little, Florence Dostie-Ménard has been immersed in the outdoors. She was only eight years old when she experienced the first two loves of her life: cross-country skiing and mountain biking, two sports that she ultimately participated in at both the provincial and national levels. Hitting the slopes and trails – in winter and in summer – has led Florence to become the woman she is today: effervescent, creative, resilient and enterprising.
Over the years, Florence discovered a keen interest in graphic design, illustration and photography, and a few chance encounters led to her landing a place on the extended Parmi team. An outstanding graphic designer and seasoned athlete, she beautifully combines her artistic flair with her love of sports.
Get to know the woman who perfectly embodies Parmi’s values.
Florence, can you first tell us about your career as a designer?
I started working as a freelance graphic designer while studying in Sherbrooke. Before long, I had several great business opportunities that touched on another of my passions: the outdoors. As I was very involved in the world of cycling, I crossed paths with Véronik and Michèle Bastien when they were running PEPPERMINT Cycling Co. I did a few jobs for them, and then in 2019 my sister Sarah and I founded Flaz, our own graphic design studio. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but I didn’t think there’d come a day when I’d be able to combine it with my creative side and my affection for the outdoors.
Over the course of the past four years, we’ve partnered with companies from near and far that have inspiring goals, much like Parmi. It turned out that the collaboration between the brand, the Bastien sisters and our studio happened quite naturally.
What is your vision for Parmi?
Parmi is a breath of fresh air in the outdoor industry, with an innovative and inspiring approach. Its core values of sustainability, community and movement deeply resonate with me, and from a personal point of view, I really appreciate the idea of simplifying my wardrobe, of having fewer clothes, but gaining in quality and versatility.
From a design perspective, I want to support that approach and those values by being as true as possible to the brand’s vision and visual identity. Parmi’s simplicity resides in its attention to detail and that's what I seek to provide: concepts that are also created with the utmost attention to detail.
Even with a flourishing career, you’ve always been able to maintain an active lifestyle. What is the benefit in that for you?
It is essential to have a work / life balance: In my opinion, there is no adage more accurate than “A healthy body is a healthy mind.” I’ll often have intense days at work and taking the time to go cycling, even when perhaps the motivation to do so isn’t there, lets me refocus every time.
Moreover, I often think about creative projects or concepts while cycling. In fact, I feel that exercising stimulates my brain in a unique way, opening the door to ideas that I wouldn't have thought of at the office. I even thought of some of these answers while riding.
Florence's favourite trails
If you are out conquering the Outaouais, there’s a good chance you’ll bump into Florence. Our graphic designer frequently mountain bikes or runs in Gatineau Park and Camp Fortune. She also enjoys some of Wakefield’s and Petite-Nation’s roads, which are perfect for gravel riding!
Do you think your passions for the outdoors and design feed off one another?
Oh, absolutely! I would even go so far as to say they are intertwined. In fact, cycling led me to discovering graphic design. An instructor at our family’s bike camp that I attended when I was young had a graphic design company and she was the one who planted the idea of my getting into the field! She took me under her wing and inspired me so much that I followed in her footsteps and enrolled in graphic design at school. That’s something that might never have happened without her… and without cycling!
Nature also provides a lot of inspiration for me. Being in the trails or discovering magnificent landscapes, whether on my bike or when I’m running, fuels my creativity.
We understand that cycling plays a significant role in your life. You are very involved in the Outaouais cycling community. Why is this important to you?
I have coached and managed at my father's bike camp for several years, and I also give private and group mountain biking lessons for people of all ages and all skill sets. It is a joy for me to meet other cyclists, to share my passion, and teach techniques. Mountain biking has its share of challenges, but once you get the hang of it, the sense of satisfaction is incredible. By simplifying their experience and providing them with the ideal context to thrive in the outdoors, I want to help the next generation of cyclists to know that amazing feeling!
What projects are you dreaming about lately?
Flaz takes up most of my time, and our clients' projects always provide great inspiration! My sister and I are also exploring different business development opportunities for the studio and I have a few personal creative ideas that I am hoping to soon bring to fruition.
I would love exploring the European or Scandinavian outdoors in the next few years. Perhaps my most surprising dream is to open an all-natural hair care salon one day!
1. For cycling: All Trail Bib
This is the most comfortable bib I’ve ever worn! It really feels like a second skin. The side pockets are extremely practical for gravel biking, and you can wear a T-shirt rather than a jersey. Without it, where would I put my keys and cell phone?
2. For an active lifestyle: Free Range Merino T-shirt
Its fabric is like no other and its versatility is incredibly practical. I’m as likely to wear it for a hike in the Gaspésie mountains as I would for a day discovering the small shops on the Magdalen Islands or when meeting customers.
3. For spending the day in town: Sustainable denim jacket
It's stylish, unique and lightweight, which is really a plus when it comes to a denim jacket. Bonus: It’s made from an eco-friendly fabric!
Cover image from @jamieblades.