Interview | Stéphanie Emond - Ambassador Nathon Kong

It is an honour to have Stéphanie Emond as an ambassador for Nathon Kong silk face masks. She is a significant figure in Montreal and Québec and an accomplished woman internationally. We had the pleasure of speaking with Stéphanie about what inspires her work and her advise for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Q: You are a recognized entrepreneur in Quebec and very invested in philanthropy. You do us the honour and the pleasure of becoming an ambassador for our silk masks. 

Your aspiration has always been to bring together hospitality, health and architecture at the heart of every project. You were living in Spain when the first idea of ​​a spa came to you on the Catalan coast but it was during a stay in Quebec that you discover the perfect natural setting with your father. You left Spain to carry out this project which became the Balnéa brand, recognized internationally. You then developed several concepts, including the Bota Bota spa, which has become a staple of Montreal culture, the LUMANI restaurant, as well as the gastronomic event L'Été des Chefs

Bota Bota Spa in Montréal Québec | Stephanie Emond | Nathon Kong

Photo Credit: botabota.ca

More recently you have created KABÃL Design and Emondo Collective, which allow you to devote yourself a little more to design, architecture, the environment, and art by carrying out projects for large companies, restaurants, spas, hotels, and individuals. You were one of the five finalists for the 2018 Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year award organized by Veuve Clicquot, your journey is very inspiring and well know. 

Well-being, the environment, design and art have always been at the heart of your projects, with Kabal Design and Emondo Collectif, and your latest business creations. What are your goals and your new aspirations for after ?

S: Always with the same values, the same love for well-being, health, nature, design. Doing what is true to myself, projects that fascinate me, both here in Quebec and in Europe. At the moment I am collaborating on different projects with teams, in Montreal, but also in Switzerland and France. I am also a partner in a new technology company, which is very new for me, but which brings together my values.

Specific objectives this year? I always ask myself the same question on January 1st and I never find a specific answer. There are people who trace a very specific life course with defined stages. For me, my instinctive side serves me quite well. I let myself be carried away by projects that speak to me, meetings that I make. I deeply believe in the synchronism of life: strategic meetings, ideal timing and a mission aligned with our values ​​are the basis of a successful project. You also have to accept that things can evolve and that you have to change your strategy, but the main thing is to have fun and be in agreement with your values. I think this is a great example to show my children.

Sometimes it is unexpected encounters that lead me to a new project, like my last project in Switzerland, following a somewhat fortuitous meeting, which brought me there.

I trust my lucky star and accept these nods from fate with passion.

Q: What are the personal and professional values ​​that have led you to such a journey and which still accompany you?

S: Well, it is a love for health, well-being, nature, design, architecture, art as well as for the pleasure of hosting. It makes a lot of sense for me to create beautiful places where people feel good physically and emotionally.

Moreover, BALNEA, the first spa that I created fifteen years ago, advertised as a motto: "When relaxation becomes a form of art". It's a kind of lifestyle, my love for beauty that does good, in a setting that inspires. All of my subsequent projects have respected this way of life, even if each is quite different.

Silk Face Mask Made in Montreal | Stéphanie Emond | Nathon Kong

Q: The COVID-19 pandemic has put a brake on the global economy and will have a lasting impact in your sector, tourism - the art of living. How do you see the future from an entrepreneurial point of view? Any advice for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow?

S: It's hard to say how much these sectors will be affected in the long term. Already, all the practices have had to be completely reflected on, reviewed and adapted and we will see over the next year what kind of new balance we will find. I deeply believe that this mandatory time out makes us aware of the fragility of the balance, not only that of the planet, but also ours, as an individual, as a family, as a community. May these moments of great upheaval bring us back to the essential and to the elimination of the superfluous. The impact is going to be extremely difficult for some industries, but new economies and more responsible ways of doing things will emerge.

I believe that people will consume less, but better and that this will have a positive impact on the choices of companies, in the choice of more local and more ecological supplies, for example.

Certainly, I believe that in the long term this transformation will have positive impacts on the health of the planet. The collective realization that all our choices make a difference at the end of a day, a week, a life. The power that we all have as consumers is a great weapon that we must use conscientiously.

There is a return to nature, to well-being, to health. We better understand the importance of being happy in our work and life environment, both in our head and in our body. This crisis will at least have the merit of making humans more responsible and sensitive. Our carbon footprint will certainly be smaller with a large reduction in travel for a few years. As a frequent traveler, this is of course an adaptation, but it makes me realize how happiness is not always far away.

Q: With all the changes to come, do you have any advice for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow?

S: I believe that the posterity of companies will go through more responsible choices, perhaps less profitable at the time, but which, in the long term, will be more so. Promise and offer products, services, an approach with a real and lasting benefit for not only the user, but his community, his environment.

For example, I believe that the fashion industry will transform, the countless collections of new seasonal trends will be replaced to offer more timeless fashion, with higher quality products that can pass through the years gracefully. The working conditions of the workforce are also expected to improve.

Washable Face Mask in silk and Cotton (Pink) with pocket filter | Nathon Kong

Q: You are in great demand and it is a great honour for us to have you as an Ambassador, what were your motivations for representing our masks?

S: How can anyone not to fall under the spell of Nathon Kong at the first second? Having traveled a lot too, I love its history, its origins, its openness to the world. He did not follow the path that had been marked out for him, he explored and followed his passions. He sometimes consults me on business decisions and his different way of being at the same time an entrepreneur, an artist, a patron, touches me a lot. It is therefore a real pleasure to be an Ambassador for the magnificent silk masks.

Q: What link and impact has art had in your personal and professional life?

S: I lived in Spain for four years and I lived next to the museum of Picasso. I went there every week and in fact, the city is flooded with art: Picasso, Dali, Gaudi, Miro ... Dali's house in Cadaquès is a place that stays with me and inspires me, a fantastic universe where we mix art, madness, and romanticism! Also, music, dance, visual art, design, architecture, are part of my life every day, it makes life more beautiful and colorful.

Artist Salvador Dali's House in Cadaqués | Stéphanie Emond | Nathon Kong

Photo Credit: gourmandbreaks.com

I am also very proud to be a member of the organizing committee for the Cercle des Anges at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, it became a second home for me and indeed where Nathon and I met!

Thank you Stéphanie for this interview and the advises for the future entrepreneurs, it was an honor for us.

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