Montréal is a city of designers: An interview with Graphic Designer Mélanie Ouellette
Mélanie Ouellette, Graphic Designer
Co-founder, Baltic Club
— First in a 10-portrait series
In December 2013, the owner of the Montréal café La Petite Adresse agreed to exhibit the creations of Mélanie Ouellette, a graduate in graphic design from Collège Salette. This debut public exposition of her works truly planted the first seed of the idea for founding Baltic Club.
One year later, Mélanie Ouellette and her partner Brice Salmon launched Baltic Club, an online stationery boutique.
“We started out really small. I designed products in one room in our apartment while Brice handled business development.”
Today, CODE SOUVENIR MONTRÉAL, Design Montréal’s catalogue of gift items, features Baltic Club notebooks, greeting cards, calendars, and posters. A hundred resellers across Canada and the United States also carry Baltic Club products. In addition, the artisanal objects created by the Montréal-based business have caught the eye of Paper Source, a well-known American chain.
The Baltic Club IRL (in Real Life)
In May 2017, Baltic Club opened a boutique-studio in the Mile End neighbourhood.
“We love being in direct contact with our clients in our workshop where a small five-person team produces nearly 90% of Baltic Club’s products.”
Lots of Projects in Mind
Mélanie Ouellette is working on a new stationery collection that will be launched this fall.
“This collection will include posters inspired by the natural sciences, but I can’t tell you more than that! I’m also producing a line of high-end notebooks.”
In the next few weeks, the Baltic Club team will be gearing up for the big Christmas fairs, like Toronto’s One of a Kind and Montréal’s Salon des métiers d’arts.
“Sales at events like these account for roughly 25% of our revenues.”
The couple has big plans and, for the next five years, growing the Baltic Club is the microenterprise’s core challenge.
“We plan to open a boutique in Toronto and, eventually, another in Brooklyn, NY.”
“I am very intuitive in my work. I draw inspiration from my intuition, which allows me to innovate and be creative. One of the first objects I created for Baltic Club was a garland illustrated by sloths. At the time, this decorative accessory was not very fashionable, but today it’s a decorating staple.”
Small moments of everyday life also feed the designer’s creativity.
“Seeing a dog sporting a sweater in the street can prompt me to create a greeting card featuring his image. The stories of an old salt in Tadoussac inspired me to create a poster featuring whales. Whatever I draw, my primary mission is to convey happiness. To make you smile; it’s as simple as that.”
The name Baltic Club also conjures travel. Although, one day, the couple dreams of travelling and doing business with California’s dynamic design community, an environment they find both compelling and stimulating, Mélanie Ouellette really loves Montréal, a city that offers cultural diversity, bilingualism, and unique urban spaces.
“The Jardins Gamelin and the Village au pied du courant are amazing places to experience the city and relax. These attractions are as enjoyable for Montréalers as they are for tourists.”
5752, Saint Lawrence Boulevard
Montréal (Québec) H2T 1S8
Tél. : 514 550-2167
Discover all the designers in the Design Montréal Directory who, like Mélanie Ouellette, are a source of pride and ambassadors for Montréal, a UNESCO design city.
Baltic Club is featured in the CODE SOUVENIR MONTRÉAL, Design Montréal’s gift catalogue. View the 200 products created by 59 designers from Montréal, then visit the store! The products are available from designers and editors, or promoted by the growing network of stores displaying the official CODE SOUVENIR MONTRÉAL brand. To find stores, consult the Design Montréal Map.