Ten years ago, pink boots and manicured construction gloves appeared on the shelves. Behind the products were Marie-Lise Pilote and her desire to offer women-friendly construction clothing, but also to legitimize their place in non-traditional environments.
P ilote and Girls celebrates a decade of existence. To mark the anniversary, Marie-Lise Pilote is embarking on a tour of Quebec, which will begin at home in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.
“I wanted to do something for the 10 years of the brand and I wanted it to be related to the mission of the collection, explains Marie-Lise Pilote, during a telephone interview. At the time, I had written down the reasons why I wanted to get into Driver and Girls. I wanted to legitimize the place of women in non-traditional settings. For 10 years, it goes without saying that I go to meet the customers, the women who make the brand evolve, says the one who has evolved in the world of humor. All my life, I did a non-traditional job. In humor, when I started, there were no other women. ”
Ten years ago, the one that animated Ma Maison Rona – a show that allowed two families to renovate a house that would become theirs – was offered a pair of pink boots by Claude and Philippe Bernadet, Paragone. “I thought it was a guy’s boots disguised as a girl’s boots. They were just pink. ”
Some time later, the facilitator offered them to launch a whole collection of clothes really adapted to women. “Before Driver and Girls, there was nothing for women. It was a unique niche. Nobody was exploiting that. We are leaders in America. A lot of pink stuff came out later, but we are the first ones. In 10 years, women have taken ownership of the brand. They give us suggestions, pass on their needs. We could not dream of better. They want to see the brand evolve according to their needs. ”
Today, the brand has more than 80 different items available in several colors and sizes.
“We have a nice range of clothes. Our goal has always been to serve women who do non-traditional trades and those who tinker, garden, do the outdoors. I thought that it answered my own need and that I was a woman like the others. Initially, when I animated My Rona House, even my gloves and boots were for men. ”
800 points of sale
Marie-Lise Pilote and her partners wanted to offer comfortable, safe, colorful and tailored clothing for women. Each article also carries a touch of humor on its label.
The items are created in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, in the Quebec City area. A warehouse has been built specifically for the Pilote et Filles range, which employs 18 people. The products are available in 800 points of sale in Quebec and Canada. They are also sold in the United States and Europe via the web shop. The brand also has a point of sale in Europe.
“We dressed 550,000 women. It’s still a lot. There is not a week that passes without me receiving messages from women who thank us for thinking about them. ”
For Marie-Lise Pilote, it was therefore natural to meet these women as part of the 10th anniversary.
The Women in Action Tour, supported by the Quebec Construction Commission, will take off on April 24 at LCR Vêtements et Chaussures de Chicoutimi. The next day, she will stop at Laflamme JE News from Alma.