I had never met Byron & Dexter before, although I’ve been admiringly following their rise to fame alike many other proud Montrealers. As co-founders of WANT Les Essentiels and Fast Company’s 100 most creative people on earth, they do carry a hefty resume. Tonight, they candidly opened up about their experience building up WANT from the ground up and their new not-yet-revealed project, as part of a very intimate ALCOVE session in Old Montreal.
Having just sold WANT in fall 2017, saying now is a pivotal moment for the two twin brothers would be an understatement. For the first time in nearly 20 years, they have time to breathe, reflect and look ahead at what they want to do next.
From “How far can we take this?” to “There is more to this story,” the Jamaican-Canadian brothers needed to separate themselves from WANT to see the next steps.
“We never took the time, we just kept on creating and building. It got to a point where we asked ourselves where we really want to go with the stories we want to tell and who do we want to share these stories with?”
This desire to push things further combined with a certain discomfort to where a fashion industry that they love was going, led the two trendsetters to leave their business while at the top of their game.
Now at 46 years old, this new beginning can be both fearful and exciting for the brothers but it’s safe to say the latter definitely wins.
"We’re always on the hunt for the fresh, the new."
Paraphrasing the entrepreneurs, their reflexion sounded a bit like this:
We always had a tendency to know what was about to come. At first, it was about fashion that could be more timeless or genderless. Now, the conversation needs to move from categories & boxes to everyone, every day, everywhere. At the end of the day, if it doesn’t have a purpose, it’s disposable.
Their “Always consistent, always essentials” mindset is not one to go away as it still guides their intuition today - as it has for the past two decades.
Don’t bother looking in the dictionary as I did, essentialism really is better understood in their words:
Essentialism is what one really needs in its life. It is personal and far from minimalism. It’s asking yourself: “how is this improving my life?” and leaving in only what gives you joy & purpose.
“All business and brands should push through what is really essential in your life.”
This essentialism mindset is definitely one we share here at Republik. Although we’re in the field of marketing goods & services, we aspire to educate & inform our clients’ audiences through relevant content, on how to make well-informed decisions that are in line with their values.
Let me ask you this: how often do you go back to what’s essential to you & your audience?
“Through our business, we want to change people’s mindsets & behaviour on why and how they consume what they do.”
The Peart brothers
“I’m fearful and excited that we’re going to bite something that’s much bigger than ourselves.”
The 30 of us grouped in classic Old Montreal institution Café Titanic were privileged to hear first-hand that the two creatives have found their new calling: interiors and home products.
“It will be a business. It will be a brand. It will be a story and we will build it from scratch. It will be us.”
Thank you, Byron & Dexter, for having inspired us for many years, and for an instant that night, for having led us to believe all businesses can do good.
Behind every brand there is a story to tell & that’s part of essentialism; the product is part of the story.
What is essential to YOUR brand story?