This is post is part of iluk’s Grow With Us series, where we unveil a little bit more about who we are as a company, the founders behind the scenes, what we are building, our values, and what we stand for. iluk is proudly Montreal-based. We believe the city’s creativity, pulse and rhythm makes it an ideal base from which to bring innovation to the beauty and hair industry.
Montreal Bound – Launching iluk’s First City
iluk is proudly Montreal-based. We first launched iluk because we couldn’t find an easy way to find and book a last-minute appointment at a great salon. No app or service existed in the Canadian market that allowed us to get in the chair on-demand. We wanted to discover a new salon without tons of research and second-guessing. As we built our first version of the iluk app, the question of where to launch first came up again and again.
Toronto seemed like the obvious choice. It is the biggest Canadian city with thousands of top-tier salons across many awesome neighbourhoods. Many tech companies and creative industries have made Toronto their Canadian HQ, and it’s where many American businesses venture first when they go north of the border. While we ultimately launched our first version of iluk with some great Toronto partners, we really decided to set up shop, double-down and make another city our home base:
Montreal an an Entrepreneurial Hub
Besides Karine being a native Montrealer, we both saw the potential of setting up shop in Montreal. We believe doing so differentiates ourselves from other tech companies in the beauty industry. Being both bilingual, Karine and myself could work with both anglophone and francophone stakeholders. We felt that our years spent living in Europe and the US would allow us to create a business that was unique and globally-focused. By launching the Canadian market out of Montreal, expanding to both the US and Europe would be less of a lift. Montreal is as close to halfway between continents as you can get in Canada!
We were also inspired by Montreal’s burgeoning tech scene. It is a city that is attracting top talent, as more and more entrepreneurs become aware of the city’s competitive edge. In terms of cost of living, Montreal is the most affordable among major U.S and Canadian cities. Montreal companies attracted $1.7B in venture capital since 2018, and the city ranks second among Millennials in terms of living preference.
We’re in Good Company
Moreover, many other successful companies are getting their start in Montreal. We are constantly tuned into the local tech industry and are inspired by what our peers are building. From Sonder, Bonlook and Mid-day Squares, to newer ventures like Unsplash and Billdr, more ventures are discovering Montreal’s secret sauce and planting roots in the 514. We no longer feel compelled to move our business to Ontario or South of the border. We see what other entrepreneurs are doing and know that we are in great company!
First-Class Salon and Barbershop Talent
Another thing that makes us proud to be Montreal-based is the city’s incredible hair, beauty and barbering talent. We are constantly inspired by our salon partners’ passion, creativity, artistry and ambition. They are among the first to embrace new techniques and styles. They don’t shy away from being bold, yet approachable.
Furthermore, Montreal has a salon and barbershop for everyone. Each neighbourhood has its own vibe. Each salon partner has a different aesthetic and style. However, Montreal’s creative beat hums through the hair and beauty industry. I really believe Montreal’s laid-back, yet cutting-edge DNA to be the backbone of what sets the city apart from others. The beauty and hair industry is no exception!
As we mentioned last week, we proudly meet and vet every single iluk partner. Nothing makes us more proud to be Montreal-based than the exceptional talent that we get to work with each day!
There’s No Place Like It!
Ultimately, what makes Montreal awesome cannot be illustrated by facts alone. Those who know and love MTL as much as we do just get it. Beyond the city’s amazing food culture, vibrant nightlife, multicultural make-up and creative industry lies one of Montreal’s top secrets: its community of passionate and talented entrepreneurs and small business owners.
iluk is proudly Montreal-based. We love all that Montreal is and represents. We are therefore so thankful to be able to set up our own venture in this incredible city and join the ranks of other companies who choose to make Montreal home.