I am delighted to introduce you to Sylvie-Chantale Duquette, one of the warmest and kindest ladies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Born and raised in Montreal, Sylvie-Chantale graduated from University of Montreal with a degree in Industrial Relations and a certificate in translation. She tells me about the profound influence her beloved mother has had on her life (this instantly hit home with me), which led to her investing in a “healthy lifestyle, exercise, good food, natural beauty, and taking care of the inside to shine on the outside.”
Sylvie-Chantale explains that her love for people and building meaningful relationships led her to more than 25 years in managerial roles, mostly in the fashion industry. She explains, “deep down inside I always wanted to have my own business, but like most people it got put on the back burner… and hey, who wants to take a leap of faith which may not succeed…”
However, in August 2002, Sylvie-Chantale’s life changed when she was diagnosed with basal and squamous skin cancer. She tells me in that moment, she reflected on her life and came to the realization that various fears were blocking her ability to go after bigger dreams.
“Within 72 hours I had, without informing anyone, quit my job, signed a commercial lease and invited a few loved ones to meet me at 385 Sherbrooke West, unsure of what I would do with the space. All I knew was that whatever business I started had to involve my passion for beauty and fashion alongside the value of caring for others.”
As a result, on December 2nd of 2011, SCC Spa Urbain went from a life-long vision to a reality, and Sylvie-Chantale’s journey into the spa world began.
With her values at the core of the business, Sylvie-Chantale made a promise to herself to stay true to her vision of offering effective products at the right price. “The brands I carry must have a long term plan to care for the planet whether it is with their eco packaging, recycling, methods of producing their products, or engaging in important causes to help others. At SCC Spa Urbain we also work to only use local and Canadian based companies.” Sylvie-Chantale also personally tests all of the brands that she brings in herself to make sure they are the very best.
Of course, Sylvie- Chantale explains that the products she carries addresses her main mission in life – skin health. “I believe that protecting your biggest organ, your skin, is vital to a happy and healthy life. This mission to care has led me to work for various causes including Multiple Myeloma, Breast Cancer, Skin Cancer, Palliative Care, and mental illness.”
I was lucky enough to meet Sylvie-Chantale about a month ago when she generously donated a gift basket worth $125 and discount coupons to her spa for Her Campus McGill’s first ever speaker series event about women in media! Sylvie gets inundated with sponsorship requests but took the time to help us. As she told me, “giving is my mantra.”
Struck by her kindness, willingness to support Her Campus and love for the McGill community, I decided to try out SCC Spa Urbain myself. I cannot put into words how amazing my experience was. From the moment I walked in to the lovely space she has created, I have never felt so welcomed or built a relationship with someone so quickly. I truly felt as though Sylvie-Chantale cared about providing me with the best experience possible.
Instantly given a cup of tea, I had an amazing manicure with vegan nail polish (how awesome is that) that lasted for weeks without chipping. Not to mention, her prices are extremely student friendly. Conscious that students are on a budget, Sylvie-Chantale caters to this, and offers weekly promotions.
As I am having my nails done, the time flies as we talk non-stop, but one thing in particular that sticks with me is when Sylvie-Chantale says, “I have come to realize that being [students] alone in Montreal, at a young age in a very competitive environment can bring on some serious anxiety so we make sure the ambiance is always warm and embraces all.”
SCC is more than just a spa, and if Sylvie-Chantale sees a student who is perhaps struggling, she says “ I take care of them as I would my friends and family, asking for permission.” However, she also makes sure to respect their space and never judge.
She explains how she has been moved to tears when family members of her clients call from around the world to ask if they can buy gift cards or products for their children’s birthdays or graduation, truly demonstrating the impact she has on her clients’ lives.
When Sylvie-Chantale isn’t at the spa, she is involved with the local community or McGill! She has participated in numerous fundraising activities with McGill, and has spoken on the Desautels Women in Business Entrepreneurship panel and at the Jewish General Hospital about palliative care and family.
As Sylvie-Chantale has demonstrated, giving is so easy and feels so good, and she truly believes in authentic customer service. I can personally attest to this! If you haven’t already, you absolutely must check out SCC to understand that this will not be just your regular spa experience.
Images provided by interviewee.