Montreal is currently home to 3 major Danish brands, one of which is Pilgrim. The wholesale jeweler has been in Montreal for just over 1 year, most of which has been spent in Central District.
I recently sat down with the owners of Montreal’s regional office, Robert Hayes and Stéphanie Girard to learn more about Pilgrim and why they decided to grow their business in Central District.
Robert worked for Vero Moda for close to 10 years, and Stéphanie was with Bestseller for 12. Both left their previous jobs approximately 2 years ago to pursue their entrepreneurial path and neither have looked back since.
Pilgrim’s High-Quality Danish Designs
Pilgrim abides by their slogan: “Hand and Heart Made.” Everything is made by hand and by heart, infusing the Danish way of creation in a North American context. The company has been in business for 37 years, and its founder Annemette Markvad is still heavily involved as head designer.
Stéphanie: “There’s something about the Danish aesthetic. It’s simple yet elegant, and it’s easy to match it with just about any outfit.”
These Scandic cool designs are high-quality and do not tarnish. Each piece is produced on zinc or brass and plated in gold or silver (7 layers of each). The jewelry is hypoallergenic, will not change colour and features 18 different precious stones and Swarovski Crystals.
The brand abides by 3 pillars: authentically Danish (in the way they do things), heritage (staying true to their roots) and value (for money invested in the product).
Robert: “Yes we are a large brand, but we are a brand that seeks to make authentic local connections.”
What Makes Central District a Good Fit for Pilgrim
Between distribution of stock and their regular meetings with buyers, the topic of location is high on the priority list. While startups and younger entrepreneurs tend to gravitate towards the more trendy downtown neighbourhoods, Central District holds great potential for its affordable value.
Robert Hayes: “Location-wise, Central District makes perfect sense from a distribution standpoint. It’s close to the highway and there’s parking readily available for our building. Accessibility to the airport is also within relative distance via the highway, which is always a bonus.”
Stéphanie: “This neighborhood has the potential to be very convenient, and that’s why Marche Central is working so well because it’s accessible and has everything you need in within close proximity.”
Central District Wishlist and Visions for the Future
Of course, the revitalization of Central District is a process. Like Rome, it certainly won’t be built in a day (or a year!), but there are needs that business owners would like to be met – eventually.
Robert: “Montreal has great potential to become the next investment hub, but the long-term vision needs to be created and cemented in order to make and keep Montreal competitive.”
Stéphanie: “When we look to New York City and their meatpacking district, it has a certain “wow” factor, and it would be nice to see that here. New York’s Meat Packing District has great hotels, I think having a hotel in the area would make for a great addition to the neighbourhood.”