Be sure to make clear decisions, never sit on the fence and always know you will land on your feet. - Rebecca Brianceau
I was always a bit of a rebel and felt the need for adventure. I loved growing up in the countryside. We had no real rules or authority aside from our parents. Because it wasn’t easy to get out and venture without public transit, you really had to make the best out of it and get creative. Which we all did! From an early age, I also loved urban music. As a teenager, that genre wasn't popular enough to hear on radio or at events so I started coordinating small music events with friends in my hometown of Erin, Ontario, with a population of 3,000. When I was 19, I rented out a bar in Guelph (Boo Radley’s) and brought in my own urban DJ’s that I scouted from Guelph, London, and Toronto to perform. I promoted this event with my all-female street team, B-Girl Productions, and it sold out. I didn’t think much of it at the time, I was just happy people came. My friends suggested I start taking it seriously and it all started to take off from there. I put on events all over Ontario during my college days to help pay the bills and had a blast doing it.
Keeping an eye on my other interest – visual arts and fashion design
While pursuing my love of music, I went to Fanshawe College in London, Ontario to learn about fashion design. The program had a lot of visual marketing and display elements involved in the learning, so we were always building and creating big projects in class. I went on to design a motorcycle retail store and worked at the Hudson's Bay Company doing visual artist presentation for the furniture department. While living in Toronto, I was working as a visual artist during the day and running music events at night. I realized these where my two loves.
Becoming a citizen of the world
My intention was to live in Toronto after finishing college. While in Toronto, I worked with Maxamus entertainment coordinating celebrity music events. After living there for three years I felt it was time to explore further, so like my father I became a citizen of the world! The experience of traveling was priceless. I had a few different career related roles abroad, including working for Universal Records as a Music Marketing Manager for the Middle East and North Africa as the International Music Manager for the soul music band ABRI, based out of Dubai. Both positions allowed me to learn a lot about cultural differences in music, business relationships, industries, and behaviors. I had the skill set to do well in these positions but felt I also needed to learn a lot about Dubai, as I wanted to be respectful of the band members’ culture, especially as the lead singer is an Emirati (born and raised in Dubai). I wanted to represent the United Arab Emirates as best I could. It’s a whole other world over there. After also living in Zurich and London, my view on people, culture, the world, and life is completely different. I have changed so much and learned so much. I am a better person for doing so.
From music to a career in furniture creation and design
When I started traveling and working abroad in the music industry, I was always taking photos of beautiful settings. For example, living rooms in Jordan, amazing markets in France, beautiful old homes in London, nature in India, Bangladesh, Maldives…the list goes on. Now, when I look back on my photos, it’s pretty interesting that the photos I had taken of the band I was managing and of beautiful things are what inspire me to create my artistic pieces, and this can be seen in the pieces I design.
The circumstances around starting my own business were unpredictable. I had moved back to Toronto after my work abroad, still managing ABRI. My goal was to continue managing them remotely and establish their musical connection in the western world. Shortly after moving home, my circumstances suddenly changed. In the winter of 2012, while playing soccer with friends, I blew out my knee and wasn’t able to walk for months. During my recovery my parents brought me art supplies and beautiful wood pieces from their forest to tinker with. I was still managing ABRI but it was slowly coming to an end and I knew I was losing interest in management and falling back in love with the arts. There were several challenges in resigning. It was a difficult decision as I loved what I did with ABRI, I loved what I had accomplished, and I knew I had so much to offer. I had already put fifteen years of hard work into the music industry and thought I’d be in it for life.
But hey! Change is good! After resigning I established Brianceau Couture. In beginning my career in furniture design, I had to build up my name and find new clients in a brand new industry that didn’t know of me. However, because of my earlier career in the music industry in Toronto, I found my name was recognized. For example, some of my clients are the same people that used to attend my events.
Most of my materials come from my parent’s forest, as they live in a small nature oasis. My pieces are named after artists I have worked with or that have moved me in some way. As well, my art is deeply Canadian, earthy, and rustic, with a relaxing touch for a home space. Much like my upbringing in the countryside.
My hope for the future is to keep creating, traveling, and eventually opening a small retail store permanently (right now I have a pop up shop) to showcase all of my finds and creations. I would like to use my talents to contribute to our community in a meaningful way, and continue to stay grounded and open to new opportunities. I will be forever changing throughout my life, as that’s how I learn more about myself.
How I’ve maintained my motivation along the way
What has helped me face my challenges is to face them head on and not run from them. I keep a positive outlook and know that everything happens for a reason. I embrace the unknown and the grey areas of life even when nothing seems to be lining up. I maintain a grateful attitude. As well, I try to deal with my challenges as calmly as possible. I make better decisions when I’m calm and relaxed. Another big one for me is not to drink much alcohol (I’m not a big drinker to begin with) when I am going through a lot of change and challenges. I prefer staying in a clear and sober mindset when dealing with challenges and making healthier decisions.
I encourage you to follow your gut feeling and never question it. Nothing in life will line up 100%. I go by an 80% / 20% feeling. If I am 80% sure I will do it. Make a plan, set a goal date, and just do it. Don’t tell too many people about your plans, as there are a lot of dream crushers out there. Be sure to make clear decisions, never sit on the fence and always know you will land on your feet. Life is all about embracing changes, learning lessons, and being happy.