Martin Rouillard, the E-commerce Manager & Buyer at Centre Commercial, is a friend of HNDSM. We have had the pleasure of getting to know Martin on our bi-annual trips to Paris. Enjoy this Peer Portraits interview for insight into his professional journey, favorite spots in Paris and what he recommends everyone should experience in their life.
I grew up in a village called Lauzerte, which is in Southwest France near Toulouse. The first years of my life were spent eating good things, messing around, playing soccer badly, driving all kinds of motorized vehicles and drinking beers with my friends. I was convinced that I would stay there for the rest of my life.
I followed the classic path of the young people of my generation: college, high school and then crappy communication school. During my first year of higher education after an internship in a small multi-brand store called Coexist, my life took a turn when I realized that I would never go back to school. After that year, I decided to leave to work at several stores (department stores, tailor costume store, etc).
On Easter weekend in 2016 after a call from Nicolas (responsible for "Centre Commercial"), I decided to leave my home town of Toulouse. I was walking quietly on the banks of the Garonne with my mother when my phone rang. After a year of dreaming of working with Nico and Sebastien (founder of Veja), my hour of luck finally came.
Tell us about what brought you to where you are now, personally and professionally.
Toulouse is a small town not really known for its stores. Yet it is composed of one of the best selection of men's stores in France. I didn't start working in a store for the love of fashion, but more for the passion of the people who run the stores and the ability to create concepts and communities around their stores.
At this time we had to travel an hour by train to be able to find cool stores. My friends and I would see the "looking for vendors" ads but we couldn't apply because we were too far away or too young. When I started my studies (to please my parents) I knew that the only objective was to work in one of these stores in order to see the other side of the picture. I worked a lot at the beginning and I was lucky enough to be quickly integrated into the whole process. I came to Paris for the shopping sessions and very quickly fell completely in love with the environment. We would spend two days each season between shows around Les Quai de Seine, Republique and Le Marais.
At the time, Man/Woman show was in an old balloon factory just next to "Centre Commercial" and the store was already a mandatory detour before leaving to buy our selection for the next year.
That is when I realized that I absolutely had to work for them.
What is something you believe everyone should experience in their life?
If you live in Paris there is a village just next door, about an hour and a half drive from the city center near Fontainebleau. When you arrive there, a guy offers to rent you a small chalet near a lake with a boat. You just have to go with the right people, two fishing rods, some rosé and wait for the sunset on the boat in the middle of the lake. When it is completely dark, you realize that you are at the best place at the best time (we have never caught a single fish at this place but we go back there anyway!).
What was your favorite moment today and do you have any favorite grounding rituals?
I am lucky enough to live close to my office in a nice area of Paris. I walk every morning to get there. I walk past the furniture galleries of the Rue de Turenne, dreaming of the ones I will put in the big house in which I will retire - in Puglia, Italy, of course!
Do you have any work from home essentials? How have you adapted to this new reality?
We have gone through several periods of containment in France. For several reasons I have changed apartments twice since the first confinement. At this moment, as I am answering this question, we are patiently waiting for the government to lock us up for a third time. I think I have found the place where I feel the best since moving to Paris. I am ready to face the challenge of this last confinement on the 6th floor of the building where I live with a big couch, an old Hi Fi AKAI stereo that belonged to my father and in which resounds, "All Night Tonight" by Leston Paul or "G.M." by Hornett la Frappe.
Any advice you can give to young creatives in and out of the current context?
I don't consider myself creative, so I'm certainly not in a position to give my opinion on things I'm not sensitive to. If I had to make the connection between my work and my life, I would say that it is more than ever necessary to pay attention to the people around us in our professional and personal lives. This is a time when it is easy to close in on ourselves and not be aware of the world around us.
I am lucky to be surrounded by the best team and the best friends in the world in this particular time!
Can you tell us about some of your favorite spots in Paris?
Commercial's stores in the 10th and 6th districts of Paris
The Superstitch’s workshop in the 5th arrondissement. Best guy, best jeans in the world!
La Retraite in the 11th is best natural wine shop in Paris.
Gallerie 54 10 Rue Mallet-Stevens, 75016 Paris
Pizzeria Addommè 26 Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth