Mulperi in Paris
Kirjoittanut: Kamil Wójcik - tiimistä FLIP Solutions.
Writers: Sanni Hujanen, Susanna Mäkelä, Kamil Wojcik
This essay aims to show what kind of possibilities are waiting for you at Proakatemia when you find the right people to do it. We would like to inspire people to dare to dream, aim high and take risks. As well as we want to openly share the costs and how we managed to make it happen.
Early 2022 Mulperi discussed how we miss the international feeling at akatemia. Sanni shared her stories as she travelled to many film festivals during her previous studies and expressed feelings of slight disappointment regarding the lack of such activities during our studies. Kamil could relate to that, as he did travel a lot during his previous studies and lived in different places. It was commonly agreed that it’s an essential part of almost any study and crucial in the development of so-called soft skills. These soft skills in nowadays dynamically changing societies are considered more and more core skills.
Kamil has been a reader of Monocle since moving to Helsinki.
I still remember when I picked my first issue in Helsinki’s library located in Kirjatalo designed by no one else, but Alvar Aalto. Reading the issue of Monocle reminds me of moments with Finnair magazine while being on the plane at times. Just like the journey with the airline, so does the monocle team takes me to a better place. Curiosity for places and news less explored that inspires and makes everyday life better.
Monocle conference came to the conversation. The seventh Quality of Life Conference promised to bring together creatives, thinkers, and people who want more from life. Limited to 200 guests who were coming from around the world and were all hosted at Chanel’s Le19M complex in the sunny French capital. Other venues picked for the conference didn’t disappoint either.
Organizing such an event in Paris is not an easy challenge as there are so many fabulous places, nevertheless, the Monocle team did a great job with the selection.
Attendees gathered on Thursday evening at the gorgeous terrace of LouLou restaurant located in Carrousel Garden right next to the Louvre where we got to enjoy French wine and fine stacks prepared by the dedicated staff while mingling with guests and the Monocle crew in the warm Parisian evening sun. Eiffel Tower in the background was an extra touch to remind us all that indeed, after years of the pandemic we really are here together in the French capital. Cheers to that. Coming from Finland we loved the comment during the inauguration speech given by Tyler Brule together with Andrew Tuck don’t forget that Monocle is a Swiss company, so tomorrow be on time!
Kamil and Susanna at LouLou.
When we were approaching the terrace, emotions were at their peak, none of us had been to this type of event before. We had no idea what to expect and who would be there. How should we dress, what to take with us, who to talk with first and on and on? Many questions were running in our heads back and forth. Excitement was mixing with anxiety.
We were warmly taken in by the hosts and made feel welcome. It didn’t take long for people to come up to us and start talking, little by little the terrace filled up and the ice was broken. In the end, it’s best to come as you are. Be yourself, don’t pretend. Many Chanel bags with cocktail dresses among gentlemen wearing suits, but also shorts and Birkenstocks were trending there. Everyone was welcome 🙂 We decided to go as the PP team, aka pellavapöksyt (linen pants).
Friday – main day. Conference at Le19M with dinner and dancing at La Coupole.
Doors opened already before 8 am for the early birds, offering coffee made by baristas, croissants, buns, and other French breakfast snacks sourced from the best local bakeries. Equipped with a schedule, pens and notebooks we arrived just in time to grab a cup of coffee and pick good seats.
Guests varied, there was a good dose of design and architecture content, reviews of new businesses as well some people who really brought an edge to the conversation. Each speaker was matched with a host on the stage who helped to keep a good flow of conversation, take questions as well as had an eye on the clock.
quick look at the host and speakers list
Kamil took a chance to take part in the Concierge Bell segment (Questions & Answers session) with Josh Fehnert and Andrew Tuck, which in the end was praised with recognition for one of the top three best questions during the whole conference.
quick selfie after the conference
Mulperi loves details and this event really exceeded our expectations. Kamil has a background in the culinary field, it was a pleasure to hear from the local producers about the ingredients and food they prepared for us for today’s lunch, matched with a great Rosé from the Mediterranean island of France. We could go on and on about the small details we noticed, and they made the difference. For example, the paper used for the attendee lists and what font was used landed during one of the coffee breaks on everyone’s seats to help find each other after the event.
The speech of Veja’s founder, Sebastien Kopp, offered the most value and new ideas. He talked in his speech about how they don’t like the word sustainability but rather use the word reality instead. He emphasized that people need more common sense in their consumption habits and that we have gone completely crazy with our consumption during the last 50 years. Overconsumption is a problem and even though Veja sells sneakers, they can’t justify why people should buy 5 pairs of sneakers at the same time. Kopp also explained how Veja started to grow when they stopped convincing everybody and began to focus on their own thing. Kopp also emphasized that failures are not always a bad thing: “From the failures we have today, we learn what Veja is tomorrow”. (Kopp 2022.)
Bruno Pavlovsky, the Fashion President at Chanel, put good and meaningful business into words. The way Pavlovsky talked about Chanel, was beautifully worded. The speech was not about the numbers, because like Pavlovsky said, it’s not about the numbers – it’s about the emotion. Pavlovsky used the French word “création” (creating/creation in English) to describe the work at Chanel. He stated that création cannot be targeted as eg. whereas marketing can. Création is about taking risks and adapting and reacting. (Pavlovsky 2022.)
We also heard brifly from Louis Dreyfus, the CEO of Le Monde Group. His words were encouraging for business owners and new entrepreneurs, too. Good quality of life is a choice. A choice, that requires attention, effort and maintenance. Just like building a good business. His advice was to stick with what you believe in, to not change the idea in the beginning. To have trust in yourself. (Dreyfus 2022.)
Lastly, a researched fact that came up in Simon Anholt’s speech, was that the best countries in the world are the ones that do the most good in the world. Building a business that not only provides financially but also creates value for the community and the world would probably be considered one of the best businesses. (Anholt 2022.) Something we should all keep in mind.
The conference itself wasn’t anything too special and the most valuable part was the hospitality and the opportunity to meet people and share meaningful conversations. What we learned is that business is relationships and it’s worth putting time and effort to build those connections. Still, the event was successful and offered us a lot of value. We learned that a successful event begins on time and the audience knows all the time what is going on and what is going to happen next. This can only happen if the event has host/hosts who inform the audience about all the necessary things and really take care that everything goes smoothly.
After the conference, there was a moment to freshen up and catch the busy metro to La Coupole. This Art Deco brasserie is as Parisian as it gets as it’s been said. Excitement was growing as the location was being approached, a warm welcome on a hot day with cold champagne was a great mix. It didn’t stop there – all attendees were mixed up to once again create new opportunities to connect with likeminded people. Exchange ideas, and talk more and less about important things. Finally, after dinner, we got to hit the dance floor. As Finland representatives, we danced utill the morning like there was no tomorrow.
at La Coupole
Despite a long night, we arrived at the Musée Carnavalet for farewell breakfast on time. Kamil was the “guy who won a prize” and it still sparked some conversations over morning coffee. Nevertheless, it was just a time to relax and kick back after an intensive day.
Musee Caarnavalet garden
The day was continued with a tour around private courtyards in the Bastille district with a local antique dealer which was unique and away from the tourist traps. The day resulted in a handful of attendees deciding not to stop this conference just yet. Dinner for post-conference was reserved and we got to continue the conversations, where we still got to meet some new people.
post conference dinner at Le Bougainville
Well after midnight everyone headed their own ways, taking a long walk through Parisian streets one last time as we discussed our new friendships, ideas, possibilities, and the wine that was buzzing in our heads.
Funding, pricing… – was it worth it?
Some things cannot be measured in money but in learning and life experiences. To be honest, after spending three days at the conference and having everything be top quality, we are still amazed how the conference tickets didn’t cost more. We were handed a free Chanel perfume on the first evening we met everyone, so that alone set the standards relatively high.
The ticket included food and beverages, the conference itself with top-of-the-line speakers from all over the world and a tour in Paris of our choosing on our last day. But the one thing we found most valuable was the people, the other participants who travelled from all over to enjoy the breathtaking city of Paris. Even though we didn’t know anyone personally, we felt like we fit in just like everyone else. We got to engage ourselves in interesting conversations and spread the word about our business Mulperi. We soon realized that the three of us have very different strengths with people – Sanni was the “British expert”, Susanna the “American expert” and Kamil was the “the other countries expert”.
Part of the costs of the trip was covered by personal funding from KP Ruuskasen säätiö. It was a significant help. We were positively surprised how little money we had to spend in Paris after all – if we don’t count in the 60 € lentil bowl at Le Bougainville on our last night…
To answer the question “was it worth it?” the answer is without a doubt YES. Even though we had our ups and down as a team during those few days, it didn’t break us. At one point when we were back at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport, Sanni said that “Hey look, we are still talking to each other!” The experience felt (and still feels) overwhelming and absurd, but in the end, it all worked out for us. The greatness of a team cannot be measured by how well everyone gets along. It is measured by how much one can grow with one another, taking chances with each other and going forward even though your mind tells you not to. Sometimes one needs to be stuck in a foreign country and feel out of their comfort zone to realize the importance of a diverse team. This experience gave us an upper hand. And we are forever grateful to Sotku for giving us a tip about the funding.
After the trip, Susanna started to wonder about the meaning behind the word “life-changing”. Some events, situations and people are life-changing because by encountering them your life will literally change. After meeting an inspiring person, one might take the first steps towards coming more confident or by attending an event, one might find a whole new world of people and ways to do things. What the Monocle conference did for Mulperi as a team is life-changing – in business and free time. After attending the conference, we started paying more attention to providing and building quality in our business. We want our services to be top quality, we want to keep paying attention to detail and we also want to bring that “quality of life” thinking into our personal lives. And as a disclaimer – even though we were in Paris and were gifted free stuff, that wasn’t the point. The point was to know how it feels to engage in a quality conversation, to have a dialogue in a more sophisticated manner. To treat oneself with quality food and local wines. To make an effort every day and to know what one deserves.
Kopp S. Veja 2022 Making Fashion Better. Keynote. Monocle Quality of Life Conference 03.06.2022. Paris, France.
Touhami R. Entrepreneur, Varza R. Station F 2022 How to build communities. Keynote. Monocle Quality of Life Conference 03.06.2022. Paris, France.
Fehner J. 2022 The art of the perfect welcome. Keynote. Monocle Quality of Life Conference 03.06.2022. Paris, France.
Thank you for the essay.
Even though you shared the experience with the team, it is interesting to read more details about the days. What you write about Sebastien Kopp’s speech raised my interest as well. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to follow his speech live as well. Sometimes it’s frustrating to speak about sustainability and be unsure if you have run up into some reality denialist. Would be interesting to learn more about how Veja counters the possible customers whose facts about the need for sustainability are twisted.
I really enjoyed the realness of the essay, you were not hiding that not everything would have been perfect, and your team would not have had any problems, but the most I enjoyed seeing Paris (my absolute favorite city) through the eyes of others. It was interesting to see how the French level of style, elegance and luxury can be seen in the ways the event was organized. For example, the location of the conference at Chanel’s Le19M.
This essay inspires me to start looking for opportunities to go networking abroad, maybe even to Paris!