I grew up in Canada but spent the better part of my 15-year career in Tokyo, where I founded and managed YF, a small (but nevertheless mighty) creative agency with blue-chip international clients, and a collection of related ventures.
Prior to that I worked at YPG, National Bank of Canada and Valtech. I also hold a BA and MA in business from Sherbrooke University in Canada.
The story of YF is too long to tell here (you can imagine what it was like for a 25-year-old French Canadian to start a business, from scratch, in Japan), but suffice it to say that, through hard work and an unconventional, outsider’s approach, we rapidly grew to work with some of the biggest brands in the world—notably Volvo (UD Trucks), Imperial Tobacco, and Sony. Working on inbound and outbound projects alike, we brought the world to Japan and Japan to the world.
As co-founder and managing director, my role at YF was primarily focused on revenue acquisition and overall operations, managing a growing multicultural and multilingual team to execute ever more ambitious projects.
Our recipe for success? 1, Capitalize on the complacency of large incumbent agencies, 2, Say yes to unconventional, irregular and scary opportunities which require innovation and risk-taking, and 3, Be ruthlessly efficient to keep the team small, nimble, cohesive, and focused.
Dot (2018) — a consulting firm that focuses on distributed ledger and blockchain technology. This venture grew more or less organically, given Tokyo’s early role in the crypto scene. Effectively, as YF grew, we got a lot of requests for digital marketing x crypto advisory services, which eventually led to the consultancy’s spin-off.
Soudesune (2020) — an online shopping platform that allows creators to produce and sell their own streetwear and accessories. We were excited by the promise of digital commerce and worked with many brands hoping to make a DTC play, so we decided to make our own brand platform, partly as a learning experiment, partly for fun.
After 10 incredible years in Tokyo, where in addition to building a thriving number of businesses I met my wife and started a family, we eventually returned to Canada for the next chapter.