Initiated by AGAME (the Mile-End Business Association) with members on a mission to support local business, community & positive evolution of the neighbourhood we love.

Dev by Barkas. Design by Wedge. Creative Direction by Sarah Di Domenico.

Baltic Club

Brice and Mélanie are the duo behind Baltic Club, a stationery studio that “makes stuff for happiness”.

Allo Brice et Mélanie!
It must feel amazing to make paper things for happiness.

B: Oui ! When people see our stuff, as you did seconds ago, you were like, “Oh my gosh!” This is how people react. Our tone is second-level humour, like the Be Optimistic card — it’s a hand but it’s chopped at the wrist. It’s cute and creepy. We look for the edge. As soon as we are comfortable, we make.

#bal9What makes you happy?

B: Having our dog Lola around, running, ice cream, and having my own rhythm.

M: Paper. Plants.

B: Being together too, Mélanie and I. We’re together pretty much all of the time. That’s part of our strength — living and working together. We are really different but complementary. We never argue. We talk. And we are pretty proud of it.

#bal6#bal8How do you run Baltic Club together?

M: I draw, I design, and I choose colours and papers …

B: (Laughs) … all the fun stuff!

M: … and I make stuff too. (Looks at Brice) You too, you make stuff. Brice is in charge of admin.

B: Booooooring!

M: On our website his title is Magician.

B: Really?! I have to change that!

M: No you don’t.

B: Okay, let’s keep it that way.

“We can talk about paper stock in bed. We have trouble finding real, normal people activities. Like having friends.”

#bal7#bal4How do you separate personal life from the studio?

B: We don’t. We can talk about paper stock in bed.

M: We have trouble finding real, normal people activities. Like having friends.

B: Going to the movies is the best we can do. We hope to be better people soon.

M: No …

B: Somehow I can be pretty excited by paper machines. Yesterday I had a meeting with a supplier. I was like a 5-year-old in front of a Christmas tree. My favourite machine is a letterpress which we don’t have. It’s beautiful. It has this kind of steampunk look I like. A huge, heavy machine making delicate things. I love it. It is big, metal everywhere and then you pull out thin yardsticks with thin foil lines. It’s crazy! It’s fantastic. (Turns to Melanie) What’s your favourite machine?

M: A cutter.

B: Oh yeah, so satisfying.

M: You put in 10-inch card stock, you press the button, and it’s like butter.

B: You can film it and watch it on repeat. It’s crazy!

M: We follow machines on Instagram not Paris Hilton.

B: We give names to our stuff too.

Tell me the names of your machines. Make the introductions!

B: The risograph printer is Rose. Billy is the Canon printer. Charlene is the hot foil stamper because it’s a hot name and she’s hot. Jocelyn is the first employee, a file holder. We bought her at IKEA. It is the typical name of a secretary and her sister, Josée, is another file holder.

“We got a new cutter named Gordon after Gordon Ramsey because he is good with knives.”

#bal5#baltic4You mentioned the word ‘magic’. What does magic means to you?

B: Melanie draws and magic happens. It’s always beautiful. When you draw, it’s just a drawing, but the magic is to make things happen, to develop the idea around it, to make people aware of it, and to make a living out of it. This is what I live for. At the start Melanie was making illustrations for herself. It was difficult and then Baltic Club was born. It has been 2 years now. We had the opportunity to open in Mile-End and we said yes instantly because the area is fantastic.

What’s the sweetest project request you’ve gotten?

B: It’s really special. Before Christmas a lady lost her son and her friends bought her a star and named it after him. She asked us to draw the constellation where the star is. She framed it, put it in her room, and made cards to thank people for their support.

M: We were also asked to draw a map of Canada for the Federal Cultural Minister in the Montréal office.

Do you have a favourite street in Mile-End?

B: I like Bernard because of the ice cream shop. We decided to open a shop of our own while eating an ice cream on a bench. It was a day in the summer, eating silently. There was a store to rent in front of the bench we were sitting on. We stopped, looked at the store at the same time and had the idea. It was a pretty nice moment.

#baltic2Do you remember which flavour you were eating at the time?

B: Vanilla of course.

M: Chocolate-something, for sure.

B: We are the yin and yang of ice cream, me and Mélanie.

Where do you go for inspiration?

M: Japan.

B: Around Mile-End, les ruelles. When we see cats we imagine a lot of stuff. They all have a name and do creative things.

M: We named all the cats and we talk about them when they’re not there … Hey did you see Caramel today?

B: He doesn’t look good, I think he fought again … I think inspiration is in our heads with casual small everyday things in life. I meditate during runs, it helps me flush the bad stuff. I have a lot of ideas while running.

When you walk around Mile-End, where do you stop?

B: I go to Café Olimpico. Usually a latte, but especially when it’s cold outside. It’s the occasion for a walk.

M: I would say Boucle & Papier. It feels so nice to go there.

B: Oh yes! It’s so nice but it’s a trap!

“You don’t need special technique or talent. Even when you fail, just go on. Never ever give up. When it’s hard it’s just a warning sign to do it stronger.”

#baltic3What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a creative entrepreneur?

M: Start today.

B: That’s a good one. I would say perseverance. Hustle is the key! You don’t need special technique or talent. Even when you fail, just go on. Never ever give up. When it’s hard it’s just a warning sign to tell you to do it stronger. Nothing is easy. And then sometimes you have victories. You work a lot alone. Optimism is part of our strength, Mélanie and I. You have to support in the same half an hour the best news of your life and the worst.

#baltic1#bal2#bal1What’s the future of Baltic Club?

M: It’s happy!

B: We opened the storefront on St-Laurent this May. People can come and make their own stationery.

M: We do events in our shop. People can make notebooks and choose from printed covers with illustrations or plain paper. And choose the inside too. We have 4 different patterns for now: lines, dots, planner pages and blank. We can print anything on the front with gold foil.

B: We are watching The Office — the story of a paper company. There is a quote that says, ‘You can do anything with paper’!

I feel if you ever have kids you’ll name them after paper.

B: That’s a good idea!

Baltic Club's M-E

Story by Sarah Di Domenico
Photography by Wedge
Illustration by Mathieu Dionne