This past year has made us see our city and its communities with different eyes. Now it’s time to rediscover it on a bike! To celebrate Summer 2021, Opus honours these communities by presenting a series of interviews that celebrate Montreal entrepreneurship, the strength of urban life and its inspiring people. Discover Maëva and Isabelle’s inspiring journey.
What role does biking play in your lifestyle?
Cycling is a big part of our lives, as a way of getting around and a way to start new adventures. We’re always off on different excursions — on daily rides in town, bike-camping trips, mountain biking downhill or cross-country.
Which neighbourhood resonates the most with you and why?
We’ve both spent a lot of time in southwestern Montreal — Verdun, Pointe Saint-Charles and Saint-Henri districts.
The area is like a village within a city, with lots of outdoor activities. It’s perfectly located for spontaneous fun. Pus, it’s a tightknit community. We even know our baker by name! MushUp’s first office was in Saint-Henri.
Our favourite neighborhood is hard to pick because we love them all! Montreal is an inspiring city, with plenty of charm and character. We’re planning a move to a new borough soon, and looking for that rare gem around Rosemont. To be continued…
What do you like most about urban living?
The terrific cultural and commercial diversity. We love the city for both its noise and anonymity, for its back alleys and sense of community. You can get around on foot, by bike, by public transport …. And each offers a unique view of the city. We always discover the city’s hidden gem by foot and then push a neighbourhood’s invisible boundaries by bike.
What role do you want to play in your community?
For us, the most important thing is to live in a positive, friendly and accessible place. We make most of our deliveries ourselves and it’s always a pleasure to meet customers. It’s so energizing to put a face and a personality to MushUp customers. It’s one of our biggest joys! We like to take our time during these moments, which often means a nice conversation about our coffees.
Which community issue concerns you most?
Access to a healthy and varied diet affects us the most. Maëva did her Master’s degree on food issues in urban and peri-urban areas. There’s still much to be done.
How did you come up with the idea for MushUp?
Our defining idea was to integrate the benefits of medicinal mushrooms into daily life. After an internship in herbalism and mycology, Maëva came to understand that coffee and medicinal mushrooms complement each other, and share adaptogenic properties. More specifically, caffeine and the reishi mushroom, which are present in our three blends. In addition to the complementary flavours, reishi also counters the unwanted effects of caffeine, such as palpitations, anxiety, tremors, etc. The positive side-effects are so wonderful that we wondered why no one had thought of this sooner! So we went for it!
What does this achievement mean to you?
It’s a pleasure to work every day on a product that we firmly believe brings significant benefits to people. Our goal wasn’t limited to developing a new product. We also wanted to change people’s habits. To integrate the incredible benefits of mushrooms across the entire food universe. The possibilities are endless! Coffee is just the start!
What do you think is the strength of MushUp?
We work closely together to come up with new ideas, to improve our products and do things better. We’re able to balance work and pleasure. As entrepreneurs, we’re always pushing the limits, so we don’t count the hours. But when needed, we’re able to take time off to unwind in nature. The right balance is important to us, so we can deliver the best of ourselves.
What is your biggest source of inspiration and motivation as an entrepreneur?
To do what we like while meeting terrific people through inspiring collaborations. It’s a great opportunity to shape a business through our values, even as we make mistakes while learning.
How do you see the future of MushUp?
We’re currently working on a lot of projects, including new products, a new website and, most important, a lab/store space where we can welcome customers and anyone curious about what we do.
MushUp has enormous potential in Quebec and Ontario, but also in Western Canada. We receive a lot of inquiries from California and British Columbia. It’s a huge territory we want to develop in the years ahead.
What’s your hope for the future of urban life?
We dream about so many things, such as:
- More local public markets
- More pedestrian areas
- More community gardens and vegetable gardens
- More access for bikes
- More green roofs
- More electric charging stations for bikes and cars
- Solar panels for street lighting
- More outdoor play areas
- Drinking fountains inspired by the ones in Paris
- More well-maintained public toilets
How did you feel when Opus approached you to offer its platform?
We’re quite touched that Opus selected us for this campaign. It’s a great opportunity to gain visibility through a company that shares our values.
What is a #chasethatsmile moment in your daily life?
To feel totally energized…riding with the wind…reaching that pier…admiring Montreal from the opposite shore…soaking our feet…and enjoying a good coffee — ideally, iced!
As part of their commitment to their community, Maëva and Isabelle will donate their Opus participants’ fees to a cause that’s close to their heart.
Which organization did you decide to support and why?
We chose to support the Banques Alimentaires du Québec : https://www.banquesalimentaires.org/
We’re living in a time of instability that particularly affects the most deprived communities. Access to food is essential, and Banques Alimentaires du Québec helps by supporting community gardens and collective kitchens that serve those in need.