Setlakwe is a family owned and operated retailer specializing in affordable clothing for men, women, and children. It sells international brands like Guess, Vero Moda, Desigual, Levi’s and Esprit, along with Quebec brands such as Perlimpimpin, Matt & Nat, Schwiing and Anne-Marie Chagnon. As of 2018, Setlakwe operated three multibrand stores, eight lingerie boutiques under the name Silhouette, and one clothing importing company called Saint-Hilaire Inc.
In 1904, Aziz Setlakwe, a new immigrant from Armenia, went into business as a peddler based in the town of Disraeli in the Amiante region (now called Les Appalaches). Two years later, he opened his first store specialized in men’s and women’s fashion in Thetford Mines. The company’s growth has been marked by several expansions and renovations. In 1937 when the founder’s son Calil took over the company, Setlakwe inaugurated a new building in downtown Thetford Mines that was later expanded in 1958
A children’s department was added five years later, enabling the company to claim that it could now dress the entire family. Setlakwe was also known in the fur business for its repair and storage services, its Montreal and Quebec City factories, and its J.O. Lefebvre store on St. Jean Street in Quebec City.
The Setlakwe company continued to expand with the opening of stores in Disraeli in 1958 and the town of Sainte-Marie in the Beauce in 1965. In 1970, the third generation took over when Raymond Setlakwe was named company president. Assisted by his brother Richard, he purchased the Lilianne chain of lingerie boutiques. However, he sold this division off in 1974 to create the Silhouette lingerie division. At its height, it operated 14 stores in Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Victoriaville.
In 1986, members of the fourth generation of the Setlakwe family, Louise and Ann, Raymond’s daughters, joined the company to be in charge of purchasing. The same year, Setlakwe purchased Saint-Hilaire Inc., a clothing import and distribution company founded in 1922. Now established on Nun’s Island in Montreal, it imports lingerie, swimwear and nightwear for distribution to retailers.
Nearly 115 years after its founding, Setlakwe is being run by a member of the fifth generation; Margo Setlakwe Blouin, daughter of Ann, was named president in 2018. As of 2018, the company employed a workforce of 175 people.
Jocelyne Mathieu, Dicomode