One on One With François Requier, General Manager, Silhouet-Tone

The general manager of Silhouet-Tone on the company's success, changes in the industry and balancing work and personal life.

 

[Image: Courtesy of Silhouet-Tone ][Image: Courtesy of Silhouet-Tone ]What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?

Sometimes in life, opportunities show up. These opportunities often come with big threats and fears. Each time I’ve given more importance to the opportunity than the threat, I’ve been rewarded. This approach led me to become a student in England, a young professional in Spain, and 20 years later I started a new career in the U.S. Believe me, these were scary decisions at the time, but I don’t regret them one bit. Retrospectively, what’s scary is what would have happened if I hadn’t made those choices! I believe that my best career decisions were made when I followed my dreams.

Has there been a defining moment of your career?

Deciding to join the spa industry. I had zero knowledge of it, but it was love at first sight. I immediately recognized its dynamism, the passion shared by its participants, and the fact that well-being is a long term trend, not a fad. I really have no idea what would have become of me in another industry. I studied banking and finance but I’d have been terrible at it!

Looking back, is there anything you’d have done differently?

There have been a few instances where I didn’t listen to my instincts. It never works.

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Tell us about the company’s plans for 2017.

We’re bringing a lot of new products to the market: a new steamer, a more complete range of furniture, and an amazing piece of equipment that we developed with a great British partner, lightfusion… Plus a few surprises to come. It’s going to be a great year!

To what do you attribute Silhouet-Tone’s success?

Staying loyal to our values and to the people who have contributed to our success. We’ve always believed in reliable technologies, good manufacturing and excellent service. The economy has had its ups and downs, but these values have proven to be recognized in the long run. We also know that we owe our past and current success to our clients and our team—we’re grateful for that.

How do you manage to find a work-life balance?

Spending a lot of time with my family is the key. Unconditional love—given or received—provides me with strength. I have to credit my wife Francoise, my daughters Mathilde and Margaux, and my son Antoine.

Who or what inspires you?

History. There’s so much to learn from it, so many mistakes that we keep repeating because we don’t know what happened before.

You’ve been in the industry for nearly 30 years. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen?

I’m still amazed by the changes that the internet makes on our lives. And it’s just the beginning!

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How do you unwind?

Sailing on Biscayne Bay for two hours after a day of work does wonders for me.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Understanding where the market is going and building a team that will take the company on the right track. Our industry is constantly bombarded by new information and new ideas. It can be challenging to understand where it’s heading and adapt to the new trends. As human beings, we tend to thrive on routine, so staying alert and aware of those changes is probably my main challenge.

Who would you most like to meet?

I would like to meet again with some people who left too early and spend more time with them. We sometime don’t realize how amazing the people around us are.

What do you miss most about France?

Going to a café or a small restaurant in the countryside, in the middle of nowhere; villages with 12th-century churches; the aperitif with friends before a late dinner in summer; and huge family reunions.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to enjoy the present moment more, and be less obsessed about preparing for the future.

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One of your hobbies is genealogy. Have you learned anything surprising about your ancestors?

I’ve tracked the life of my grandfather, Marius, who was a soldier during World War I. He enlisted when he was 19, and went through all the main battles. He never complained: In his letters to his parents he said he was lucky to be safe when many of his friends had been injured or died. What people went through is just unbelievable. We must never forget.

What’s your personal mantra?

You need to sleep well at night, so don’t do things you’ll regret later!

Who would you most like to meet?

Pope Francis… but it would have to be a real meeting, not a handshake!

What’s your favorite meal?

French bread, French cheese and not-necessarily-French wine!

What was the last good book you read?

Josette Stanké’s autobiography, Une Vie en Mieux (Delbusso, 2015). She created the first beauty school in North America, and also happens to be our CEO’s mother! I also love historical sagas: I think I read more than 5,000 pages of Ken Follett books last year!

Can’t leave the house without:

Although I’m ashamed to say it, my cell phone. But I need a kiss from each family member too!

What’s on your bucket list?

I just went skydiving, so I can check that off ! I still have to go to Patagonia, Mongolia, Australia… Please stop me—the list is too long!

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