5Qs with Industrie Co-Founder Justine Rivard

What you haven’t learned from Justine’s bio on our About page is that there is an ongoing saying in her family that holds true for Industrie: “If she wasn’t here, we would all be dead.”

It’s true. Justine is our “wizard behind the curtain” and if it wasn’t for her (and that gorgeous, giant brain of hers), Industrie would never have grown into what it is today. It would still be a crooked good-for-nuthin’ sapling sitting in a giant ditch of dirt. She’s one of the nerdiest nerds you’ll ever encounter, has a panache for seeing the big picture and gets pretty geeked up over brands and people who think outside of the box. To say she’s a keeper, well, that’s an understatement. Find out for yourself and see how she answered Industrie’s 5 questions.

Who: Justine Rivard

What: Industrie Co-Founder

Where: The boonies outside of Chicago

Our site/publication is called Industrie and we spelled it with an “ie” on purpose—it’s the French way of spelling Industry and was once defined to us as an artisan who works with their hands to create things of beauty and substance. So tell us, how do you define beauty and substance?

Let’s work backwards. Substance is the basis—it’s what makes you, you. It’s your thoughts, interests, affinities, talents, focuses, decisions, opinions, viewpoints, instincts, thought processes, communication style. It’s the foundation, frame, sheetrock, plumbing, electrical, everything that makes you stand and function. The rest is just paint and curtains.

As for beauty…I’m actually thinking about conducting a long-term study on that very subject. What is beauty? Kant says that beauty is “purposive without purpose” and can only exist in the mind of those that it holds a purpose for. I think that’s an interesting way to look at it. You could argue equally that either everything is beautiful or nothing is. But for the sake of not putting everyone to sleep right off the bat I’ll just say that I think beauty is anything that you want it to be.


What other creative outlets do you explore/practice?

Well, I like to say that I’m an “expert at many things, a master of nothing,” but really I’m just non-committal. I write quite a bit—both fiction and non (I have 3 novels in various states of “incomplete” at any given time), I draw fashion illustration-y type pictures, I paint kind of badly but it’s therapeutic for me. I also like to put furniture together (that counts, right!?!?), cook A LOT*, shoot a lot of photography both for Industrie and on my own (making some progress there, which is encouraging), and take part in a lot of rock-painting/sidewalk-chalking/general mess-making with my 1 million children (ok, 3, but sometimes it feels like a million).

*I think it’s really interesting that a lot of the creatives that we have interviewed in our time list cooking as one of their hobbies/outlets. Someday, I’d like to do a proper study on the correlation. Did I mention that I also enjoy random and mostly useless research projects?
In the non-creative arena I also run, do yoga just about daily, go for at least two hikes a week and ride my bike as much as I possibly can. I’m a bit of a nature-nut and if I don’t move at least a little bit every day I start to sound like this:

What’s your personal motto/favorite quote?

“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” It’s from Monty Python’s Flying Circus (video clip included below for your viewing pleasure).

Obviously, it’s hilarious, but one day as I was performing this shtick for the 1,000th time for some poor friend of mine that had to endure it, I realized that it’s really true. Horrible things happen, all of the time. If you take yourself out of it, horrible things are constantly happening somewhere in the world, to someone…always. I know that’s a little existential of me to say, but bear with me here, I promise there’s a happy ending. Bad things are going to happen. We don’t know when, we don’t know where or how, but it’s inevitable. All you can really do is assess your strengths, apply them as needed and then laugh about it once it passes.

The clip, as promised:

When have you felt the most vulnerable in your career?

Oh wow…hahaha, oh MAN there are a couple of ways that I could answer this that would likely get me in a lot of trouble with at least one or two people. But, to be perfectly honest, now. Right now, this month with the relaunch of Industrie is probably the most vulnerable I have ever felt. It’s the first time I’ve been largely responsible for steering a ship. There’s no fall-guy, there’s no safety net. I’m sending off this little corner of the internet with all of its lofty goals and little quirks that I helped to create out into the big wide world and hoping it swims rather than sinks.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Just be happy.”

Backstory: My now husband and I were on our second date and it was just awful. Everything that could go wrong did. He was late to pick me up, he didn’t check his plans so the place we were going to was already closed, I was starving, it took forever to find a restaurant. You name it, he bombed.

Then, the worst part: he flagged down a horse-drawn carriage to take us around the city. I am not a “grand romantic gesture” person (unless that gesture involves some type of fine wine or dark chocolate) and I have an aversion to large amounts of people watching me do things.
A carriage ride for two in Chicago pretty much sings out “Look at us!”, so I was already less than pleased and then— I asked him what his plans were, you know for life. His response “I don’t know, just be happy.”
This guy was not getting a third date.

It took me a while (read: years) to realize it*, but eventually I understood that being happy is really the only goal in life worth having. The rest is just filler.

*A fact that my husband reminds me of just about weekly “Remember how I said to ‘just be happy’ and you FREAKED out and almost never called me again? Turned out to be right, huh?”

Yes dear. You were. Now go take out the garbage.


What’s one thing most people would never know about you just from looking at you?

Honestly, this is a really hard question. I don’t often think about what other people think of me, so it’s tough to say what they wouldn’t think about me, you know? I don’t mean that in a “I’m so cool I don’t even think about what other people think” way, I am just…I don’t know, busy thinking about other things. I’m a huge nerd? I guess I don’t look like a typical nerd. No wait, I wear glasses a lot so maybe I do. Ummm…..

Dang, I honestly don’t know.

*Ok, I cheated and asked my sister. She said “That you’re a vegetarian.” So either that’s a really good answer or I don’t look very healthy…hmmm…. Also, you probably wouldn’t know that I am the youngest in my family. So, bonus answer to make up for cheating 🙂


Do you have a question for Justine? Or maybe you want to weigh with your thoughts on what beauty is or other Monty Python quotes to be considered for a personal motto? Go for it, in the comments below!

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