When Guillaume Bouchez arrived in New York eight years ago, he knew right away that he wanted to make this city his own one day. After meeting Charles Jouffre three years ago, he embraced the adventure that now drives him every day.

In 2018, Guillaume crossed paths with Charles Jouffre, who was looking for someone to take over the strategic development of Par Excellence. For Guillaume, it was the perfect opportunity to couple his entrepreneurial drive with his core passion for art, business, and creativity. Thus, he took the lead of this collective that now includes ten of the finest French craftsmen and their exceptional know-how.

Today, Par Excellence is proud that Guillaume helms the organization as an investing partner and director. His energy and dynamism gives the company the driving force to continue creating and developing new client experiences, such as the French “art de vivre”.

As we start a new year, we wanted to take stock of 2021 with Guillaume and share with you the exciting projects that are happening this year.

Guillaume, could you briefly introduce yourself and tell us about your career path? When did you become the head of Par Excellence NY?

I was born and raised in France in a traditional Parisian family with three siblings.

Specializing in sales and marketing, I started my career about 20 years ago organizing events on the French Riviera. Then, I gained experience in production, digital marketing, and business development in France and abroad.

While in New York in 2018, I had the chance to meet Charles Jouffre. At that time, he was looking for a new leader for the Par Excellence collective that he created three years prior. I was immediately excited by this opportunity, both in terms of the relationships it offered with the best French artisans and in the idea of accompanying them in the US market, which I knew well, having had the chance to work there several times throughout my career. My previous experiences allowed me to bring to the project a much more entrepreneurial perspective.

This is my third year at the helm of Par Excellence. At the time I met Charles, the collective had seven artisans and was looking to expand. Initially, the idea was to bring this group of artisans into a new dynamic, that would allow them to land more projects in the United States, and to promote French know-how, which is renowned worldwide. Charles gave me the opportunity to invest in the company. We then had the means to make strategic investments, such as our relocation to our new showroom, located in the heart of Manhattan in NoHo.

In line with the expansion of our expertise, we opened our first office outside the United States in Paris at the end of 2020, with the idea of getting closer to our craftsmen and accelerating synergies in Europe. This office, now managed by Stephanie Desbant, has allowed us to recruit new partners while bringing us closer to our current ones, and to create a new dynamic in the European market.

New York City has a particular rhythm of life. How do you take advantage of this energy?

I have always felt at home in New York. I love its dynamism, its excessiveness, it is an extraordinary city in perpetual motion. The United States is also the world’s largest importer in the interior design and architecture sector. New York is full of thousands of firms that I enjoy discovering. Even in our neighborhood in NoHo, for example, we are surrounded by many interior design and architectural firms.

Everything happens more quickly in this city of many possibilities, but that’s what I like. I like when things are moving forward and when new projects are taking shape.

I ran the New York City marathon last November. I was amazed by the fervor of the fans in the street and in Central Park and especially by the strength of some runners who were much older than I am and their determination to cross the finish line. It is this energy that motivates me on a daily basis and pushes me to surpass myself, in my professional and personal life.

What motivates you on a daily basis in your job?

Par Excellence is a very comprehensive project which has given us the opportunity to introduce our artisans to the world’s leading architecture and interior design firms. We are very fortunate to be able to work on some stunning projects not only in New York, but now throughout the United States. I am on very good terms with many of these great designers, some have become friends and it is a privilege to be able to work with them.

The entire team and I have also developed a special relationship with our exceptional artisans. Each workshop has its own personality, its own trademark and its own way of working, and it’s always very stimulating to get to know them and to blend the personalities of each one. It is especially rewarding to work with these artists at heart, to build relationships with them and to work hand in hand on a project when it comes to fruition.

Can you give us an overview of 2021? What happened at Par Excellence? What are the projects that have inspired you this past year?

There are three highlights which, in my opinion, marked 2021. First of all, we welcomed two new artisans to the collective, increasing the variety of know-how we offer. Auberlet et Laurent, a company dating back to 1873 and specializing in decorative plasterwork, joined us this past summer. It was the promise of new stakes and new challenges that made this family business decide to join the collective. A few months ago, Souchet Inspired Woodwork also joined our collective. We are very happy that they have chosen us to represent them and that they trust us for their business in the American market.

We receive more and more calls for new projects for several of our craftsmen. Jeffrey Maynard and Martin Brûlé, to name but a few, are currently working hand in hand on new creations with several of our talented artisans. For us, this is a testament of the growing confidence of our clients in our work. In addition, we have noticed that more and more of America’s top designers are coming back to us, regardless of the nature of their project. This confirms the fact that our collective is gradually building an international reputation among the most influential designers and architects.

November was a very exciting month for Par Excellence. At the beginning of that month, two big events were organized by our teams. The first one was the inauguration of the Ballroom and Marble Room of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy that was entirely conceived and renovated by Atelier de Ricou. A cocktail party was organized at the Villa Albertine on Fifth Avenue, welcoming emblematic figures of the design world and the recently appointed Editor in Chief of World of Interiors magazine. It was a real thrill to see this project that we had carried through the Covid crisis come to fruition after several months of back and forth.

As part of our second event that we organized in November, we inaugurated new workshops for our partner Ateliers Jouffre in Long Island City. For years they rented space for their workshop but they recently bought a nearby building to create an even bigger workshop. The day after the event at the French Embassy, we hosted the opening night party of Jouffre’s incredible new workshop. It was quite a busy sequence of events, but seeing these two projects come to life was for our team as well as our partners the culmination, the final outcome of these last months of hard work.

How did the two new partners Auberlet et Laurent and Souchet Woodwork join? What were the stages of their integration?

When a new partner joins the collective, the integration process is always pretty similar. We start with a thorough visit of their workshop (all located in the four corners of France!), in order to better understand their know-how and to meet the teams. A lot of work is done in sourcing and reviewing completed projects so that we can use these as examples. Our teams are obviously trained in the artisan’s expertise and will familiarize themselves with all the technical vocabulary, so as to be able to explain their know-how as well as possible to clients.

Then comes the first round of meetings that we organize with design agencies in New York. This is when we get to the heart of the matter, giving an overview of our dynamics and our investment with interior designers and architects.

Do you have any exciting news to share with us for 2022? What’s next?

We are constantly looking for new talent to expand the collective and provide it with new know-how that we do not yet represent. We are looking forward to the arrival of new partners, to offer expertise that we do not yet possess.

For 2022 we are working on several new and ambitious projects. We are currently working on the draft for these promising ideas but we want to keep the mystery alive for a while so please watch this space for some exciting news down the line!

We are also looking forward to working with clients on future projects around the US and we are also finalizing our plans for our soon to be renovated showroom which we are so thrilled about!

Can you tell us more about the Par Excellence showroom renovation project?

The idea for this project began when I arrived three years ago. We wanted our space to be completely decorated by using all of the skills from our artisans in the collective. Now that we are in our current location in NoHo, the renowned interior designer Thomas Pheasant has begun working with our craftsmen to realize this beautiful project. Thomas went to France several times and visited our partners and their workshops to discover their exceptional skills. He then designed the various pieces of furniture, decorative panels and rugs that will adorn our showroom and reflect the skills of our talented artisans. The craftsmen are busy creating these exceptional pieces and we plan to install everything in the coming months.

Par Excellence’s New York showroom is a space that was destined from the beginning to live and transform. When I arrived, it was nothing like what it looks like today. We have recently set up a second materials library, where the samples of our two newest craftsmen are displayed, as well as those of Manufacture de Tapis de Bourgogne. I invite you to visit us before the renovation begins as it is worth the detour!

We can’t wait to unveil this special renovation project to you very soon!

Please do not hesitate to contact us and to book a visit to our showroom for any information requests and to help make 2022 a year full of inspiring projects!