Artis Paysage : combining arts and business

Since its inception in 2017, the landscaping company Artis Paysage has been continuously growing, both in Quebec and Morocco. Landscape manager and designer Krystel Bélisle shares her unique journey, her encounter with her business partner Kenza Khayatey, and her passion for entrepreneurship.

“Ever since I was young, when I start something, I really go all in!” exclaims Krystel Bélisle, who, before venturing into business at the age of 22, already had an extensive background as a professional ballet dancer.

In 2010, while studying kinesiology at the University of Ottawa, she was simultaneously holding several student jobs, one of which was in a nursery. That’s where she got introduced to the landscaping sector and developed a passion for management: “I was really passionate about dance, but also about sales and business. I redirected my studies to the Telfer School of Management, and then it was my work at the nursery that inspired me to start my own company: Garden Staging.”

Krystel’s first venture, which involved offering outdoor flips for property sales, was a resounding success for two years. “Garden Staging was a great way for me to utilize my creativity, the artistic side I had developed in dance, but also my managerial side,” the young entrepreneur believes.

From Stonehaven to Artis Paysage

Besides providing Krystel with an excellent learning opportunity, Garden Staging helped expand her contacts in the landscaping and real estate sectors. “I approached brokers to offer my services. This allowed me to acquire about fifteen new clients.” In 2016, a satisfied client then proposed her first major project: Stonehaven Le Manoir.

Located in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Stonehaven is a historic manor converted into a luxurious hotel, whose garden required a complete restoration. “It was a unique opportunity to showcase my design capabilities! The project was challenging because it required a lot of thought and extensive research on the building’s history,” she recalls.

To design this extraordinary garden (which also led to the creation of the hotel’s logo), the designer collaborated with three landscape architecture interns. One of them was Kenza Khayatey, her future business partner: “We had a really great synergy, and we complemented each other on every level! I felt that, like me, she valued the artistic aspect of the project. That made us want to start a company together: Artis Paysage.”

Strength in Unity

Since 2017, the two women have been managing a company that specializes in the design, realization, and maintenance of residential and commercial gardens. Krystel handles operations in Quebec (Montreal, Laurentians, and South Shore), while Kenza oversees those in Morocco, where she returned to settle during the pandemic. The Quebec team of about fifteen people also includes Romain Renoult, a new partner who ensures the quality of the Quebec projects.

These days, new projects at Artis Paysage are multiplying, so much so that this year the company will form a team based in the Laurentians due to high demand – in Tremblant, Saint-Sauveur, and Saint-Hippolyte, in particular. Krystel is even considering a short-term expansion to the United States.

“Without the support of networks like Groupex, we simply wouldn’t make it! Being part of a buying group increases our credibility with clients and greatly simplifies our purchasing process. The support from Groupex also saves us management time, which we can then devote to all the great projects we lead,” she estimates.

Krystel also cites other networks and partnerships contributing to her company’s growth, including APPQ, Rocvale, and MU Architecture. “Throughout my journey, I’ve interacted with many people who have allowed me to learn and grow as a landscape designer. I’ve also met several women entrepreneurs, including the president of Elles de la construction, who have greatly inspired me in my approach,” shares Krystel, who is very excited to unveil several new prestigious projects this year.

Text: Marie Mello

Photographs: Joëlle Poirier