We All Need A Breather

This is a repost from something I wrote in August 2014 after trying the newly founded startup Breather. I was having the same kind of thoughts today so I wanted to revisit what I had written three years ago. And it seems to be still very true.


When I visit Starbucks, it is never for their bold pick of the day. It’s usually to enjoy their services. I find Starbucks to be a good place to meet someone new, wait between two meetings, draw something, start an article, etc. When I do that, I usually get an Americano, decaf, that costs two dollars. It’s a living room, we know that. They know that.

It got me thinking that bars and fast-foods serve the same purpose. You need to meet with your friends so you go to a bar and end up buying overpriced, poorly made drinks. But you get the space. After spending a night at the bar, you want a casual place to have a laugh so you hit the nearest fast food and grab a slice of pizza. And you get the table to comes with it.

But sometimes, you need calm, on demand.

That brings me to Breather, a Montreal based startup founded by Julien Smith. Breather is a new kind of calm-on-demand service. Through a mobile app, you can unlock private, quiet spaces to work, relax or meet a friend.

I had the chance to test one of the first rooms Julien and his team set up. I used it to have a good discussion with my friend Alex about our new web project. We enjoyed the fact that it was for a limited time and in a minimal space. It forced us to attack our challenges, everything around reminded us of why we needed to meet in the first place.

Just like a “stay focus” computer tool, but in “real life”.

Just like a “stay focus” computer tool, but in “real life”.

Breather also feels like a mini hotel room where you can lay, relax and work in an environment that you control. It´s yours. For a few hours.

Paying for calm and privacy

There’s a huge market for calm and privacy. Cafes on the low-end, hotels on the high-end. Breather seems to be in the middle and instead of selling you cafes or jacuzzi, its tackling the problem directly. It will be interesting to see if people actually pay for Breather or if the service will need a physical product like the cheap players of the calm industry to hit the mainstream.

Unfortunately, people who really need to calm down and enjoy some time alone won’t. It seems really easy to get people to pay for stressful experiences (movies, sports, news) but much harder for relaxing ones.

More at http://www.breather.com