Sébastien Toursel, bartender and entrepreneurPhotography : Camille Noyon - Text : Julien Damon
After having spent his childhood in Chantilly, Sébastien Toursel, a Franco-Irish youngster bursting with energy, quickly moved away. From Brussels to Ibiza, and all around France, he went partying, DJing and mixing cocktails. That is how he became a bartender. « It was an experience in freedom. And it allowed me to earn my living », as he highlights. The atmosphere of excitement, the relationships, the ephemeral or eternal communities around bars : all these things have been thrilling him over the years. Traveling, changing horizons, feeling as if you are setting off for an adventure as well. « The good thing about being a bartender is that you can work everywhere ».
Along the way, Sébastien discovers on the internet a web series named The Bartender Hates You. It portrays a surly bartender and describes through him the life of bars as seen from behind the counter. He likes the idea, including the accompanying provocations, caricatures and ironic celebrations of the highs and lows of the job. Taking inspiration from it, he creates Le Barman Vous Déteste, a website, blog and Facebook page, and turns it into a meeting spot for a community of bartenders in search of tips and tricks, shared stories, branded clothes and accessories. Sébastien the bartender thus becomes an entrepreneur, at the helm of an online commerce business which enables him to live out his passion.
Moving from place to place as a travelling bartender and working to make a living had pulled Sébastien away from Senlis, where his parents live. He has now returned in order to go back to school. So far, classes hadn’t been his strong suit. « I managed to pass the baccalaureate through a miracle. Mostly because of my strength in English ». A year at Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris, which quickly became busy with parties, pubs and bars more than with classes. Ultimately, the willingness to learn more stemmed from his business project and the experience he had been gathering from growing it. Sébastien thus decides to go back to Saint-Vincent High School for a degree in web marketing. And this time, he fully invests himself in it.
As the delegate for all post-baccalaureate students, he both completes his own course of studies and cares for the students’ community. Joining theory with practice, he seeks out local shopkeepers to propose his expertise of the digital world. « Every business today needs to be on social media » he says. And he knows what he is talking about, from the experience he has acquired creating and developing his own community, which is now more than 70.000 members strong, around « Le Barman Vous Déteste ».
Right now, Sébastien is working specifically for a tattoo parlour in Senlis. Tattooing is both a very old practice, tracing back to the neolithic era, a tribal ritual, most notably in some Asian societies, and for a few years, after a long period of disgrace, a fashion phenomenon in the West. 20% of French people today are estimated to wear tattoos. « Tattooers can be great artists » he says. « Both tattooers and the tattooed community deserve to be put forward and appreciated more positively. » Going back to his Irish roots, he has himself had tattoos made on his arms and chest depicting representations of Nordic mythologies and Icelandic sagas.