BY ALYSSA MAHADEO
You can either go hard or go home. That’s the attitude you have to take in a world where you either wait for the money to come to you, or you go out there and find it. The younger generation faces many challenges in a growing economy and for most; everyday is a struggle to get closer to fulfilling their dreams.
For 20-year-old Mark Antoine, a humble and introverted student from Humber College, what started off as a hobby has now evolved into a business venture that he has big plans for in the future. Mark came to Canada when he was thirteen years old from the beautiful country of Grenada. He attended Cardinal Léger High School and is currently enrolled in the General Arts and Science Program at Humber College.
Mark started his business right here in Brampton in April of 2014. He was interested in eco-friendly products, looking to create something that was useful as well as unique. He did some research and stumbled upon a durable nylon material, a heavy duty and strong material mainly used in camping equipment known formally as parachute cord. He has found a way to make it look stylish and chic for everyday wear by adding charms, words and beads in his designs to really make a statement.
Mark’s creations range from parachute cord bracelets, key chains, custom designs as well as a range of wooden beaded bracelets, necklaces and whatever else his creative mind prompts him to make. Every single one of Mark’s creations is handmade by himself, and he spends 2-3 hours at a time crafting his bracelets, meticulously choosing each design braiding and stringing everything together, dedicating all of his efforts to making sure he always has a full stock so he can be ready to jump on any opportunity that might come his way.
Mark’s designs come in all different colours and are unisex so anyone can enjoy them. He makes a lot of his business through the elementary and secondary school students, but tailors his stock to whichever crowd he is going to put his products in front of. Depending on the time of year, or what is popular in the world of fashion, Mark comes up with designs and ideas around major holidays and events, always keeping an ear open to hear what the customers demand.
Once a year at his college, the school student association hosts the HSF Farmer’s Market which allows students to bring their product and sell it at the school for a few hours. There is never enough time at these events and Mark has taken it upon himself to seek out other events where he can sell his accessories. He has been able to display and sell his creations a various events hosted throughout the city such as Caribana, Grenada Day, Jerk Fest and even during the World Cup and Pan-Am Games. This year he took a chance and got himself a booth at Carabram, taking a risk to see how he could use the event as an opportunity to network and make more business.
The creative process has found a way to keep Mark productive in his down time, also finding himself a way to make some money at a young age. His business mind is always working, looking for new ways to market and sell his product, which he eventually wants to expand out into stores like American Eagle, Aldo Accessories or maybe even his very own Mall kiosk.
Looking toward the immediate future, Mark wants to open up his own store on the Etsy Marketplace so that his creations can be available online and then launch his own website. Right now he is in the process of branding his product, and he has settled on the name WristSource, a creative and attractive name that says to ‘Be WristSource-ful!’
Mark says enthusiastically “I would love to have the opportunity to pitch my company on Dragon’s Den.” Mark keeps himself busy as a Youth Group Facilitator at Cassie Campbell in Brampton, as well as being a full-time college student. He is driven, and hard working young man, but knows exactly what he wants. The time that he has spent dedicated to building his business is a reflection of someone who goes after what they want regardless of what it takes. He is part of the young generation that will be making waves in the future to come.