Tuesday, November 27, 2012

YXE: WakeUp Apparel

How was the name “WakeUp” chosen?
I got the idea while driving back from the lake last Summer. I was bouncing around ideas with Malerie. I wanted to do something that makes a difference while selling clothing to create awareness. Initially, “Wake” was chosen because of water sports and “up” was chosen to get people up and active. But when I put more thought into it, I really wanted to integrate the ideology of “waking up” and being aware that we take a lot of our great times for granted and there are youth out there that experience none of it especially the lake life. The Canadian Summer is the best season of the year and we want to share that with youth who don’t have the opportunity to experience it.

What does your business do?
WakeUp Apparel is a non-profit organization. There are two aspects to the business. First is the apparel side, sales of clothing stay within the organization to go towards camps and the shirts are only the beginning of a full apparel line. The brand is to be run like a regular clothing company.
The second part of the business is the operation of day-long wakeboard and youth development camps. The wake camps provide youth who do not have the opportunity to get out and experience the things we get such as going on a boat, hanging out with friends and hanging out at the beach. The camp teaches kids how to wakeboard or water ski and maybe wakesurf. The camps will also provide the youth with leadership and goal-setting skills to empower them make positive life choices.

Who it benefits?
We have begun to meet with an assortment of organization within the community to develop partnerships to ensure that we are positively reaching out and impacting a deserving group of youth in the community. That is our number one focus for the organization and it always will be. That being said, we also like to think that other parties involved with the development of our programs are also benefitting. When we seek out corporate sponsors, we want to ensure their contribution, whether is it in-kind or cash based, is fully recognized and aligned with their nature of business.

How it benefits?
First off, the youth who attend our camps are going to experience some of the best of times out on the water. That being said, we can rely on that alone to empower them to make positive life choices. Sure, it may motivate them to strive to be able to afford a massive boat but we aren’t shooting for that. The organization will be recruiting committee members and board members to ensure that our camps are powerful and motivating on a personal level with the attendees. I want them to leave with skills that will enable them to make the right choices in life, to be motivated to lead others, and to create positive examples of their actions to their peers.

What is the yearly plan for Wake Up Apparel?
The focus this year is the camps (self sustained and growth)
There will be three camps this summer, which have already been budgeted for and after only a few weeks of operations, we are very much on track with that. The support has been gratifying and overwhelming. Approximately 10 kids will attend each camp in July and August at Blackstrap Lake, if the support continues to grow, we will be able to either increase attendance or hold another camp. The camps encompass water sports lessons, semi-pro demonstration, leadership and goal setting sessions, campfires, meals, as well as some swag for the children and a series of photos and videos to capture memories.

How can people contribute?
First off, purchasing a shirt or any product. Since we are a non-profit organization, we are retaining all of the revenue within it so every item sold will have a direct impact on the success of the organization.  
Business can get involved through strategic partnerships. Properly aligning their offerings to our offerings. For example, gear, printing, food and cash donations. Businesses will be recognized for it. We will also be developing some pretty sweet marketing campaigns that will require the assistance of in-kind sponsorship. This will not only allow us to offer some wicked prizes for these campaigns but it will also allow for businesses to receive substantial recognition alongside.
We also have various volunteer positions available. We are seeking committee members, who will directly work in the planning of our camps, advisory board members, who will oversee the committee members, as well as an assortment of camp volunteers that will be present during the day-long wake camps.

History in the industry
I grew up spending my summers at Murray Lake, Saskatchewan. I spent every summer there for two months a year. My family has been involved in water sports for my entire life. I started with water skiing at a young age and then began wake boarding which lead to wake surfing. The past two summers I have been teaching friends and kids of friends how to surf behind the boat. Seeing their expressions and the sheer joy they had just rocked my world. From surfing without the rope or just getting up, it was always such a blast!

One thing you can’t leave the house without?
I am so reliant on my iPhone. I could probably leave without pants before I could separate from it.

Favourite beverage?
Hands down, Dr. Pepper. I swear I could drink about 15 of them… Just like Forest Gump.

Celebrity wifey?
Good question… I don’t even know…

Favourite restaurant?
Would people frown at me if I said McDonalds… Kidding. Umm… I have three go-to places in the city that I will always love. Sushiro, Amigos, and The Wok.

Who inspires you?
My number 1 is Steve Jobs for so many reasons. 1. His ability to communicate his vision and passion for Apple was huge. If more people could do that with businesses today, we would have so many awesome entrepreneurs out there. Thankfully people are getting better at it and there are so many cool ventures popping up in our own backyard because of this! 2. He rarely gave a sh*t about what others thought of him and his ideas. I think that is what made him so successful. The more people spend hiding from other’s nasty comments and jealousy, the greater chances for them lose focus of what they love.

Locally though, there are so many stunners out there doing amazing things and that is driving me to do something awesome too. You have people like Bryan McCrea of 3Twenty, Ainsley Robertson of The Princess Shop, David Luba and the Emsley bros at Ten Tree, and Kendal Netmaker of Neechie Gear to name a few. These people, all young, are leading a generation of game changers, they are going against what is “safe and secure” and are creating the most amazing of ventures. I come across more ever so often and that just goes to show how awesome some of the people are right here in Saskatchewan.  

Any last words?
If you just sit there in school, finish your assignments and get your good grades, you receive a piece of pretty paper in return. You and 5,000 others. Make your move. 

Check out his website and his social media accounts below:

Thanks Toran for spending time with us to do an interview. Good luck in the future.

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