Business partners and men about town Michael Motamedi and Ayman Hbeichi have created possibly the coolest new men’s accessory: Baffi Wooden Pocket Squares. Yeah, you read that right. These wooden wonders are like 22nd Century style for the 21st Century man. Naturally, Michael and Ayman will be showing off their uber-cool line of men’s accessories at the upcoming Modern Man: Official Event for Men on July 11th at Roy Thomson Hall. It’ll be the ultimate guys’ night out, filled with style, food, booze, performances, cigars, and everything and anything the modern man needs in his life. Let’s find out more about these stylish gents, shall we?
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
We are the co-founders of Baffi, a company that designs and hand-crafts wooden pocket squares and men’s fashion accessories.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
When we came up with a very cool and unique idea – the wooden pocket square – we realized that it didn’t exist in the marketplace and it was our chance to get involved in a competitive industry that we both love and are passionate about: men’s style. This was our chance to etch out our niche and we took it! That’s when our whole journey began.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part has to be that we are doing something that we both love. We’re so lucky that our work allows us to meet incredible people, and when someone puts on one of our squares and truly loves what they’re wearing, that really solidifies everything for us.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
Considering we are best friends outside of Baffi, sometimes it is hard to differentiate between meetings and hanging out. There are times that we’ll be with other friends on a casual outing, and somehow it turns into a formal business meeting between ourselves.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Designing and creating wooden accessories for men and women while growing the brand into a globally recognized name. Most of all, we’d like to see the Baffi Wooden Pocket Square be a staple in every man’s closet.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Budgeting and time management; being able to determine where and when to spend our time and money. We realized that balance is so important when growing a company. We’re still learning to overcome it, but as time goes by and we realize what works and what doesn’t, it becomes a little easier.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success = freedom! If money brings freedom then maybe it does equal happiness. Freedom lets us be as creative as we’d like in an industry that we love.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Making our first sale in a retail environment. We knew that our first challenge would be to get into retailers, but the real test would be the consumer buying our product. Once we found out the retailer was selling the product and getting a positive response, we knew that we had proven ourselves to the market. We weren’t the only ones who thought our products were both fashionable and functional. It’s like having this amazing dream, then waking up and realizing it’s actually happening.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
To keep pushing forward is probably the most difficult part in anyone’s life. There are going to be people that tell you it won’t work and there will be people that tell you what you want to hear. Just stay motivated by doing what you love and everything will fall into place. As Zig Ziglar once said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”
Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
MM: King West. It’s just filled with life in the winter and in the summer. And no matter what you are in the mood for, you can find it. And, most of all, you are always surrounded by cool people.
AH: So many amazing restaurants in Toronto. Right now it’s The Chase – fresh seafood, beautiful decor, amazing service.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
MM: Finding new, cool things Toronto has to offer. Every city has qualities that are taken for granted, and once you step outside of your comfort zone it’s as though you’re discovering something all over again.
AH: Anywhere quiet and relaxing. Or the gym.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
MM: Give me a beach. Why? The feeling the ocean gives can never be replicated.
AH: Anywhere new, scenic, and exciting where my curiosity can roam. Definitely needs to have a beach!
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
“Forever Young” by Alphaville. There is something about staying young at heart that really keeps you current. Staying current isn’t about acting your age, it’s about living with the times and moving at the speed of the present. (PS: The scene in Napoleon Dynamite when they play this song is amazing!)
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
We would be doing another project, building another company, just paving our paths to success in another way.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
We are currently looking for local charities and community organizations to support. We’ll be allocating a certain budget at the end of our first year towards one or two charities that are close to our hearts.
What to you is notable?
MM: A person that never gives up, but at the same time never loses sight of what they know is right and wrong.
AH: Anything that sparks my curiosity and anyone who is worth having a conversation with.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
We like to have the best of both worlds.