Mark Gatto: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Mark Gatto, who created Toronto-based Neighburr to offer a range of sophisticated ball caps previously unavailable on the market. We caught up with him to find out what advice he would share with other young professionals and about his favourite places to wine and dine in the city…


Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I design clean, minimal ball caps to inject simplicity into your often-chaotic urban life.

What was the inspiration for your career route?
Two things have been constant in my life: design and ball caps. I grew up in an artistic household and have always worn ball caps. The past 12 years have been spent honing my design skills as a graphic designer. When I couldn’t find a clean and simple ball cap with minimal branding, even in a city like Toronto, I knew I had to create my own. The baseball hat options seemed to be limited to either a sports team logo or something with bold, in-your-face branding. I was searching for subtlety and nuance. I wanted to create that essential black ball cap that’s sophisticated, neutral, and perfect for my next lunch meeting, night on the town, or weekend away.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
There hasn’t been one particular milestone but rather a handful of small moments that have impacted me the most. A few kind and memorable notes from customers have confirmed why I’m doing this – to make a connection and create something that makes a person’s day a little better.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
5 years:
– Active, healthy
– Living in Toronto
– Expand Neighburr to include other apparel
– Travelling

10 years:
– Active, healthy
– Living in Toronto
– Playing in a beach volleyball tournament with my teenage daughter
– Travelling

20 years:
– Active, healthy
– Still living in Toronto but spending a few months of the year travelling/exploring new countries.


Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Be patient.

Take imperfect action! Don’t let the need to make everything 100% perfect halt your progress. There are times when getting a job done is more important than waiting until it’s perfect. It’s my mantra.

Make sure you have a mentor in your industry; someone who is objective and can offer honest feedback. Don’t rely on family and friends for this. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I support the Cancer Society as it has greatly impacted friends and family. Watching someone you love battle something as ferocious as cancer is life-changing. The typical North American lifestyle is far from ideal. We really need to evaluate how we live, what we eat, and limit our ever-increasing stress levels. We have our priorities completely backwards here.


Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
So many great choices in Toronto but I would say: Grand Electric (Mexican) – They do things so simply but incredibly well. And Pizzeria Libretto, for the same reason; great atmosphere and simple ingredients.

Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Iceland’s natural beauty is so inspiring. Everyone should follow @mikeseehagel. He takes incredible photographs of the barren landscape. It clears my head immediately. Everyone should visit Iceland at least once in their lives.


What’s your favourite cocktail?
Does beer count as a cocktail? If so, my absolute favourite is Mill Street Organic.

What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Not being able to exercise or train for beach volleyball for a prolonged period of time. When I can’t exercise I get restless. I want to get out there as much as I can. Exercise is what makes me happiest in life.

What would be your last meal? And don’t hold back…
Indian food for sure. I would also like to throw in some sort of crunchy, caramel ice cream but realistically I would die of a butter chicken and matar paneer coma long before I make it to dessert. The thought of Indian food is making my mouth water as we speak. That’s it, I’m ordering some right now.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
My sister-in-law makes fudge that is layered between Caramilk bars. It shows up during the holidays. When I’m eating it, I can feel my teeth falling out from the insane sugar content but I can’t stop. Feel like death afterwards.


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