Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is furniture craftsman Martin Byers, who launched ThankU.ca as an outlet to showcase and sell his high-quality custom designs. We caught up with him to find out what inspired his career and what advice he would share with other young entrepreneurs…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I design and build fine furniture and creative heirloom products.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
I always pursue my passions. Even the bill-paying jobs of my past, and possibly future, have been part of my need to work towards a bigger goal or to position myself towards what I intend to be great at.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Personally delivering an Abacus desk to a client in Norwalk, Conn., and visiting New York.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
In 5 to 10 years, I’d love to have a large acreage of land with a big shop and be working with a handful of talented, creative craftsmen. This space would be connected to a showroom/cafe/bakery. In 20 years, watch out for a ThankU boutique hotel.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Have an interesting passion and don’t be afraid to be a geek about it! Artists need to produce to improve, so get on with it! Get a GoDaddy website – getting started is simple! A website is a great way to showcase your work. And get on social media to share what you love doing and sell your work.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
My charitable ways can be described as “you can’t help everyone everywhere but you can help someone somewhere,” and being aware and open to help is key. We all have someone near and dear to us who could need our help desperately, at any moment. To be genuinely there at that moment is everything.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Knowing nothing about websites, web design or web hosting, I was fortunate to have a friend help me set up my website www.thankU.ca with GoDaddy before I was even building furniture. Making fine furniture isn’t always the prettiest process. The workshop is a true craftsman’s paradise — but it’s not necessarily the right environment to show off the beauty of my furniture to customers. That’s where my website takes over. It’s like the front door of my business, it looks professional, and it has everything I want you to see and everything I want my business to represent.
I now get help from Kelly at niceladyproductions.com. We met when she ordered a desk from me and now she handles all my website needs.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
To be notable is to be remembered positively.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
Canoe Brew Pub is my number one! Beautiful patio, fun staff, great beers on tap, and the food is local and fresh.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
I love classic cars, so I often visit hemmings.com. I don’t really listen to music.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
ME! You can find me at @thankU.ca. I also follow @mcqueenlifestyle on Instagram as I love the images showcasing the classic style of an era where class and quality seem to be more important than profits and power.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Mexico is my favourite country to visit. Cape Town, South Africa, in the near future.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
If you don’t like where you’re headed… that would suck.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I wish I didn’t have to spend so much money on my truck so I would have more to spend on fine spirits.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Being genuine, enjoying your work, exploring the world near and far, keeping things in a worldly perspective, and laughing until your face hurts.