Young entrepreneur sees the light

Young entrepreneur sees the light

To start up four separate companies is a sign of dedication and entrepreneurial savvy. To do so by the age of 19 is nothing short of amazing.

Local resident Evan Kosiner, however, has done just that. He launched his first startup business – Carabiner Productions, which produced nationally aired commercials for Report on Business and a corporate video for a Fortune 500 company – as a 13-year-old while attending Forest Hill Public School.

Kosiner began his career in front of the cameras, working as a Canadian reporter for the U.S.-based WHAM-TV network and doing segments for a variety of Canadian and American productions. While he enjoyed the work, he was eager to try new challenges as, he said, "there's only so far you can go in TV when you're 13 or 14."

 

From there, Kosiner quickly set out on the road toward starting his own business.

"It took some work, but the biggest problem I had was that I was 13 and the government didn't really know what to do with me," he said. "I didn't have a (Social Insurance) number and there was a lot of protocol they have to follow that didn't apply to me."

After a full day spent waiting to secure a business license, however, Kosiner managed to pull through and launched the company, which stayed in operation until last year, when Kosiner decided to channel his energies elsewhere.

At age 16, he started up Exclusive Entertainment ( www.cabindjs.com ), a Forest Hill-based party organizing and DJ company specializing in Sweet 16 parties and bar and bat mitzvahs. While Kosiner had an insider's knowledge as to what would make for a cool party – he was, after all, the age of those parties' intended guests – he also showed a business sense belying his young age.

"I think I had an eye for the small things that clients usually enjoy," he said. "Because it was a DJ business, I was living a pretty nocturnal lifestyle anyway, so I told them they could call me anytime up until 2 a.m. If there was something keeping them awake, I'd rather they call me and let me deal with it than lay awake worrying about it."

He also shared some common sense advice about the parties with all clients that some larger companies might overlook or consider outside their realm of responsibility.

"You're going to have 400 or 500 kids showing up, so one thing I always said is that people should have a Molly Maid show up the next day," he said. "If you're already spending thousands of dollars, you might as well spend the extra hundred bucks so you don't have to clean up all night and still wake up to a big mess to clean the next day."

Kosiner's most recent venture is Uplights By Design ( www.uplightsbydesign.com ), which rents out and sets up LED lights for weddings and other big parties. The lights are gaining traction as a trend at upscale wedding receptions.

"The lights provide great mood and atmosphere for a party and they can turn the crappiest banquet hall into a beautiful room," he said. "The client can choose what colour or colours they want, and the room just glows."

The lights are an upgrade over traditional lighting cans, which heat up and waste energy. LED lights stay cool and the bulbs have an average lifespan of 11 years. While the cost of LED lights can be prohibitive for some companies, Kosiner said he has managed to import high-quality equipment from China, cutting down on his own overhead costs.

"Most other companies I've seen charge $50 to $60 per light but because I found the best-priced supplier, I can charge $29 a fixture," he said.

Kosiner is also ironing out some details before launching GoCARDS ( www.gocards.ca ), a printing house specializing in postcards, business cards and other print jobs on card stock.

"I'm just looking to find the best environmental solution for clients because everyone's expressing a desire to go green," he said. "I'm looking into things like soy-based inks and getting 100 per cent recycled card stock."

Though Kosiner's resume may be unique, the third-year Ryerson University radio and television arts student still finds time to have a social life. While some of the money he makes through his companies goes toward new startup ventures, he jokes that, "a lot of it goes to supporting my girlfriend."

Even more impressive than his entrepreneurial success is the fact that Kosiner did it largely on his own. While his parents were always supportive of his entrepreneurial ways, he made a point of not leaning on them for financial support.

"They've been there if I needed help getting a credit card or something, but I was the go-getter," he said.

For more information on Uplights By Design, call 416-485-9333.

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