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Leaking Awesome: An Interview with Entrepreneur Simon Martin

Art World Expo Artist Spotlight: Simon Martin

by Alyssa Laube

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Leaking awesome is a brand new t-shirt printing and design company stationed in Greater Toronto. The project, run by Simon Martin and his brother, had a humble beginning. It didn’t start out as a business venture, but rather a personal medium for self-expression. “To be honest, I just started making shirts for myself,” admitted Simon. “My desire wasn’t to make a business out of it, but people like my shirts, so I decided to sell them.” It seems to be simple as that. Simon received so many compliments on the shirts he designed and wore that he decided to share them with the world. Of course, the first step was to choose a name for the project.

“I went through many different names before coming to Leaking Awesome,” he explained. “One time, I made a Facebook status that read, “I’m leaking awesome,” to say that my awesomeness is just oozing out of me. When looking for names, I thought, “That’s kind of like my shirts.” So I settled on that name.”

Unfortunately, things got a little more complicated after that. Simon had the designs, the demand, the name and the end goal. The only thing he didn’t have was a way to efficiently produce the shirts. Because Leaking Awesome is still a relatively small company, it would be pointless to mass-produce hundreds of the same product. However, for t-shirt printing brands, that’s one of the only ways to do it. As a result of this system, Simon’s been left with a dilemma: deal with the unfitting circumstance of mass-production, or purchase his own machine? Thus, a Kickstarter was born.

The Kickstarter is for a machine that allows me to create more custom(izable) designs, he said. “Currently, the custom shirts are poor quality, overpriced, and mass-produced. I would like to change that by purchasing a machine that allows them to be high quality, affordable,and personalized.”

To help raise money for this cause, Leaking Awesome will be selling the shirts they have made at Toronto’s Art World Expo. Their starter line-up, which will be released on November 7th, will be the Leaking Awesome’s first official designs. “I gathered from the reactions of those who have seen them that they were the right ones to start the brand with,” responded Simon, about how he chose the first designs. Fans can look forward to some of those posted on the web site, including the most popular twist on Nike’s iconic design, pictured below.

So Leaking Awesome is definitely on the right track; they just need a little bit of help to get to their destination. As it is, the company is just Simon and his brother. Although the company does have help from volunteers ranging from videographers to models, they participate out of their own good will. “People help because they like the clothes and believe in Leaking Awesome,” Simon added, and when it all comes down to it, that’s why he’s there, too.

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“The goal with Leaking Awesome is to grow. If that means opening a store, awesome. But if it’s just giving a few people some cool t-shirts, I’m happy with that.”

Help Leaking Awesome achieve their goal of owning their own t-shirt printing machine, visit them at Toronto’s Art World Expo, and support Canadian businesses!

The Art of Event Planning: Kat Kou Events

The Art of Event Planning: An Interview with Kat Kou of Events by Kat Kou

An Art World Expo Spotlight 

By Alyssa Laube

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Not all of the artists that attend the AWE are exhibiting. As a matter of fact, many of the ticket holders are artists who have come to admire the work of likeminded people in their city. One of those ticket holders was Kat Kou, whose experience as a makeup artist drew her to the Expo. Upon arriving at Science World, she “fell in love with the whole concept,” and later used her skill with makeup to work at one of Monika’s Halloween events.

It was this skill that brought her to other special events, where she got a behind-the-scenes look at how they were run. Before long, she found herself “fascinated with the creative process of event planning,” and she moved to Toronto to explore her passion. “Because I always enjoyed upbeat, social environments, starting an event planning company was easy for me,” said Kat, about starting up her business, Events by Kat Kou. Since it’s inception, the company has hosted “anything from Sick Kids fundraisers to wine and cheese nights, comedy functions, and speed dating events.” Recently, she planned an indie pop show at a local Toronto bar, and in the future, she will be planning Toronto’s Art World Expo.

“I chose to work with AWE for many reasons,” said Kat, about her involvement with the Expo. “For one, I am an artist myself and enjoy surrounding myself with creative environments. It’s definitely not your average art event, as they’re always upbeat, vibrant and full of talented people! It has been successful in Vancouver for years now and I want to see the event grow. I think that AWE’s going to be big in Toronto and I am honoured to be part of the success.”

Her high opinion of the Expo combined with her talent as an event planner should ensure that it’s a night to remember. “To be in the event planning business, you definitely have to be a people person. I have always enjoyed being around people, so having an energetic and bubbly personality will get you places,” said Kat, she she has it in spades.

“I have always taken pride in my events being unique. I do not believe in limiting myself and always find a way to collaborate with local talents,” she continued, about her approach with Events by Kat Kou. “ It could be something as simple as a staff party, but I always manage to make sure everyone has a good time. Guests are usually encouraged to dress up to match the theme of event, which always makes things a lot more fun!”

It will be exciting to see how Events by Kat Kou leaves its mark on the Art World Expo. The combination of a fantastic event with a fantastic event planner cannot disappoint, especially when both sides believe wholeheartedly in the cause they’re supporting. Stay tuned to learn about which direction the event is headed in, and watch http://www.katkou.com/ for other great ways to spend your day.

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