Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs are Sarah Kawasaki and Derrick Hodgson, who launched Fort Kids to introduce children to different realms of creativity at a young age. We caught up with the duo to find out what inspired their business and what advice they would share with other young professionals…

WORK

1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
Fort Kids is a creative studio for all things kid. We explore, create, draw, make, stitch, rip, resolve, run, repeat.

2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
The idea of Fort came on a road trip across Canada in our (now retired) ’77 Toyota Land Cruiser. Derrick had stepped away from the illustration world for a time and I had recently parted ways with a long-term business partnership in fashion. From East to West and back again, Canada’s beautiful backyard inspired us to put our resources together and create something relevant to both our passions.

3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Milestone? We feel like we have such a long way to go. Probably the best feeling so far came at our first shoot. Fort’s mandate really pushes the idea of creative communities. For our AW14 shoot we saw our community come together. Our dear friends did our photos and video. Our family, friends and neighbours were the wild child models that really brought the clothes to life. It was such a proud moment, and it really stepped things up for us. It has been a real whirlwind since then.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Building the brand, enjoying the process. Taking time to have more adventures with the kids.

5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Commit. Do your research and understand that you can’t be ON all the time. Try not to get winded when there are crashes or quick turns. Problem solving is creative, so don’t be afraid to switch gears/courses/soundtracks.

6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
We love the idea of community. Our neighbours started a great charity called Ready Set Play. RSP raises money to help underprivileged kids in Toronto play recreational sports and other activities. Getting kids out and active is very important to us, and helping the community at the youth level makes for a better future.

We also believe in supporting programs to help strengthen our community in the area of mental health – CAMH needs all the support they can get to ensure they can keep developing the kinds of programming many need, from children to adults to seniors.

7. What does the word notable mean to you?
Notable is something significant enough to retain. You tend to pass notable things on.

PLAY

1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
UNION is a great restaurant in our neighbourhood. They are really friendly there. They support local farms and their food and drinks are top-notch. There is also a fantastic mural on the wall by local Toronto Island artist Barbara Klunder.

2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser?
D: The Weather Network
S: VICE is doing pretty great things these days; I try not to miss much there.

3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Jeremy Koreski – Our great bud and amazing photographer. Jeremy recently launched an amazing book of photographs he has captured of the absolute beauty of wild BC. The book is called This is Nowhere.

4. What’s your favourite cocktail?
D: Not much for cocktails.  Good beer is key. Creemore or Howe Sound lager.

S: Dark and Stormy makes winter cozy.

5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Jeremy Koreski’s Instagram. That guy lives.

6. What would be your last meal? And don’t hold back…
D: Sarah’s roasted potatoes with flat iron steak and salad greens from our backyard.

S: I can eat my body weight in ramen at any point in the day.

7. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Our daughter’s school playground is right next to our studio. Sometimes we catch them playing at recess from our window and try not to call out for her to zip her coat up. It is a bit nosey, but we spy some pretty awesome moments.

I listen to a lot of Louis CK ranting about kids in the studio while making clothes for kids, but I don’t really feel guilty about that.

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