Follow a young entrepreneur’s journey with incubator13’s support amidst the pandemic
market13 is a non-profit organization that promotes young entrepreneurs around the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Run by youth for youth, market13 promotes local businesses by supporting their e-commerce journey, providing them with a platform to sell their unique products and services. Because of support from RBC Royal Bank, market13 can help small local businesses grow and prosper and develop young professionals to make a meaningful impact.
“Get what you want, but do good. Grow, but serve others. Spread the love, open up, and don’t be afraid to learn more.”
Meet Celine, a past intern of market13 and owner of NAFSI, a current vendor with the platform. She is also an alumna of the incubator13 entrepreneurship program (https://incubator13.ca/programs/), which also receives support from RBC. incubator13 focuses on providing entrepreneurs and small businesses with professional skills to start their own business or secure employment.
Celine has always been passionate about design and self-expression in the fashion industry. Born in Canada to Lebanese parents, she was surrounded by artists, musicians, and Middle Eastern grace – all of which formed the basis of NAFSI’s aesthetic.
In 2015, Celine had the opportunity to visit the United Arab Emirates, where her journey in the fashion industry began. She quickly discovered the detrimental impacts fast fashion has on the environment and vowed to create high-quality, handcrafted garments kind to our skin and the environment. She began researching alternatives and sustainable practices. With these learnings, her love for fashion, and her dedication to the environment, Celine launched NAFSI in 2020.
“Keep on pushing, do good, and stay true.”
However, Celine’s path was not without its challenges. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Celine had to stay close to her parents, and opportunities did not seem promising. After leaving Dubai, she thought it would be easy to “copy-paste” the implementation of her business in the Canadian environment. She thought wrong.
That summer, Celine found herself back in her parents’ house, starting her brand and business over from scratch – looking for new suppliers, production teams, packaging – while still managing the rest of her business halfway across the world.
Nevertheless, Celine’s plan was, and still is, to keep going. Having the opportunity to give back is what drives Celine – her purpose. She has partnered with non-profits to plant a tree per item sold, give back to underprivileged children worldwide, and support the people of Lebanon through her Beirut Giveback collection (available here: https://market13.ca/pages/seller-profile?nafsi).
market13 has provided its vendors – like Celine – with the opportunity to connect with local entrepreneurs and helped them with their e-commerce journey. Support from market13 not only enabled Celine to get her brand out and reach new audiences but gave her a platform to help other entrepreneurs succeed with their businesses as well.
Support young entrepreneurs like Celine and others here: https://market13.ca/pages/seller-profile
Closing words from Celine / Diaries of an entrepreneur:
I saw a quote that read: "Don’t let the internet rush you, no one is posting their failures".
Well internet, here are some of mine from the last 6 months:
I'm the brokest I've ever been
First time in my life that I battle anxiety
I've lost people I never thought I'd lose
Been betrayed, lied to and lied about
Been at my ultimate lowest
I've faced a thousand no's, and a million more are on the way. I just choose to see the good:
I'm the brokest I've ever been – but rich in spirit.
First time in my life that I battle anxiety – but can now relate to the illness that affects millions worldwide.
I've lost people I never thought I'd lose – but that's what helps you grow & appreciate those that are still here.
Been betrayed, lied to & lied about – and realized not everyone thinks like you.
Been at my ultimate lowest – but got to see who's really there for me.