Recent startups involve inspiring ball caps, communal dining and help for health care
I Am Awear
Jonathan Hall’s Thinking Caps aren’t about making the wearer smarter. They are a reminder to believe in yourself. “Inside the hat it says, ‘Think positive,’” said Hall. “That actually acts as a service to the person who’s wearing it. “It’s a little suggestion for them.” While the brand with its staple ball cap product is new, Hall’s passion for self-empowerment is not. The 28-year-old Hamiltonian launched his brand I Am Awear almost 10 months ago as a way to encourage people to feel good about themselves.
He had run an online service to help students in the past, and by combining that passion with his love for fashion, I Am Awear was born.
The hats come in a variety of colours, from green to black to beige, with a Velcro patch on the front and back that can be customized when I Am Awear partners with other companies on projects.
In addition to working with local businesses, Hall says he hopes to partner with schools and land an investor.
Starting the company alone has meant lots of late nights. Hall starts his part-time job at a bakery at 6 a.m., but stays up most nights until 4 a.m. working with factories in China on the design of his product. “I’m on a very different sleep cycle.” The hats are sold at the Brimz Hat Boutique in Toronto, he says, and five per cent of sales are donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
His most recent project is a red Dreamers Cap — designed with an affirmation to inspire people who are chasing their dreams.
A soon-to-be launched app will offer a way to connect Hamiltonians interested in breaking bread together.
Chez Dine, which is expected to be up and running in late August or September after about a year and a half in the works, will be the latest addition to the sharing economy, says its founder, Jen Stokes.
“I think it’s a great way for Hamilton to connect with each other in a way that is authentic and genuine,” said Stokes, who returned to the city about two and a half years ago.
The way it will work is similar to Airbnb, she says. Hosts, guests and restaurants will sign up. Hosts might offer anything from a large dinner party, to making organic baby food, to takeout. Restaurants can pay a subscription fee to be listed on the app.
Guests will scroll through, search for what they’re looking for and make their selection.
Once the transaction is complete, guests will be able to rate their pick, and hosts can do the same.
Until the app is ready to launch, they are holding a handful of dining experiences, including one on Aug. 12 called City Limits where local farmers will prepare a meal with local produce in a barn on Mineral Springs Road.
Chez Dine is meant to be a way for people to break out of their bubbles, embrace Hamilton’s diversity and experience all of the exciting things going on in the city, says Stokes. She hopes this form of communal dining might prompt people to put down their phones, chat with some strangers and learn something new about their neighbours.
“I think it’s a great way for Hamilton to connect with each other in a way that is authentic and genuine.”
A Hamilton-based health technology company is billing itself as a “clinic in a box” for physiotherapists, massage therapists and chiropractors — and a way to help make health care more efficient.
InnoCare Ltd., headed up by CEO Heather Shantora, has been offering software to support independent clinic owners outside of hospitals and doctors’ offices since it launched in April 2016.
“We then took it to independent clinics and said, ‘Hey, we can offer you all these software and services; you treat patients, which is what you do best. You get Canadians better faster, and we’ll handle all the rest,’” she said.
The idea was born out of Shantora’s experience running pt Health, the third largest chain of physiotherapy clinics across Canada. They started building software and services, like a charting program, to use at their clinics.
“We then thought if we’re doing all of these things, why wouldn’t we package it up and offer it to independent clinics,” she said.
InnoCare offers its services to 500 clinics across the country. The goal is to free health care practitioners from administrative tasks, so they can focus on treating patients, says Shantora.
The system also makes it easy to share electronic health records with among health-care practitioners.
“It’s really a win for everyone.”
While the brand with its staple ball cap product is new, Jonathan Hall’s passion for self-empowerment is not. The 28-year-old Hamiltonian launched his brand I Am Awear almost 10 months ago as a way to encourage people to feel good about themselves.