When Dylan Thompson-Mckay joined a woodshop class his last semester of Grade 12 he was 17 years old and never imagined he would ended up making a business out of it, Elwood Pens. While golfing over the summer with a banker from Toronto; Dylan realized that there was a market for handcrafted wood pens and a new venture coming up.
“Wait, you can just start you own company? You don’t have to work for somebody else?”, Dylan wondered when he was first introduced to the term Entrepreneur. After that, he began working for his own business everyday. As a young entrepreneur, he recognizes that it was not an easy start. Dylan started to make pens in his uncle’s garage. He then made them in a shed on his own backyard without heat or power, using a portable light, for about two years.
Even when Dylan moved to Halifax, as a full-time student back in September 2016, he still had to travel every weekend to his hometown, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. For four months, he went home each week to make pens, meeting order requests. But this was soon about to change.
Not long after joining Saint Mary’s University, Dylan started to make different connections and gaining multiple skills through pitch competitions, networking events and meeting students that like him were passionate about entrepreneurship.
Through the SMU Entrepreneurship Centre Acting Director, Michael Sanderson and The Spark Zone Manager, Jason Turner, Dylan was able to find his first woodshop space to keep up with the pen orders and his current 500 sq feet studio in downtown Halifax after.
As Dylan says, moving to Halifax and joining Saint Mary’s University was one of the best decisions that he made for him and his business, Elwood Pens.
“So far, Saint Mary’s has provided me with some of the best business talents in Atlantic Canada…What I have been doing is finding talented people who are invested and who wants to build something together”
On Monday July 16th, Dylan and his team opened the doors of Elwood Pens to the public.
His team is formed by his brother and three skilled students that he was connected to through the society Enactus Saint Mary’s.
After four years of hard work and constant learning, Dylan is proud of how far he has gotten in his career as an entrepreneur. He also admits that although he has been able to develop a set of entrepreneurial skills, he still has a lot to learn and notes:
‘I can always reach out with the Entrepreneurship Centre which is a great support system. Michael, Jason, or anybody who works there can help me figure out what I need or connect me to someone who would”
Sales Tactic by Dylan – “When you are at networking event, don’t make the conversation all about yourself, make it about how you can provide value to the other person”
Check Elwood Pens out at https://elwoodpens.ca/
1574 Argyle Street