Meet Marc Reppin (MBA '04) Co-founder and Partner of AniZet Designs
Marc Reppin (MBA '04) always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but it was a talk by a fellow alum that spurred him to start AniZet Designs and bring his passion for running his own business to fruition. You can meet Marc at our upcoming "Made by Rotman" Holiday Market on December 2nd.
The "Made by Rotman" Holiday Market is in its second year, showcasing the unique consumer products created by the Rotman community. Meet Rotman alumnus and entrepreneur Marc Reppin, one of our 30+ vendors participating this year. Learn more about the Market here.
What made you want to participate in Rotman's Holiday Market this year?
Undertaking an entrepreneurial venture can be isolating at times. And after an absence of a couple of years I had been wanting to reconnect with the Rotman community. One of the great things about a business school is the networking opportunities it affords. The Holiday Market seemed like a great way to connect with fellow students and grads doing similar things, and to compare notes. You never know where it might lead.
Were you always interested in being an entrepreneur? Is AniZet your first entrepreneurial experience? What prompted you to start AniZet?
Although AniZet is the first time I have started and run my own business, several of my past work experiences have had strong entrepreneurial and startup elements. I was employee number 4 at @Home Canada (later Excite@Home), which was run as a startup. When Excite@Home shut down, I had the good fortune to move to Rogers, which for a large corporation nevertheless had a strong entrepreneurial culture thanks to Ted Rogers’ enduring influence. And for fun, during a brief hiatus after Rogers, I started with a friend of mine a small Wordpress / Google Maps mashup that captured vernacular histories of locations, be they landmarks, architecture, businesses or just street corners. I really enjoyed all three of those experiences, and even though they were very different, they all shared an entrepreneurial thread.
I started AniZet thanks to those experiences, which showed me that I really liked certain aspects of entrepreneurship -- the idea of building a brand from scratch, solving problems across a range of disciplines, continually learning, and taking calculated risks. I wanted to challenge myself, to bootstrap an online business out of nothing.
How did you meet your business partner, Christine Tatilon?
At the time, Christine lived on my street and our kids went to the same school. She actually became friends with my wife, who introduced us and the idea that we should consider working together.
What advice would you give to someone interested in running their own business?
Be prepared to play the long game. Listen, be resilient, be flexible. Your plan, product, customer and market may all end up being completely different from what you anticipated at the start.
Who at Rotman impacted you the most?
Fred Dawkins (BComm '67, MA UofT), an entrepreneur affiliated with the Creative Destruction Lab, motivated me to start AniZet, although I don't think he has any idea. He wrote a series of books about entrepreneurship. I saw him speak at Rotman when the first one, The Everyday Entrepreneur, came out. That book had a strong influence.
How do you stay on top of trends in your industry?
I read a lot of books, periodicals and blogs, and listen to a variety of podcasts among other sources. I find that thanks to the Internet and social media, I can find knowledgeable and credible sources on just about anything. And, of course, if Rotman is hosting an event related to digital and/or entrepreneurship, I try to be there.