Zack Hynick was 11-years old, living in Bridgewater when his mother bought a set of old buoys on-line. She wasn’t thrilled with the look of them when they arrived, so she gave them to Zack and asked him to paint them over.
And a business was born.
“He was really good,” mom Danielle Hynick said of Zack’s nautical theme and natural artistic ability. He turned to his grandfather, James Drouin of Martins River, for help making the natural wood product. “It was pretty easy to go to my grandfather. He was excited. He’s an amazing woodworker,” Zack said his grandfather made the pattern, designed all the cuts and helped source and price the wood.
And so, the little entrepreneur set off, creating nautical themed buoys for his business called Nauti-Buoy and began supplying gift shops with his finished products, attending craft fairs, sending them as far away as Florida to people with a strong connection to the Maritimes and the sea. Then, Zack experienced a devastating set-back; one that would have any experienced businessperson question their resolve.
Zack’s equipment, tools, gear, his stock, everything went up in flames in the fire on Kings Street on October 22, 2018. “That really didn’t matter all that much to me,” Zack said of the loss of all that he worked for. “No one was hurt, and that’s really all that mattered.”
Watching your business go up in flames might be enough for anyone to call it quits. But you don’t know Zack. He’s a resilient young man. This was not the first time he had shown the strength of his character.
Zack has a mild form of Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.
“When I’m painting, it silences the Tourette's. It pushes it back. It still happens occasionally while I’m painting,” Zack said of the tics that he experiences as a result. “But it adds to my work. I don’t notice it anymore," he said.
After the fire, the family moved to Halifax. During COVID-19 Zack was applying for summer jobs and not hearing back from anyone when he decided to resurrect his old business by dusting off the saw and invest in new supplies. Once again, Nauti-Buoy has been busy taking orders from his Instagram and Facebook pages.
“The response has been huge,” Zack said, “Overwhelming.” His Nova Scotia themed buoys being the most popular, he believes from the swell of Nova Scotia pride felt after numerous tragic events felt by Maritimer’s everywhere.
And the advice this now 15-year old has for others: anyone starting a business, anyone dealing with adversity, any other young person unable to find a job, or someone dealing with a tragic event: “Don’t give up! There will always be people hating on you for what you’re doing. Don’t focus on them. There is so much support out there. People really want you to do well. Stay focused on the good. If you can’t find a job, make one. You will learn more from being your own boss anyway.” As for his future, Zack plans on pursuing a career in construction and woodworking when he gets older, “I want to make a living doing what I love," he said.
And as we ended the call, I asked Zack if it would be ok that I mention his Tourette's Syndrome in the story.
“Sure," he said. "Someone might read it and it might be just what they needed to hear.”
To find Zack and buy some of his incredible buoy's, you can find him here on Facebook or by visiting Brindle Boston in Blockhouse, 531 NS-325, Mahone Bay
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