Havlar is a family-run business that started in 2016 in the Durham Region (GTA-Ontario, Canada).
My name is Daryl Gibson and I started the company with a vision for a new line of products that will help our customers live their lives to the fullest without worrying about their valuables being stolen while they were left unattended. The concept of “Your safe!” was born, a product that not only secures, but conceals your stuff. A mobile safe with numerous innovative features. A lot more on that later. I was personally victimized while playing recreational hockey with my friends. The time and money to replace my stolen iPhone was both frustrating and maddening. With my vision of a better way to secure and protect valuables, I started on the entrepreneur’s journey. Of course, wearing all of the hats while raising a young family and maintaining a full-time job stretched me to the limit.
As my vision and the potential and scope of our product offering started to evolve, I quickly learned that it would be virtually impossible to do it all by myself. I needed to add trusted leadership to the Team; people who shared my vision and were willing to invest time, money, and sweat equity to bring my product concept to reality.
I approached my dad, Tom Gibson, (Havlar’s Managing Director), who was happy to come on board. Dad brings a wealth of business consulting experience to the table and provides much of the strategic direction needed for our start-up. Mom has been a rock supporting us as our Executive Admin and bookkeeper.
(Dad - Tom Gibson and Mom - Marianne Gibson)
With the fast pace and mounting workload, we again decided to add to our Leadership team. I approached my brother, Kyle Gibson, (Havlar’s Vice President), who was also happy to come on board. Kyle brings practical purchasing and supply chain experience as well as a social media savviness.
Together we sought mentorship and guidance through a local business accelerator program at the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre at Georgian College. We participated in their “Build Program” and won the 2018 “Pitch Competition”. With mentorship and a “start-up roadmap” in hand, we were off and running in the right direction with many of the key business connections required to bring our company to life.
Like any other “product-based” start-up, we needed to take our ideas from concept to prototype and retained the services of an industrial design firm. We were lucky to have a close family member with the required training and skills to advise and guide us through the design phase and to meet the good folks at Humanscope, a custom design shop. Both have been instrumental in taking our ideas from concept to prototype.
(From left to right: Tom Gibson; Steve Copeland – Founder, Humanscope Inc; Kyle Gibson; Mitch Thompson - Design Partner, Humanscope)
We also needed to protect our intellectual property, our product concepts and our prototype designs so we retained the services of patent and trademark lawyers. In our case, we were fortunate to have my uncle Jim (partner at Powley Gibson LLC) to support our early patent and trademark applications. Also instrumental for their counsel and support are Selena Kim and Natalie Rizkalla-Kamel at Gowling WLG.
The third critical element of our journey thus far was retaining the services of a marketing, web and social media firm. Again, we were extremely fortunate through our respective networks and the Whitby Chamber of Commerce to connect quickly with the right people and businesses.
Thankfully through our contacts we started working with some of the best in their fields. These people have been supporting us from the start and we will be forever grateful for their time and passionate commitment to our vision of “Your Safe!”