One Prince Albert business could have their name called twice when the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce holds its annual ABEX awards in October.
Limitless Gear Clothing is in the running for both the New Venture Award and the Young Entrepeneur Award, via its owner Cody Demerais.
With a past marked by chasing risk like substance abuse and looking at the lives of other people and not wanting a nine to five job, Demerais stepped out on a long limb several years ago and launched his own clothing brand from the trunk of his car.
“I think I have a flat out addictive personality. It goes along with having ADHD. For years I gave myself more into addictions than anything else. No matter what job, career or where I was at in life, I gave more to addictions than I did the rest of my life,” explained Demerais. “I was unhappy with everything I was doing. I knew I wanted to be creative, I wanted to make an impact on the world.”
Demerais was raised by a single mother and as time went on, his anger at his situation showed up in his behaviour, landing him in jail for a time after a drunk-driving collision with his best friend. Both survived but it was a long road to recovery.
He realized that he could not continue taking the physical risks he was taking and decided to change everything about his life and then use his success to help others.
“Coming from my past, where a lot of parents used to tell their kids, don’t hang out with Cody, because of the rambunctious ways or the addictions back in the day or all the things I used to get myself into, it was disappointing knowing that I wasn’t reflecting a very good image to the rest of the world,” he said. “I know I wasn’t living up to a potential that I truly deserved.”
He has also spent his time in the physical labour trenches and found no happiness there and then he watched the movie Limitless (2011) and it gave him the insight into his own personality that he needed to change his path and turn his creativity into a business.
“I used to get up in the morning and swear every time I laced up my work boots when I was working in the trades. I told myself this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life so I ended up doing something that every time I worked on it for a few hours here and there, it gave me some fire in my brain,” said Demerais.
“It was working on the brand. I realized, if that’s what makes me so excited and happy, how come I’m not doing this full-time?”
So he started perfecting his concept, got some samples and hit the road with his idea – and found some happiness.
“When I started a brand a few years ago out of the trunk of my car with about 100 or so t-shirts, it felt empowering that I was giving myself to something better than just substance abuse addictions,” said Demerais.
Now, he spends his hours working on his business rather than chasing another addiction - other than the risk or thrill of making it in the business world.
“I remember telling my mom, I would rather go bankrupt and not have a single dollar to my name and know I tried my very best to see what a full store would look like,” said Demerais.
After three years of working out of the trunk of his car, Demerais opened a physical location on Central Avenue in downtown Prince Albert in 2019 – a location he loves and, despite his ambition to grow and spread his brand to other provinces and possibly the country – a location he plans to keep.
“I absolutely love what I do each and every day and the day I don’t enjoy it anymore, is the day I most likely don’t do it anymore,” he said.
The ABEX Awards will be livestreamed in a virtual gala at 7 pm on October 22. Registration is possible online at www.saskchamber.com.
In the New Venture Award category, Limitless Gear Clothing is up against Brew Ninja from Regina, and Curbie Cars of Saskatoon.
In the Young Entrepeneur race, Demerais takes on Amy Bertram of Dancer’s Edge in Warman and Daniela Mintenko of Dandy’s Artisan Ice Cream in Regina.
Applicants are independently judged by a group of business experts who review the quality of the application and supporting documents.