On Our Radar: Founder of Ten Thousand Coffees Dave Wilkin


Started from a humble beginning, Dave Wilkin’s story from small town to global entrepreneur brings to life the power and true meaning of entrepreneurship. Growing up watching and being influenced by his community-oriented parents, this 27-year-old entrepreneur didn’t know what entrepreneurship was until getting into his early 2os. However, hundreds of thousands of community services and coffee chats have helped him turn a movement into a successful business called Ten Thousand Coffees – the first youth movement of its kind in the world, created by young people for young people.

We had the pleasure sitting down with Wilkin in his office in downtown Toronto. The conversation was casual yet aspiring, just like hundreds of coffee chats happened via Ten Thousands Coffees.


Novella: How did you come up with the concept of providing face-to-face opportunities for people to meet with experts in the field?

Dave Wilkin: The Ten Thousand Coffee movement was created after working with the government and hundreds of companies for almost ten years. All these young people have new skills, great experience and lots of ideas, but lack of the opportunity to create their own opportunities. So after working with all these companies and organizations, what we saw and were told was that, first of all, they need their entire organizations to become experts of the next generation, that includes product innovation, hiring employees, engagement and so on. If we don’t become experts at youth, those companies won’t exit in the next 10 years.

Novella: So it’s not just about helping the young people. It’s a two-way exchange. 

DW: Exactly. It was just simple coffee conversation that hasn’t happened for decades that actually could change the perspective of highly intelligent, highly educated global leaders. So after ten years of working with companies, government and schools, we kind of thought of how can we create a movement around that would really shape of what’s next with youth. If an individual spends ten thousand hours doing something, you become an expert at it.

Novella: Oh wow, that’s so interesting. I guess anyone can be an expert at something if you fully dedicate yourself to it. That’s pretty encouraging.

DW: It’s a lot of hours, but ten thousands hours is more or less the time you spend on to be an expert at something. Coffee is about an hour and it was just a neutral thing that would change a perspective of a leader and of course this young person. So we went back to these leaders and we said what would happen if ten thousand of today’s leaders meet with ten thousand tomorrow’s leaders over then thousand coffees? And all of the leaders were like: “I would do this in a heartbeat. ”

Novella: Can we please take you back to the very beginning when you just started to have this idea? How did you knock on those leaders’ doors and get them to agree with you and believe in this concept?

DW: Ten thousands Coffees wasn’t just created on a business plan. It was created in partnerships with people we worked with over 10 years. The biggest thing people don’t realize is that you don’t get tractions overnight. Every little community services, activates, coffee conversations I had…all those have compounded and added. And as I’m giving back to the communities and all of sudden you have this Ah-ha moment. We had to understand if we want to change how the next generations get opportunities and help everybody around the world in different professions tap into youth, we had to move from Blockbusters to Netflix. And that’s when Ten thousands Coffees was created.

(He smiled and continued…)

A lot of young people have hopes, dreams and aspirations, but lack confidence. It’s unfortunate because you have all this potential but don’t believe that you will get a callback. So they don’t try, they just give up. At Ten Thousand Coffees, we see one out of three requests get accepted and that’s about 33%. If you do cold outreach, it’s less than 5%. So we almost like 10 times better than any other way to build your network.

Novella: Because you create  trust-worthy platforms with good filter, measurement and all sorts. But why coffees though? Why not skypes? Google hangouts?

DW: Because we’re in a world that is so digital, humans need each other. And what we realize is that something you cannot do online. There is no conversations that beat a face to face.

Novella: That’s why we’re meeting you today, instead of sending you the interview questions. 

DW: Yeah, it’s our DNA. It’s human being. A lot of people over look that. Body language is 80% of what you say, tone is 15% and what you actually say is 5%.

Novella: Ten Thousand Coffees wasn’t created out of a business plan, but did you always know that you wanted to become an entrepreneur? 

DW: I didn’t know what entrepreneur was until I was like 20. But my parents started an community run non-profit in my small town. So I remember they were always at the town hall trying to get someone to fix something. They did it because it was something they cared about. From the classic entrepreneur lens, I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur, but I’ve been taught if there is a problem that needs to be fixed, that’s your job. Being an entrepreneur is just like being obsessed with a really big problem. That’s what entrepreneurship is. So I told anyone who wants to start a business: “Don’t be an entrepreneur, start being obsessed with a big problem that can actually change people’s lives.” That’s why I created Ten Thousand Coffees. I grew up in a town that has 1500 people. My parents made maple syrup. I’m just lucky that I’m very good with coffee conversations and I’ve had tons of that to get to where I am now. Ten Thousand Coffees was created so that we democratize opportunities so not just people hiring people they know or people meeting people they know.


After our interview with Wilkin, we told him that we needed to take some pictures of him in the office, and he insisted to invite his whole team to have a group picture together. “I wouldn’t be able to this on my own, ” he says.


If you’re a recent grads, young professional or someone at a career turning point, don’t hesitate to set up your profile and send a coffee chat request to the experts you’d like to meet with. You never know, that coffee chat could be your life changer.

Photos by: Sasha Xiao

Shop All Weekend: Bucket it up

Image Credit: looklingerlove.com

What is the “IT” bag for this spring and summer? Bucket bag! It’s a magical bag that can easily be dressed down with a pair of jeans or dressed up with a beautiful dress. It’s the perfect accessory to help make that smooth transition from day to night while offering functionality and style at the same time.

According to the weather forecast, this weekend is going to be nice and sunny. So no need to wait any longer. Shop local, shop all weekend!


Rose Pink Bucket Bag, Mansur Gavriel, $695

Leather bucket bag with tassel, Zara, $99.9

Marca Bucket Bag, Anthropologie, $498

Villador Bag, available at Gravity Pope, $825


Downing Bucket Bag, J.Crew $138

Shop All Weekend- Power Pastel

Photo Credit: Park and Cube

Year after year, pastel has always been one of the hottest trends during spring/summer time. It’s not hard to understand why though- the colour palettes are soft, cheerful and romantic and can easily be dressed up or down. Although spring weather is taking its sweet time to arrive, we truly hope that spring shower will bring may flower. Before the sunshine hits us though, perhaps we can skip the moody and chilly days with some pastel power?

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Photo Credit: Atlantic Pacific

In this week’s “Shop All Weekend” story, we’re featuring five pieces to satisfy both your taste and budget. From retail giant HM to Canadian prides Aritzia and Joe Fresh, to Toronto local boutique ZANE, we’ve got you covered.

Shop local, shop weekend!

Geranium Dress $175, Wilfred

SMALL BACKPACK, $545.00 CAD. Availabe at ZANE


Native Apollo Moc in Glass , $89.99. Available at Get Outside

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Pastel Blue Coat, $79. HM


Slim Colour Jean, $19. Joe Fresh

Jolie X Jocelyn: A new hangbag line steals your heart

Recently, Canadian handbag and luggage label Jolie collaborated with the talented Toronto-based illustrator Jocelyn Teng to bringing you a limited, hand-drawn, one-of-the-kind tote collection, called Le Sac. Jocelyn Teng has also worked with many top labels, such as Louis Vuitton, Hudson’s BayLine Knitwear, Joe Fresh. Just to name a few.

Jocelyn Teng at the TNT Launch event. Photo Credit: Celia Fernandez




We can’t get enough how amazingly special yet still functional these totes are. From women faces to animal prints, Teng has really brought her talents to life. Although each bag is drawn to match the same standard, its hand-painted natural will allow each tote to be one of the kind. It takes around 4 weeks to get yours after order. And trust us, the wait is worth the wait. black+whitev_0002_face blue+brownv_0001_6_face     orangev_0006_4

Interview with Redken Lead hair Stylist Jorge Joao at WMCFW

During World MasterCard Fashion Week, we asked five street-stylers what question they’d like to ask Jorge Joao, the lead hair stylist of Redken. Check out who did we asked HERE.



1. For a mixed girl, which one is better- straight or nature?

Well, it depends on what the texture is. If they have a slight curl in the hair, I would do the curl. My opinion is never fight your nature hair texture. Do what your body is telling you to do.

2. What’s the best updo?

A good updo is not the best updo. A good updo is what best accents your features and camouflage not your best feature. So if you have a long face, you probably want to have more an updo that is wider. If you have hard features, you want to have a soft element to your updo. If you feel that you’re young, you might want to have something that is more aggressive and structured. So understanding your face shapes and features, and then giving that balance.

3. What’s the best treatment for coloured hair?

For coloured hair, you have two things- either is chemically distressed or lack of moisture. So depending on which genre you’re leaning to, you either need to focus on your protein or moisture.

4. How to make my hair looks it’s been blowed dry without using a blow dryer?

What I would do then is getting something like a cylinder. While it’s wet, wrapping it around something. It can’t be large or it will get curly. Just wrap your hair and let it air dry. When you take it out it will dry straight. If you let your hair dry in its natural texture, it will dry in its natural texture. If you wanna have some type of a stretch you need to lay it in something that is going to keep it is stretched while it drys.

5. What is the hottest hair trend in 2015?

Well right now, we are seeing a lot of straight long bob. We call it the lob. You see a lot of clients and celebrities are doing that. Colours wise, we see a lot of colours melt from one to another. You can still have contrast but there is a melting point belend from one to another. There isn’t a line where is detaches.

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Did these questions and answers cover some of your hair troubles? According to Joao, there is no better hair style or trendiest hair cut then the one that best highlight your great features.

 Photos: Celia Fernandez