Group of 20-somethings launch downtown marketing firm

The guys behind Tomorrow Media and Creative Marketing, from left, Graham Pedregosa, Lewis Menelaws, Liwordson Vijayabalan, Jason Nguyen and Victor Laranja. Submitted Photo

Cathy Dobson

The creative director behind Sarnia’s newest marketing firm says he doesn’t like doing things the conventional way and that’s what will make the venture successful.

“We are the only agency this young in Sarnia,” says Liwordson Vijayabalan. At age 20, he opened the doors to Tomorrow Media and Creative Marketing in early May.

“We bring a new perspective to digital marketing because we grew up with it. I’ve been video editing since I was 11 years old. If I don’t know how to do something, I know how to get that information from the Internet.

“It’s a very powerful place to learn.”

Vijayabalan grew up in Sarnia and said he’s always felt a strong sense of community. He dropped out of high school at age 16, having already started his first business selling urban athletic wear on the Internet.

“I knew I would never work for anyone else. I am geared toward empowerment and entrepreneurship,” he said.  “So I didn’t think I needed a Grade 12 diploma. I was young and it was a bad decision.”

Two years later, while expecting a baby with his girlfriend, he rethought his education.

“I went back and got my diploma from SWAC (School Within A College) at Lambton College,” said Vijayabalan. “I’m a huge advocate for SWAC. They helped me so much. I earned marks in the 90s.”

By that time, he also had a recording studio in Sarnia.

In 2015, with an eye to starting his own marketing company, he worked on a business plan with Fraser Perry of the Sarnia Enterprise Centre. Perry helped Vijayabalan land a $5,000 grant from the government’s Starter Company program for entrepreneurs ages 18 to 29.

Vijayabalan launched his new venture from home, doing real estate and architectural photography as well as music videos.

But working solo wasn’t fulfilling and he began looking for business partners with his vision for something bigger and better.

By January, he had joined ranks with Jason Nguyen, 20, Lewis Menelaws, 21, Victor Laranja, 23, and Graham Pedregosa, 20.

“They are my best friends,” said Vijayabalan.  “We literally call this a family business.”

Each brings a specific skill to the team, making it possible for Tomorrow Media to offer a one-shop marketing stop for web development, graphic design, photo and video production, branding and social media marketing.

Pedregosa is in charge of sales and operations although he intends to return to university in the fall.

Tomorrow Media is located on the second floor of 145 Christina St. North.

Vijayabalan said he was determined to find a downtown location for the team because he likes to surround himself with other creative people who have located there.

“We intend to quickly build a portfolio and start networking in cities like Toronto and Ottawa.

“A business like ours can easily be located in Sarnia and work for clients just about anywhere. And we all want to stay here.

“People my age are very optimistic. We see the changes in Sarnia and we get pumped.

“We believe that once we show people what we can do, they’ll be excited too.”

To contact Tomorrow Media, call 519-331-0256 or visit www.TomorrowMedia.ca.

Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or call 226-932-0985.