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Red Deer entrepreneur looks to end stigma of mental health

Red Deer Express - 7/21/2018

Red Deerian Jaret Smith was in an entrepreneur class at Nipissing University when he was tasked with creating an idea for a brand.

Smith not only decided on an idea for the brand, he decided that he would go forward with his idea to create a sportswear brand, originally titled "403" but now known as Unparalleled Premium Wear, with a focus on reducing the stigma of mental health.

"I see a lot of businesses giving back. There is a few causes I would like to support with my business," he said. "That is part of the reason I wanted to do it too.

"The hats which are called 'The Wrenner', are actually for one of my friends who passed away in April. He was going through mental health issues of his own and unfortunately events happened. With these hats, all the proceeds go to that (Canadian Mental Health Association)."

His brand, which has grossed $11,000 since May, is something he hopes will expand beyond headwear to other active wear, all while continuing to donate to charity.

"In the last couple years, it is starting to become more of an initiative to make sure not only that you are physically healthy, but mentally healthy as well," he said. "I've had friends go through depression and went through it myself. I have seen enough and I am trying to do my part to raise awareness.

"Hopefully it will help end the stigma around mental health."

Smith said his focus on giving back came from growing up playing hockey and volunteering. By creating a product that raises awareness, Smith hopes that mental health will be something people can speak openly about.

"Mental health should be recognized more than one day a year and hopefully with purchases everyday, a bit of the sale can go towards mental health. That is something I want to do," he said.

Currently, Smith is also working on donating to Lethbridge Hurricane and Red Deerian Ryan Vandervlis, who was severely injured in a bonfire accident earlier this year near Calgary.

"I thought it would be important to help a friend and his family out," Smith said. "Obviously, they are going through a tough time right now. The Gofundme page has helped them a lot and they will need it through Ryan's recovery.

"I will have the sale on through the end of the summer and then I will give the money to his family at the end of the summer."

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