TORONTO – When Noah Borer, from Ottawa, and Sam Berns, from Toronto, were working together at Camp Kadimah in Halifax, N.S., the two were tasked with creating a promotional video that would boost the camp’s social profile in a fun yet professional way. The end result was an engaging and informative visual highlighting the camp’s commitment to promoting an open culture, tolerance, and other Jewish values.
Rather than parting ways when summer came to a close, the two realized there was a market for small businesses and organizations like Camp Kadimah that need video and website content. They decided then and there to start their own company, Unbuttoned Media, which would emulate the values instilled in them at camp while providing their clients with a valuable service: anything from web development to video production.
“Our camp experience taught us that small businesses can’t afford a huge media company, so we decided to streamline the process and offer high quality video at a low cost,” Berns tells The CJN. “And then we unbuttoned our shirts and got right to it.”
Berns first met Borer at Camp Kadimah years ago when the two were both campers. Later on, after the experience helped them identify with their Jewish roots, the two returned as employees where they reinvigorated its social media profile.
As founders of Unbuttoned Media, Berns and Borer believe they’re providing a necessary service for brands struggling to create viral content in a digital landscape heavily influenced by new media platforms, particularly video. Ironically, while Berns got his degree in marketing at the University of Guelph, he handles the video aspect of the company and Borer, who studied videography at Humber College, handles the business side. For those who’ve seen them in action, it appears to be a good fit.
“When they had the opportunity to work together, they always did fantastic work for Camp Kadimah,” says Jared Goldlust, 31, who served as the camp’s director from 2010 to 2014. “The combination of their skills and understanding the Kadimah culture made them tremendous story tellers.”
The two “made the camp come alive with great videos and helped in getting outsiders and potential camp families to understand what Kadimah was all about,” he adds. “By fostering Jewish identity and encouraging personal growth all within a supportive environment, Camp Kadimah created an army of strong Jewish leaders who were equipped to make a positive difference in the world.”
According to Goldlust, most Camp Kadimah alum actually remain closely in touch, which has proven valuable for Berns and Borer. “A lot of our clients have been Jewish, we’ve done multiple videos for other camps like Camp Kineret and Camp Moshava, and we’ve also really tapped, being two Kadimah people, into the camp’s alumni,” says Borer. “It’s been a positive experience as we’ve helped many friends old and new in growing their business and online presence.”
To Berns and Borer, the reward doesn’t come as much from the money as it does from helping small businesses tell their stories in a snackable way that’s engaging, relevant, and exciting.
“Small businesses are very personal, they’re not faceless organizations, and when you make videos for them you’re telling the story of the person behind the business and that’s an important story to tell,” says Berns. “It’s harder for small businesses to survive, and they’re important to the community.”