The evolution of a young Ayrshire Move & Shaka

By, David Bell

Zac Burinski lives in Cumnock and Doon Valley with mum Nicola. This is an area of Scotland which since the demise of the coal industry, has had its problems and unemployment is high. At first glance there is nothing unusual or special about Zac. He looks like any other fifteen year old teenager. Words like self-effacing, soft speaking, unassuming and unpretentious spring to mind. It would be a mistake, however, to imagine that, like most teenagers, he spends a lot of time thinking about girls, acne and avoiding doing his homework. Zac works almost seven days a week and is totally committed to his business. 

When he isn’t at school or running his business he watches any TV show which features Gordon Ramsay. He is a huge fan of Ramsay and Hell’s Kitchen is his favourite television programme. His other current passions are motorcycles, fast cars and watching Car SOS. If you form your opinion of this young man on first impressions then you would be making a mistake. First impressions are notoriously inaccurate and in this hi-speed, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook world we tend to profile people too quickly. In fact Zac runs a very successful business from home and has done for several years. How is that possible you might wonder? The answer is relatively simple. He applied at the of age twelve to get a job as a paperboy but was told he was too young. So he decided to take matters into his own hands and create his own business. 

Zac has always been interested in cooking and baking and the female members of his family have always had a powerful influence over him. His grandmother, who was a wonderful baker, took a stroke losing the use of her left arm. She was also restricted to a wheelchair. Zac, at a very young age, became her helper. A few years later his mother also suffered serious health problems. He and his mum are very close and he wanted to help. Her health problems necessitated her losing weight and this culminated in him further developing his interest in cooking. This interest in the culinary arts quickly became obsessive, so much so that when he was four years old his mother had to have a family member, who was a joiner, fit a lock to the kitchen after an unsuccessful attempt by Zac at late night cooking. 

Flava Shaka is the name of his current product and it is heavily biased towards the healthy eating industry. Originally Flava Shaka was produced in his kitchen at home but that has now moved on to a restaurant kitchen. Also the product, which was advertised and bought and sold on Social Media, is now on sale in almost forty retail outlets. The main limiting factor for the business is Zac’s age. He has not had any financial assistance with the business and the only help has been from family members. That situation will continue until he is at least sixteen. 

One of the things which impressed me most about young Zac is his ambition, both personal and in business. He wants to expand his selling market and to do that he needs several things. One is to obtain a SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) Stamp on his product which would allow him to expand into the supermarket sales areas. This would cost him a substantial amount of cash and, again, he is limited by his age. 

For fifteen, Zac is tall and broad shouldered and one can already sense strength of character. It was interesting to hear that people working with him in the kitchen environment consider him to be bossy. Something else which is not apparent when you first meet Zac is the fact he is dyslexic. This is a condition which, in the past, with unenlightened, unsympathetic teachers and pupils, could make school life difficult and unpleasant. It is interesting to note that a list of sufferers from that condition reads like a Who’s Who of successes in the business world. Recognisable examples include: Lord Sugar, Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver, Walt Disney and William Henry Gates the Third. Sports celebrities who also were dyslexic include: Muhammad Ali, and Magic Johnson. Enough said. 

There are several theories as to why dyslexic people seem to have a higher success rate. Some suggest better than normal communication skills. Others suggest good delegation and exceptional creative awareness. Perhaps another theory might be an exceptional problem solving ability and or a higher than normal level of commitment to the work ethic coupled with good people skills. Whatever the real reason, the fact remains that dyslexic people are high-achievers. 

Life at school wasn’t easy for young Zac. He was bullied on many occasions and some teachers were not always as sympathetic as they might have been. One female teacher was however understanding of his dyslexia and consequently he developed an interest in history. Zac loves animals and there are two dogs at home. He also has a strong interest in mechanical engineering which manifests itself in his love of motorcycles and cars. It is Zac’s ambition to own a Honda Fireblade motorcycle. Motorcycles aside it goes without saying that his overriding passion is food and cooking. 

Some additional information here should help to demonstrate Zac’s own burgeoning success. He won an Entrepreneurial Spark award for his business at thirteen years of age. Entrepreneurial Spark also provided help and guidance with the creation of a logo, distribution and shooting an advert. Orbit provided assistance with a video interview. He has also come to the attention of Sir Tom Hunter who helped with packaging. MadeBrave, a Creative Brand Agency in Glasgow have also provided a positive promotional input. 

Currently Zac’s business operates seven days a week and almost twentyfour hours a day. This functions with the help of family members and friends. His monthly output of Flava Shaka can reach the thousands. He exports his product to Europe and America. As for fifteen year old Zac, you might guess, he has great ambitions; After leaving school he aims to attend college, meet Gordon Ramsay, study cookery and, of course, to eventually own a Honda Fireblade. He is the real deal – a homegrown Ayrshire business success story. His potential is limitless – Zac is truly a young ‘Mova and Shaka’.