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Origin Story

"My destiny, my choice. I don’t need anyone to make a choice for me," said Avion Conti, the founder of Avionnti. Avionnti has an origin story unlike many other e-commerce businesses. The business was started by Avion Conti, a very talented young man diagnosed with autism, moderate intellectual disability, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and anxiety disorder. Being born with a disability did not stop Avion from working hard and becoming a successful entrepreneur.

His early childhood was definitely not easy. Avion was diagnosed with autism when he was around 3 years old, following up with other mental health conditions, he was bound to have a rough life. With 5 siblings in a low-income household living in California, one of the most expensive places to stay in coastal urban areas, his construction worker father and janitor mother worked round the clock and were merely able to put food on the table for all of them. Not to mention, providing special needs treatment to Avion, or even just taking care of him on a daily basis, they don’t have the time for that.

Due to his disability, he had to leave school after his primary education, as he struggled with his autism behaviors and social interactions that make everyday of his life more difficult. His conditions caught a lot of unwanted attention in class. Other peers would call him names, laughed at him, make fun of him, or even worse, hit him, push, trip, or have false stories made up about him. He had experienced the worst horrible daily bullying at his school at a very young age. Avion never told anyone in authority at his school that he was being bullied and he had disclosed little of what was happening to him to his parents.

Fortunately, Avion grew close to his grandfather who would nurture him and encourage the then-teenager to find his own way. He told Avion that disability can be an ability; he was smart, and he said he can do much more in his life. His words struck Avion, who realized that no one in his family had pursued anything in the business world before. This inspired him to study, research and learn the world of business. 

Avion’s path is similar to that of others who are building their own businesses—he possesses the knowledge and vision to accomplish his goal. With a few years of preparation, he then made the big leap toward realizing his dream and opened his own e-commerce business. As homage to both his new business and his disorder, he couldn’t help but give it a name that would help remind the e-commerce business world of what he had to overcome to get to where he was. He called it Avionnti, inspired by his own name Avion Conti.

One key component of Avion’s business is providing opportunities for people like himself who struggled to find a job in the real world. Hence, almost every part of his team members consisted of individuals with special needs. On the job, he acts as a mentor to those who work with him, and his hard work and dedication are paying off. He manages to develop a work environment that meets their comfort level that has autism thrive in self-created workplaces. He believes that a greater focus on self-employment can let the differently abled work around their personal needs and limitations, transforming disability into ability, just like what his grandfather taught him. With this success, he wants to motivate people like him to achieve self-employment, so they can identify and build on the individual’s skillset, instead of trying to change a behavior or push them to do something they can’t do. He wants those with autism to know how unique and special they are, and he wants others to know that having autism isn’t a bad thing, and that it doesn't characterize who they are.

As the business grows, Avion wants to give back to society by choosing to support a charitable cause that’s close to home. He knows how it feels to be helpless and poor, especially as a child that required special needs. He wants to change their fate and give them another chance to experience a happier childhood, discrimination-free and burden-free life.Thus, as part of every purchase, a minimum of 20% of the proceeds are donated to organizations that help enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities.

Some of these organizations include Autism Speaks, Autism Service Dogs of America, Special Olympics, Ability Experience and many other organizations. Disabled or able-bodied or mental, we all have the power and responsibility to make society more inclusive for everyone.



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