Bring The World Home With Explorer Box

St. Mark’s student’s travel-inspired business showcases international cities

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people fantasized about traveling to escape their quarantine life. 

The same held true for Tarik Syed, then a 14-year-old boy with a dream of owning his own business. 

“I’ve always liked business, so I wanted to create something,” Syed said. “The thing that was on my mind was travel and learning about different places because it was … lockdown at the time.” 

He spent 2021 coming up with ideas and designing his company, then in early 2022, launched the Explorer Box, featuring goodies from cities around the world. 

“Going into 2022, it was difficult trying to find a way to sell and market myself effectively,” Syed said. “So far, that’s been my biggest challenge.”

Syed received support from his family. His mother, Sanober Syed, gave him “pointers” on how to best approach his business. 

“I think it’s a really creative idea he came up with,” Sanober said. “His determination and persistence really impress me.” 

Tariq, now 16 years old, attends St. Mark’s School of Texas and is in debate, robotics, and Model UN, but still finds time to put effort into his business and curating boxes that let people explore the world without leaving their house. 

“He goes to a very intensive school and is involved in a lot of different activities,” Sanober said. “He’s very disciplined.” 

The box itself holds products sourced from Alibaba if the elements are “semi-generic,” but “most of the time (Tariq tries) sourcing them from places in the actual country.” 

The most recent Explorer Box immerses the customer in Athens, Greece, through a toy catapult, which teaches children how the ancient Greek invention works, The Jinx, a fun toy based on a Greek myth, and Papadopoulos Biscuits. 

Other boxes let kids explore London, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Cairo, and Beijing. 

Syed wants to make the box “more educational for kids” and has a goal of making it a “two-year subscription” that will include boxes from around the world.  

“I’m really trying to include STEM and history lessons into the box,” Syed said. “So, I hope it’s all around (an) enrich(ing) activity for people and especially kids.” 

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