Entrepreneur Profile – Chris Martinez

One of the best things about what we do is getting to interact with clients who are out there just like us trying to make an impact on the world. One such client is Chris Martinez, owner of Websitein5days.com.
We sat down and asked Chris a few questions about his business and what motivated him to venture out on his own.
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Where are you from and what brought you to LA?
I was actually one of the few people here who were born and raised in LA. I grew up in Torrance, CA and then after high school moved to Santa Barbara for college. After college I decided to move back and have been back in LA for a little over 10 years now.

What is the best advice you ever received?
Hmm…This is really tough because I’ve gotten a lot of great advice and still get good advice on an almost daily basis. I guess it would have to be that “change is growth”. In my industry, the world is constantly changing and you need to adapt very quickly. Before I started my business I used to resist change because it was uncomfortable. After some great advice from some successful people I trust and admire, I changed my mindset and now welcome change because it means that I’m growing as a person. I constantly try to embrace the changes that are constantly coming in my industry so that we can grow and get stronger. In turn, I’m able to create a better product for my customers, too.

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Chris, how did you come up with the idea for Website in 5 days?
This is actually one of my favorite stories. I got into online advertising and a few years back and we were targeting small business owners. Basically we were driving traffic to people’s websites and then we were able to see how many phone calls they were getting. So I started doing a ton of networking events and I started to pickup customers. The problem was that these small business owners had HORRIBLE websites so even though I was sending 2000+ visitors a month they weren’t calling my customers. It’s basically like having a store on the busiest street in town, but the storefront is so disgusting that nobody is going to walk through the door.

The company that I worked for didn’t do websites so I’d have to refer the business out to people I knew, but then my customers couldn’t afford their rates and/or the site would take forever to get completed. So I said to myself “There has to be a better way” and then WebsiteIn5Days.com was born. And it’s been great ever since.

Where do you draw inspiration?
Without a doubt I get my inspiration from my customers. I’m a big believer that if you listen to your customers that they will tell you exactly what they need and how you can help them. Ultimately, that is my mission. How can I provide overwhelming value to my customers? I’m kind of obsessed with that actually. I literally spend every waking minute thinking about that. And since I don’t sleep a lot, I’m thinking about it all the time. We try to roll out something new to our customers at least every quarter and everything we develop was created because we listened, then created, and are now offering. I think a lot of time business owners create and then sell and that’s why their products sometimes aren’t well received. Our goal is to SERVE and so that always starts with listening to the needs of our customers.
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What has been the most rewarding website your company has designed?
Hmmm….Another very difficult question because I love every single site that we do. I get just as excited about every website that comes through the door because every website is attached to a business owner’s dream. I absolutely love learning about our clients, their passions, and why they took the crazy leap into entrepreneurship. And when they give us the opportunity to build them a website and I feel honored because we are now a part of their journey to success. We are the ones that help them create the digital representation of their business and we get to help them grow and achieve their dreams. So honestly, I can’t name one website that I’m most happy with. It’s like asking a parent to choose what child they love most. I love them all equally and I don’t think this will ever change.

What’s next for Chris Martinez?
Actually you are catching us in the middle of a big growth period. We’re coming off of one of our best months having increased sales 450% which is in large part due to an increased focus on lead-generation and closing more business. We made a few minor tweeks to our sales process which have generated some huge results. Goes to show that “little hinges swing big doors”.

We’ve also really nailed down our processes for building the websites which is awesome. The speed at which we’re able to create our websites is amazing and the quality of our websites has never been better. The customers are extremely happy and we’re getting a lot of referrals which is always a sign that people are seeing value in what we do. We’ve also really pumped up our marketing and advertising and we’re investing more money into this since the ROI is definitely where we want it to be. We’re very close to hiring a new Success Coach to help with client onboarding and then within the the next year I think we’re going to open up a call center to field a lot of the leads that we’re getting. And finally, we are going to target Latin America before the end of the year and start targeting that untapped market. Needless to say, as CEO it’s the most exciting and fun time that I’ve had with this company and I can’t wait for WebsiteIn5Days.com to become a household name.

How to choose between English or Italian wool?

When it comes to choosing the fabric for your next suit it really comes down to two choices, English or Italian. Both of these countries have been weaving wool since the middle ages so they have the process down pretty damn well.

When it comes down to it, the basic difference between the two is thickness. When you think about the climates each is made it makes sense that English wools are typically thicker than Italian. As in the image below the Italian darker wool is thin and has a smooth texture. Where as the English tan fabric has a thicker look and feel that makes it more durable.(There are plenty of English wools that also have this refined smooth look but we will get to those in another post).

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The English weave both vertically and horizontally (<--warp and weft are the actual technical terms) while the Italians just use one direction (Probably so they still have time for a siesta).

When picking out a fabric for your next suit, jacket, or pants think about what weather you would typically wear it in. If for instance you, live in northern California, you probably want to select a English wool. It will keep you warm on when you are out on the town but is also rugged enough to keep up with the unpredictable weather.

For southern California, the Italian wools will probably be your best year round option. It is lightweight so it will not be hot when the sun is out (most of the time) and it will provide just enough warmth when the pesky marine layer moves in.

Choosing the right wool will help the garment last longer and will also make you enjoy wearing it.

Crab cakes and football….

That’s what Maryland does, or at least what we know from Wedding Crashers.

Ever since a visit to the University of Maryland there was something that I loved about the state. Since leaving, something, possibly the crab cakes, always pulls me back to visit.

With every one and their brother opening custom shops in NYC I decided to go another route. Through my many visits to the charm city I knew there were men that wanted to dress well but just didn’t have the option. Slowly, and with the help of a few friends, I built a small customer base. Every time I came to town I would meet new clients but would never have enough time to fit everyone. Doing my research I found only a few options for guys to buy clothing; these were low-end, mass-market type stores. Nothing was available for the type of man that was beginning to live and work in Baltimore.

So when it came time to decide on a location for my second Evolution of Style location, Baltimore came to mind immediately. I took a trip in June to scout a few locations and it quickly became apparent that this would not be an easy task.
After two failed lease agreements, the third time was a charm.

I am excited to announce we will be opening about a month from today in a great space just off of Canton Square. I am even more proud to be able to hire an employee to run the showroom. I will be posting a job description next week so stay tuned.

This announcement is the fun part, now comes the hard work, getting this up and running!

Crab cakes and football…that’s what Maryland does! Hopefully with your help we can add a little bit of fashion to charm city.

What is custom..this is…

A few month’s ago I had a new client and his fiancé stop by the West LA showroom and ask me to make them a Tuxedo for their wedding. The groom didn’t want any old tuxedo, he wanted something he could wear after the wedding as a multifunctional clothing item.

To me this was a perfect opportunity to create something for them that not only would look great for their wedding day but for after.

I pitched the idea of a royal blue suit with a cross-grain satin lapel. So that it could be worn as a tuxedo on his wedding day, but also as a really stylish blazer afterward.

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We are fortunate to live in a time when customizing everything in our lives is getting cheaper by the day. So why not take advantage of that and show the world a little but of your personality with your first impression…your clothes.

I really want my clients to walk into the showroom with an open mind. The only limitation is their imagination in the unique items we can create.

Super what??

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The release of the new Superman movie motivated me to finally write a post explaining what “Super” means when you are shopping for a suit. There are a lot of misconceptions thinking that a higher number means a better quality suit. First a little history…

Super is the numbering system used to describe the new breed of super-lightweight, high-twist wools. These fabrics are made using high-tech machines that spin wool lighter and finer than it’s ever been spun before. The various grades of cloth are referred to as Super 100s, Super 120s, Super 150s and so on, up to Super 200s.

The problem is the impression left by the numbering system. Set up as a shorthand for describing the fineness of wool fibers, it has, in the process of making it to the consumer, come to be taken as a quality ranking. It’s easy to assume a Super 120s wool must be better than a Super 100s wool and not as good as a Super 150s wool-in short, the higher the S-number, the better the fabric.

Technically the super scale refers to the fineness of the wool as measured in microns (one-millionth of a meter). Does that mean finer is better? Not necessarily. As Paolo Zegna explains, “You can have a good 15-micron wool or a bad 15-micron wool.”

Fineness is just one quality component: Length, strength, color, and crimp are also important. Length is critical because the longer the fiber, the stronger the yarn that can be spun from it. Strength is critical because the yarn must be twisted very tightly (hence the name high-twist fabric) to achieve a fine weave. The way in which the fabric is finished also plays an enormous role in the feel and look. Many Super 100s wool with a good finish feel as refined as Super 120s or 140s.

The higher the number the more problems actually come along with the suit. For one thing, these fabrics are hard to tailor because the material shifts so easily when it is sewn. Such wools also wrinkle almost as easily as linen. They are delicate, Paolo Zegna says “a Super 180s is like a Ferrari-and not as durable as a less-fine wool”. The suits made from this wool needs time rest in between wears. The more frequently you wear it the more chance it will start to break down and develop a sheen to it. In addition a lot of Super 130′s and up have other materials spun into them so they are actually a blend to lower the price. For example if you find a Super 150′s suit for under $1000 you are not buying 100% wool.

When shopping for a suit ask yourself what will be the main purpose of the suit. If it is an everyday work suit then go with something more durable. Build the base of your suit wardrobe around these and then you can look into more complicated fabrics. If it is your suit for special occasions then you can invest more into it as it won’t be worn very often.

My conclusion would be to stick with a smooth feeling Super 100, 110, and 120. These fabrics will last longer and be more durable over the course of their time with you, in the end it is just a number.

All 50 States conquered!

This past weekend we successfully fit a new client from the great state of Alaska. This completed our mission of having a client in every state and the district by the end of this year.

We will continue our diligent work to slowly convert gentleman across the country into clothes that fit them properly!

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The Tuxedo guide

In America the tuxedo has almost been ruined by the rental market for them. Thankfully men are beginning to understand the power of owning a great bespoke tuxedo for their wardrobe.  When I work with a client to make them their own tuxedo I start with this approach and work in their own personal style.

When you only want to own one in your lifetime it is best to stick to a classic style.

We have a lot of different options to fit everyone’s style but if I had to create one Tuxedo this would be it.

I would do a two button jacket with a peak lapel for a more formal appeal. On the back there would be a single middle vent. Since these pants are made for you, always go with a flat front and all tuxedo’s have no cuff’s on the bottom.

Get a solid white shirt or one with a slight textured stripe and leave a standard collar on it. This way as styles change from bow-tie’s and neck tie’s you can easily wear both.

 

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Entrepreneur profile – Matt Jackson

This week we profile entrepreneur Matt Jackson, owner of Boscus Designs.

We met with Matt at his workshop in Hermosa beach to take a few shots of his work and learn more about the creative process behind is woodwork.

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Where are you from and what brought you to LA?

My entire childhood, adolescence, awkward prepubescence and college years were all spent in Colorado.  I grew up in south Denver and went to the University of Colorado at Boulder to study architectural engineering. At CU I specialized in architectural lighting design and came out to LA for a job in 2004 after I graduated.

What is the best advice you ever received?

Aim at the center of the bowl – can’t thank mom enough for that one. Kidding. I think the best advice i ever got was from a college professor who once told me to, “do the most you can in the time that you have.” I think this could sound like a cheesy high school graduation if taken out of context, but the context here was project oriented. If you waste your time worrying about the deadline you have, you’ll never get anything done.

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Matt, how did you come up with the idea for boscus?

I’ve got to thank mom again for this one. And Dad. For being incredibly cheap. If it weren’t for that I never would have grown up watching PBS. Two words. Norm Abram. The godfather of wood. I can’t tell you how many cabinets, gazebos, desks, tables and chairs I’ve watched this man make.  I have always loved design – especially more minimal and contemporary styles, but I never really did anything about it until one day in 2008 I decided to make my own natural slab wood table. I went out and bought the most exquisite piece of cocobolo, a box saw and a sanding block and spent the next 3 weeks sawing, sanding and buffing that piece of wood until you could see your reflection in it. After that a design spark went off in my head and I started designing jewelry with the scraps. All of it was just gift ideas for family and friends, but it turned into a real passion and Boscus was born.

IMG_0668.CR2 Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?

The minimal designs really just come from the complex nature of the wood. Most of the pieces I work with have so much character that all I want to do is showcase their natural beauty. Working with architects and interior designers from all over the world definitely played a roll in helping me with ideas.

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What has been your favorite designed item so far?

(If you have a picture I can include it in the post) There are a lot to choose from. I have a bunch of favorites (Large Verawood Ring, the custom Menorah and the belt buckles), but I think one of the more simple designs I’ve done and the one I spent the most time on is still my favorite. The Bubinga coffee table that sits in my living room has such an amazing grain and the color is unlike any other I’ve seen. This was one of my earlier pieces and it was built entirely with a hand saw and a block sander – a lot of blood sweat and more sweat went into this table.

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What’s next for Matt Jackson?

The next step with boscus is fabricating more custom furniture and jewelry. There are so many creative people out there that want something unique. I love working with clients to create something that I can be proud of while also have their visions realized. I still enjoy creating my own designs and I’ll continue to do so, but I think more and more people are inspired by Etsy, Pintress, etc. and can turn to a craftsman, like myself, to fabricate that idea.

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Entrepreneur profile – Dan Frazier

Almost 5 years ago I traded the concrete jungle of New York for the beaches of Santa Monica. One of the first people I met was Dan Frazier, who in my eyes seemed like the unofficial mayor of the city.  From the beach to the bars it seemed Dan knew everyone!

Last year, Dan put together his passion of beach life and music to create the Free Bike Valet music blog.

In our new series highlighting entrepreneurial clients, we had the chance to sit down and ask him a few questions.

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EOS: Where are you from and what brought you to Los Angeles?

Dan: I grew up in Tennessee, went to college in North Carolina, and decided to move to L.A. after I worked for the Vans Warped Tour as their official tour blogger. A few friends I made on the tour asked me to live with them in Echo Park. I tried to be a hipster, but failed and eventually moved to Santa Monica. Once I fell in love with the beach, never looked back.

EOS: How did you come up with the idea for Free Bike Valet?

Dan: I’ve been writing about music for magazines ever since college but I wanted to create my own online outlet. I’ve always been a large supporter of local music scenes so I created a music blog that only covers bands from California. I also wanted to place a strong emphasis on the beach lifestyle that is iconic to the culture here so I chose the name “Free Bike Valet” after the actual service that is common at street fairs, farmers’ markets, and pier concerts here in Santa Monica and other coastal cities.

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EOS: What has been your biggest challenge with starting the blog?

Dan: There are too many amazing bands in California and not enough time to write about them all. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego all have very vibrant scenes and it’s tough to keep up with them all. But it’s also very fun.

EOS:  Can you give us some insights on what is next for you and Free Bike Valet?

Dan: For now, I just need to write, write, and write. I’ve have the privilege to sponsored some shows at the Santa Monica venue The Central so I hope to continue that and maybe help with some other local events.

EOS: Who are your favorite bands most of us haven’t heard of?

Dan: The bands that really excited me this past year were The Ross Sea Party, The Dead Ships, and Blondfire. I expect big things coming their way, and I’m glad I heard them first.

EOS: Thanks again Dan for taking the time to sit down with us and do the photo shoot in Santa Monica!

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