In some older interviews, you mentioned that your mom helped you with basic business elements when you were getting started.
She helped with stuff like where to get permits and how to file taxes. My family has had a printing company for over 30 years, so she’s gone through all of it. I helped out with shipping for a little in college. My mom worked for a defense company and then she and my dad started the business when I was ending high school.
What was it like to see your mom leave a structured company and go into something more unknown?
My mom had a strong background in business. She’s good at finances, accounting, and she’s good at talking to people. But as far as printing went, she knew nothing at the start. She had to find out where to source paper, what it should cost, and all that. She enrolled in night classes to learn about printing, and she hired great employees. And my dad was in IT, so he built the whole technology side. They were a great team going into a business that they knew nothing about, and they both left their jobs for it. The business is still running, and she has a great staff. Some have been with us almost the whole time.
What were you doing at the time you started selling vintage at Rose Bowl?
I was a spare parts broker for commercial airlines – my clients were companies like Qantas and American Airlines. It was fun; no different than what I’m doing now except I deal with vintage clothing and before it was aircraft parts. Say American Airlines hits me up and they need a specific part for their planes. I’d use a database to search every company that has parts available. I might find one that’s removed but AA might want it overhauled, so I’d buy that and ship it to a mechanic to fix up and certify it, and then they’d send it to the airline.
Looking back, what was applicable there to what you do now?
Negotiations, sales, searching and generally finding ways to get things done. Lots of phone calls; I was constantly on the phone. It gave me a foundation to be able to build relationships and source things on the vintage side.