Plan, but not get caught up in the plan, that’s a big and important thing to think about all the time, is that remember to stay flexible and fluid as much as possible within your plan and find your why.
Boss Uncaged is a bi weekly podcast that releases the origin stories of business owners as they become Uncage Trailblazers, Unconventional Thinkers, Untethered Trendsetters & Unstoppable Tycoons. We always hear about overnight success stories, never knowing that it took 20 years to become a reality. Our host S.A Grant conducts narrative accounts through the voices and stories behind Uncaged Bosses. In each episode, guest from a wide range of backgrounds sharing diverse business insights. Learn how to release your primal success through words of wisdom from inspirational entrepreneurs and industry experts as they depict who they are, how they juggle their work life with family life, their successful habits, business expertise, tools and tips of their trade. Release the Uncaged Boss Beast in you. Welcome our host S.A. Grant.
Welcome to Boss Uncage podcast. On today’s show, we have Tal Thompson, better known as the optimistic team member. Tal goes by many different titles and she’s been everything from a creative director, a graphic designer time and time again, but more importantly, she’s the founder of the Art Factory Cafe and Party Place in Richmond, Virginia. On today’s show Tal dives into what keeps her motivated. But more importantly, her glass is always half full. She’s always optimistic and more than anything else, she’s a team member and a team player with no more spoilers, let’s jump right into the show. The optimistic team player, Tal Thompson. Who are you?
My name is Tal Thompson. I was born and raised in Israel and moved to the US in September of ’99 following the love of my life, Cliff. We have two boys, 12 and 14 right now, and I’m a business owner, entrepreneur, ADHD, creative artist, mom, and lots of other crazy things. And I think that’s a good start how we could define it.
Well define yourself in three to five words.
If the creative ADHD and I think the biggest optimist entrepreneur travel ever I guess were sort of things if I had to say all the things. But I think the biggest thing I realized at my age that optimism plays a big, big part of my life. And it took a while too, someone had to point it out to me to actually make me realize when my high school friends said, “you are always an optimist” and I like, “What?”. When I started thinking about it and I noticed that my brain really just reroute to positive and like in every scenario, even when friends tell me, “Oh my gosh, my kitchen overflowed”, I would say, “Well, it could have been worse. Could’ve came from the ceiling”. So like there’s always, I always think about it, my brain always re-route that way. And it’s an awesome gift. I don’t think I was always this way. I think that, you know, some hardship through being a teenager in school and all that stuff kind of made me realize that I have to be thankful, of course, being born in Israel and going to the military, missing your mom’s food and your own bed, you realize really quickly how lucky you are to be around and to have a warm meal and a nice comfy bed. So those things all together probably contributed to that. But, yeah, I think that’s a big part of it. So…
As the glass is always half full, you don’t believe in evaporation?
I do believe in evaporation. But even when you have a little bit, it be worse, you know what I mean? Like, this is really the scenario. It’s not that it’s always full. It’s just there’s always a scenario where it could be worse. And I’ve hit rock bottom in my life and there were moments that I was going to bed thinking, is it possible to wake up tomorrow without having your heart hurt so much? And then I think the realization that in any given time, it could actually be worse. And remembering it when you operate is a good thing, it keeps you focused a little more and more being able to make decisions that are more clear, that are more current, as opposed to like an emotional dwelling kind of decision. Like being a dweller is one of the worst, like, I can’t handle people around me that like to dwell and create a pity party. Like that’s always been one of the hardest things for me as a friend or a mom or a partner to be around people who like to pity party. So I can’t put up with that, and I don’t know exactly why. I guess because it’s not a solution. Like if you were in a tough situation, what’s your way out? And even if there are times when it’s out of your control, it’s still that there should always be a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s important to keep in mind all the time, you know, things can always be worse if it’s at home, at work and wherever you do. So…
So being an optimist, I guess that makes a great Segway to your business. I mean, when you first told me that you were going to be essentially selling glitter, I was like, “OK”, I asked, “what’s you’re 100 percent?”, like you had other ventures as well, too, and it was like you just dove into this glitter lifestyle, unicorns and rainbows and everything else. And it was like, OK. So what is your business?
My business is a complicated combo of things just because I think being a creative person it’s hard to focus on one thing, and it’s kind of an evolution of things. So we own an online store that started from a very small business out of our kitchen by kind of mistake. We stumble across this glitter tattoo project that was really nice product from Israel. My brother showed it to me and fell in love with it and then it kind of evolved. We brought it back to the U.S., had one kit that my brother gave me and then my neighbors wanted some. So I ordered a few. And then I said, “all right, I need a box and I need a case and a few cases”. And it kind of evolved through there. So we sell body art products, but beyond glitter, it’s any kind of face paint, body painting and all the supply and support products around, like brushes and sponges and shirts. You may have to wear aprons, kits, cases, everything that is online thats because we support entertainers that are also small business owners. So that’s our online model. And then because of our location where we are here in Maryland, Virginia, and the request to always hire us to go somewhere to celebrate someone’s birthday, it just made sense to start doing the parties here. So we extended our venue to also be a party venue because we saw the demand, but it was not like a formed business plan. And then from there we said, all right, we got the kids now and they’re like seven to nine , let’s add a play cafe so we can actually see them when they’re much younger so they can grow together. Been doing this for six years. And just this year we added the play cafe. And I’m excited for the opportunity and then the community aspects like, being local here and meeting the parents. And most locals don’t really know that we have an online store because of the way our building is structured, like all the online sales and distribution happens behind the scenes but they still meet us here as artists and teachers and that’s a lot of fun. And it’s amazing how when you have a business, you can plan it as much as you want and you can dream it as much as you want, which is a word I often struggle within. I don’t like the word dream because I didn’t have this dream of owning in our factory. I had I had desires to work for myself as a graphic designer. I always promoted other people’s stuff, was like, yeah, we have this. If I didn’t have someone tell me what to do, could I do it right? Can my choices be OK? And and also not having to report to someone first thing in the morning or at any given time choosing when to take time off, which is a funny comment, because when you work for yourself, you don’t really have much time off. But, you know, those were the things that strived for and that was what evolved into the art factory today. It’s kind of an engine and pushes in several directions, which kind of fits my personality because I have a rough time always staying in one place and it could be a good thing and a bad thing, but we made it work. So, the art factory has a body art section, has a play cafe, has a party venue, and all these things work together in one way or another. And it make sense here.
Yeah I mean, I think you open up a good point about scalability. I mean, it seems like you kind of knew about the scalability, but you also discovered it in the process. Just generally, how scalable is your industry?
You have to think about a few things, like when you have an art factory storefront, you’re limited to time and space. Your inventory is the hours around the clock and the space in how many people can fit in here, when you having art classes or parties, that’s your inventory, time and space. When you sell online, time and space are not an issue. And so an inventory is literally the things you have on the shelf to sell. So scalability, why is it when you have an art studio, why most art studios fails? Because by itself, as a model, it’s not always enough. That’s why you have to add thr coffee, add the party, add all the things. But the art supply store, like the body art side, can totally function by itself and that’s how we started. But together we’re able to serve the community and also get paid. And that’s what makes it really working. If we had to scale it, I would think that this, you know, like to open a franchise or to kind of grow beyond the one location, the online store would still stay one, stay here, and then the scalability would be the party and the coffee and the play, because those things we already know very well and we would need that space and time inventory to multiply in a different area with different customers in order to make more revenue. So and the art the online store doesn’t have to move because we can, from here, we can ship anywhere. When it comes to scaling. Those are two different things. It almost behaves as two different businesses. I would have to completely split it up if I had to sell it, probably I don’t think anybody would be as crazy to pick up both but unless they have the same passions.
I mean, you can run them as a parallel business models, like, you know, one like a EZCORP, and then nest them in here.
Yeah, and that’s really kind of, yeah, they could all nest underneath the one umbrella. And that’s why naming the business in the beginning, because at that point, I knew myself, I knew that the word Art Factory is an umbrella and I had to be vague enough and broad enough, I guess, but still it give you that good feeling to be able to nest underneath that many things. So that’s why when I named it Art Factory, which is not the most original name and it’s totally fine.
Its All right. I mean, it’s keyword driven, so..
But there are several other art factories, businesses that do other things. So it’s not like we made a new world like Google or Yahoo or any other things. But it works. It works for what we do. It’s broad enough that underneath it, many things can happen. So that’s why it was all that way.
How did you even get into that line of business? Obviously, you’re sort of the graphic designer. How did you get from graphic design to owning an art factory? And what was the journey in between?
I grew up in a house of I was Bunday for .My grandfather on my dad’s side, opened a shoe store and my dad and his brother owned it. And growing up, I learned to sell shoes, in my shoe store. But I also learned the life of import and what you need to do when you have to run to the airport and release, you know, items from customs. As I grew up, in the business, helping my dad out, I figured out that I was learning many little components that, you know, in hindsight later come in handy. But at some point in this whole graphic design journey, I was kind of getting frustrated and said, I need to sell my own stuff. If I’m dealing with branding, why not bring myself in, sell my own things? And then my brother gave me this glitter tattoo kit. He gave me a glitter tattoo lizard on my shoulder like I sit in my mom’s porch in Israel and he goes, you got to check this out and he applied this glitter tattoo on my shoulder. And there I am sitting in the sun and I have this glitter lizard sitting on my shoulder and I looked at it and i was like, “that is pretty cool because it’s glitter and I get to wear it for a few days” you know, anything shiny, it’s just about amazing. And so I was like, yeah, and there we are in rainbows and unicorns. And so I kind of fell in love with this lizard like it was a moment but I tried to sell beanbags before that. I tried to sell when I became a member of an awesome family who started a brand called Mommy Care in Israel, and they became not only great friends, but also mentors. We kind of grow together. I tried to help them here in the US. We went to trade shows together, made some really crazy steps, like go to the mom and baby trade show in Vegas and have a booth, like some companies never dare to do it, even though they’ve been in the industry forever. But it made me realize that Baby and Mom Industry in the US is so saturated and I was such a tiny component and my chance of surviving in it were near nothing. And it was through investment and failure and trying. We’ve genuinely tried really hard. And as much as I adore these guys for Mommy Care, I just could not take off. And at some point this thing just captured my heart and it was a new thing and different and it’s like a little big market because it’s small enough to be very specific, that it’s not in every store, in every department store you go to, like baby and mom products but it’s big enough because the target audience for it is kids and adults and, you know, anybody who’s having a party or entertainers, business, any kind of festival operators. So it was enough of a sliver of an industry for us to be a player in it as an online store and make a living. So that’s when, you know, it all made sense. And it’s nice to have a graphic design skills. You don’t have to rely on someone to make an ad or a slide or clean up this picture so we can post it online. All these things made it a lot easier.
So you understand art principals as well too, which most people don’t understand, like contrast, they don’t understand color theory.
Right, which is amazing. And that’s kind of, you know, working for the online store, you’re part of a community. There is a community of artists. And these artists are people who are either been artists all their life and just stumbled on body art and think it’s really awesome. Other people, who really are done with what you’re doing, like retired teachers or people that needed a change and just thought, “hey, maybe I can do this”. But it means also that they have zero arts experience. So color wheel, color theory, contrast, as you mentioned, those are things that are not a given. People that do it intuitively, because they have the training and the learning, tend to have an easier process but then if you are a trained artist, your struggle is just in a different place because your expectations from yourself are higher. And who likes a learning curve? It’s like the worst thing ever. I still, you know, try to work my kids through this. It’s like especially when you think you’re OK, you’re good at something, just suddenly pick up a brush and say, “I’ve been painting canvas forever, why can’t I paint on a bike?” And it’s such a humbling process. You have to be able to overcome these emotions to forgive yourself for making these mistakes and remind yourself that it’s going to have a challenge and the good thing is this if you’re an artist, the lessons of contrast and color, you know, you already skipped those and you can focus on technique, brush control and just, you know, it’s the mileage. Like the more you draw and paint, the better you are. Same thing with face painting and body art. It’s just mileage underbrush. That’s why I was here.
I definitely have to admit. I mean, after taking some of those body painting classes, to me it’s more like sculpting than painting. It’s like you’re trying to go with the contours and the lines and you’re trying to put the shadows where shadows usually potentially aren’t.
Right. Well it’s backwards. So, like, essentially it’s almost like painting through glass. You put the background first, then you put the line, I mean it’s like, What? But like it’s just you have to almost think like you’re working at a Butterfly. You have to think about it like layers and Photoshop when it comes on top of another to create this thing. But yeah, you have to approach it with an open heart, which seem to be difficult sometimes.
Well, we always hear about the overnight success stories that take 20 years to become a reality. How long did it take you to get to where you are currently?
We’ve been in business officially since 2010 here in Virginia. But even before that, you know, out of the house, out of the kitchen, it’s kind of time that’s hard for me to count. So probably 12 years or 13 years. And it’s certainly not an overnight success and it’s a journey and I feel like, the word “success” evolves, as you move along to, like it’s not “what is success, what is when do you know you made it?” Like, is there a certain point? Is there a certain number in the bank? or a certain point in your life or a peak? or like, when do you know I did it? and we just tried to make a living and support a family and at this point, several families, because we have a fairly large team here and inspire others, because I realized today the inspiration is the way to educate and teach. You know, you can’t just tell someone, here’s a list of all the things you need to know but if you inspire them, that’s where fire takes over, right? so it’s been 13 years for this journey. And today I try to think of because I struggle with the word “dream”, like I didn’t dream this. I try to realize why I’m doing this. And my “why” is very clear to me. And it took a while to find it like, why I’m doing this? And it’s because I feel like we have the gift to make others feel great. So like, to empower others to make them you know, if you’re a body painter, for instance, you can make someone feel pretty for the first time in a long time, or if it’s a kid that suddenly painted a superhero and suddenly he can do anything he wants. Or if it’s an adult who walks into class hugging their wine bottle because they’re so scared of art, but you take them through this emotional journey and it helps build character. So all these things are kind of funneled into this very, very strong understanding of why we do this. And today I realized that my journey also includes managing a team. It’s not about the final product. It’s not about having art factory brushes or having a specific item with your logo on it. It’s about this family and this engine you create and all the people that are part of it. And that’s also the most fun and the most challenging part of it, too. But like to have this team and being able to provide a workplace that is different than what I used to go through when I was employee and to have a positive place that appreciate your time and appreciate your efforts and that’s what I take pride in the most. It’s where I think I feel like that’s what I love most about this business, is the ability to have an art factory family and seeing how the community kind of weaves into it, that’s very fulfilling. And If I didn’t have the clarity of “it” being a dream, I understand that that’s maybe the purpose today, as part of it like, create this thing and can inspire others. And it’s it’s this engine that could, you know, like if everybody’s aligned, if everybody’s intentions are aligned and everybody understand why we do what we do then all the problems are very easy to solve because that’s why we do this, let’s not forget. If a customer is calling upset, we have to remind ourselves that it’s not about winning this argument, it’s about how do we win this for the long run, how do we fix it? how do we make these guys happy? How do we include them in our family? And that kind of makes a straight line. It fixes everything in a way.
So it sounds like I mean, unfortunately, most businesses don’t get that aspect of it, they don’t look at organic systems. And I’m saying organic systems in reference to your team, your team is a system, right? and you have to have all the pieces of the puzzle working in synergy to get that business from point A to point B, like you say, you’re teaching them a culture and that culture is a system that you’re utilizing to grow your business.
Yes. Yes. So it is a culture, I guess, because when we’re a small business, when you start when you’re small, maybe it’s a little bit easier to implement, later you know, like if you didn’t read the Delivering Happiness book that talks about culture, you know, for Zappos and how they started and how they became, how they still keep the culture, I mean, now it’s Amazon. It’s still alltogether…
Much like Tony. I mean, you’re driving that culture. I mean, Tony were the one that kind of really pinpointed a culture of what Zappos was going to be before it even happened.
Right. So for me, I wish I had that much clarity. But it’s more on the intuition as long as we remember why we’re here. You see what I mean, like, I don’t have this written plan. I am a big believer that sometimes over-planning can stop you from fulfilling yourself. You know, it’s kind of like contracts are made for lawyers and I say it cautiously because, yes, you know, as a graphic designer, we don’t start anything without a contract because you’ve have to protect your time. If you sell your time and your skill, make sure you get paid and all these things. But sometimes when you dive so deep into contract or into planning or into a business plan, it could paralyze you because weighing all these risks chance, and weighing all these things could make you stop. Is it a good thing? Maybe, it’s just not who I am, like, I calculate everything and I think it through, but I don’t sit and write it down as specific into this fancy word document with all these like I was funding going to come and all this thing, I just say, can we make the money? Yes. Is it making sense math wise? Yes. Does it feel good? Yes. And that’s really where I am on this. And that’s probably more important and that’s why I’m here, is because I didn’t weigh in the options of failure as much as I maybe should have.
Oh, that’s a good Segway to… What’s one thing that you would do differently now that could probably boost your time frame and cutting down costs and cutting down on everything to get you to where you are a lot faster if you had to do it all over again?
Have the guts to hire much faster, probably. If you think of a business that come out of the kitchen and grow out of a kitchen to like you’re in one room office to then another office building a little bigger. Every time we grew, we doubled our rent, doubled not just slightly, but we more than doubled our space. And that also meant more team members. I had to, many times when you add a team member, you have to stop paying yourself if you’re paying yourself, depending on where you are in range in order to add that skill to your team and that was a scary move. I had to add a few key people to help me function and make sure I cut down on mistakes, problems. And because of that, I had to pause and really think that I should have done it probably sooner to cut down on.
So earlier you mentioned that you come from an entrepreneurial background like your dad had a shoe store. Do you think that was a factor to your success?
In hindsight, maybe it definitely made it more natural. I spent time helping my dad release things from customs as a teenager when I was older, sold shoes, I watched him interact with customers, which was definitely a lesson of what not to do. So yes and no. At the time I didn’t think it would, but the import didn’t seem as big of a deal. I remember when I first started like, all right, how do I import to the U.S.? I him and said, all right, remember when you imported shoes, what do I need to think of? And he like, you know, he said, you know, you are going to have to pay shipping and customs and someone’s going to have to release that, like you’re going to have to have a guy and all that stuff. And that was his experience in Israel. So it all converted here and actually here, it’s a little smoother. The process itself is a little nicer. So it made it less scary, maybe mentally, but it didn’t make it easier. It just made it look like, yeah I’m going to just import stuff. The thought was maybe more intuitive. Maybe it helped with some having less brakes on when you think of a new adventure. But there were definitely things I do, things completely different than my dad. And that’s the biggest thing is understanding when you open a business is that you have to you can plan all you want and you can name it and you can decide this is what I’m doing, but then you have to remember that once you name it, it’s its own personality and it’s going to take off differently and there is going to be a percentage of hsueh that’s going to be completely different to what you originally plan if the path is going straight, you may be going in a 30 degree angle. And it’s not just hurdles, it’s part of its personality and part of the community and the efforts interacting with people, and you have to constantly be flexible and listen to it. And I think my family didn’t. They had an idea of this is how shoes are going to be sold. This is how we’re going to sell them, and this is how we’re going to do it. And when consumers, for instance, wanted to discount it was never an option at my dad’s store, just about ever, unless something was on sale, you know, and part of the Israeli culture’s haggle like so it just almost like conflicted with everything local around that at the time was very successful for many years but then once shoes from China started coming in and quality’s not the same, but at the same time you can buy a pair of shoes for season and be totally happy and then buy another pair next season. They refuse to adapt with the demand of the environment around them and the community or their audience. And that, in my opinion, is the biggest mistake they made because they could have been. They started so early, it was 1929 when my grandfather open the store. So they had the leap, you know, and I remember talking to my dad going, you know, one day people are going to buy shoes online. And he looked at me and he giggled because there’s no way, like, no way we’re going to buy shoes online because you have to try your shoe on, you know, and then you’re giggling about it. Right. So staying so true to your original plan or your original intention, stopped them from growth. It’s the same as like, Dad, I think we need some barcodes in here, we need to automate this. You need to know how much you have on the shelf at any given time or get close to it. So the end of the day say, oh, I sold all these. How I need to get more. And it was all manual, the resistance of the change is what I think eventually I mean, it was a successful business for many years, but it closed down, I think, a couple of years ago. And I think it was painful for my dad because it was a family business and they owned a building and they did everything right for so long. But their way did not stay that way forever. And as a business owner, you have to learn to adapt. Your business is not your business plan. The plan is have to start to here’s your runway. And now once you’re taken off, you better listen. And that’s an important thing.
You’ve got to keep the fuel in the engine, right?
Yeah. And the fuel may come from different places. You know, fuel may be one thing today and different tomorrow. Yeah, that’s that’s it.
How do you deal with the work also and family life. I mean, I mean obviously come from entrepreneurial mindset. I mean just juggling that is very difficult. How do you deal with that?
I think it’s an ongoing struggle that will never go away. My husband, I married well, I mean, I married my support. My husband Cliff is my rock. He not only supports me and my ideas and just about always jumps behind any crazy thought that I have after we weigh all the risks and, you know, he’s the engineer, we still have to think systematically of all the things. And he makes me say them out loud sometimes because I can come home and say I have this feeling it’s really going to be great and he’s going to be like, OK, why do you feel this way? So I have to break it down. Say it out loud. That’s probably part of the process. He’s also there to support the kids and he’s super dedicated father. And I mean, he’s just amazing. He’s totally the other side of the brain. We operate completely different, but he gets me and he supports me. And without this, none of it could have been, because when you’re on a business, you work too much. You get paid half. If I stay employed as a graphic designer or creative director, was the last position I held in a full time position, I would probably be wealthier and probably put more money aside for the longest time, but I definitely would have not been happier. And I think he recognized it all this time and he set me free by by letting me there to work for yourself, do your thing, and then having a stable he because he’s an engineer and we have insurance, all this stuff through him in our household model, it makes a ton of sense and just a dedication to the kids is unbelievable like i’ll come home late and he’s been sitting with the kids doing homework and dinner will be ready. And some days we both scramble. So it depends. But it’s definitely the unit and the way we function. And our friendship that makes all this work. And I think it’s always going to be the biggest challenge, like last night’s reminder was, all right, 2020 is here now, it’s going to be the year of self care and more time off. And I’m like, yes, we need it. So he has no shame reminding me you realize you didn’t take a day off in three months. You know this. You’ve been working every day for three months and you have to have this kind of honest relationship and someone to be able to say it to you without feeling like they’re criticizing you and just say thanks for the reminder. I feel it. But, you know, someone had to maybe say it out loud for me to really process, that I do not take a day off in three months. But so that’s that’s how we juggle, I feel I still feel like some days we’re just putting out fires. But, you know, it is what it is. I still try to do everything I can to never miss a concert for my kids for the most part, and and be there when they need me. But I’m definitely not the PTA mom, I’m the one who writes the cheques to PTA. I support them financially because I can’t physically be there. I admire what they do. I just I just can’t do all the things. So I say, all right, if I can’t support you, I can definitely give you the money to run with it. So that’s my system.
But you get back to the community as well to do workshops for schools as well.
Yes, we do the after school programs, which are really they’re, I’d say a non-profit, but they’re really skinny margins if we’re talking, you know, a few dollars per child. But it’s again, it’s the companies that have it to the community. Not everything you do has to make money every single time. If the operation makes money, we’re in a positive, if we have a data that puts us a little bit behind but we did something really great, It’s just as valuable because that’s what keeps the hive going. So, yes, we support the community, but in return we get a great hockey team, but we get a back for sure.
It’s fine that you said hive, I mean you definitely represent the queen bee, right?
I don’t know. The word queen bee is not I can, i don’t walk in here feeling like I rule this place like there’s like in my daily operation, I’m right there with everybody. You know, we made coffee this morning because one of our girls ran late. And, you know, I jump in with my sleeves up all the time. So it’s not a ruler, a modern day operation, i’m I’m a worker bee right there, I’m just the leader bee. That’s kind of how I see it. I’m right there with you. But it also means I can replace you at any given time. And that’s really, really important. You need to be able to jump into almost all the roles. I think of to the point now that the next hire of talent may be someone that’s so talented for a very specific need that I will not be able to jump in to exactly what they do, but I will be able to maybe replace them. But it’s important to know that if something goes down, you can do all the things, It’s really important.
As far as your habits, I mean, what does your morning routines look like?
I wake up with six, I get my kids on the bus, I hit the shower and drink coffee and off I go. It’s a non stop, I think this year, somewhere in the middle of those morning routines, a visit to the gym should come soon. But as far as I try to come in early if I can, because sometimes being here before everybody else, before the phone started ringing, it’s easier to focus and get stuff done or after hours sometimes because during the day, all kinds of challenges may come up or phone calls or, you know, AC guy will come in, you know, whatever it is at the day time, but sometimes you just need to have those really good, solid hours in front of the computer getting work done, checking your list, checking it twice. And and so I try to do that before or after, but my morning hours are definitely the strongest, most effective, especially creative, if I have to design something new or create a logo, I don’t know or come up with a new system. I feel like creatively that’s where I’m at, max, like I’m at max capacity after a long day of work and, you know, phone ringing and kids and or whatever, at that point, I will try to keep those hours for production as opposed to creative. That’s something I learned to acknowledge I think, that my morning hours are happy.
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Back to the show. So your day starts at 6:00 a.m. What time does your day usually end?
Between 10 or 11, I don’t watch much TV. Part of having an online store is and the difference between I guess the challenge today is the Amazon. Amazon is like in the process of putting everybody out of business. So the small mom and pop stores, even if they’re online stores, one thing they can do better than we can do better than Amazon is have the relationship with our customers, so that means creating a community and taking care of your community. So that’s Facebook and Instagram and answering questions if someone sends me a PM and being available and that’s difficult because that could be at 10 o’clock at night. So there are days that I say, all right, I’ll pretend I didn’t see it until the morning and try and remember and doing them but I try to be as informed and provide as much information as I can and available as I can to my customers. So it takes time. So it could be on my phone answering questions or looking at an endless list of emails of things I have to take care of. But yeah, so and then when I get to bed, there is no movie in bed or time to fall sick, it’s like my button’s off, it’s like hi bed, good night. But I mean it’s literally a two minute switch and I’m out like there’s no I learned in the military in Israel when you have a chance to fall asleep, you jump on that opportunity and you go to sleep. I put my phone down, close my eyes and I’m gone. So..
So I mean, that brings up a really solid point. With today’s technology we have AR, we have automation, we have all these different systems online, you know, even like chat bots. Do you ever think that you may be able to utilize those processes in your current system?
We do some. I mean, if someone says, where are you located or what are your hours? my chat bot will answer it. But if someone writes to me, Tal what’s your favorite brush for flowers?
Couldn’t you just automate that. I mean, in all reality, can you just put those information in, if you get that question ten times a week, is there an opportunity for you to say, hey, this question has been asked a lot, can I just make them out to kind of fill in that void?
Maybe and I’m not against it. May be the way of the future is just that it feels artificial. And I think people need the relationship and we need them. I think it’s strengthened our customer base for online because we get the notes, Tal, thank you for all the help, we’re looking for it. Like I get personal notes on orders and customers put them in. And I do believe that it’s beyond just how much you sell this product because we, you know, we can do price matching all day. But to have that extra added value of relationship and support when someone needs it or someone texting me and saying I mixed my Hinnah and it’s not working, what have I done wrong? You can try and you do a bit and you can try and Google it. But if you write me off, I’ll ask you three questions and know exactly your problems. So for now I can do it. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to buy myself. I may have to expand on that support and have others help me. That’s just the way I operate now. I’m not Amazon so …
I don’t think anybody’s Amazon.
Right, right. No, I mean, and in the great scheme of things, you know, there’s not a plan to rule the world. If we could just make a living as a family and create a community, a super happy like it, it’s more than enough. It’s so fortunate.
But your things are in a transition I mean, like, Jeff, you don’t think Jeff one day kind of just woke up, I was going to just sell books and then in the process of selling books, he was like that dawn of I could take over the world kind of thing kicked in.
Yes. I think it eventually shows up. When I think about it. I think you have to be that kind of person sometimes. And I don’t know that I’m that. I do want to set my kids for life? yes. Would it be nice to pay off the house? Absolutely. That’s like my mental goal is if I in 2020, if I can pay off our house, that would be amazing. But I also remind myself that what’s the most important? Like what do I wish for myself and my family? Is that just health? The rest will figure out, you know what I mean? Like, it’s just people that have money are not necessarily happier. I feel like if you have a lot of money or problems or bigger, it’s kind of like going from, you know, smoking a joint to doing crack, like when you can afford it. Like if you go to rich schools, do they smoke weed and ash or do they drop acid? And you know what I mean? Like when the kids are into I feel like the more money you have, things become more extreme. So I don’t equate it to happiness and I am after happiness. So if it grows and blows up, it will be awesome. But the mission, I believe, will stay the same.
Gotcha. So it’s like Biggie Smalls, more money, more problems.
Yeah, I think it is the bigger space, bigger problems. I mean, it’s more team more everything you have to plan for it. You have to plan for and forgive the process. Knowing if we moved into a bigger space and we predicted that’s going to be if Powerball was four hundred dollars and suddenly it’s fourteen hundred dollars, you know, I can be like, oh man, we just dropped a thousand dollars on a silly on heat. We need it quick. But at the same time, like, I have to remind myself, you moved into a bigger space, all the bills are going to go up.
So you’re more so not jumping in, rising to the top, you’re floating. You know, I’m saying like, as the water levels rise, you’re always on top of the water levels. You’re not like trying to surpass the water levels. You’re growing as they grow.
No, we I don’t know if I could say that. We’re definitely trying to make leaps. Some strategic moves are to make it so. OK, so we could probably split it. We’ll rise with the water on our storefront with our space is bigger now. There is more water. We can fill it up bigger, right? Definitely in that angle, yes. But for the online store, it’s all strategy.
So you’re always leaps ahead.
I try I try to be ahead as much as I can and think of what’s the next thing?What’s the next unicorn?
Do they feed each other or I mean, obviously the products kind of overlap, but there are a lot of the products don’t.
Most of them don’t. They feed each other in their existence, feed each other for the longest time because an online store is our online store as kind of a seasonal product like our sales dive in the colder months because nobody wears you know, if your skin is not bare, you’re not going to really wear much body art. And is it getting warmer? And since we’re indoors, parents can still have birthday parties in the pool or outside. Right. So it kind of equals itself out so we can pay our bills a little easier. It’s one supplementing each other during the winter and then it flops the other way around, and that’s totally OK. So in that end, for the longest time, that’s how we survived, because an art studio by itself would not survive. So the online store was the engine that could behind it. But now we’re to the point that they’re both contributing in different aspects. And also the team I can pull from my front of the house team to help me online as I need it. So it’s nice to not have a huge staff all the time for for the online store and have my key people that are really smart and really they know how to make it happen. But if I need more hands on, I can call my birthday party college girls or hostesses and say, hey, do you want more hours? I have today i need everybody to come in and put sponges in bags and they’re all in for it. So there are easy test job. So I can use the employees as a fluctuated kind of workforce for my part timers, good chefs. So we essentially we share talent. That’s really helpful.
I mean it’s a clear two point model. I mean, you have certainly two businesses that feed off each other,
The online work by itself, but the studio for them, I believe now it can but before it couldn’t. But to get here, we need a both. And it’s kind of interesting, so now, because when we open the store, the door to the community, we didn’t really have a solid plan. Yeah, we’re going to throw some parties. Yeah, we’re going to have some more classes. And we kind of developed them with the man, as you said, rise with the water. Right. And because we didn’t have to because we knew rent is paid. So it was focused on what pays the rent and have some fun with the community. And now that we create essentially we created the demand. We needed more space because now we have the demand and now we have to pay equal attention to both. And obviously, the front of the house need more workforce for the most part, and then we have more hours to get there. But the online store could use the help sometimes. So we kind of jump back and forth and it’s convenient.
Kind of sounds like an abstract version of Disney. You know, Disney builds all these movies to Pixar and to all the other entities that they purchase within Disney World. Kind of feeds off the movies once the movies are out and then they create new rides based upon the sales of the movie.
Right. They create a character and then they benefit. They benefit in many ways from it. Yes. But yeah, yeah.
It’s a pretty solid model.
It works and works. Yes. It’s evolution that brought me here like it was not planned. Like I’m going to use this to do this. It just kind of how things came about.
I mean, you got to connect the dots. I mean, you got to always help people like diversification of businesses is like the easiest way to kill a business if they’re not associated to each other. So, like I thought like you said, I’m your dad, I’m selling shoes and then next thing you know, creating a theme park and it’s not shoe related to diversify at that point.
Yes. Yes. And staying focused is a challenge sometimes.
So where do you see yourself in 20 year?
Oh, gosh, that’s a tough one. I would be in 2040, a grandma maybe. I don’t know where that’s 2040. I’ll be a grandma. I’ll be hopefully still walking around with a smile. But I’m thinking of something crazy we created at that point i would think that my kids or someone would either continue or I don’t know if I would work at the art factory full time.nI don’t know how long. I’m 43, so I’ll be 63. It’s like you’re asking me what are you to be 63, hopefully just as happy and healthy.
Well with twenty years of tech, you will probably be exactly the same who you are right now.
That would be interesting, we should put this in a vault. But as far as business goes, I hope that it would be a great story to tell a great success story and that’s still involved. Even if it’s not me directly, I hope to see it continue. Hopefully I created an engine that can eventually one day keep running without me and to make people happy and make empower others, that would be an achievement to create an engine that empowers others. Yeah, that would be a huge a good story. A good life, too. I could look back at it and say I didn’t think I would be very proud.
So parallel to that, when you see your business in twenty years?
I think the growth from here, like if I had to imagine growth part of my nonbusiness plan, right. Well, to be either art factory, play cafe and party into maybe multiple locations, that’s where we could grow the art factory online store and business to continue. That grows beyond that for other generations. Sustain online store that’s at that point a destination’s people know to come in and buy feel like we’re still educating the world that we exist. So hopefully in 20 years we can say people know about us, they know to look for us. That would be awesome online because when you’re an online store, you have to spend the efforts of not being a brick and mortar store. You have to spend it into telling people, hey, I’m here all the time. People are not walking or driving by and I have to find a way to find you. But if I had to think of these businesses as a split, I could see myself selling the front of the house and keeping the online store, eventually splitting and splitting them apart and and letting one fly maybe sooner than the other.
And then sell all the supplies.
Right, Yes, yes. And to create an engine, create a model because we have so much experience now doing the parties and then sell these branches and then provide these art factories with the supply for them to run successful business and their education and all that stuff. I would like to make it so I could still nurture it.
Yeah, then the online education space is a huge market, you know, just thinking about like colleges. And we had this discussion the other day, just colleges are so inundated with old school philosophies that they don’t give real world principles or real actions on how to go from point A to point B, you know, like we went to art school together. I think it was an opportunity to kind of build and develop our skills. But it didn’t teach us how to sell and scale our skills.
Right. I think college is a skill base. You know, you learn software. It’s nice to be able to have a teacher challenge you and tell you something to do. And if you’re more of a visual person and social like, I think it’s important to go to college not only to learn a skill, but maybe to learn a skill, not alone, to have a network. This we created a network. We’re still friends with our designer friends and we all went to different places, but we’re still a network. And that’s something that if you’re an online by yourself, you think you may have a network, but it’s not a family network like this. That’s one. So that’s the value of college. But it has to be taken in perspective. Like I think that when we were kids, I remember you telling me I’m the first in my family to graduate from college and you’re right in your bloodline. Like I remember you telling me this. And I was like, holy cow, that’s a big deal. If you look at the family tree and you look at channel picture and you’re like, he’s the first to graduate college, holy cow, it’s a huge achievement. But then today, I think is it is crucial to graduate college, looking back in hindsight. Oh, no, no. It was at the time. It’s not that it’s not valid for your lifetime. It’s valid. But our kids I’m looking at my fourteen year old. I’m thinking your parents are already talking about when you go to college and I’m like, can we finish the school year successfully and make friends and not kill each other and try not to completely break down or melt out. Puberty is so remote. It’s like a kid will be a mess all the time. It’s just it doesn’t make any sense. That’s one. And then at the same time, they have to. Decide who they want to be and navigate through all this stuff in high school, so then they make the right choice to go to college like they’re 18, their babies, tadpoles. Like the system is…
There are so many variables that kids nowadays like, from sexuality to how am I going to make money? What am I going to do? Am I going to have kids? Am I going to work for somebody? This is completely different than when we were.
Yes. And everything is picture perfect. Also, when you look at the worst part about it, I think the worst part of social media for our kids is that your Instagram is so beautiful that you think that everybody’s script is just look at this guy. They’re having the time of their life. I’m like, are they or are you watching a highlight of once every three months? Maybe they’re having one great day every three months.
I think it’s consistency. I mean, a lot of times we have an online persona. Only the biggest jewel I can give you is that you have to be consistent. If you’re going to start posting quote, you have to post quote on a regular basis. You can’t post one quote and expect everybody be like, oh, my gosh, the best quote ever. If you go to Disney World and you post this picture of you and your family, Disney World, but then everybody is kind of looking to see, OK, what are you going to do next?
Right. Right. But as a kid, as a teenager, if you’re the one looking at the speed and everything is picture perfect in it and you look at your life and you’re like, I want to be that and that, when we as parents, we know it’s not real because we grew up without it. I think we’re so lucky to be the last generation to slide in without a phone. Oh my God. To through college. We didn’t have Facebook. We actually have to call people and like, you know, remember Steve Jobs showing how you can scroll through text through voice mails. And I was like what? we were those kids, we were those at college thinking this is going to change our life. And it did. But we don’t know what we gave up for it. Like, can we see it through our kids? I think we gave the kids so much
Like remembering phone numbers. Right. Who remember the phone numbers anymore?
Right. But I don’t miss that.
I mean, you don’t miss it, but it kind of goes to the principle of like, simple mathematics. I mean, like memory if you’re not memorizing things and then like, how are you actually retaining information that you learn new things.
I think that to me, that frees me. My phone frees me from remembering done things that really don’t need to. And it cracks me up when I think about it. Remember sitting in math and, you know, math teacher saying you’re not going to walk around with a calculator in your pocket like, yes, we are every single day. I have a calculator in my pocket. Hold on one second. So things have evolved consistently. I think schools should consider adding more experience and that should also include, you know, how to cook food or wash your clothes like life skills is paying your bills, understanding a balance sheet, understanding compound interest should be the lesson every parent tell their child.
They should learn it at like age 2. Like before you even learn one plus one you should learn compound interest
Because then you laugh really hard when you think, Oh, I bought a house and we negotiated so hard we save two thousand dollars on our deal. Like, you know, you didn’t calculate how much how much money are you paying for? A thousand, a million dollars throughout the thirty year loan. You really have to understand these things. And maybe parents should think of all this money spent on college. Is it better to give it to a kid to open a business? Can I say instead of college, I’m going to invest in a business for you, but I want you to do the research and decide what that would be. I have a budget for you. I’m not going to give it to you as a present. It’s not money to blow off. We’re going to invest it for you to create an engine that can set up for life. That’s a cool concept.
It is. It’s the same liability. You put in hundreds of thousands of education and you put them in.
And you’re not guarantee to even have a job
They may not even stay in the field. They may completely you know, you may go from a graphic designer to being a dentist is like forever, right?
Yeah, that’s for sure. At least if you invest in something for your kids, you have the opportunity to ensure that they make some money. You can buy franchises, you know, franchise and success or something like that for them. Hope they work it. And if they don’t, you can sell it. You can still save some of the money. College is like, you know, put the money in the envelope, send it away. I loved being in college because I went to school when I was twenty two because as you know, you go to the military and then I traveled, which was the biggest thing the tradition is in Israel is if you once you release from the military, you go work something to make as much cash as you can so you can go travel. And sometimes travel means being six months away or a year away. But you expose yourself to culture and many other things. And I think that’s so important. I think that before you can choose to be who you are, you have to see how others live. I mean, the concept that’s one thing like my Israeli mind. Sometimes I don’t get it. Like, how can you be An American that lives in your state then never left? Like we sometimes you meet people that never left Georgia and never left New York.
New York is a good example of that. I mean, I grew up in Brooklyn and it’s people that live in Brooklyn that’s never been to Manhattan or never been to any other borough and it’s like that’s like a mile away.
This is disturbing. It’s not even mind boggling to me that to say I’ve never been to if you live in New York and you never been to Manhattan and you’re a subway ride away, you’re missing and you’re basically sitting inside watching a train go by.
Something like the monuments. I mean, like Statue of Liberty. It’s people that live in New York that’s never been the Statue of Liberty.
Right. Well, I never I have no desire to go there.
Well, you didn’t grow up in Brooklyn. You didn’t grow up in Manhattan. You didn’t live in the city.
That’s different because that’s like a one on one side. Right. But if you tell me I live in the Bronx, but I never drove downtown Manhattan, that’s almost like you’re giving up on culture and exposure and language and I mean how crazy it is. It’s kind of like not going to Chinatown to see that there’s some people that speak another language, have no desire to even speak.
But I think society wise is going to you think about the way they’re building and developing everything. You know, you could leave your house like in Atlanta right now. Right. You could literally not even leave your house and have everything delivered. Or if you do leave your apartment, your grocery stores in the same parking lot right across the street as a target.
Right. But at the same time, you could say YouTube can take you anywhere you want to go. But really, the reality is that I think your goal for young minds should be exposure to go see, go smell good, try good taste, expose yourself to different things to explore. Only then you would know what you want to be. So, I mean, I feel like I learned it in a very, very young age because i got kicked out of middle school when I was in Israel at the time high school was a privilege, so. When I graduated from middle school, which was ninth grade, right, we do 10, 11, 12 in high school, so it’s slightly different. By the end of ninth grade, I had eight failing grades because I just hated school so much because it was a linear study with 40 students in a class. And if you didn’t listen and wrote down what a teacher said, you would never pass the test. You could not do the homework. And it just was not the way I studied. And it was really difficult for me. And at some point I just gave up. And at the time when I was a kid, the school was there, the institution and, you know, the students. If you didn’t do it, just like the institution said, you’re broken, something is wrong with you. My dad used to say all you have to do is study hard to lose weight. And I’m like, what I think about it today. I’m like, this is such a weird thing to say to a teenager. Like Study Hard. I’ve been trying all this time and it’s not working. And not once did he question what’s not working for Tarl. Like, why is this equation? And maybe he did and he just couldn’t figure it out. My mom was more of the heart and the connection and I think she knew that, you know, I’m a good hearted person and then I’m going to be OK. But, you know, she hated to see me suffer, but I suffered in middle school. It was a nightmare. And it was at least today we can as parents, we can say, you know what, this school may not work for my kid, and that’s OK. And that’s a huge improvement. But we still in the world of education have to understand that not everybody learns the same or at the same time or the same way. Like, you don’t learn the same way or the same time or maybe not today. Like you could have a really crappy day in today’s Nine Learning Day, and that should be OK. So our system has a lot a lot more to grow and do, but it’s part of being a pawn and something really big. This country is huge. The change is so hard to roll out. And, you know, I mean, even stuff like just school choice, like, it’s just so difficult.
But it’s the country now I mean, think about it.I mean, we’re three hundred million people in US versus China is like one point five billion the magnitude.
Right. But it’s still I mean, in Israel, six million, seven million is the tiny little tiny little speck in this whole thing. It’s still hard because you’re still thinking, talking to a lot of bodies. But we as people, we can make the difference by daring to ask and daring to intervene and saying that’s not working for my kid and being brave enough to to save them from this whirlpool of like what match or working doesn’t work because I’ve been on the other side and it was crushing. And I don’t know really how I got through. Like, if I think of what made me pull through, I don’t really know or understand it. And I’m very thankful I did because I could have been a really depressed person. It was such a tough process. And I think maybe it’s because I found passion in a very young age. I got accepted to a design school and I found out that I like it. And so by the time I finished high school, I had, you know, I had it, I had my high school diploma, but I also had like almost equivalent to an associate’s degree. As far as the content we learned, it was like not a degree, but like a certificate of accomplishment that meant that I am I could go work for a printer at the time or whatever, if that was it for me. But I found my passion at a very young age, and some kids spend their entire life never finding what they love to do or what they’re good at. And the self-worth and accomplishment in a young age is combine that with surviving military times during Desert Storm, World War and on the borders. Like I left the military saying there is nothing I can do if I survive this crazy. I just need to decide what I want to be and I’m going to do it. That was huge for that age for sure.
So, it seems like you have two systems running. We discussed one of them is online store. One of them was the actual store front. What are some tools that you use on a daily basis that you would not be able to run this business without?
My team. I think there are some key individuals in this office that understand who I am. And I think it’s because I run a very honest, no pretend kind of operation. And they know me, they know who I am, and they adjust to my crazy, if you would say. And they were able to find the joy in working together and understand how I operate. And together there is this crazy, perfect harmony here and I could have not done it without them. So, yes, I could replace one individual at a time. I have the skills to do it. I don’t enjoy it ever when they’re not here. But also it’s like this family, you know, like it’s this I have this core group that’s really helped. You know, they believe when I say I have this crazy idea, they’re like, all right, all notepads are out, we’re ready. They know that it’s you know, when by the time I come and tell them, share an idea or something that they’re my biggest cheerleaders to be at this point, I guess I earned their faith to know that if I have this idea, even when they’re doubts, we’re going to run with it and we’re going to make it work. And it’s like an internal support system and it’s awesome and beautiful. I’m very thankful for it. It’s not a given. I know not all office environments run this way. So without it, I couldn’t run this business. Everything else I could learn. Right. I could teach myself. I could log in today. As you said, education’s so easy we can decide. We want to learn a new software and a new skill. You know how to lay tile. Here’s a YouTube video for you. But how to run a tight ship, a group I feel like I’m pretty fortunate to have a really awesome group here that kind of gets the crazy and run with that. Even if it’s there were times were so stressful. We moved into this new building this past few months and the hardest thing was employees. But it was also. A big factor in why we succeeded.
I think the conversation we had earlier when getting coffee. It’s like you created a philosophy for recruiting. So, you know, most people will use online tools to recruit people and go through their resumes and go through all the processes and online interviews. And you kept it very simple and very effective by saying, OK, I really have a core group of people. Bring me your friends.
Right. So, yeah, it’s hard to find talent and interviewing just sucks, right? Like, no, as much as it’s terrible to be interviewed, I think it’s worse to be the one interviewing now been sitting on both sides because to try and pinpoint who would be the right fit. Right. Asking the right question. And but it’s at this point, because we’re such a tight group, you have to not only skill wise fit. You also have your personality has to fit. You have to fit within a very tight community that’s already operating. That’s a challenge because when you’re a really big company, eventually you’ll find someone to get along with. But if you’re in a small company and a new employee, come in and they don’t get along with anybody, it doesn’t survive. Even if they’re as skilled, this can be it’s not enough. So once you find a core group, which is the hardest thing to do, you do have to post and try and reach as many people as you can. Facebook has been really great, like through the moms groups. And like, I need a person try to describe the skill I need and their personality. I need as much as I possibly can and take as many leads that way and interview as many people. But once you have that core group, if you can just ask them if their friends want to work, most likely you will get a very similar talent, or at least personality wise, because people tend to kind of hang out with the people they like. So it seems like an internal recruit works very well because these girls that work here already know what we’re looking for and what works here and what the behavior is like. And if they say, I have a friend, that would be a great fit that have turned in a lot more success, then tried to call it call again.
Yeah, like I said, you built the trust with them, too. So they know that I’m going to bring in somebody that’s going to happen. So they’re going to bring somebody on their level of height.
Right. And they don’t want to look bad either. Right? They don’t want anything to make them look bad. Like they don’t want anybody to say, oh, yeah, this girl brought this, let’s fit in here. And they also want to look like the heroes, like I brought my friend. Look how awesome she is. That works. That works very well. So we did a lot most hiring done that way. And even now as we grow like internally, like I said, I’m going to present it to the group first and see if someone want to pick up more shifts by learning more skills like being a barista. And I thought I’m going to have to hire from outside and I have not had to do that. So it’s really nice. They just all want to jump in and be all the things. So that means they want to stay more involved and stay closer. That’s great.
This next question is kind of a tricky question. Is it based upon I mean, everything that you talked about today was just building a family unit essentially in a business and making it into a systematic family that everybody’s feeling about each other. Everybody’s working in synergy. Are you a big believer in company equity to employees?
Company equity to employees? I think yes. Eventually I would love to make it happen. I think that when your skin in the game, you know, dedication level would go a lot higher. And so your pride in the way you treat things, I think it’s genius to do it that way in a way to like make them part of it, reward them in one way or another. So, yes, I’m not there yet, but I would love to love to make it happen here.
What are your final words of wisdom to up and coming entrepreneurs?
I think practice optimism is the biggest thing, especially when it comes to business. So like when you tackle challenges and you make a list of your challenges, maybe next to an article that says what could have been worse considered the worst case scenario. So your challenge column may be seem a little brighter and try to plan, but not get caught up in the plan. That’s a big and important thing to think about all the time, is that remember to stay flexible and fluid as much as possible within your plan and find your way. Why are you doing this? And it has to be deeper than to support my family. Like, yes, I’m making you know, I’m doing this business to support my family. But why this business? Why do you think this would work? Ask these questions all the time once you have clarity there. I think that it would help with hurdles along the way because problems are going to definitely come up in any business, big or small, and to be ready to resolve them to have this internal peace, to know to have a clear view of why you’re doing this. And also remind yourself that no matter what tackle, there is always worse. Some mistakes you’re going to make are going to cost money and you’re going to have to just treat it like tuition, the money it costs me to learn this lesson instead of. Sitting in a college class paying fourteen hundred dollars a day, I paid it to the air conditioner guy, you know, like whatever it is, some things along the way are going to cost money. And instead of beating yourself up, treat his tuition, put in your pocket as a lesson learned for another skill, pick up and move on. And if you operate that way with a clear intention, then I believe success is on the rise.
Great. That’s definitely some great and insightful information that hopefully people will take hear to it and stick to it. Right. I mean, that’s that’s the main thing if you’re going to actually execute a plan. And I think a lot of people, they don’t realize that if your goal is to get to this point and you start here and you derailed twenty five different ways, you’re never going to get to the end goal. You’re always going to go off track and you’re never going to hit it. You’re never gonna hit the mark.
Right, right. That’s why clarity is really important from the very, very beginning.
So how can people find you online? I mean, what’s your Facebook, Instagram, email, phone number, Social Security number?
We’re artfactorystore.com for online stuff. We have the art factory VA for our Virginia Art Factory storefront. On Facebook it’s Art Factory Play Cafe And Party Place. I know it’s a very long and Art Factory Body Art And Party Place you can find us and both our logo change color, but it just about always looks the same as you know, aside from the tagline. On Instagram, we’re @artfactorytal, if you want to see me directly or Art Factory VA for all our local ARVA content here in Virginia and we’re Midlothian, Virginia, if you’re local, come say hi. Our address is 4810 Market Square Ln, Midlothian, VA 23112. And our office number 804-716-5219. That’s right, yep. We’re always here to answer regardless of what side of the business someone will answer the phone and put you in touch with the right people. Or it may be just me that’s still answer the phone.
On the video we’ll transcribe those and we’ll have those listed.
Oh, yeah, that would be great.
The bonus question is, do you remember the first time we met?
The first time we met, the first day, I can’t remember. I think you worked at the lab before i did. Right. You were there before I was? so I remember my first day at work was like, really scary. I meant to say I was there early and I met Sam and he just showed me how to put paper in the printer. And then I walked around and kind of met everybody but as a foreign student, if you come to the US, the rules for immigration are very strict. You can either work, you either don’t work or you only work on campus and you can only work 20 hours a week. Like it’s very specific. And I needed I needed the money. So I worked for gas money and just for, you know, for food and whatever. So I started the cafeteria. And then when I got to the computer lab, which was really what I really wanted, I think Gloria hired me originally. Yes. And then and I joined it was a fun group. You know, I was just thinking about the other day. We were so lucky to have that. Solike as students, if you think of how to connect when you go to college and you don’t know anybody and you need to connect and make friends, you know, you have to find the common denominator. You either you have to find a tribe, your tribe. Right. And we just got lucky to work in the computer lab supporting each other. But we were also family and we were also friends and we challenged each other. We used to sit and do homework and leave it on the computer and they would walk away and someone might come and make change and say, I think you should do this. And like everybody had an opinion. Everybody was kind of a type a brave enough to speak up. Which was interesting that make me wonder why they when they hired us, what made them? I guess because we were outspoken. We’re not scared. But we were also support for through school, through stress, like covering each other, help each other with projects, whatever, how lucky you are to have that in the building like, so it was a small college and we could come into this computer lab and hang out or take to connect in the cabinet that we remember being like, hey, I’m going to go take a nap here under this table. Just pretend I’m not here and just wake me up before class. You know, like, I just I feel like this network we had, this tiny little network was such a huge factor of our success.
At least at least 60 percent of us are still all connected.
Yes, we made we created a family. I mean, it was just because we applied for a job. We walked into this opportunity because we needed money or for whatever reason, and we created this family. And I mean, we’re raising our kids together now. How cool is that? And I feel like it’s very fortunate we we got to it. So this I can’t remember that exact day. Do you remember the day we met? I don’t remember that one day, but I just I remember spending hours with you. I also remember asking you completely politically correct questions because I needed someone to tell me.
You still do.
I still do. Because we have this relationship like, OK, he’s not going to kill me. Like, I have to know. It’s just funny. It’s nice to have this kind of you know, Dr. Google is not helping me with these questions and being politically correct in Israel. I think the term politically correct does not exist at all. When I moved into the US, one of the biggest challenges was to not come across as too abrupt or too direct or two people call me aggressive, which was a term I really did not like. It’s not aggressive. It’s a cultural thing. We you know, we translate the Harry Potter book. It went from, you know, a two inch thick book to like a tiny little worksheet booklet, kind of. You know, there’s just not as many words in Hebrew as a language to start in this whole like predicting and understanding politically correct was one of the hardest things to learn. It’s beyond language. It’s knowing what to say, when to not offend anybody, like walk on your toes with with words. And so through college, I just did not have any fluff. I just dropped it like a crazy bomb. And it was nice to have a safe environment to do it without getting completely punched.
I mean, you have to be an acquired personality to deal with it. For me, It is a golden opportunity, just like you said, have those discussions and not have the negative feedback of it. And I’m still like that to this day. I kind of did say whatever hell I want to say, and it’s kind of like, OK, you deal with it, deleting your Facebook, keep it moving. You know, that’s like
I can’t I’m to a point that I can’t do that.
Well, you’re in a neighborhood politician.
I can’t. I can’t. Because, you know, no matter what you believe in politically, you know, when you express your opinions, you give up half your crowd because you’re either left or right, you know, whatever. Like, it’s very and Facebook is so the mob mentality is killing me. Like we forget how to be friends and people become so keyboard brave, they can say whatever they want if they’re typing and not saying it out loud. The funny thing is, as graphic designer and political campaign person, you know that some people, all they do is stoke the fire. And I read angry posts from one side to another side and I’m like, we are both falling as fools to this game. Nobody is going to change my mind on Facebook, and I’m not going to change anybody’s mind, therefore, you’ll never see political post for me. And I try to stay neutral when it comes to that. And I again, try to inspire rather than…
Politics and religion on two things. I’m just going like “Eehh”, I want to be more on the Howard Stern side of things.
You know, we’re all confused, though. Another thing that needs to completely evolve, that is like lagging behind ages behind us. We communicate differently. Why can’t we vote the same way? like it’s just crazy. So it is what it is. And we have to be careful as business owners we have to think of what you say publicly. And also remember that these things don’t go away
Even if you delete it,
Your kids will see it when they’re older, they’re going to see all the things you wrote. Are you comfortable with that?
And somebody cash somewhere, that video was there. Well, I definitely appreciate taking the time to jump on a podcast and, you know, giving the viewers definitely some great insight.
It’s my pleasure and thanks for having me a ton of fun.
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Appreciate it.
Thanks for tuning into another episode of Boss Uncaged. I hope you got some helpful insight and clarity to the diverse approach on your journey to becoming an Uncaged Trailblazer. If this podcast helped you. Please email me about it. Submit additional questions you would love to hear me ask our guests and or drop me your thoughts @asksagrant.com. Post comments , share, hit subscribe and remember, to become a Boss Uncaged, you have to release your Inner Beast. S. A. Grant Signing off.
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