1. The brand you've created is extremely successful, even in some of the worst economic years our country has seen. How have you managed to not only maintain but grow the company over the years? Whether their is a bad economic year or not, all people and companies shouldn't be too comfortable in their old ways. We are constantly reinventing the way we market the Johnny Cupcakes brand and also how we sell our products. We've traveled around and set up 1-day pop up shops in almost every city in the USA; We've released Halloween movie themed t-shirts inside of collectible VHS packaging and sometimes have gone as far as renting out actual coffins and hearses to jump out of during t-shirt releases; One summer we released ice cream themed t-shirts in oversized ice cream packaging and even sold them out of ice cream trucks where every customer would receive a free ice cream with their t-shirt purchase. I could go on, but you get the idea. Have fun, keep creating, and take risks! It has always been my goal to make sure people feel like it's their birthday anytime they purchase a product from Johnny Cupcakes!
2. The thing I love about you is your appetite for life, you have this amazing sense of wonder, humor, passion, fun - and you've injected it into your brand! Not all business owners (and people for that matter) possess those qualities. Where do you think that comes from? Aw shucks... THANKS! I think this comes from my fun parents. As a child, my mom would pretend we were running errands and she'd surprise me and bring me to a carnival. I remember seeing the top of a ferris wheel from a distance and having a wondrous, NO-YOU-DIDN'T feeling. My dad has always been humorous. Anytime friends would sleep over, my dad would put our cat inside of his shirt so that the cats head would be poking out of the top of the neck, replacing my dads head, turning him into CAT DAD! Both of my parents would always win Halloween contests. One year my dad dressed up like Justin Timberlake and my mom dressed up like Janet Jackson! My mom even got fake jingle-jangles to reenact that one Superbowl moment!
3. You are one of the smartest entrepreneurs I know. Your hustle is amazing! I believe all smart, successful people were at some point given a helping hand or some great advice... Are there any apps, programs, tips or suggestions you have for entrepreneurs just-starting-out? Everyone has brilliant ideas, but so many people are afraid of failing and this stops them from following their dreams. I think it's important to be able to put yourself out there, roll with the punches while understanding each punch is a learning lesson to bring back to the laboratory. It's also important to note that almost everything has been done before and humans have so many choices. Why will they take a risk with your product, service or personality? When I travel and speak, I encourage everyone to come up with a dozen reasons why their product, project, service, or company is unique. You shouldn't stop there though! When one gets comfortable in their old ways, that's when another company comes and steals the thunder. In order to stay relevant, every workforce must use creative thinking.
Your time is the most valuable thing you have. It's something you can never get back. It's unfortunate that sometimes it takes a near death experience for us to realize the value of our time and happiness. While many of my peers would party on weekends, I would hustle. When I was a little boy, I started 16 business before I was 16 years old. I was determined to work for myself so that I could spend more time with the people that I love. They hung out with cute girls at parties, while I hung out with cute old ladies at Joanne Fabrics where I started a fleece scarf business. If you're serious about your ideas and following your passion, you will find a way. Time can be your best friend or your worst enemy, use it wisely!
As far as apps go, I use the app THINGS a lot. It's a list making app. I love making lists. Mmmmm....lists! You can make lists of projects, with individual lists within those lists. It's like INCEPTION but for lists, kind of... sort of... not really.
4. You LOVE pop culture and movies the same way I do... And in fact you organize screenings of awesome old movies. What are some of your all-time favorite movies that you think everyone should see? Goonies, Back To The Future 1 + 2, Home Alone 1+2, Monster Squad, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Burbs, Terminator 2.
5. You've mastered having a brand, an online shop, brick and mortors around the world... What's next for you, what are you excited about?
Speaking + Creative Consulting: Pumped to travel and guest speak at companies to help their teams expand their experience, marketing + brand loyalty efforts!
Pop-Up Shops: I'm bringing it back old school by personally driving to peoples homes, work, and schools to present mini pop-up shops! Whoever hosts me, gets free merch! I'm also going to give every host a 13% (A BAKERS DOZEN!) of sales either on a gift card or to their charity of choice!
Collaborations: Fun collaborations in the works with a sneaker brand and a watch company! Looking to do more collaborations!
Custom T-Shirts: Looking to design + brand special custom Johnny Cupcakes t-shirts for people and their companies + organizations!
Learning: I'd like to make time to learn more! Cooking, baking, kung-fu, breakdancing, writing, and much more!
CUPCAKES: For real, I would like to open a shop across the street from my stores, called "Johnny T-Shirts" that only sells cupcakes!
Family: I met someone who loves Home Alone as much as I do. Someday we'll make time to start a family as cool as the McCallister's :)