To say that I like to grow things would be an understatement. I enjoy every aspect of the growth lifecyle, be it building from the ground up or breathing life into an old idea. At times I have simultaneously done both. Like when I was in my twenties and wanted to find a way to re-purpose old clothing. I found the answer when I built a vintage store from the ground up.
I come from a history of gardeners and horticulturists on both sides of my family so my desire to grows things runs deep. From a young age I have been fascinated with the way plants grew in the right environment. I would carefully study how the soil was created, the nutrient base and viability of the seeds long before I would plant them. This type of A B testing and experimentation was something I carried into my adult life and applied to businesses a long the way.
Starting an Internet Cafe in the Jungle
The first business I grew was a small coffee shop that served breakfast in a tiny beach town in Costa Rica. I took a sabbatical from my studies after a couple of years of college to travel and learn Spanish. I got job as a short line cook to support my journey and immediately saw a market space for travelers looking for access to email. This was in the mid 90’s and email was starting to come on the scene strong for travelers who were accustomed to long distance toll fees as the only other option to snail mail to communicate home.
Above is a picture of me in the Blue Maxx Cafe with some friends and one of work stations from 1998. I am the one in a tank top not smiling because these guys would not stop talking about how good the waves were while I had to work.
I eventually purchased the business and imported three desktop computers to re-brand as the Blue Maxx internet Cafe. I opened the first internet cafe in Tamarindo, which has since grown to be one of the number one tourist destinations in Costa Rica. When it was time to return to the states I sold the business to open a vintage clothing store in Dallas, Texas.
Starting a Vintage Store in Texas
One of the advantages to having the only internet cafe in town was that I got to meet a lot of interesting people and entrepreneurs. I was particularly fond of a customer that supplied vintage clothing to retail stores in the US. Because of the demand for old clothing from the US in other countries, he had developed a formula that would maximize profits from used clothing in both domestic and international markets.
It took a year in half to create a business plan, secure funding, a location and everything else that goes into launching a retail business. In 2000 I opened Counter Culture, my first brick and mortar retail location in the Deep Ellum district of Dallas Texas. I hired a qualified sales team and manager that allowed me to grow the concept into new markets.
The first two retail locations I started
Before starting a second location I secured a product stream. In 2002 I partnered with my supplier and moved to San Diego, Ca and took over as Marketing and Brand Director for the growing wholesale company.
The Move into Wholesale
The next five years I developed a digital first business strategy that grew the business by +300%. I established Dust Factory as the leader in an industry we were pioneering by developing an online presence that grew the brand into international markets.
On the retail side we expanded to four locations with two warehouses for distribution. We also developed employee manuals and business plans that helped others start shops of their own.
In 2007 I sold off the retail divisions to work full time on the distribution. Having secured a steady client base I partnered with vendors relieving sourcing conflicts to focus on product branding and lead generation.
Branding is crucial with used clothing. To the laymen, these were old clothes, but to our tribe it was a one-of-kind piece of history with more value than anything new or contemporary. To establish our message I produced content and digital media strategies which would optimize lead generation and goal completion in line with the company’s KPIs to deliver maximum ROI.
Just like in my gardens when I was younger I would continuously improve campaign effectiveness through testing and performance analysis to ensure a consistent experience through-out the acquisition funnel in multiple channels.
One of the mailers and warehouse showrooms
The automation of the process relived much of our overhead which freed up my time to teach other businesses how they could use digital marketing to help their organizations grow.
Helping Others Grow
Having been a surfer most of my life I had a number of friends in the action sports industry both on the creative and marketing side. I began building digital marketing strategies for a number of established brands and ones just entering the market.
Since 2007 I have been developing and implementing global marketing strategies across multiple technology platforms in both the B2B and B2C arenas. I produce segmentation strategies and messaging specific to key verticals with lead generation programs for different brands and GTM firms. I specialize in executing digital first business strategies and roadmaps; client relationship LifeCycle management along with agile team/organization professional performance assessments.
As a marketing consultant I am able to travel and work from anywhere that has an internet connection. In 2011 I relocated with my family to Costa Rica to work abroad. As my young family grew in the jungle I managed my wholesale company and clients while building a sustainable agriculture business with a partner. I spent much of my time growing food in the morning, and growing business online in the heat of the day.
Hacienda Okhra and my home office
In 2015 I partnered with one my clients to create a new startup in the Local Business Sector. We developed a mobile app and launched the business in Austin, Texas before the end of the year. Having worked with SMB’s and having one of my own, I was thrilled to build an application that gave a voice to local businesses.
I relocated my family back to the states to the states in 2016 to work full time for the new startup. This opportunity allowed me to build another brand from the ground up. I used a full stack of skills to develop the brand from concept to product, complete with a marketing funnel, nurture campaigns and mutli-channel customer and user acquisition. I exited the startup in October 2017 and began working full time as a marketing and brand consultant for other startups and GTM firms.
Today I am in an accomplished digital marketing strategist and automation consultant with 15+ years experience launching and growing businesses. I still enjoy strategic thinking but am not afraid to get my hands dirty and build from the ground up. Industry nonpartisan though much of my career has been in retail, hospitality and SaaS. I am particularly interested in developing full marketing-sales results with growth-stage startups in both B2B and B2C arenas. Feel free to contact me if your are interested in finding new ways to grow and automate your business.