The Opportunistic Mindset | Special Guest: Michael Radparvar
The latest addition to the Career Now series discusses the Entrepreneurial Mindset. Our partners at Why Millennials Matter spoke with Michael Radparvar, the co-founder of Holstee, about starting his own business and advice he would give to his younger self.
WMM: Tell us about yourself.
MR: I am the co-founder at Holstee and my primary role is to share the brand story. As a company, Holstee started about 6 year ago. We got our name because the first product we ever made was a holster pocket and t-shirt together. Today our company focuses on creating art and pieces of inspiration that encourage a more reflective lifestyle.
When we first started, it was 2009 and the recession was in full swing. At the time, I was working at a consulting company that focused on training. We had all of these opportunities ahead of us, but none gave us the chance to work on the problems most important to us – the ones that got us most excited. We decided that we needed to sit down and define success for ourselves – the result was a 17-sentence document which is now known as the Holstee Manifesto. It was something we felt really good about and came at a time when our thinking was very clear. We put it on the “About” page on our website as a constant reminder that this is what is important to us. It’s not just our company mission, it’s also a personal life mission.
Not long after – maybe 2 or 3 months later – we started getting emails from friends. People were seeing our mission posted on Tumblr. People were changing their Facebook profile pictures to it. It ended up being shared millions of times across the web and was translated into over 13 different languages. It applied to people across a wide demographic. Everyone took a piece of it that was most important to them. It’s been a beautiful way to build our company – on something so many people relate to or draw energy from.
WMM: What was it like to start your own business?
MR: Mostly fun, but not necessarily easy. However, I’d be surprised if any entrepreneur claimed it was easy to do! You don’t create a company because you are looking for an easy life – I think that’s a common misconception. However, is this path fun? Yes. Is it rewarding? Yes. Does it allow you to craft the type of world that you want to be in and that you want to bring other people into? Yes.
We’ve had a lot of challenges along the way. When you look at the manifesto, it covers so many different things that it opens up a whole world of questions. One of the challenges we faced when creating the company [based on the manifesto] was that – as beautiful as it is – it’s very broad. We had to find a way to narrow down what we wanted to focus on as a company, as a team. If you look at Holstee’s timeline as a company, we’ve experimented with a bunch of different things: T-shirts, a curated shop, letterpress prints, home goods, events, dinners, classes, and workshops. Now, we have come full circle and realized that all of those things were great, but there is real beauty in the idea of less, but better. It’s about simplicity – focusing on the things that we can do really well and enjoy the process of doing so.
For us, we’ve had a lot of challenges along the way. When you look at the manifesto, there are so many different things that it kind of opens up a whole world of questions. One of the challenges we faced with creating a company based on the manifesto, as beautiful as it is, is that it is so open and so large. One of our challenges as been narrowing down what we want to focus on, a company, as a team. If you look at the timeline of Holstee, we have experimented with a bunch of different things: T-shirts, a curated shop, letter press prints, home goods, events and dinners, classes, and workshops. Now we have kind of come full circle and realized that all of those things were great, but there a real beauty in this philosophy of less but better. Simplicity. Focusing on the things that we can do really well and enjoying the process of it.
WMM: Any advice that you would give yourself 5 years ago?
MR: Looking back, I would tell my 5 year younger self to take the time to focus and build on one thing. However, we might be in a different place with Holstee if I had done that! I do feel like I gained a lot of experience from the path I took. I gained knowledge and awareness. I might have had to take those steps again in order to get where I am now….I don’t know.
[I would say,] – keep an opportunistic mindset, but still allow time enjoy the process. I think there were moments when we wanted to do so many different things that we didn’t allow ourselves time to enjoy the process as much. To me, working with complete focus and enjoyment is a huge contributor to success overall – rather than feeling so strained jumping from thing to thing.
WMM: How can people stay in touch with you and find out more about Holstee?
#Passion2Action | ACTION ITEM: Vision Board
Inspired by Holstee’s Manifesto, we want you to create your own vision board. Grab some old magazine, get some paper, glue, tape, scissors, and get to work! Put only words and images that best represent your purpose, your ideal future, and words that inspire positive emotions in you. The purpose of a vision board is to be a constant reminder to all the goals and ideas you want to bring to life. Visualization is one of the most power mind exercises that you can do in order to achieve your goals.
Take a picture and upload to the social media platform of your choice. Be sure to tag with #Passion2Action!