If you missed it check out Young Entrepreneurs Turning Partying into Businesses Part 1
Here are two more Under 30 CEOs that are making things happen doing something they really love in life. They saw opportunities and grabbed them. The party did not stop after college for these guys.
Andrew Moran – New York Bar Store
Andrew grew up in Hartford, CT, attended the University of Connecticut and graduated in 2004 with no real career plans. After trying the business school out he became a history major and as he said “I graduated prepared to do basically nothing.” He then moved to New York City and after a job with a start-up company went south he started working as a mover, waiter, and bartender. Then out of nowhere things started to change.
“It was a rainy night and I can still remember standing on the corner of 28th and Broadway in the pouring rain and discussing with my good friend and soon to be business partner how we ‘had to do this’, ” said Andrew.
They did not go into this with what you would call a plan, starting with “a loan with no plan on how to pay back, and began racking our brains on what to do. We typically discussed our plans in bars throughout New York, which lead us to the obvious conclusion – ‘why don’t we sell bar products and start writing off these tabs?’
Then it was time to get to work. Our start-up capital was a pre-approved credit card offer we took the next day. We only had one computer, so we worked in shifts around our day job schedules. We dipped deeply into our personal accounts and survived on peanut butter and jelly. We launched an e-commerce website with no inventory and when orders came in we would scramble to get the inventory to fill them. It was not a pretty way to start a business.”
Everything started with one bar-tending kit that they still sell today. Andrew said “We originally started with a site www.pimpguide.com, which was supposed to be a Sharper Image for the 18-25 year old bachelor. Basically, all the cool stuff, decor, gadgets, cool lighting, poker sets, etc. to hook up a sick bachelor pad. And of course you’ll need bar supplies.”
Well the bar supplies out sold everything else so they decided to run with it and NewYorkBarStore.com was born.
New York Bar Store was not a smooth process and there were doubts and concerns left and right. Andrew says he is still learning everyday “You could be the one in a thousand that starts a business and its wildly successful right away, but more likely than not you’re going to be in the negative, learning things, learning by failing, learning by doing things the wrong way. Its a constant process of rounding off the edges and smoothing the surfaces of your business to get it to the right shape, the right functionality, and doing all the right things. And that functionality you target and process you put in place will and should always change and evolve. You’ll never be fully caught up to what you want – that’s why we wake up every morning!”
Andrew’s biggest advice to entrepreneurs starting out? “Understand what you are doing when you follow your passion – you are creating a new job for yourself. Yeah, might be cooler than the current job, but its going to be even more work, and for a while, for much less reward. I cant tell you how often my buddies call me to go to the bar, but I cant because I have to stay home and answer emails about bar supplies.”
There is a huge upside though as Andrew said, “No one has trade shows like the bar supply industry. As I am almost always doing business in bars, just about every bar tab I have is a legitimate business expense. And I can conduct business in my boxers if I feel so inclined. I don’t own a suit and go to about 90% of my meeting in jeans. I have major buyers I deal with but have never met with completely sober.”
Things are going well in the bar industry apparently. New York Bar Store started in 2004 and now has US and UK operations with employees and contractors in the US, Europe and China. New York Bar Store has become a subsidiary of Parallel Phenomena Inc a firm with goals of web marketing and consulting services.
Andrew and crew are doing what they love but by no means know exactly what tomorrow will bring. “So in the end…yeah, we had to do this. We didn’t know what ‘this’ meant, but apparently we found out. Or more accurately, we are finding out. Sometimes it pays to just go with your gut.” he stated.
Dan DiSorbo – GetBombed.com
Who said the act of “getting bombed” couldn’t be turned into a business? It definitely wasn’t Dan DiSorbo the founder of GetBombed.com! Dan isn’t that far off from most people as he said “By day, I am a mild-mannered art director, designer and illustrator at PB&J Design, Inc.” He lives in Connecticut with his wife and a newborn son. However there is another side of life for Dan who “by night, is the advocate and proprietor of all things Beer Pong, and co-founder of the legendary BOMBED Beer Pong and website GetBombed.com.” as he said.
It all started when Dan attended an alumni event at the University of Connecticut back in 2003 and he saw how beer pong had taken over. Dan said “I couldn’t believe how rampant beer pong had become at all the house parties. After coming back to my job after the alumni party, I knew this was the time to make something geared specifically towards beer pong players. I just had the gut feeling that beer pong was set to take off and I just wanted to get on board.”
Dan already provided product development and packaging services to clients so he decided it was time to put that knowledge towards one of his own ideas. This turned into what is known as the “Bombed Beer Pong Kit”. As Dan said “We displayed the final BOMBED Beer Pong Kit at a major sporting goods and licensing trade show in Orlando, FL that I attended with one of my “real” clients. Within minutes, the ubiquitous mall establishment, Spencer’s Gifts came by and bought it on the spot. And the rest as they say, was history. It quickly became one of Spencer’s best selling products.”
Dan was always confident in his idea but it was persistence that paid off big time. “I always knew we had something. There was nothing out there at the time aimed at the burgeoning beer pong audience. The hard part was convincing retailers and distributors how popular the sport really was. Once they gave it a shot, they all soon realized this was both a popular and successful product line.”
As for advice for the young entrepreneurs out there Dan says “It’s not going to be quick and easy. So hard work, dedication and patience are keys to success. You have to believe 100% in your idea and continually educate yourself, your audience and your customers. You need to understand your particular industry and become and expert in that market. No excuses…”
The “Bombed” products have grown into the most successful beer pong brand on the planet. The line is sold at several major retailers including Spencer Gifts, Urban Outfitters, FYE and Newbury Comics. Dan’s team has already had over 2 million downloads of their free iphone app Beer Pong Challenge. They have also sold almost 2 million beer pong balls and cups this year alone. This led to a publishing deal for Dan who authored The Book of Beer Pong: The Official Guide to the Sport of Champions.
People right from the start were excited about Dan and GetBombed.com. Dan is proud to be at the top of an emerging industry as he said “Everyone was excited about the idea of pioneering and creating an entire industry for beer pong — it never existed prior. I might sound cliché or cheesy but I think we may be, just maybe, helping to preserve the maverick streak at the heart of the American spirit.”
If you missed Part 1 check it out! Young Entrepreneurs Turning Partying into Businesses Part 1
Rob Ianelli is a 23 year old entrepreneur who is a native of NY and 2007 graduate of American University in Washington DC with a BA in International Relations. Follow him on twitter – @Robianelli
Category: Entrepreneur Interviews