We understand you have a very successful Instagram business, tell us more about how it started!
From a young age, I was enamored by online brands, and the self-validating power of a website. A good website can manifest an idea into reality, and turn an idea to something real. This led me down a long path, my first business I started in middle school. I ran a sticker production company and freelanced logos. So I was always looking for business ideas in order to make websites and brands, which is slightly backwards. Eventually, in late 2018 I stumbled upon a niche of online art stores catering towards street artists. Being a fan of street art myself, I figured this field was small enough to give me a chance at competing. It seemed as good a niche as any to initiate my next side-project. Over the course of 3 years, I used the brand as a vehicle of exploration, testing marketing and branding strategies, and garnered 7000 orders in the process.
Design is a big catch word: what does it mean in the context of making renting financially rewarding?
Design is a misunderstood term — many people think of it as only an aesthetic practice. I’ll risk being corny, and quote Steve Jobs who was succinct: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” A logo is designed, but so is a hammer, or a tea kettle. The impact of design on our daily lives is staggering, yet often goes unnoticed. As technology continues to influence our daily lives, the power of design will compound. The technology we use, and the way it works, structures our civilization. For me, as the Design Director, it’s of central importance to strive towards designs that have a positive impact. That’s what inspires me about working at Stake. The opportunity to develop something that can really help people is so thrilling. Working with Stake, I have the chance to help create a system that empowers people to make better financial decisions.
What is your favorite place for inspiration?
For this, I have no middle ground. It’s either biking around Manhattan during rush hour, dodging potholes, cars and pedestrians, or going on a mission out in the mountains or wilderness. This may seem contradictory, but it’s not. I’ve always been inspired by extremes. ¬What I love most about the wilderness and the concrete jungle is the ability to feel completely dwarfed. Both give a sense of smallness and anonymity, they give me the sense that the past does not necessarily determine the future, and that I can be anyone, or do anything.
Favorite activity outside of design?
That’s easy, it’s Rock Climbing! About 5 years ago I rediscovered my childhood passion for climbing. It’s a beautiful sport, you can connect with people from all backgrounds, explore a sense of child-like wonder, spend time outdoors, and get great exercise. Climbing requires all your physical and cognitive abilities to work in unison. When you start the first move of a hard climb, it’s like going into another type of existence. Some people call it the flow state – it’s a type of pure focus and execution, this level of focus is not often found in daily life. It’s a bizarre feeling, like watching a cutscene of yourself preform. Paradoxically, the climb may be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done, but it can also feel automatic or effortless. This is probably what I love most about climbing, its ability to completely pull you into the present moment.
What would you do with your Return on Rent?
I wish I was earning a return on rent! I would save up for a van – I’ve always wanted to commit myself to the passion of the outdoors, climbing, biking, exploring, and skiing. It’s my dream to spend a few years touring around the US visiting all the famous climbing spots and following in the footsteps of the legends of the sport. With return on rent, I’d be a couple steps closer.