We were lucky to catch up with Jesse Spade recently and have shared our conversation below.
Jesse, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Let’s start on the operational side – do you spend more of your time/focus/energy on growing revenue or cutting costs?
Of course I would love to grow my business, but it needs to be in a way that keeps me hands-on and adds to my personal income. I have no interest in being bigger if the added revenue only adds headaches and higher overheads, and keeps me out of the shop. I will always choose lean and conservative when possible. The easiest way for me to make more profit is to be efficient and spend less. Once that is mastered, then bring on the new revenue.
To me, being a business owner is just a necessary evil to do what I do and not have to work for anyone else. I’m not very passionate about “business”. I’m passionate about my product.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I come from a long career in the automotive industry. It started out with a 20 year run in the Jeep specific field and transitioned to custom motorcycles, which I still dabble in. One day, a friend of a friend at a local art consulting firm contacted me because one of their contracted artists made a mistake on some pieces and they needed them fixed right away. I repaired them the same day, and they immediately started sending me jobs to quote. There’s a lot of freedom in making art and I really started to enjoy it. I think maybe I’m a better fabricator than some artists, and a better artist than some fabricators, so I found a nice little spot for myself. Building motorcycles is still my real passion, and I still build them when I can, but the art has taken over as my main focus.
My operation is very small and simple. It’s just me and carries my name which helps keep it that way.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
The biggest change in my career was switching from building custom motorcycles to building custom art for the hospitality industry. It turns out that making a living is important. :)
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
I believe that your reputation is your most valuable asset. It is the last thing you should ever compromise. No matter how bad things get, a good reputation is the best way to get back on track. The quality of my work and the relationships with my clients are all that matter to me in business.
- Website: www.jessespade.com
- Instagram: @jessespade and @jessespade_designs
- Facebook: Jesse Spade Designs
- Linkedin: Jesse Spade
- Twitter: @jessespade