Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Paul Razo, Owner of Red Raven Trading Co, located in Twentynine Palms, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Red Raven Trading Company. We offer an eclectic collection of worldly goods, preserved by the spirit of the West. I like to think our customers are collectors, explorers, and maximalists. They're individuals who can appreciate the cultural beauty and craftsmanship of the pieces in our collection. Because of our close proximity to Joshua Tree National Park, they're often travelers – chasing the sense of freedom, artistry, and inspiration that our desert offers plentifully. It's always humbling to know that they take our pieces home as a memento of their time spent here.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in a family of storytellers and sentimental collectors. Everything had a story, and every story reminded us of someone we loved. So, from a very young age, I've projected stories onto items. Especially old items. "Who made it? Were they satisfied? Who loved it? Why did they let it go?" My own collection really expanded in 2018. As my partner and I began furnishing our new home, we would spend every weekend hunting for the perfect pieces together. In this pursuit, we'd often find ourselves off the beaten path – driving down the dirt roads, passing the abandoned train cars, and dodging biting donkeys. And on the other side of those adventures, we found the other storytellers. The lifelong collectors, happy to shake your hand and tell you where their treasure came from. It was an amazing experience to share with my partner, with our newfound friends, and now with our customers. Keeping the stories alive is what motivates us everyday.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Opening our first space in Mojave Flea Trading Post - Yucca Valley was a huge accomplishment. Being able to have a long-term space to curate, indulge, and explore is so incredibly fulfilling. I hope it gives a sense of warmth and curiosity to all who visit us.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Time management, time management, time management. In addition to running Red Raven Trading Co., I'm also a full-time User Experience Designer, freelance Graphic Designer, and part-time Wood Worker.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If not you, who? - Be patient and nurturing, but always be determined. This is your business, and it can only go as far as you allow it.
- All ships rise together - Be collaborative and helpful towards your fellow business owners.
- Go outside - Take a breath, feel the wind, feel the sun, take another breath, and get back to work.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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