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Interviews

Interview with Artist Armando Cabba

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Armando Cabba, a 28 year old Canadian artist and owner of his own gallery Atelier Cabba based in Paris. An artist on the rise gaining recognition for his portraits, Cabba is beginning to make his mark on the business front as a young artist who opened up his own independent space.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?


Just like how I got into art itself, this all kind of happened by chance. Around 2014, I was a bit lost after leaving the academy back in Florence in terms of where to go career wise. There was a feeling of being over saturated regarding school, so I continued to work independently which brought me to France. Setting up was not easy as it was in Italy. Finding a studio in Paris was beyond challenging for countless reasons. I was getting desperate to the point I almost renovated an old brothel just so I can have a place to create. After a solid 7 months of constant searching, I found the space I’m currently in.

Atelier Cabba was more of an idea to happen much later in my career and now I’m 2 years into it. Having a workspace to paint in is one thing, but operating a gallery at the same time is a new kind of game. The best way to describe it is seeing a dog walking itself on the street holding a leash in its mouth. All the responsibilities that happen behind the scenes are on me as opposed to being under gallery representation.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

 

I don’t have a story that stands out in specific, but it’s been interesting to see how the public has been reacting first hand. There’s been a solid engagement and relationship formed with me and the local community. I’m also not hard to miss roaming around covered in paint near Moulin Rouge in search of snacks while saying “hi” to everyone. Even though it’s a very lonely gig to paint, I don’t feel completely isolated. There’s also no middle man who will tell me what happened at the gallery that week. There’s no human filter between the artist and the public. Each day is completely unpredictable.

 

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

 

There are no such things as mistakes, only happy accidents. A funny happy accident I had was when I really ran out of patience with one visitor. It was an artist that came in and began to compliment all the work up in the gallery, but it turned real sour real quick. On many occasions I get lots of artists who try to drop off their portfolios. The deal is that if there’s a show, it has to be a collaboration where we work together on something instead of me just hanging up your work. He all of a sudden did a 180 in his attitude and went off on how I don’t know stuff about things when it comes to running a gallery.

After 5 minutes of grumpy Parisian rambling, I tossed him my keys and told him “You seem to know what’s up. You do it. I’m off to get a beer. Send me a postcard when you’re famous” I made my way next door and did what I said I was going to do. He came outside with a look of horror and told me I was crazy using the most poetic profane french I’ve ever heard.  That would be my major mistake considering it was a rare time I lost patience plus I didn’t take into consideration who this person could actually be. Also, this isn’t Canada. People in Paris do tend to steal things, so I ran a giant risk of him actually locking me out of my gallery. That would of been one hell of a hostage situation.

 

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Atelier Cabba stands out because it’s one of the few spaces where the artist is present. You enter my world when you walk through the door. There’s a freedom for both me and visitors. Anyone can come in and see me working away and watch, ask questions, be creepy and stare while eating a sandwich erotically, etc. It’s nice to hear what people have to say directly and it brings me out of my usual mental flow. I have my regulars who come in to share stories or things they found. There’s a special bond and feeling of participation in my atelier. It’s all organic and not staged. When you step into most galleries, there’s a sterile inhuman feeling. A sense of “Should I actually be in here? Do I know enough to be here? Am I rich enough to be here?” You’re in this sacred space and you occasionally have the assistants who will look up from their desks to say hello. They also act like they are doing super serious work, but I’m pretty sure they’re playing the T-Rex game when the Google machine isn’t working. Things aren’t popping off in an empty gallery. You can’t fool me.

 

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?


I would say to be careful regarding what people say. Being one of the rare individuals out there who both creates and operates a business, you get a buttload of criticism. Some of the advice is very helpful, and other times it feels very much like you’re dealing with a backseat driver. To all my artists, always beware of the any white middle aged bald man who wears atypical circular framed glasses and colourful pants. These guys always have some “strong” commentary and they’re everywhere. I’m convinced they’re some sort of a boss level of art critics and I haven’t figured out where they originate from or who is making them.

 

Anyways, I occasionally get my moments where I really wonder if I’m actually doing well or if I do have talent. Just because I’m making money, does that translate it to me being talented? I also wonder that since I have this space, am I actually good at what I’m doing? Am I basic? Did I just get lucky? I forget that people aren’t me or have the same drive. What what I want to say is that it’s normal to have these questions and feelings, but it’s not easy to do that mental tightrope walk. Don’t let the words of others influence you to the point where your mind will devour itself.

 

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

 

That person would have to be my dad. He’s supported my decision to be an artist the moment it happened. He wanted to be a singer, but my grandfather wouldn’t allow it. My father didn’t want me to go through the same thing, so he’s been my number one fan. As I was beginning to expose my work, I had a chip on my shoulder due to feeling I was stuck in his shadow. He’s such a big personality and character that you’d think he’s a figment of your imagination. I wanted to make my name stand out as opposed to being just “Traian’s son who paints”. I had a lot of success, but I also fell flat on my face sometimes. He knew what I was trying to prove and we sorted things out by finally talking like mature human beings. Once upon a time, he had the same rebel attitude with my grandfather and we all know the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I realized it’s okay to ask for help and advice especially concerning the business end of things. Without him I don’t think I’d be where I am today at all. My level of talent in my work would probably be years behind and I’d be stuck in a slave like contract with god knows who. He’s been an inspiration to me and still is. I’m Armando Cabba because of him.

 

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

 

As I’ve continued to grown along with my platform, I’ve been maintaining my values of giving back. I’ve opened the doors of Atelier Cabba to many different people not only for future collaborations, but as a safe space for all. People can be themselves and free. I’m quite outspoken on social and political issues, so it’s clear where me and my company stand.

There are tons of big ideas and plans for the future regarding positive actions for the world. It’s about timing. Right now I’m currently working with L’Atelier Des Arts who are hosting artist workshops and conferences in Bretagne to show the community all the possibilities of having a career in a creative field. It’s the early stages and I’m not doing it for the money. If I can help inspire one person in their life, it’s all worth it. I’ll be there in early January talking to and teaching people about portraits along with how I got started with Atelier Cabba.

 

My business is a reflection of myself. People who support Atelier Cabba know that Atelier Cabba supports them.

 

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

 

“Be so good they can’t ignore you” – Steve Martin


Put in the hours and effort to get a point where you’re satisfied and then push further beyond that. Once you adopt that idea, people will notice you. Some people will still say no, but at least they’ll look silly for doing so.

 

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Beware of flimflam people. You don’t need a Rasputin character whispering ideas deep in your ear. These are the type of people that try to come in and make all these plans on a whim about money filled futures and dreams coming true when in reality they have their own agenda. They’re selling you ideas disguised as a new relationship. Lots of “We’re going to do this” and “We’re going to do that” get thrown around. The moment you agree to it, nothing ever happens or you get asked the unsurprising question of “Can you fund it all first?”. Don’t get taken for a ride or hang on to false words.


  1. Don’t be shy to ask for help and advice. I made the mistake to be my own coach at a young age like I knew how the world worked. I fell down many times during this whole journey because of my pride. Once I accepted I needed help, I asked for it and look where I’m at. Ask questions to people who know about business. Sure you might know how to create all sorts of custom oil mixes, but what do you know about gallery contract fine print at age 21?

    3. Be your number one fan. I had a lot of people look at me strange when I quit the academy. I had lots of people laugh at me when I said I wanted to be a world famous artist. I have my handful of friends who I know are there for me without a doubt, but you also cover your own back. Be your own cheerleader. Hype yourself up when no one is around. Don’t worry, it all balances out. All those people who didn’t take me seriously? They’re trying to take me out for dinner like I’m a fancy date. All those women who stood me up for portraits back in the day? They’re now in my DMs asking to spend time with me Paris so I can draw them like one of my french girls. Don’t let that crap get to your head as much it strokes your ego. The Universe balances itself out. Trust me.

  2. Roll with it. If some new project or idea gets thrown at you, sometimes it’s a good idea to just try it if you have nothing to lose. One of these ideas I rolled with involved a white pair of shoes. I was asked to paint them in 24 hours and now it’s become a thing eversince. Worst case scenario is that it doesn’t work and you know better for the future.

    5. If you can’t join them, beat them. I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to get the approval of people who didn’t matter at the end of the day. It’s normal to want to be part of something and now with everything I have, I’m happy it never worked out. Not because they’ve changed, but because I’ve surpassed them and my previous self. I just wanted to score touchdowns for them and here I am dancing in their end zones.

 

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement  that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

 

I never really thought about starting a movement. Does that mean I have to go chanting “Make Art Great Again”? There are so many more important movements and issues that need more exposure. Their voices need to be heard and I’m more concerned with helping them than my personal vain goals like one day watching Jeff Koons choke on a balloon. Sure, I want to open up the art world to more undiscovered talent and to have people feel again, but there are more important things we need to support in my opinion. I don’t talk about my art a lot in person. When I do, I tend to segway into other topics like mental health and toxic masculinity. People are going through some real struggles and need a lot more than just a “Thoughts and Prayers” tweet. We need to hear from them directly and not my version of it. I don’t suffer from the white savior complex. I don’t believe everything will be resolved the moment I’m involved in it. These issues are about them, not me. They live it every single day and if Atelier Cabba can provide any help, I’m all in.

 

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Best way would be to follow me on instagram @armandocabba. To see my full portfolio along with all the other social media nonsense, check out my site http://www.armando-cabba.com

 

If you’re ever in Paris, stop by the in person. Atelier Cabba is located at 3 Rue Vintimille in the 9eme.

 

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

 

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Interviews

How Carlos Redlich Went From Food Stamps to 6 Figures in 6 Months

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While a good number of entrepreneurs start their businesses with a few thousand dollars, Carlos Redlich did not. The man had nothing to his name and was almost begging for food at the time when the magical light bulb moment arrived. Like the 80 percent of businesses that fail during the initial stages, Redlich’s first efforts to rise out of the ashes with a martial arts school evaporated. There, however, was enough determination and zeal in the man to bring out the struggle that bred the success he enjoys today. I sat down with him to listen to his story and what I found out will most assuredly inspire you. Here’s why.

At One Point He was Paying $10,000 in Rent with Absolutely No Growth

Redlich’s introduction into the business world was quite an event to go by.  His journey began when he was just 25 years of age. At the time, he was running a martial arts school but without much to show for it other than a handful of clients and some formidable fighting skills. Expenses were on an all-time high as the premise cost them $10,000 a month in rent. It was not until him and his girlfriend discovered the book “The Four Hour Work Week” that everything started to change.

At first, Redlich’s outlook on the business started to change as he developed a profound interest in online businesses. What drove him was the desire to make as much money in the least amount of time possible so that he could match up with the entrepreneurs he was now beginning to learn from. Redlich recounts how his instructor introduced him into the world of copywriting and how he has since made a meaningful life out of it. Slowly, he found his way into copywriting and has from then built renowned resources on the subject like The Copywriting Domination Method where he shows other people how to replicate the process also. 

Making 100 Cold Calls to Get 4 Clients

Having never been into the online industry, Redlich did not have any idea of how to go about promoting his business. So he resulted in cold calling. In our interview, Redlich recalls how he used to make almost 100 cold calls a day to get four clients to sign a contract with him. Then he decided to change from making calls to writing emails. Out of the almost 150 first emails he sent out, six people called back and signed up for business. 

Getting six responses from 150 emails might sound ridiculous, but to Redlich, it was the direct opposite. He felt a bolt of excitement rush through him and gained just the right motivation he needed to push not only harder, but smarter. Ever since that first day, Redlich has been on an ever-rising growth curve. Within one year in the copywriting business, Redlich scaled his company to six figures.

Resisting the Urge to Give Up

No one has to be a genius to know that giving up in pursuit of dreams and goals is the single most significant impediment to success. Redlich knows this too well. He has had to resist the urge to give up more times than he can remember. There were days when he could not afford food and water for his girlfriend and himself. So he resulted to stealing water from their neighbor’s tap to at least have enough to drink, shower, and flush the toilet. 

At the time, Redlich was still at the martial arts school but not getting enough to pay his bills. To him, nothing was more discouraging than seeing his friends working and earning five-figure salaries every year, while he had to put up with a few hundred dollars he got as profit every month. Business at the gym was so bad that his business partner threw him out just days to Christmas. However, Redlich always found a reason not to give up. There was a fire still burning in him. He knew that somewhere along with the struggle, there had to be something he would do to break through the barriers. 

Breaking Through the First $10,000

While Redlich was always dreaming of the big deals that would bring in the big bucks, he was not quite ready for that. At least that is what he realized when his first big client in the copywriting business came along. After doing some emails for a client for just $60, the client flew to Miami to meet Redlich to sign a long term contract. On the way to meeting his client, Redlich knew their business meeting would either turn right or wrong, and the latter was more expected. 

Sitting down with his potential client with no special sales skills, Redlich couldn’t help but wonder how it would turn out. Then the big question came, “How much?” Without giving much thought to it, Redlich blurted out, “10,000 dollars a month.” It came as a surprise to him when his client smiled, reached out his hand, and said, “Deal, ten grand it is!” You can almost tell what ran through Redlich’s mind as he shook his first-ever client’s hand in disbelief. In our interview, Redlich said to me, “At that moment of shock, everything went blank. I then wondered why I hadn’t asked for 15,000 or 20,000, but I was glad anyhow, as I had never imagined closing a prospect for that much.”

You have undoubtedly read about success stories of how entrepreneurs rose from the ground up. However, Carlos Redlich’s story is unique in its way. I listened to Redlich as he said, “I was broke as a joke,” and I realized that I couldn’t exactly tell what he meant because he is now a different person. You can make that change too.

 

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What It Takes to Build a Business from $20 to $40 Million; The Case of Snow with Josh Elizetxe

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There is nothing quite like an entrepreneur’s determination when starting a business. That’s my original quote by the way (pun intended). Just the other day, I was scanning through some of my favorite Forbes articles and came across this particular one by Neil Patel. In his presentation, Patel observes that of all startups, only 10 percent survive. The article was published three years ago just when Josh was investing his first $20 into what is now a business worth more than $40 Million.

Looking back at Elizetxe’s journey, all I can say is that it takes more than just determination to build a business up from its infant days to sustaining it when it grows into a giant. In their article, The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail, CB Insights found the top three reasons to be; not the right team (23%), ran out of cash (29%), and no market need (42%). While these reasons are valid, you’ve got to ask yourself some questions. What if you don’t have a team? What if you only have $20 to begin with or nothing at all? What if the market you are venturing into is totally concentrated by oligopolistic giants? 

These are just some of the questions Elizetxe asked himself when he was laying down the initial plans for what is now Snow Teeth Whitening. At the time, there was as much free and paid advice on how to grow a business as there is now. What Elizetxe didn’t know, which is what I am telling you now, is that very few people will let you in on what exactly they had to do to get to where they are. The difference between Elizetxe and them, however, is that Elizetxe will tell you exactly what he has done and how he built Snow from just $20 to $40 Million. 

Take Advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

When Professor Klaus Schwab first coined the term Fourth Industrial Revolution, this is what he said of the opportunity presented to entrepreneurs by Industry 4.0 “The changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril. My concern, however, is that decision-makers are too often caught in traditional, linear (and non-disruptive) thinking or too absorbed by immediate concerns to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.” 

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Schwab. That is why at Snow, Elizetxe knew that leveraging on the opportunity created by the technology of the connected devices would give Snow the leap needed not only to stay in business but also to compete with giants like Colgate. By launching their new teeth whitening system that has Bluetooth technology, a wireless mouthpiece, auto-shade detection, red light gum therapy, and much more, they were able to create a product that is in line with the technology that people want to be part of. 

Writing about lining up businesses with the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Forbes, Sean Hinton says, “One of the most immediate and impactful outcomes of technological evolution is the vast advancement in automation. Every day, more manual processes become automated, and as technology continues to accelerate, so will automation.” 

In whatever business you are in, there sure is an opportunity to slip in some form of automation. The best way to beat monopolistic and oligopolistic giants is not by grinding hard to outdo the competition. The trick, however, is in doing what they do differently and in a much better way. 

Disrupt the Common Market

No matter how much you consider your niche overcrowded, there has got to be somewhere for you in there. That is exactly what they did with Snow. Instead of concentrating on the general assumption that your industry is overcrowded, you must decide to create your own blue ocean within a vast and almost unsurvivable red ocean.

First, have a unique twist to your product or service. Second, employ a different and effective marketing strategy. To give you a practical example, Snow introduced a teeth whitening system with Bluetooth technology, a wireless mouthpiece, auto-shade detection, red light gum therapy, and much more. Snow then embarked on a journey to first serve celebrities with their ingenious product lineup. They knew that most people, including you, will listen to what important people say and take action. By getting a few popular people satisfied with our product, all we had to do is sit back and have them endorse Snow. 

Know the Right People and Get the Right People to Know You

If you didn’t know that who you know is as important as what you know, now you know. The fact that Elizetxe is an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that he had to come all the way by himself. From the very start, Elizetxe had mentors, peers, contacts, confidants, family, and friends. Borrowing from the fact that Elizetxe started out with just $20 clearly communicates that these people were not there to fund my initiative. Instead, they offered insights when Josh had to make tough decisions and support when everything seemed not to work out. However, before you can know the right people, you have to meet them, which brings us to the next point. Knowing the right people begins with meeting them the right way. Do not expect to meet the most instrumental business advisor on a late-night chat in your favorite social media platform. Take Elizetxe for instance. He has had to get on a plane just to have a 30-minute meeting with the right person to give his product an endorsement. That kind of sacrifice is actually backed by science. Here is proof that it works. In a study conducted by Great Business Schools, 95 percent of the people said that face-to-face meetings are essential for long term business relationships. Another important observation from the study was a general conclusion was that “people who got most results from their networking efforts participate more in ‘face-to-face’ casual contact networks.”  

Building a business from scratch is indeed an uphill task. However, the success that comes in the end is worth every bit of the struggle involved. Even if you do not have enough money to pull through, you can employ the insights I have shared in this article to reach unimaginable heights. Remember, to live the reality of your dreams, you have to wake up first.

 

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Meet Elsy Guevara the 22-Year-Old Disrupting The Fashion Industry

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At the age of 22, Elsy Guevara has managed to disrupt the fashion industry by turning a hobby into a successful business. When Elsy was just 17 years old, unlike most teenagers her age, she started to brainstorm ways she could use social media and her love for fashion to launch an online business. As a hobby, she and her sisters, Beatriz Guevara, Jennifer Guevara, and Patricia Guevara, started creating and posting fashion layouts and taking full-body outfit pictures for social media. The fashion posts became so popular that it captured the attention of a very successful fashion brand, Fashion Nova. The company directly messaged Elsy and asked her if she could create content for them, which eventually lead to a full-time job in the company. While working at Fashion Nova, Elsy and her sisters worked on building their fashion brand, OOTDFash. OOTDFash began with one rack of clothing in their mother’s bedroom where the sisters would find places in their small apartment to take outfit pictures and promote the few styles they were selling. Fortunately, the outfit and fashion content were getting recognition on social media, which resulted in an unexpected sales growth for Elsy and her sisters. Although the business is continually growing and now considered quite successful, there were many challenges and obstacles that Elsy and her sisters had to face and learn to overcome.

Almost Quitting but Finding a Reason to Move On

Not only did the increase in social media following and incoming sales encouraged Elsy and her sisters to continue, but these small successes over time also discouraged them. With growing social media popularity also came constant criticism and negativity. Every new fashion post was followed by mostly positive comments, but critical commentators always made their presence known. Commentators compared the growing business to other competitors, and Elsy found that it fueled the tensions between the more experienced competition and OOTDFash. Launching a business with no experience was sometimes discouraging for the sisters because there were moments they felt lost and had to find the right ways to manage and run the business with their research. Going up against businesses with years of experience before them and assistance was a challenging mental battle that was fought daily, especially when social media always reminded them of who they were up against. Being constantly critiqued and compared was upsetting to Elsy because there was still that strong human nature desire to satisfy everyone. Although it was very discouraging to read some of the negative opinions, overtime the sisters started to understand that the negative comments were not a real reflection of their work and self.

While criticism was constantly testing Elsy’s patience, there were even tougher lessons Elsy learned the hard way. It was always in Elsy’s nature to immediately see the good in someone and gain people’s trust quickly. When meeting new people, intentions were never questioned, but unfortunately, she learned the hard way that not everyone walks into the business with the mindset to help. Welcoming the wrong people into the family business has lead to company money and ideas being stolen, but over the last couple of years, Elsy and her sisters have managed to look past their losses and learn from the experiences. They have accepted that they will always face setbacks as business owners and with these failures and negative experiences, come valuable lessons and personal growth.

Standing out from the Rest

In the fashion industry, there is and will always be competition. Standing out and setting the business apart from the rest is a challenge that never seems to go away due to the fast-changing industry the business is in. Creating styles that not only make the person feel amazing and comfortable but also believing in one’s fashion sense is how Elsy and her sister found themselves setting themselves apart from competition. Although OOTDFash is growing and gaining popularity, Elsy felt like she could use the lessons and experiences learned from starting a business with zero experience to help other young women with little to no experience start their ventures. She felt that she could do more than just sell to her audience, but instead also help those few that want to follow in her footsteps.

For this reason, she recently launched a wholesale fashion company, Galifornia Wholesale. Galifornia Wholesale sells styles to small new boutiques at affordable prices. The new wholesale business supports Elsy’s efforts to try and help other young women bring the latest styles to their own boutiques and help them get started in their sales growth. One may find helping other young women build businesses in the same industry Elsy competes in herself may hurt her business in the long run. However, Elsy does not view competition from a negative perspective. The unselfish and kind guidance Elsy hopes to give these young entrepreneurs is something that makes her stand out. Afterall she states that she does not measure success in the amount of money she makes, but instead the number of lives she positively impacts. The four sisters hope to continue their journey, along with helping others as they grow.

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