We had the good fortune of connecting with Aaron Sharp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aaron, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind the success of Mandeaux is undoubtedly my ability to overcome self-doubt. It’s completely natural and human to fear failure. Believe it or not, fear of success is prevalent as well. When something is new, there’s almost always a sense of uncertainty. When we don’t know what to expect, it sometimes makes us feel uncomfortable and unsure of ourselves. We’ll resort to comparing ourselves to others, and social media has only compounded this. We relentlessly scroll social media and are bombarded with imagery of others living “perfect” lives. It’s easy to get jealous of others or think we aren’t doing well. Self-doubt can also come from your environment. You may have been raised in a place where you’ve been placed in a box. Stepping outside of that box can be considered taboo, thus placing “self-imposed” boundaries on your thinking. Previous failures can also have the same outcome. I don’t think anyone attempts to tackle a goal and says, “I hope I fail!” That would just be weird. What I’ve done differently is I’ve surrounded myself with an incredible sphere of influence. They care about me and I care about them. I got rid of all the dream killers in my life. You know who I’m talking about! The people that give you a dozen reasons why your idea is terrible and will never work. Get rid of them! I never set unrealistic goals, and I do plenty of research before I set a goal. I want to know the ins and outs of what I’m embarking on. The better understanding I have of a goal, the higher probability I have of achieving it. Lastly, I’m just “crazy” enough to believe my dreams will come true. I truly believed Mandeaux would be a success before I made the decision to start it, and that same belief is ever-present. Every day I fantasize of Mandeaux growing. I dream of opportunities presenting themselves, and us being prepared to take full advantage of those opportunities. The focus of helping others while providing superior products at fair prices, has never wavered.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
There are countless shoe brands out there, and it was absolutely imperative that we had something that made us different. I sat back and looked at large luxury shoe brands, and realized many of them weren’t fulfilling a social responsibility. They also didn’t have rewards or give back to their loyal customers. We’re changing that. We pride ourselves on our world-class customer service, the fact that we commit to at least 1% of shoe sales to charity, and our rewards program that keeps track of purchases and certain activities in order to give back to it’s most loyal customers in the form of discounts. The process was not easy. Many days were spent throwing ideas at a wall to see what stuck. Our goal has always been to make luxury more affordable while giving back to those in need. Many people don’t understand what goes into making a pair of quality shoes. One of the lessons I learned along the way is that education plays a huge role in overcoming objections. If you’re anything like me, you were raised to shop for shoes based solely on price and the ability to order a size larger so you could “grow into them.” I learned that wasn’t the suggested method of purchasing shoes, and spent a tremendous amount of time educating myself on footwear and the industry. That has proven to be a huge asset, because I’ve trained my team on the very things I’ve learned. I believe that gives them the confidence to answer clients’ questions and give them the information they need.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Wow!! This is a GREAT question!! First of all, I’m an absolute itinerary person. I legit make an itinerary every time I go somewhere, or have someone visit. I’m not going to mention the most common that everyone can find in any LA brochure. With that said, my favorites in no particular order are: CW & Chris (6512 S Western Ave, Los Angeles 90047) for fried catfish and chicken Oh My Burger (2142 W El Segundo Blvd, Gardena 90249) for amazing burgers and fries Guisados (2100 E Cesar Chavez Ave, Los Angeles 90033) for delicious tacos Stuff I Eat (114 N Market St, Inglewood 90301) for healthy vegan eating Simply Wholesome (4508 W Slauson Ave, Los Angeles 90043) health food store and restaurant Hilltop Coffee (170 N La Brea Ave, Inglewood 90301) coffee shop with outstanding networking The Parlor (7250 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles 90046) comfort food with an awesome environment Pips (1356 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles 90019) incredible jazz and blues club Underground Museum (3508 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles 90018) an interactive look at culture in a historic Los Angeles Neighborhood Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I 100% could not have have gotten this far without the support of my team. First and foremost, none of this would be possible without my faith in God, and the favor he’s given me. Next is my mother who prepared me for the adversity I’d have to face. She always makes herself available when I need to brainstorm ideas with someone. The time of day or night is irrelevant, and the love we have for each other is unconditional. The rest of my team includes my partner Ariane who is a constant light and unwavering supporter, as well as all the others that support me on this journey. A special shoutout has to go to a dear friend of mine. Whitney Long is a Retail Marketing professional with one of the largest footwear companies in the world. She also happens to do freelance work. When I called, she answered and didn’t hesitate to help me get the answers I needed. She was absolutely instrumental in helping Mandeaux land a partnership with Bonobos Cobble Hill in Brooklyn. We currently have a retail display inside this Bonobos Guideshop in New York, and Whitney gave me invaluable advice to make it happen. Along those same lines, Mia Jackson deserves a shoutout as well. She manages the Bonobos Cobble Hill location, and gave our small family owned business the opportunity to partner with a retail giant. I absolutely can’t forget Sharita Gorham of Sneaker Asylum in Conyers, Georgia. She and her son, Elijah Porter II co-founded Sneaker Asylum, and they were the first retailer to give Mandeaux a shot. She and her son have an incredible store that features some of the major brands, but highlights black-owned brands and designers. It’s a very unique concept, and we’re excited and proud to have a partnership with them.
Contact number:(833) 693-2528
1) Hyyer Creative 2) MadMen Studios 3) Dorell Wright 4) Mr. Passy 6) Bonobos 7) MadMen Studios