We had the good fortune of connecting with Charles Renn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charles, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Great question, and an important place to start. For me, it started with having a talented sister Lissa who started pursuing her passion in hair styling at a young age. Watching her grow into an adult and stay persistent with her career path showed me the drive she had. While she pursued the hair salon route, I was purusing a corporate career in management with a Fortune 500 company. Without getting too far into it, the experience was great and I learned a lot about myself including the skills I had to offer, and also the limits I had to put in place. For me, corporate life wasn’t fulfiiling or a right fit. After my time there, I escaped to Argentina for a few months and enjoyed living aboard. No job, but an obligation to become a part of the community. At this same time Lissa was living in Los Angeles and making a push for becoming an up and coming stylist. Having received notarity in publications like LA Weekly, LA Magazine, and a number of other publications, it was clear she had talent. Unfornunatley she wasn’t happy with the role she played. The great news is that when I returned from South America, I was driven to start something, and partnering with my sister just made sense. It took a few years to tie the pieces together, including starting off wanting to start a hair product line, before ultimatley deciding the salon made a lot more sense, especially since she needed a change. Now we’ve been in opertation for almost 13years. A lot has changed, but The Hive is alive and well, and now I’m keeping the entreprenuer alive inside me and starting my real estate career.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Lets start with The Hive salon. I’m going to paraphrase but the saying goes “people like to talk about starting something; don’t be one of those people. Start something, and now!” While we achieved much success in the salon, there have been failures, mistakes, and problems along the way. Learn from these mistakes and adapt and you’ll be better off. The salon succeeded not because Lissa is a great stylist, but because we both found our strengths, and a solid team to fill in the blanks along the way. At times the synergy was palpable, and other times there was disfunction. At the end of the day, it’s what you do with your challenges, and successes that sets you apart. This is why we made it this far. Especially working with family, it’s important to have boundaries. Know what you are good at, what you want to do, and make sure you partner knows that as well. While Lissa and I aren’t great communicator’s, we try our best. Sometimes you just have to jump on the phone, or in the car drive to connect and get back on the same page. If you can communicate effectively with those close to you as well as employees and strangers, their will be many successes in your life. It’s important to know that each path is different. The challenges are different. It’s the action and results that matter. This story is still evolving, and my next path into real estate brings some of it’s own challenges, but being honest, dedicated, and genuine can get you far in life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First stop the Griffith park observatory, no matter the time of day, although sunsets are the best, it doesn’t disappoint. The exhibits inside are great for entertaining. While in the area, grab a beverage and snack at the Alcove on Hillhurst. Their outdoor dining and bar satisfy all who enter.
One night, see a movie at the Vista Theatre. The classic theatre brings nastalogia and quality cinema together. Can’t wait to see what Tarantino does with it!
To get some exercise, walk around Griffith park or get some bikes and ride the LA River trail. Maybe have lunch at Wax Paper.
Of course theres the beach. I prefer some of the secluded beaches in Malibu. They are typically cleaner and less crowded then most other LA beaches.
If you have enough time, snag a campsite at Leo Carrillo or Pt Magu. The scenery is amazing, and you can walk to the beach from your campsite!
I’d definitely check out a number of breweries in the area. The Hermosillo is a great spot to find local beer and specialty beers from around the US, on tap. On our way out to Whittier Narrows disc golf course I would stop at my buddies brewery, Angry Horse Brewing in Montebello. I worked behind the bar there for a few years. The beers are tasty and the locals are fun and welcoming!
Taco trucks and ice creameries are everywhere! Just stop and eat!
An afternoon at Huntington gardens is a must.
The next afternoon spent at the Broad is also on the list.
Before leaving we’d have to make sure that they had a smashed burger. Lowboy in Echo Park has tasty burgers and strong drinks. Perfect for a lasting memory.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Besides Lissa, the mentorship I have received over the years at SCORE (free mentorship through the SBA) has been invaluable. Right when I started developing the hair product business plan in Castroville, CA, SCORE and it’s resources were available. The very nature of the organization is to match experienced retired business men and women with the entrepreneurs in their community. When I moved to Los Angeles, I picked right up and called the local SCORE office in Glendale and was quickly matched with a mentor. Once I got my ducks in a row, and flushed out the business plan with my mentor, they were able to get me in contact with the SBA small business loan officers in the next building over. This would have been impossible without them, especially during the height of the recession in 2008 right before we opened. If you are looking for direction, and a kick in the pants to get your business off the ground, visit SCORE!