We had the good fortune of connecting with Charley Bell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charley, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
From professors and friends to former colleagues and bosses… I have always been warned to “never trust anyone in business.” This always seemed odd: not only did it not make business sense to me, but it didn’t make practical sense either. Now, I know I’m no super amazing business mogul like (drop in super amazing business mogul name of your choosing here), but maybe this ‘logic’ doesn’t always apply depending on who you are, how you get back up after being pushed down, and what really is the purpose of starting your own business. However, when navigating my business, there were times where I contemplated heeding the “conventional advice” of not trusting anyone. When I started my own business I met a lot of people with a contrasting goal: to achieve their perpetual vision of whatever ‘wealthy’ meant to them. Something that I have seen, sadly often, is a very driven person stepping on other people to grow… financially. And, I hate to admit that I have fallen victim to this and been one of those poor ‘steps’… more than my fair share. Although it was truly disappointing each time, I didn’t want that to change me. I didn’t want to become a person that could do that another: to sacrifice my own ethics and morality for financial gain. So why did I start my business? Well, I didn’t start my creative agency to be a billionaire, millionaire or even hundred-thousand-aire for that matter. I started it because I wanted to be in control of my time so that I could spend more of it with my wife and kids… while doing something that loved. When I worked for others I sacrificed a lot of time away from them. I worked seven days a week, slept in my office, and missed some very special moments I can never get back. But, not only did I start my business to get back some time (Marty!)… I also wanted to help change peoples’ lives for the better… armed with only the creative superpowers that I have learned and been provided. Instead of not trusting anyone… I stayed honest, transparent and dedicated to my clients. I grew my one man operation to two. Then slowly, and thankfully we brought on more clients which allowed us to grow even further. We have hired some really great people. Some have surprised me and some have disappointed me. We are now 7 people strong… and doing better than I hoped being a small but mighty, boutique creative agency. We have had some really good fortune when it comes to clients, but I am not afraid to turn away work when we feel we will get burned, taken advantage of, or if it’s simply against our ethics. But overall, I’ve trusted more than anything… and we’ve found some really great partnerships, staff, clients and more. I believe this is important in business and in life… because we should all be trying to evolve as people. I love people. I love working with them and I love helping in any way I can. Yes, people can prove to be heart-breaking, but I’d rather continue to believe that there is more good out there than not. I know it’s tempting to take the ‘fast lane’ to success… but the fast lane often has a lot more accidents, assholes and apologies. For me, I prefer the slow lane because it’s proven to be a safer and easier drive, with beautiful people and scenery.
What should our readers know about your business?
Once upon a time… There was a small, but mighty team of self-proclaimed NERDS that wanted to create, learn, and tell stories. Did we mention that ‘we’ are those very Nerds? 789 Inc. is a creative team that has been helping others tell their stories for the last 11 years through marketing, branding and design. Our knowledge and understanding of various industries, experience with clients from local to international companies, and our insanely Nerdy appetite to keep learning about how this upside down world works, is what helps us stand out…but like, in a super cool, non-getting pushed into a locker kind of way. 789 has found success connecting with clients and telling stories for public and government agencies, small local businesses, international corporate companies, and every niche in between. We have helped brand custom luxury vehicles, designed a line of functional beverages, strengthened entertainment brands, marketed waste management and recycling services to local communities, and positioned a new food category globally, to name a few. As mentioned, we love to learn and immerse ourselves in different worlds. Although we have some fun entertainment experience, we are eager to venture deeper into LaLa Land. Not to toot our own horns, but here’s a number of services we are well-versed in (also, TOOT TOOT): • Marketing + Brand Strategy • Integrated Marketing • Strategic Planning • Brand Development • Tactical Messaging • Market Research • Ethnic Marketing • Campaign Strategy • Concept Development • Product Launch • Personal Branding • Design, Development + Production • Concept Development • Graphic Design • Mobile + Web Design • Copywriting + Editing • Video + Audio Production • Motion Graphics • UX/UI Development • Fine Art Illustration • Signage + Wraps • Publications + Printing • Communication + Outreach • Public Relations • Social Media Marketing • Online Advertising • Media Planning • Translation Services • Public Outreach • Community Mobilization • Print Management • Photography • Fulfillment + Distribution 789 works hard to help our clients to reach their respective goals through creative (yet tactical) approaches, crafted traditional and innovative solutions, and strategic planning and positioning. We will find and leverage the best communications channels to ensure each story is remembered, continues to be told, and has a ‘happily ever after.’
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is all assuming we are post-pandemic: Tuesday – East of LA • Breakfast at Georgia’s Original Bun & Burger: 180 E Rowland St, Covina, CA 91723 • Shopping in Downtown Covina • Lunch at Casa Moreno: 223 N Citrus Ave, Covina, CA 91723 • Some fun at Exit Game: 111 N Atlantic Blvd # 148, Monterey Park, CA 91754 • Dinner and drinks at Giovanni’s Restaurant: 114 E Italia St, Covina, CA 91723 Wednesday – Easter of LA • Shopping in Downtown Claremont • Dinner at Viva Madrid: 225 Yale Ave, Claremont, CA 91711 • Drinks and entertainment at Piano Piano: 555 W Foothill Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711 Thursday – LA Adventure • Dinner at APL: 1680 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028 • Any show at the The Fonda Theatre: 6126 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90028 • Drinks at Yamashiro: 1999 N Sycamore Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068 Friday – More LA Fun • Dinner at Wolvesden: Reserve to be invited to chef’s private loft. • Drinks and entertainment at Black Rabbit Rose: 1719 N Hudson Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028 • Drinks and dancing at No Vacancy: 1727 N. Hudson Ave.,, Los Angeles, Ca Saturday – And More LA Fun • Lunch at El Pescador: 1125 W Covina Pkwy, West Covina, CA 91790 • Show at the El Rey Theatre: 5515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036 • Dinner at: Toca Madera: 8450 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048 • Drinks, dancing and live music at: Cicada Restaurant and Club: 617 SOUTH OLIVE STREET, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wouldn’t be where I am, let alone, who I am… without my wife. I met her in high school and ever since graduation day when she gave me a pair of dill colored Chucks… she has continued to surprise me in the greatest ways. She is truly the raddest person I know: she’s compassionate, patient, loving, understanding, smart, talented, and so much more. She also gave me 3 kick-ass kids to boot! It will be 21 years (+3 years of dating) with this amazing human being. I will continue to work my ass off for her and my kiddos for as long as I am allowed to.