We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eric, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After many years of working for different people, I grew tired of having someone always above me. I was in the military for the past 4 years, and I learned a lot of different skill sets that helped me mature and see life differently. I think being in the military made me want to start my own business even more, because I hated how ignorant some supervisors and leadership was to the lower enlisted men. I also have this philosophy in life that, I would rather stress when I’m younger in life than when I’m older. All my life I have always been told that I am too young and I should wait, but why should I wait when time is the most precious thing we have on this planet. So after finishing my service in the military, I came back home and started to research what it takes to start a business. I took the first step and invested everything I had into this business because I wanted to achieve success, and I was willing to do whatever it takes to get me there. I think starting off was the scariest part because I put in all the money I had into this business with a high possibility of failure. But one thing I was willing to do was put my hard work and dedication into this project because this was something I wanted for the rest of my life.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business is called Vintage Hype, it is a streetwear vintage consignment store that is located in Alhambra, CA. We sell vintage clothing that caters to people from all age ranges. I recently got into vintage clothing because I enjoyed how different each piece of clothing is. I was able to wear something that no one has and just be different and express myself. Each piece of clothing has it’s own story and I think it’s pretty neat that I am able to share my passion to the community I grew up in.
I am most proud of being able to work for my own success now, this is only the beginning and I don’t think I have even scratched the surface of my true potential. I know in the first three years of starting a business is always going to be the toughest so I expect nothing but hardship. I will have months that are slow and hard but that won’t stop me from giving up on this dream. These different challenges I face and will face will definitely be mentally draining and stressful but I think not giving up will be the biggest strength I have.
Talking to different business owners and mentors over the years, I think one common thing that I always get is that they always tell me not to give up. No matter how hard things get, as long as I don’t give up then I will see growth within my business.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Honestly I would just take them to all the touristy places in Los Angeles, like Hollywood Blvd., Griffith Observatory, and just all the places that anyone would want to see. I would also plan a beach day because Southern California beaches are just iconic and a must see place.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I think as cheesy as this may sound I would love to give a huge shoutout to my mom. My mom has always been the most supportive person I’ve ever had in my life, regardless of the mistakes I made. I think coming from a traditional asian background my mother always wanted me to work hard and gave me no time to play around. But after moving and living in the United States, my mother started to understand the American lifestyle and rather have us be happy then be miserable in something we do. Growing up, I was also poor and I was really insecure about that, I remembered having to hide where I live and not tell my friends about where I live because it was ghetto. But being a little bit older now I appreciate the experiences my mother and I have gone through because that made me work harder. It made me appreciate the little things in life and has allowed me to not give up when it’s hard. I’ve learned a lot from my mother and without her I wouldn’t be half the man I am today.