We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Alvarez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesse, how do you think about risk?
Few people would question the value of risk and what it entails. Risk is the number one factor as an entrepreneur that determines your state of mind for growth and success. There’s a moment that happens right before you make a huge decision, where your business/career timeline flashes before your eyes. That initial gut feeling to make the right choice doesn’t last long and you mustn’t turn away from the obvious answer or option. Whether it’s to excel the business at a high cost, doubling down on an opportunity or even as simple as deciding the next direction. These moments are critical for what may come next in your career to help you succeed. Your success doesn’t live within regret on how things could’ve been, it’s the moments of risk taken that got you to this point. As a grooming company, one of the biggest risks we’ve taken is inventory (high volume production). When developing our products, our research and development goes beyond what the label reads. After months of developing our products, we had to be certain of the end results and avoid an unsatisfactory release just to meet the mainstream needs. Products and styles come in and out of trend but what makes something everlasting is the care and details that go into it.
The second biggest risk is taking chances. We’ve all had many struggles this year and some worse than others. After losing my full time job to the Pandemic, all I had was the business and in it’s own way, it gave me the opportunity to make this my primary focus to excel the brand. In doing so, we developed 5 new products, released special garment pieces within our brand/team and was granted the opportunity to become available internationally with the help of our team in Taiwan. They pushed the brand for education and product of the year with GQ Taiwan. The support provided from our families, friends, team members and of course our customers kept us driven to take the risks. I never want to look back and wish I had done something different. Not every position is perfect. If you can mold your mind to be open to quick changes and be active in every situation you’ll find the success in whatever you do worth it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For those who know me, I’m a very passionate person and I’m always working on something to further my business. Creating Mason’s Pomade, I wanted it to be more than just styling products, but a lifestyle brand that could be seen from anything we put out. This called for more hours or research, testing and patience.
Right out of college, I was the lead designer for HUSTLER Hollywood and handled all creative for 30+ retail stores; you can say it was challenging. Although it wasn’t the industry I wanted to be in, I learned so much that it opened up the opportunity to create Mason’s Pomade. With that, I developed all the branding, packaging, and vision to set us apart from competitors. It’s rare to see design heavily backed for a grooming company. Having the opportunity to keep things in-house, allowed us to create the aesthetic we wanted. However, this meant longer nights to assemble. So many times you’ll hear, “if it was easy, everyone would do it”. I think that’s a motto that became clear as I was creating this business. As a business owner, you can easily get overwhelmed by the busy duties of running a business. I’m thankful that my partners have always been able to help reel in the stressful moments and find actionable opportunities to get back on track. With all the blood, sweat and tears to create this business. My goal is to create timeless quality items from start to finish. Everlasting is my motive.
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?
Being a westside kid, I would say these are my favorite places! 1. “Top of the World in the Palisades. If you want the most amazing view of Los Angeles, this is it. 2. Grab a sandwich from Bay Cities and head down to the beach with a six pack. 3. Stay in the heart of DTLA with scenic views and people, I don’t know much about big cities, but this will do it for me. 4. Favorite pint and burger spot is Father’s Office. 5. Look up a trail to the Hollywood sign, yeah it’s a tourist thing to do but the feeling you get from this view is unreal. 6. What’s LA without tacos, I can’t pinpoint all of my favorite spots but most street vendors will do the trick. 7. Being a fan of fashion and apparel, you have to hit up Fairfax and Melrose for some good finds. 8. Lastly, visit a dive bar. I usually enjoy Backstage, listen to some karaoke and enjoy some quesadillas handed out at the end of the night.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout goes out to all my supporters, although that may sound general. It’s my family, my friends, my loved ones and my partners. I’ve met so many wonderful people during this adventure and for those I had to opportunity collaborate with, look for insight or just opening up about my work. I thank you. This year has been the biggest rollercoaster of my life and to my “supporters” I couldn’t thank you enough for believing in me and making me feel confident in my passion. You’re the reason why I do this!
Other: Personal portfolio: http://jessejalvarez.dunked.com
Johnathan Zambrana – Main Photo Aaron Ceja – Photo with Brand Banner behind me Julian Bracero – Scooping hair product Byron Ruiz – Full Line of Products