We had the good fortune of connecting with JR Mariano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi JR, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
When we first opened Mariano Development/Jamie’s Kitchen and Bath over 10 years ago, the priority was to get back all the money we put in to get the businesses up and running. As most entrepreneurs know, you operate in the negative in the beginning until you can grow your client base, build a steady income of contracts, and luckily turn a profit sooner than later. So essentially, I was working from 7am-7pm, 7 days a week trying to get the business off the ground. It took a solid 4-5 years of long hours until I felt comfortable enough to start with taking weekends off. When we had our child in 2011, all my priorities changed. The weekends were great, but the long hours during the week were challenging. Eventually, I realized the common cliche that working “smarter” was definitely better than working “harder”. We changed some of our office procedures and utilized online technology to help assist in our estimating process. We created a platform for our clients to streamline our services and it helped cut my weekly hours from 12 hours a day to 7 hours a day. The balance now has been great as I have created enough time to spend the evenings with my wife and coach my son during the weekends. We even got a few first place trophies to show for it. Life is for living after all, and work is just a function of providing for that life.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are proud to say that Mariano Development and Jamie’s Kitchen and Bath are one of the top remodeling Design/Build firms in Los Angeles today. Timeless design and high quality construction is part of our DNA but what sets us apart is our quality customer service and sterling reputation. From our showroom experience, through the final cabinet knob being leveled and installed, we try to make the construction process as painless as possible. We are able to provide a full build service from start to finish with our in house design team, a showroom to view samples, and myself as a licensed California General contractor that can oversee most of our projects. We take on every project with a detailed and cost efficient approach, and do our best to communicate the steps with our clients which is very important to them because let’s face it, everyone has heard of the nightmare stories when it comes to construction. We try to be the opposite of that and show them that there is a right way to do things. And sometimes, it really is as simple as a phone call or a text message. What we are most proud of is the trust we’ve attained from the community and our client base as a residential and commercial builder. That trust is critical to keep our phones ringing. What we want the world to know is that our company can build much more than kitchen and bathrooms. Last year, we built a 10,000 sq. ft. pop up museum in the heart of Los Angeles, and this year we’re working on building medical offices in South Pasadena. If you can think of it, we can probably build it.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Living in Los Angeles, we are in a tourist haven and probably the top tourist destination in the world. If I was to give a list of must see places, I would suggest (in no particular order) checking out a concert at the Greek Theatre, a trip to the Santa Monica Pier and a quick swim in the beach, a Clipper or Laker game at Staples, a visit to the Disney concert hall and stop at The Broad museum next door, and finally a trip to Universal Studios or Disneyland, because they are quite amazing experiences with or without children. Lastly, if time permits, a quick drive over to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree to meditate and chill, or Santa Barbara if you prefer to experience some of the best coastal living in California.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Big shoutout to my wife and best friend Catriona for supporting the business and being one of the primary investors since day 1. I think the most important role she played is the support she provided during the tougher times which was important to keep the business going. It is easy to feel good when all is well and business is rolling. When things get tough and you go through some challenges, that’s when you’ll need someone to help you get through it and guide you through the rough waters. Sometimes all you need is a calming voice and an additional warrior on the battlefield of life.