We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Ehrmann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The reason I wanted to start my own business was that I wanted to run things on my terms. I had worked in the marketing/graphics departments of various companies, and while I enjoyed the work immensely, I did not necessarily like the politics of a large organization. I figured what mattered was producing creative work, which I was comfortable with. I knew that there was much more to running a business than sitting at my Mac producing beautiful things in Illustrator and Photoshop, but I was eager to learn them. 14 years later, I am not only a graphic artist, but a salesman, a customer relations specialist, and a bookkeeper. While daunting at first, the confidence I now have in being able to successfully run my own show is life-changing. While I can’t predict what the future holds, at this point, I could not imagine ever working for another person or company again. That said, it took a while to get here. I tried and failed a few times before I was really able to get things up and running. Even now, there is often an excitement/fear about how business is going, and without the comfort of a team or organization to fall back on, I am forced to make the hard decisions alone. It is up to me whether I succeed or fail, and I use that as a motivator.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Santa Monica, CA Bay Cities Deli – I am probably the 5th person who has told you you MUST go get a Godmother sandwich here. Unparalleled. Santa Monica Pier and 3rd St. Promenade – Yes, it’s touristy, but if you are coming to Santa Monica, don’t be too cool to check out the tourist stuff. I was born and raised here, and always appreciate that I get to live where people come from all over the world to visit. Barkowski – A Charles Bukowski themed beer joint? Yes please. Rip City Skates – You want to see the living history of skateboarding where it began? Go see Jim at Rip City, he’s been there since the 70’s, and has a story about every skateboarder you’ve ever heard of. Good place to get some very exclusive merchandise as well. Brennans Bar – Yes, they have booze like every other place, but they also have turtle racing. Yes, real turtles. First and third Thursday of the month. Do it.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to thank the design team at AAA Flag and Banner in Culver City, CA. That position was boot camp for designers, we had tight turnarounds, pushy clients, and even pushier salesmen. The amount of work we were able to do in short periods of time showed me that being an artist is not always comfortable, and that as much as I would love to obsess over every detail of a project, sometimes you just need to get the work done and out. Second, I would like to thank the marketing department of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Los Angeles, CA. That position allowed me to work on major campaigns, both domestic and internationally, for a very recognized brand. This was the last “real” job I had before going out on my own.