We had the good fortune of connecting with Mon Alejo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mon, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have always been drawn to being creative; more specifically home design and renovation. Currently, I work a 9-5 job that sometimes pulls me away from doing the things I love, but quarantine gave me an opportunity to dive back in and make the most of it. I have a background in Architecture and Design. When we were forced to stay home due to the pandemic, my wife, Nicole, and I began visualizing different ways to improve our home. We had the tools and the know-how so we painted and designed accent walls, built furniture, and renovated rooms. We found a passion behind what we were doing, and others caught on as well. Through our personal Instagram stories, requests for custom furniture and other woodworking pieces started coming in. Soon, this simple hobby started to bring in more and more customers. We began realizing that most people come to us for one of two reasons; they either don’t have the tools to make what they need, or they don’t know how to make it. This gave us the idea to expand our woodworking passion into not only a business but a way to pass on basic knowledge of the craft. Woodworking is more than just cutting and putting wood together; it teaches you how to make mistakes and fix them or continuously solve problems when they come. Though the process can be challenging the more you do it, the more you perfect your craft and the better you are at handling certain situations. In the end, you have a unique and beautiful piece to share with everyone. This is the reason why we’re in business. We have the tools, the knowledge, the passion, and we’re here to share it with those who are interested!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As a project manager, I live on organizing projects and sticking to a timeline. Custom woodworking always takes time and there are more details that go into the planning than the actual build. Having the skill of organization and timeliness benefits our woodworking business because customers know they get exactly what they want when they want it. I have always loved being a part of building businesses. The passion began with a non-profit organization that I started with my friend Aldrich Valera. Learning how to interact with a large group towards a common goal opened my mind to the world of business. I then moved onto opening a Photography business with my business partner Marc Bautista where we were able to work with high-end clients like the Los Angeles Lakers, social network influencers, and various start-up businesses in Southern California. The passion behind business turned into a consulting job where I was able to pass on the things I learned to other aspiring business owners. And finally today, Genoa Park. Genoa Park is unique because it utilizes a passion that has always been with me. I am inspired by Magnolia Farms. I love to bring creative ideas to life with my woodworking and design. Nothing in business comes easy, I have learned that every step of the way. “The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will”. (Selena Quintanilla Perez & Chuck Palahniuk) For me, this quote speaks volumes to what we do. Physically, we build projects that are made to last. Emotionally, we want to build on the idea that we have the power to share our skills and not keep it to ourselves. Between the lessons I have learned through all me failures and the skills I have gained to master my craft, I have so many things I can share with everyone. When you think it’s time to give up, give it all you’ve got in another go before you do.
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?
I am one of those people that live in the city I grew up in my whole life and still need more time to find all the beauty in it. If I had the opportunity to take a friend around Los Angeles for a week, our itinerary would probably have one day of famous attractions and the rest would be food. Los Angeles is a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures and it’s represented in the food. For breakfast, I would definitely recommend a Filipino restaurant. Grab your favorite protein mixed with your preferred style of cooked eggs over garlic rice and a side of salted tomatoes. For lunch or snack I would recommend either Porto’s Bakery or Mini Kabob in Glendale, CA. And for dinner, we would have to head down to Korea Town to grab some all you can eat Korean BBQ. Some of our favorite restaurants are LASA, Cabreras Mexican Cuisine, and Davina’s Cusina. And some of our go-to places would be Avenue 62 Taco’s, Grand Central Market for Pupusas, In-N-Out, & Big Chicken Shaq. I’d love to round out our itinerary with activities like hiking, a trip to the Magic Castle, an Escape Room, or even a night with friends at a Karaokee Bar. And finally, when everything is closed in a pandemic, let’s kickback at my place and have a bbq with a firepit near by. Los Angeles is definitely a tough place to squeeze into a week, but it would be so much fun to give it a shot.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
One of the most creative people I know that does not get enough credit is Kat Espino, also known as KraftingMama. She is a hardworking individual that has always found the time to put her creative work to use in between work and raising her son, Aiden. She specializes in Cricut designs, but her creative talents do not stop there. She can bring almost any vision to life and takes the time to make sure the end product is built with quality and love. I’ve worked with Kat often throughout various businesses I’ve been a part of. She is excellent when it comes to delivering branding merchandise, theme party giveaways, and basically anything you can think of that needs to be put together. I work directly with her customizing any wooden pieces when necessary. I believe she deserves this shout out because people need to know what great work she does. She is creative in her own ways but always ensures that the customer’s vision is what comes out when she delivers an order.