We had the good fortune of connecting with Samm McAlear and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samm, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It was something that’s been always been a goal of mine, ever since i tried to start a clothing line with my friends in 5th grade. As i grew older i had a couple other random business come and go with time, but through those experiences I realized there was no feeling quite like building something from the ground up and being your own boss. As I graduated from college my ultimate goal was to start my own design studio/agency, but realized from everything i had learned up to that point, how important it was to not only have a plan but also to have the relationships to allow for the business to grow. So i ended up deciding to go work at adidas right out of school to gain some additional real world experience in a setting where i would have something to what I was making and a part of, as well as building relationships with people across multiple functions and departments to grow the network knowing that some day we all might be in different positions but still want to work together. So with the end goal in mind I put the hours in to create the best work i could both at my 9-5 as well as with my freelance, so that when the time was finally right to leave and start my own thing, I would have a solid foundation to build off of. Doing so allowed me to hit the ground running and helped make the transition from employee, to self employed way easier.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It’s funny because this is a question I constantly ask myself, and one I never seem to be able to figure out… but here is how I’m feeling today I don’t know if it’s something that necessarily sets me apart, but something I’m super proud of in relation to my art is the fact that I don’t have a distinguishable style, which you could consider as a weakness, but is something I actually consider one of my strengths. For me it’s about being able to bring something to life in the most beautiful and authentic way possible for every project and that means you have to adapt. Not every client or project is the same, so you cant approach them the same way each time. I think of it almost like being a method actor. The ability to step into a project and be able to see everything through that specific lens allows you to tell the story’s in a more authentic, and thoughtful way. and through this approach to my work I’ve learned so much along the way. Different projects call for different tool sets , and being able to pick them up along the way and then find uses for these learnings in completely new projects can create some extremely beautiful and unexpected results. I think one of most important things i’ve learned along the way through working through so many types of projects is the importance and fun of collaborating on work and not being worried about who’s getting credit for it and instead just focusing on making the best things you can together. Once you let fo of your ego, you’ll be blown away by what you’re able to accomplish.
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.
I may not be the best person to ask for this type of advice from because 1. I’m bi-costal, and 2. im a homebody and stay locked in a dark room making things at the most random hours…. but with that being said here goes nothing. the obvious first answer is the beach, but i actually hate sand, so you won’t find that on my list haha Food: Nics on Beverly (its vegan, but you would never know it ( i literally had no idea the first time someone ordered it for me at the studio). The pizza with their vegan ranch is outta this world) Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken – The best fried chicken in LA, maybe even all of California… Also the biscuits are to die for, how every many you think you want, order 2 more. WEED: I don’t really have a favorite dispensary, i just go anywhere that sells flower from my two favorites growers: Flowers by Fidel, and LaFav Farms DRINK: i would start by telling them to make sure to avoid the tap water, and then at 5 o’clock on the dot, Id order this new hard seltzer I love called “Tolago” off pinkdot Places: I love to spend time at the recording studio with my homies. Its fun and exciting but unfortunately you can’t check it out so you’ll just have to take my word for it. 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?
My Parents for encouraging my creativity even if they thought I was crazy at times. Bryon Sheng for the countless doors he opened for me, as well as teaching me how to play the game, and the importance of networking. My support system of friends (Foda, Az, Reed, Stix, Clay, Layne, Tess, Lumia, Logan, Kosta, Mike) for inspiring me to continue to think bigger and grow as a creative, but more importantly inspire me to grow as a person. Jose Cabaco and Jon Wexler for giving me the final push I needed to leave the corporate world and start my own thing. I know I’m probably forgetting people still, but what it basically comes down too is this; there is no way in hell i could’ve accomplished even half of this alone. You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.
Sam Conant Lumia Nocito