Milwaukee, John Ryan Ryan, Evanston discussed on Entrepreneur Stories for Inspiration: Millionaire Interviews


Is there some relation that listening no no. I mean we still do it. Screen printing for US typically we call an overlay or you might call the label or sticker a lot of that still done with screen printing and we do that as a standalone product but if you take a lot of our products that do even if it's full turnkey still have some screen printing on them so that's the label it might be a C. E. Label or U. L. label or a bar code that can be done either digitally or through screen printing yeah and I guess even in your intro to you're saying is a third generation family company. Yes Oh my brother and I are currently fifty fifty partners. The business was started by my father's brother and John Ryan and yet some success right away. He started this in his parents garage. In his first client was a friend who needed real estate signs signs and peaked it pretty well and he asked my Father Bob Ryan to join them and so he joined him for a good number of years and then their father was reaching retirement age had a successful career but it actually came back into the business and join them as well. We're third generation but we didn't quite go in order. I've never heard that part two kinda interesting because I never thought about it that way to did John Ryan Ryan actually started in two thousand five or even before that now we're fifty five years in business now said the one thousand nine hundred sixty four. I believe I'm doing my math and he actually started a little bit before that but that was the year it was incorporated. Okay cool very interesting. It's kind of fascinating your story or like this. Company is the ones that people don't even think of as a business at least I don't I never even thought about I think if you break down I remember studying economics pointing in understanding human just a pencil like if you took a wooden pencil understanding all the different parts to it how they're all related different businesses and were probably made in different parts of the world but as the rubber chip or the actual would or the lead within it or even the middle part around it but your company's seems it takes it to another level of that kind of thought process of me never even thinking about who makes the keypad for a microwave for who does the stuff in the dentist office no absolutely and my background as a marketing finance accounting guy in college and went into public accounting and consulting and then I joined my brother in business and we were just doing membrane switches and overlays at the time and you know we're looking for growth opportunities. It's been a great learning experience and kind of figure it out as I go along and learn a lot and hire good people well and you start talking about a B O. M's the bill of material for some of our products do some digital musical instrument line. There's three four five six hundred components that are coming together other and we have to develop a system and the expertise to Paulie sings together and assemble them and test them. Do all that and there's days. It's a huge challenge and we're building stuff. That's never been built before. It's all custom so there's no rule book. There's no hey. This is always going to work. It's let's get the engineers together. Let's get in a room. Let's get the customer and let's sit down and brainstorm and that's really what I love of about my job. I mean every single day. I'm learning something. There's not a day that goes by where one of my clients doesn't challenge me to do something new or try something different or find a solution to some problem. They're having makes it a lot of fun. That's good especially if you want to be mentally challenged. I think a lot of people listening do want to be like if you're going to make your own business you want those type of things you get get tired of doing the same thing over and over and so that's pretty cool that you're able to actually do that within your business but also again looking at the website and says now servicing the US China Canada Australia the UK in Israel all those countries as far as servicing the type of clients in those countries yet. We're focused on those areas right now. We actually currently have clients in in over forty countries. We're in South America and Central America Africa Middle East Australia in the countries you mentioned was this all you that expanded it because as you said when you join two thousand five hundred ten employees announced one hundred sixty five you know it's been really teaming here with my brother so my dad and his brother were running it and then my my uncle actually passed away. John passed away and it was my father and my brother and then my mother actually had some health issues and my father had to leave the business those just my brother and I was around two thousand five. I was in consulting just getting burned out. My wife was pregnant with our first. Kid are only kid that is modest something new so we looked at each other is probably after a couple of beers and said we're going to give this a shot. It's now or never you know like the stars have kind of aligned 'cause I didn't WanNa work with my uncle. I feel terrible that he passed away and I would have worked with my dad but we just kinda needed this perfect perfect stu. I guess to come together and so when I joined we both knew that we had to grow this thing we had to look for opportunities and I think my presence really got him going as well and we both said Hey AAC. Let's look at stuff that we can do and we ended up going to China and doing all this work. I can go and more in depth map but I think it was both of us really driving the bus year and trying to figure out how to make some money really so. Why don't we jump into the story there. You think that's a good place to start. I guess you're saying you're two thousand five. Can you tell us like how old you were in. Maybe walked down that decision a little bit more because this is kind of a life changing moment if you're gonNA stop kind of nine to five and then joined the family businesses obviously way different dynamics yeah no absolutely I was twenty nine years old is is working for a company down in Evanston doing pharmaceutical consulting it was a great place to learn and to work as one of those places where everyone went to northwestern and had an MBA or the Stanford. I mean it was just like everyone was super. Smart so then it just came down to billable hours. It was a lot of work but a lot of learning opportunities but I mentioned before it. My mother got sick. Look at one point and I was working at this company at that time and I went to my boss and I said you know I have to take some time off your at some point. They had already been telling him what was going on and he said well. We got tax season coming up and I'm like Holy Shit. I'm GonNa tell you this in. You're talking about taxes and right now while I did work a few more months but I think that was the key to me that I was. GonNa look for a change like I mentioned my wife was pregnant. It and we knew we're living in this little condo. We love the place but it was not suitable for an infant with third floor walkup in an old factory and so that wasn't GonNa work so as you the the suburbs of Chicago Kogyo or I call it Chicago North suburb. Here's is Milwaukee and so our family was up here and like I said I talked to my brother and Kinda looked at this is a let's give it a shot and so I sat down with my wife and I said here's what I'm thinking about doing. I told her I was never going to do this because I kind of had this. Beatles perfect alignment for to work out and I'd had the success in consulting but then also took a turn and so she said well I can't stop you and I love to support you and she's always been super supportive and she said but when give two years you've got two years to get back to your consulting assaulting salary and I said Hell you can do that no problem whatsoever. I'm Super Smart. I'M GONNA figure this out and jump on board. And what was your consulting salary back. The hand is probably in the seventies eighties around there and so I took that as a challenge and I can tell you straight up. I did not meet that goal of getting that salary target targeting two years so I didn't even come back close but it had enough success and we could kinda see the direction removing and ultimately to it. We're making money but during that period for two two years after that too I mean we're just putting it all right back into the business and trying to grow for the future again you kind of briefly mentioned this Evanston what you talked about your just outside of Chicago. The North in your family was about two hours north in Milwaukee so this was the moment that you moved back. When you're twenty nine and two thousand five and did you move in with your brother or did you find a new place. How'd I ago. You know I live with my father for awhile we bought a house and you know how you plan everything out and on this date this going to happen on that date this and so we bought this house. It was as a fixer upper. It needed some work and so we tore everything apart my wife's pregnant she can't help luckily my father-in-law's kind of a builder my dad's handy so they're helping me out and then all of a sudden my son was born prematurely screws up the whole schedule not only that but he has a blockages innocent testings and the doctor warned us at missing is often fatal title and so were down in the nick you at the Intensive Care Down Northwestern Hospital Chicago my wife's down there. I'm trying to relaunch this business. I guess with my brother was an existing doing business so I really had to kind of stretch myself and today I can say. Luckily my son is thirteen years old and he's fantastic and smart and healthy and thriving he's actually a great sounding board for me in my in the business year and loves to hear what's going on here but you know now that he's okay guess. I learned that these things happen in life. You need to Kinda roll with it. Luckily like I said everything turned out but it taught me a lesson in terms of business in terms of appreciating life circumstances and I appreciate that with my ploys to and being understanding of what's going on it told you the horror story with my boss in Evanston saying don't leave during tax season but a more flexible with my employees because of what I've gone through in terms of that. I've mentioned this earlier episodes podcast. It's is like realize that when you have a bad boss you can appreciate that because later on when you're the boss you can remember how they treated you. You don't WanNa treat people like that so it's always good opportunity -tunities that might stink right then and you're like dude. You don't even obviously care about me to make sure that you remember that and obviously you still do so. It's still can actually help you today just trying to learn from every experience variance and you said. I guess at the same time when you're moving up there. You're buying a house so did you have saved money too because again. This seems like it adds an extra level of worries stories. If you have a premature baby and you said you bought a house and you're trying to fix it up because I'm only confused with that part having enough money to be able to do that when you're moving up there to start the family Emmett business and probably GonNa live on rice and beans in the beginning yeah so I did not have a lot saved up. Luckily we sold our condo in Chicago and got a really nice return on it and that was is like our padding. I'll say you know we knew that maybe the first couple of months up in Milwaukee. We're GONNA be very lean in terms of spending we were remodeling the house and like I said trying under you as much as we could the day my son was born then I mean our kitchen had no walls no floor. Nothing was painted. I mean it was a complete disaster so oh you know you look at big moments changing jobs and having a kid and moving to a new house and my wife and I were doing all four of those things at the same time because she was going to be moving to Milwaukee and finding finding a job and later that year as well so we took it all on. I think we'd be did it in stride but yeah there wasn't a lot of savings..

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