What is your full name, title, and business name?
Gary Jones, Owner, Jones Select
Give us a summary of your business in 200 words or less.
We are a Men’s Custom clothing company with a specialty in personal branding through custom clothing. We utilize your Personal Vision, Career and Body Type to curate a personal one-of-a-kind style that matches.
How did the idea for your business come about?
All of the men in my life that were successful had tailor made suit selections, and they took great care of their family. I wore a suit for my high school senior picture and the attention that I received was amazing. It was so captivating that I was invited to be in my first fashion show as a model and the rest is history…
What was the turning point for your business? Was there a moment you knew you had something special?
My first Fashion Week invite came after I designed my first wedding suit. My Collection was showcased in Scottsdale, Arizona and the response was amazing.
What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur and business owner?
To get up everyday and depend on an idea that started in your mind and now provides a living for your lifestyle. Being a business owner means a lot of responsibility and customers depending on you, staff depending on you and your family depending on you also. With the right mix of optimism and appreciation it is a life that is worth living.
What does the city of Columbus mean to your business?
The city of Columbus means everything. It is where I was born and raised. It’s a pleasure to connect with both new and old people in Ohio. It’s home and it’s truly been a place to help me grow and learn.
Are you from Columbus? If not, please explain what brought you to here and ultimately what made you stay.
I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. My whole family resides here we have a rich history from Columbus city schools to The Ohio State University.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a business?
I would say do the Hokie Pokie! Haha put your right foot in Shake it all about then take it out.. Meaning you have to try new things, it will be a challenge. If it were easy everyone would do it. At times (many times) it will be the hardest thing you have ever done but also the most rewarding.
What do you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before starting your business?
How to build a team around me to do the things that I am not good at. A lot of times we take on so many tasks and the business suffers because we are stuck doing what we are not good at. Do what you love and let the staff support the rest.
What’s the most challenging part of your business (i.e, what keeps you up at night)?
Meeting deadlines for weddings and special events. Each customer is a joy but its painful until I know that the fit came out right and the event is over.
Every business owner has a flaw. What’s yours?
I want to be involved in every detail of every customer and with growing a business there is no way to hold each person’s hand. As the business progresses you need assistance to be able to thrive.
Why do you think most business owners fail? What has made you different?
I think it’s the small things that can make your business fail. Picking up the phone, returning emails, being available to respond to the needs of people.
What was your biggest mistake and what did it cost you?
My biggest mistake is having a small mentality while running a larger small business. I should have gotten more staff early in my growing process. It cost me some customers. They love me and my work but I was so busy doing everything I didn’t manage the followup and small details as well as I intended to.
What tool has helped you the most for your business (invoicing, accounting, shipping, plugin for website, etc.)?
Learning how to optimize all of technology for my needs. We are launching an automated client process to make sure our customer service is consistent.
When did you know it was time to expand your business, make your first hire, etc.?
I kept having the same mistakes and working harder was not solving the problem.
What is something that you did that was a game changer for your business?
Hire an assistant and also get creative help. I did not realize my personality and gift can be hard for one person to understand because the burden of being a business owner you have to be both creative and technical.
What was an idea that you spent a lot of time on or thought would make a big difference in your business that didn’t pan out?
I spent a lot of time trying to please every customer base, and found you spend the same amount of time with each customer; when instead I should be more focused on the group that values my time.
What is something that your business spends a lot of money on that’s worth it?
We spend a lot of money on high end fabric mills and quality help. Having the best fabric and great help is irreplaceable.
What is something you’re working on now that you’re very excited about?
I am working on a new podcast and I also focused on putting more content out so people can experience the brand.
What form of marketing is the most valuable for you?
All of the social sites have impacted my business keeping me on the front of people’s minds when they are thinking of men’s clothing.
Who is your best Columbus resource (accountant, lawyer, marketer, etc.)?
Perry Jeffries, Financial Advisor and Coach at Profit First Professionals
Fatima Bouyer, Owner of Office Bad Ass Virtual Administrative Support Services
Who do you vent to when you have a business problem?
Close friends and family.
Where do you see your business in the next 10 years?
I see the Jones Select brand evolving to a lot more products and services – even a ready to wear brand that you can pick up at Nordstrom.
What is your revenue range?
$100k – $500k
What was the single worst decision you made regarding your business and how’d you recover?
Not getting help sooner to expand my business. I recovered by finding the help that could support my needs.
When you’re stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to overcome this feeling?
Go to the gym, dance a little salsa, and Pray.
What’s one component of entrepreneurship that’s much different than what most people think?
The people you believe will support you won’t. It will be people that will believe in you that have only just met you.
What’s your end goal with the business? Is this something you want to pass down to your kids or would you like to eventually sell?
Yes, I will pass my business over to my children. It’s a way to build wealth.
How would your business fare if the economy hit a nasty downturn like it did in 2008? Have you prepared for this?
We are expanding our services to also do just alterations for clients that would like to connect with us but are not ready for our suiting yet.
What other entrepreneur do you look up to most?
Gary Vaynerchuck, Eric Thomas, Tom Ford, Jay Z.
If you had to tell a visitor one thing to do/see/eat in Columbus, what would it be?
Go to the Short North, its a great place to visit and experience small business from food to clothing. Jeni’s Ice cream, Brother Drakes Meadery, Monarch are all great places to enjoy.