Today With Paul Mencel:
Welcome to A Well-Designed Business. Today on the show we have Paul Mencel, a former rock star and the craftsman/entrepreneur behind the gorgeous handmade furnishings at Philadelphia Table Company. What started as a side job between his music tours has grown into a seven-figure business, and Paul is here to tell us how important it is to hire wisely, pay attention to the business end of operations, and price your goods and services appropriately in order to remain profitable.
Paul believes in asking for help when you need it, learning from your mistakes, and the power of mindset. He says that everything he knows about business he learned by being a rockstar, so this is a really fun conversation.
Pick It Apart
[4:28] Paul talks about being a working musician and starting his woodworking business to support himself in between tours and gigs, explaining how the business has grown to a team of six with Paul admitting he is now the least talented member of the team.
[9:10] Paul talks about learning and growing the business through trial and error, and how skills he learned during his career as a rock star transferred into his current business
[15:00] LuAnn explains about learning from mistakes instead of processing them as failures, prompting Paul to tell the story of his $100K “business school lesson”
[19:30] Paul and LuAnn discuss sustainable pricing, being willing to accept “no”, and knowing your value and worth
[29:35] Paul explains the abundance theory, relating his mindset shifts around the uniqueness and luxury of his products, his responsibility to his employees, and how these are both important parts of his pricing structure
[38:20] LuAnn shares her own perspective on the importance of operating within sustainable profit margins
LuAnn Nigara and Paul Mencel's Ah-Ha Moments
“We're trying to build something that's bigger than ourselves. And in order to do that, we need to hire people that are bigger than ourselves. So I give my team a ton of credit.” – Paul Mencel
“You kind of have to stay humble and admit what you don't know. And really just kind of ask for help when you need it.” – Paul Mencel
“That's how I was brought up too. Anytime I like made a mistake, or something, my dad would be like, well, that's a $500 lesson on how to not pop your tire…this is a $5,000 lesson in, you know, not to use this type of wood again.” - Paul Mencel
“The through line, the result [of getting more “no’s” than you are used to] is that the yes’s are your ideal client and they have a better appreciation, and they probably are much more enjoyable to work with.” – LuAnn Nigara
More About Paul Mencel:
Paul is a creator and a doer with a passion for teaching. He hopes to inspire and teach others how they too, are and can, be creators and doers.
Since a young age, he had always worked for myself in some capacity. Driven by the desire to control when and how he makes money, Paul was dedicated to building side hustles while working for various bosses. The first time he realized he could control the way he makes money was at the age of 14 as resident lawn mower in his neighborhood. He began to understand that the more effort and work he put in, the more money he could earn.
Managing his own hours and income allowed Paul the time to pursue his passion for music and play in a rock band, “Bel Heir”. While the band’s main focus was original music and touring, it also doubled as a cover band on Friday and Saturday nights. The band is what really got me excited about business creation in the long term. He was excited by the idea of growing a business in the creative industry, by figuring out how to book the next gig, get on that playlist, and tour with bands they had admired from afar. The drive for himself and his bandmates eventually led to a record deal with RCA records and a Publishing deal with Pulse Recordings. Although Paul did not realize it at the time, the rock band he pursued as a creative outlet was actually a thriving business, and their product was music and live performance.
While signed to RCA, the excitement of building the band as a business-led Paul to a career in music artist management, and he started one of my current businesses: LookUp Ent. With LookUp Ent. Paul earned several platinum plaques and landed a top10 radio hit, with the song “Roses” by The Chainsmokers (written and performed by his client and sister ROZES.)
In between touring and recording with his band he started another small side hustle: custom built furniture. At the time, Paul was building items just for mine and his wife’s apartment, as they could not afford the expensive items they wished to fill their first home. The furniture company, Philadelphia Table Company, grew quickly through word of mouth. Paul started building furniture for his friends, then his friends of friends and eventually to complete strangers. He started in his dad’s garage and within four years the company expanded to a 3,000 square foot warehouse with four full-time employees that they are quickly outgrowing. The company now grosses over a 3/4 of a million dollars a year and has become Paul’s main source of income.
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