City: San Francisco, CA

Passion: Better Product

Websitewww.trumaker.com

Twitter/Instagram: @marklovas

Mark is no ordinary Silicon Valley entrepreneur. We met him at his sophisticated yet cozy offices in San Francisco, where he greeted us with a big smile, chic style and distinct fashion sense. Mark is a thinker. An original thinker. Through life stories, quotes, and references to literature and philosophy, he revealed to us a different meaning of entrepreneurship and leadership: the nuance of it all, the dichotomy of doing what you love, and the less common places to find answers and clues for direction. Hearing Mark talk about Trumaker, as well as, some of his team members, we knew that the made-to-fit brand is not about just selling shirts: Mark has started a movement of empowering people to be on purpose, and off self, as he likes to put it.

 

ON PASSION

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Being entrepreneurial started in school. I used to buy candy in bulk and sell it, in 7th and 8th grade. In high school, I would start movements; I remember buying a bunch of yoyos and selling them.
I did not think I could work anywhere; I was fired from my first 5 jobs. I knew I had to do something else.
I found passion in entrepreneurship. I was in control of the results I could create. The idea of personal growth without societal restriction was intoxicating.

ON MASTERY

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Meeting people who are better, keeps me better. I have always been attracted to recruiting and having friends who are better than me.
You have to let go of what got you there and who you were. You need to give up your ego, be willing to look ridiculous and perceived as not smart.

ON TRANSITION

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I landed at Bonobos. I was put in charge of creating alternative distribution measures. I learned what it looked like to be a successful company. I got closer to entrepreneurship and saw that this is something I could do, too.
Breakthroughs happened when I got closer to reality. One of my hobbies was acting; when I studied with professionals, I realized I could do this. When I finally understood what the work was, it felt possible.
All the work we do to like what we are doing is a waste of time. You have to spend the time doing it. If you are focusing on purpose and off self, you are likely making the right choices.
If people just listened to themselves, they could do extraordinary things. The strongest ideas I had that followed me around, I continually talked myself out of. Then I just started doing.
I had to move forward without knowing the answer.
Trumaker was my third idea. I stopped talking myself out of everything and decided, this is it. I just need to find a retail guy.

ON FAILURE

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I am less concerned with short term failure and more concerned with lifetime failure. If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you don’t have the luxury of being concerned with failure. You run into a brick wall every day. Failure is corrective feedback. Failure is a rite of passage. It is part of the process. Failure is only when you’re not seeing it as corrective feedback.

ON FEAR

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I experience two types of fear. Fear of failure, which in one way, drove me to success. I am so afraid of failing, I will not let it happen.
The other type is the fear of loss, loss of opportunity. There are two options of reactions to this; one is making sure we have our best chance of success, and the other is just reacting to the uncertainty.
If somebody is dwelling on the negative, then you are less proactive. Stress is when your fear is out of control.

ON MONEY

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I was fortunate enough to do really well early on. I did not focus on money, but focused on doing what I am passionate about. Money is a distraction, whether you have it or you don’t have it. I invested, lost and made money. When I made poor decisions, it showed I was not passionate. Having money takes energy from creating to consuming. It is important to create more than you consume. If you do that, you will have all your money.

A passage by Tennessee Williams truly describing the relationship between struggle and success:

The catastrophe of success

There’s nothing worse than a lot of time and money. Stay on purpose, do the right thing in this moment, and it will put you in the next moment.

ON SELF-LOVE

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I put myself in situations to earn my love. I have to earn my self-love at my worst. At my best, I am making a case for my life. You can make any case for or against yourself. Self-love is a practice.
I exercise, mainly adventure skiing and cycling. I try to do things that take my mind off myself. I try to challenge myself with hobbies.

ON INSPIRATION

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I am inspired by the people I work with. I am inspired by people who are passionate about what they do. I am inspired by anybody that gives a shit, a live person.

ON SUPPORT

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I lean on the people around me a lot. I communicate openly, positively. I seek mentorship. Finding outside mentors not related to your business is important. My investors have all been great mentors.

ADVICE TO THE COMMUNITY

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No matter what your circumstances are, start it now, whatever it is. So you can find out what the work is behind your passion or your hobby. There is no reason not to start. Respect the challenge, you can’t assume you are going to be good in one year. A little of something is better than a lot of nothing. Your circumstance is not an excuse. Keep moving forward even if you look ridiculous and feel ridiculous.



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