|This is the third post of the eight-part “The Business Breakthrough” series, in which small business owners share the biggest regrets, best advice, and hardest lessons of their careers. “The Business Breakthrough” is sponsored by Capital One Spark. See more posts in the series »|
Wrapped co-founders Ryland Arnoldi and Sam Seidman have been building their wrapping paper and design startup for a year and a half without any definitive business projections, and they’re not going to create any soon.
“We make it up day by day. Is that reckless? Yeah,” Arnoldi told Business Insider.
“People like to come in with this four year plan, but when you get married to the plan, you stop being creative and stop making changes,” says Arnoldi. “Things come up every day that can’t be foreseen. If we had a one year or five year plan that we had to stick to, we would have failed a long time ago.”
So far, the no-plan plan is working out fine.
It all started when the two recent college graduates were on a backpacking trip in Peru and decided they “wanted to go into something insane first, then try real-life jobs.”
They decided to start a wrapping paper company, inspired by beautiful gift-wrapping that Arnoldi’s father, an artist, did using butcher paper.
“When people got these presents that were wrapped uniquely, it created this experience that was really special, people remembered it,” Arnoldi said.
Today, the father-son team works together with Seidman at Wrapped’s Venice Beach, Calif. studio. Arnoldi thanked his father for motivating his creative pursuits.
“He’s my mentor, my creative inspiration … He’s the one who pushed me to go into something crazy before resigning myself to working in a bank,” Arnoldi said.
Just a year ago, the company was a wrapping paper-only producer, but Seidman and Arnoldi soon learned that they needed to diversify before they were lost in the startup shuffle.
Today, Wrapped makes a variety of consumer-ready products, including journals, boxes, gift bags, commercial-grade flooring and wallpaper, though they mostly sell wholesale.
“If we were still only making wrapping paper, we probably wouldn’t be here,” Arnoldi said. “We go to the trade shows, see what’s cool, might try something, might not. It’s always changing.”
Seidman told us that so far, he has no regrets about staying away from banking. And while the pair couldn’t speak directly about future plans, they did offer some advice to rising entrepreneurs.
“Some of these startups come out and try to have a pissing contest, that’s a mentality that really pisses people off,” Arnoldi said. “You have to let the world decide instead of demanding that you get your place. It’s a really humbling experience.”
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