Founder, CEO & Designer - Vitaly (Formerly Vitaly Design)
What did you want to become when you were a child?
Like most kids, it changed quite a few times. I think the ones I stuck with longest were an architect or stunt man though.
I first met you when you were modeling, but you've since ventured into something bigger, tell us how/where did the idea for Vitaly come about:
The idea for Vitaly came while I was backpacking through SE Asia. I wanted something made for myself, had fun commissioning people to do it while in Bali, posted it to Facebook to see if anyone wanted one as a gift, and things just kind of grew / spiralled organically from there. I was always a marketing guy and saw a gap in the market for men's jewelry so I figured I'd try to make a small footprint in that world.
Tell us why you chose to become an entrepreneur:
I don't think it was ever a choice for me... I think anyone who knew me from a young age knew that would be my path. I was never very good at following rules or working for others, but always very self-motivated and passionate about the things I loved. I was also constantly looking for opportunities and thinking about business ideas for fun and not because I felt I needed to for my future.
How did your friends/family react when you told them you wanted to become an entrepreneur/jewelry designer?
I don't think it was something that happened over night so I don't think there was any real initial reaction. Because it happened organically at first and was more of a hobby than anything else, I think they got to watch the relatively rapid growth for something that I was doing part-time and just kind of expected that I'd take it the next step further. Everyone has been incredibly supportive though... Can never really thank them enough. Starting a business, especially with no money, can be one of the most gruelling and taxing things a person will do in their life... My friends and family definitely kept my head out of the gutter when I was slipping pretty bad.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far:
My greatest accomplishment has been finding a career that allows me to do the things that are most important to me... I get to travel, be creative and work for myself. Vitaly has given me freedom and what greater accomplishment is there than freedom? At least that's how I see it..
Who inspires you?
My friends and the people I meet who aren't afraid to take calculated risks.
What aspects of your job do you like best / least?
I absolutely love the freedom, creativity, problem solving, travelling and the amazing people I get to meet. What I like least about my job is the extreme uncertainty and the enormous ups and downs that we've faced along the road... That said, I think the dips make the climb back up that much more exciting and I certainly would never trade this for anything. I'll take massive ups and downs all day long when flat and stagnant are the alternative.
Anything else you would love to do? Acting?
One day when this lifestyle has drained me and when I feel like I've taken what I'm going to take from it, I'd like to be a professor and to consult for start-up brands.
Describe your style in terms of fashion:
Simple... Fitted... Jeans, t-shirts, boots and leather jackets. These days I tend to wear pretty much all black with bits of grey or white here and there.. I'm really enjoying extra long pieces and a-symmetrical cuts right now too. I rarely wear anything with a graphic, pattern, etc. Classic cafe racer motorcycle culture has had a pretty solid impact on my style for the past few years.
What makes you happy?
Freedom. Travel. Food. Friends. Music. Motorcycles. Extreme sports. Tattoos. Fresh Socks. Avocado.
What is one of your favourite songs of all time?
My favourite song for the past few years has been Lonely Man by Kid Koala. It's by no means within a genre you'd typically hear me listening to, but for some reason that song had a huge impact on me and I haven't been able to stop listening to it over the years.
What are some of your favorite movies?
Oh man... big question. I've always been a big movie person. I worked at a little boutique movie theatre all through high school just so I could watch endless movies. Some that jump to mind right away would be Donnie Darko, Trainspotting, Pans Labrynth, everything Wes Anderson... Ah, I could go on forever to be honest.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
Hmm... Probably the McGriddle from McDonalds... I'm ashamed to say that it might be one of my favourite things I've ever eaten and I've been fortunate enough to eat a lot of great food... I don't even really like McDonalds or fast food in general either... they just really killed it with that one. I can't remember the last time I had one though.
Describe yourself in 4 words:
Earnest. Driven. Eclectic. Adventurous.
Which living person do you admire most?
My mentor, Robin Yates. He's done everything I hope to do with his life and he's someone I've admired from the first time I met him. He's happy, successful, charismatic, energetic, respected and generous... I'm happy to have met him and to have something to aspire to.
What do you most value in people?
Name 3 things people don't know about you:
Under a somewhat tough exterior and controlled demeanour is a pretty dorky guy... Few get to see it, but those who do never look at me the same lol
I do yoga regularly.
I probably eat more than any person you've ever met.
What is your motto?
Love to live.
Any last words?
I've had 14 hours of sleep in the last 4 days and leave for Vegas in two days... I'm going to go try to sleep until I have to leave. Wish me luck, and thanks for listening to me ;)
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