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“There are two essential skills that are needed in order to not burn out. Organization and Delegation”

With Ace Marks CEO Paul Farago




There are two essential skills that are needed in order to not burn out. Organization and Delegation. Keep yourself organized. This includes organizing your personal work load and projects. Layout workflows to discover bottle necks and create clear timetables for completion. Once you have organized, you can now put the right personnel in place to handle the excess work loads to make sure you are able to keep timetables. It can be very easy for entrepreneurs to try and do to much themselves. Mastering organization and delegation is the key to not only burning yourself out, but it is also the key to scaling.


I had the pleasure to interview Paul Farago, the CEO of Ace Marks.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was born into it. My family has been in the shoe business since before I was born. I grew up in shoe factories working closely with master shoe artisans and building relationships that would last a lifetime. Several years before starting Ace Marks I realized there was a gap in the men’s dress shoe market. If you wanted high quality dress shoes and couldn’t afford to spend upwards of $600 of them, you didn’t have a lot of options. This is why I created Ace Marks.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

During our kickstarter campaign, we decided to have open discussions with our backers in order to get their feedback on styles, colors, and other items they wanted to see from Ace Marks. We did not expect to receive the amount of feedback we did. Hundreds of backers joined to discuss our entire line and they ended up helping us create a wonderful collection.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

During the first day of the kickstarter campaign, I logged into kickstarter so that I could answer all the comments and questions that were posted on the kickstarter comment section. I wanted to make sure every person was answered so I allocated 2 full hours to answering all of them. Upon looking at the comment section, I realized there was over 400 comments and questions within the first 24 hours. Needless to say I did not sleep that night as I stayed awake making sure every comment and question was answered. Lessoned learned here is to make sure you set up a team to handle the projected workloads. If you do see your bandwidth is being exceeded, never compromise or sacrifice customer experience.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our community. Our community isn’t just a group of people that want to buy dress shoes. They are engaging with not just us, but with each other in open discussions about shoes, men’s style trends, how to pair their shoes with certain outfits, and sharing stories and advice on color combinations. Our community knows style and appreciates quality, but more than that, they do not hesitate to help and share with each other.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

There are two essential skills that are needed in order to not burn out. Organization and Delegation. Keep yourself organized. This includes organizing your personal work load and projects. Layout workflows to discover bottle necks and create clear timetables for completion. Once you have organized, you can now put the right personnel in place to handle the excess work loads to make sure you are able to keep timetables. It can be very easy for entrepreneurs to try and do to much themselves. Mastering organization and delegation is the key to not only burning yourself out, but it is also the key to scaling.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My family. My family has been in the shoe business since before I was born. I grew up learning the craft, learning the business, and forming relationships that have been essential to helping me develop Ace Marks.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Giving back is something that is very important to me. When I started Ace Marks I knew I wanted to be able to do something to give back. That’s why we partnered with career gear and launched our buyback program. When you need a new pair of Ace Marks, you can send your old ones back for a $50 credit towards a new pair. We then donate those shoes to men in need who are looking to rejoin the workforce and provide for their families.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1) Things don’t always go according to plan. No matter how much you prepare or plan, there will always be a few curve balls thrown your way. For me, the first curveball was during our kickstarter campaign. We did not expect to become the most funded footwear campaign in kickstarter history. The volume we did created all kinds of complications in terms of production and we had to completely redo our timetables and workflows in order to still deliver in the time promised.

2) Listen to your customers, they know more about what they want then you do. We all may think we have a great grasp on what our customers want. And for the most part this might be true, but if you can open clear communication channels with your customers, they can give you ideas new and innovative ideas you hadn’t considered before. For us, this was first evident with our belts. Our customers actually came up with the idea for us to offer belts that match the color of the dress shoes they purchased. Our belts our now hand dyed by same artisans that make our shoes.

3) Use analytics and data to lead the way. Using data and analytics is the best way to determine your next areas of focus. Whether its google analytics, customer surveys, or other types of reports, analyzing that data will give you key insights into what you should focus on next. When we first launched our acemarks.com website, we took a deep look into our kickstarter analytics in order to gain insight into the way the customers were browsing through products and how often they checked for sizing issues. This gave us great insight on how to structure our website in a way that made it very easy to find your exact size in Ace Marks shoes.

4) Surround yourself with the right people. Putting a team in place that you trust is vital. As your business continues to grow, you need to have a team that can grown with you. When selecting our core team, we wanted to find people that could not just do the job they were hired to do, but also have an understanding of their positions so they could create solutions to problems without needing additional management.

5) Take advantage of new innovations. Technology and innovations are constantly changing and improving. This can create huge opportunities to operate more efficiently. Crowdfunding was a great example of this for us. Not only does it provide an opportunity to raise funds by pre-selling your product, but it also provides valuable data and insight into your market.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I believe every company should do something to help with a good cause. For Ace Marks, we are doing this with our buyback program and our partnership with career gear. It doesn’t take a lot to work out a way to help others.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@acemarksshoes

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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