We had the good fortune of connecting with John Florey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, what do you attribute your success to?
That’s a pretty long story, but simply put is; effort and attitude. As cliche as it sounds, nothing comes easy. Before we launched SAMA Labs, we spent the previous 5+ years learning how to do it for ourselves by building our own eCommerce brands. Our flagship brand, SA Company was founded by Thomas De Sernia, who is someone I’m proud to consider both a mentor and a close friend. Through a relentless desire to be successful but always bring value to people, the brand was able to scale through incredibly hard work and determination. This is the mindset we carry over to SAMA in how we work with or help brands find similar success, and one of the main reasons why we’ve been able to grow so rapidly within the last 2 and a half years.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a New York native, I moved to Florida about 10 years ago to pursue a change. Nothing particularly bad (other than having a warm February birthday for once) but it was time to make something of myself on my own, in a new environment. I jumped right into the e-commerce world thanks to a friend that had a temporary job lined up for me to make the transition and move easy. From there I fell in love with the e-commerce world. Every day brought a unique challenge, and it required constant creative/critical thinking to stay ahead of things. I’m sometimes impulsive and like new things, so it just made sense for me. From there it was just a lot of hard work, long hours, and most of the other cliche things you hear from other people. The thing is, it’s all true — what you put in is what you get out. You can’t expect to be given anything from anyone and if you want something you have to get it. I have always looked 5 years ahead for myself. I would constantly ask, “what do I expect to achieve within the next 5 years?” When I first moved to Florida, it was; start a business, buy a house, get married. While I still continue to look 5 years ahead, it’s about raising the bar at every level. There’s a quote out there that I love, and the source is a little foggy depending who you ask but its; “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Some say Tony Robbins or Henry Ford coined that. It’s so true.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Naturally, the beach is on that list. If people are coming down from the North, you definitely can’t exclude that. I guess the rest of my answer would be much different if you asked me a few years ago. These days, I’m all about enjoying the little moments. With what’s currently going on in the world, there’s such an abundance of uncertainty and you learn to appreciate the little things more. While people argue that New York is the Food and Beverage capital of the world (which it is), there are still some great gems in South Florida that offer a great time. Mizner Park here in Boca Raton is always a great, diverse spot, or we can head down to Las Olas and get a little crazier.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Frankly, there are so many people that deserve a shoutout. I’m a strong believer that who you surround yourself with helps shape who you are as a person. For me, I try to absorb energy from different sources depending on what kind of inspiration I need, and that’s why it’s important to keep your circle tight, but diverse. The great thing about our team is that I can get a lot of that within our own crazy ecosystem. First and foremost, I give so much credit to the two most important women in my life; my Mother, Giavanna, and my wife Katie. Putting up with me is one thing, but being a voice of reason and a beacon of light when things get a little challenging has kept my head above water to keep pushing forward. They are two of the hardest working women I have come across and don’t get enough credit for what they do! Otherwise, I look to my team for other forms of energy. Thomas De Sernia, who founded all of our companies is in a league of his own. Success requires a lot of important characteristics and Thomas manages them all with seeming ease. It’s a privilege to be able to have a soundboard for business, life, and other things to put it all into a positive perspective. Ben Perlman, who is the CEO of SAMA has also become one of my closest friends, and the ying to my yang when it comes to helping SAMA grow, I’ve never seen anyone critically think so well on their feet and that’s such an important characterisc. I can go on and on but otherwise I give credit to our incredibly talented and hardworking team at SAMA.