We had the good fortune of connecting with James Whalen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi James, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The people I surround myself with. One thing that I don’t ever remember is a mentor or a book that I read told me was that I was probably going to make more mistakes in picking the right people to be around at first. This is a lesson that I think a person has to learn on their own. Every scenario is different. If given this information up front most people might not even try. I went through a bunch of wrong people before I started finding the right people. It’s work on yourself and your brand and the aggressive work ethic you put into it that people will start to notice. I’m doing it so great people will surround me. The harder I work on what really matters I’m not trying to shortcut it at all. I mean “The Process “ that will start to get peoples attention.. when that started happening to me I took notice and started to duplicate the same process in other aspects of the business and in my personal life. You have to start using your gut feelings instead of just logic or pros and cons list. It won’t help you take the leap you need. The name of my company and the bear logo both gut feelings. I felt it. I’ve had a handfuls of people try to tell me different. People I should be listening to, but it didn’t feel right. I went with my gut. My gut feeling has gotten me this far. Maybe I should be taking notice of it more. Same with the people you surround yourself with.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work and what made this brand happen was nothing short of opportunity taken and a collective blend of my life experiences. People have always referred to me as Mobbed Up not by my name since this brand started. They say I am the brand. My wife was kind enough to break it down to me a couple weeks ago. I don’t always see things that others see. I tell them I’m too close to the portrait. If I stepped back I might be able to see the whole picture. She said I’ve always taken anything work or creative I’ve done seriously. She said no shades of grey. When I started Mobbed Up I was very adamant that the colors were black and white. They way I wear our brand screams Mobbed Up.
Seriously though it was so amazing how this came to be. We’re only 7months old as a company and it started with me make a shirt that said “I know Shannon &James. That’s my wife and I. Some of my friends said if they had a shirt like that they might get special treatment wherever they went. As a joke I made a handful of them and gave to my friends. I ended up making a nice chunk of change just selling them out of my trunk because people wanted them. So I started making shirts with funny sayings that I came up with until I came up with a Mobbed Up hat and T shirt for a promotion company I owned at the time. I gave the hat away to a dear friend of ours Haley and she asked if I could make her a shirt to go with. I saw an opportunity to put groups of people in shirts that said Mobbed up…sports teams , events, fighters…etc. There was no Bear yet. Just the words Mobbed Up. So cutting to the chase the bears was chose as the logo a month later. The bear had been designed for me 5 years previous for another project I was working on. When I put the two together I could feel it in my bones. I knew this was my shot at doing something big.
I’m always honest with people. It wasn’t easy not one part. I mean I wasn’t try to start or even looking to start a clothing brand. I had no knowledge of the industry. I did it though because I knew this was my shot. I’ve had to and been blessed to learn so much. I’ve had to learn anything from lawyers and getting my LLC , manufacturers I got for clothes and how to pick the right manufacturer for our company, the process of trademarking our company was a huge process. Picking the right people to work with the brand has been a process. I’ve made mistakes. I’m sure I’m going to make more. I don’t let it destroy me though. I get up and dust myself off. I have hard days but they have meaning now. I get scared of the unknown or worrying if I can do something. Failures lead to success if you keep going. It’s been a journey and it’s just getting started.
If there’s anything I could tell people about me personally or the brand. Mobbed Up is for everyone. It’s an all inclusive culture in itself. People have told me they’ve ran into other people with the bear on their shirt and they exchange of words is “ So you’re Mobbed Up too?” I put my own personal energy into this brand. I’ve never looked away. Always with a hand out to help someone just like other have for me. I’m all inclusive and so is the brand. The backstory of me is a whole chapter in itself. I’ll tell you this though. You have no idea where your mistakes are going to take you. Keep going. Try to put good into the Universe and pay attention to that tingling feeling in your bones when you think you’re on to something.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Where would I take my friends? I live in Palm Beach County in a small Village called Lake Worth. I always try to do something local first and then we travel South. My first stop is at Mario’s Italian restaurant on Lake Ave in Lake Worth. The food …I mean all if it is amazing and the people and the owner Henry are like family. They’re so amazing there. Next we’d stop to see DJ Fluff (the DJ our company sponsors)at Goldfingers. I’m Sunrise. We want our friends to experience what we get to experience all the time. Fluff and the staff are so cool. We walk in the place and Fluff makes all our friends feel right at home with such A-1 treatment and same with the staff. If it’s going to be a weekend trip we try to hit as many beaches on the way down and the customary cruise to South beach and everything it has to offer. My wife and I have only lived in Florida for 16yrs so we’re always having a different experience because we always find so many different cool things to do.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many people deserve A shout out for helping me. This was a journey that started before anyone saw it. I want to thank first of all my wife Shannon Whalen for her love and support. I want to thank her for her sacrifice of her sanity some days to keep me focused. Another person I want to thank immensely is my good friend and homie DJ Fluff. His support of the brand has been the reason so many have taken notice. Also my dear friends Christophe Tyre and Nikki Conyers for taking my phone calls and helping me look at situations in a different light. Also my 2 sons Ian amd John for giving me the drive to get the job done no matter what. A special thanks to all the Whalen’s Aunts and Uncle down to my cousins. One special Big shout out is to my mother who has continued to remind me that I was meant to do something HUGE.
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