We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt O’Connell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Starting a business was actually never my intention. It’s development was both organic and accidental. I had been in the hospitality industry my whole life; using it to pay the bills while looking into various artistic interests and allowing me the daily freedom to be with my daughter. But I developed an interest in the design side or restaurant interiors over the years and as I left my job as a bar manager where I had actually done a significant amount of the design/build myself during the opening I began to take calls from friends and customers who had seen my work. I took small jobs to build confidence and gain experience, as well as some tools and a workspace. And it grew into a business without me looking.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think it’s important to bring varied interests to create something new. Nothingman Studios, at its core, is a collaboration of different thinkers whose goal is a high-quality, unique and sustainable product. In hospitality design our work is different in that we have all, in one way or another, been a part of the industry for years and can introduce real, practical design that allows for greater effectiveness, workflow, productivity and aesthetic at the employee/guest level. Getting to where I am now has been mostly a struggle in realizing all the elements of business that you do not know anything about. And then getting over the fear and confusion that sets itself up in front of you like a wall, or at least a blinder, so you can get to the other side of the challenge. When you’re creative you just want to do the work. See the final outcome. But ask any friend of mine about the business side; admittedly it’s the last thing I want to do but I have been trying this past year to use the Covid downtime to reframe my outlook on that and find excitement in the challenges that lie in that learning curve. Along the way I have learned that my hospitality background has served me well. Customer service is second to none in any business. And that is at the core of what we do at Nothingman Studios. Creating something out of nothing is an incredible privilege.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Delray Beach. We have beautiful beaches and parks available and restaurants I frequent like Brule and Rose’s Daughter (sister spots), City Oyster, 3rd and 3rd, The Sail Inn, Tim Finnegan’s and down the road in Boca we love Kapow! I love the old Florida vibe that exists only now as a vestige in many areas. So to vibe on that I’d go to The Whale’s Rib in Deerfield Beach to get the best peel & eat shrimp available and a KeyWest; possibly the best sandwich on the planet. Add Old Key Lime House in Lantana and Garcia’s on N River Drive. in Miami. The key lime pie. Nuff said. I love the art scene in Miami as well so Wynwood is a definite stop for a tequila or six. (Ubering) The Corner in Overtown is a usual stop when I am in Miami. They have a beautiful bar, old world feel and great people-watching. There have to be one hundred and six places I cannot think of in this moment but if this does happen I will do a live broadcast for Shoutout.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Shoutout goes to my daughter, Cassidy. She is the most inspiring person I know.
Instagram: @nothingmanstudios, @sabaldesign