Nominee - justin snyder
Tulsa entrepreneurs are unique in the world. How have your endeavor(s) added value to our community and the future of Tulsa?
I look at Tulsa not only as an affordable growing urban setting that's a great place to call home and raise a family, but its centrally located business hub that provides multiple opportunities. From its vast and broad distribution points of access to its philanthropic core, Tulsa is a nice well-rounded well suited for progressive and innovative ideas. A company that utilizes apparel as a vehicle for change couldn't be better positioned than directly in the heartland of the United States, where we're serious about business, and equally serious about helping those in need. Sure changeclothing would thrive in markets such as Austin, Los Angles, Chicago, Portland etc., but as a dedicated young Tulsa professional it's my goal and vision to keep it here in the middle of America to bring those same cosmopolitan elements to our growing tech savvy metropolis.
If you aren’t failing, you aren’t succeeding. Share with us some of your failures to better understand how you have taken the lessons learned and applied them to support getting to where you are today.
My father was an old-timer born in 1927. I grew up learning through varies anecdotes, clichés and quotes passed down through generations. “The person saying it can’t be done is always interrupted by the one doing it,” and “Can’t never did nothing.” My mother was a saleswoman extraordinaire who shielded my psyche from ascertaining two words that often stop people from success; “failure” and “no.” Both parents gave me great autonomy and independence to work through problems and challenges rather than bail me out the easy way. This unique upbringing met with an unwavering drive motivated me to follow my heart and dreams. So at age 20, I walked out of Bancfirst in Sand Springs, OK with a $20,000 line of credit to build of all things, a “beer barge” on Grand Lake. With the support of my mother, and Denny Cresap, the largest distributor of Budweiser beer in the State of Oklahoma at the time, I set sails into Dripping Springs one late summer day on Labor Day weekend. The barge inevitably failed due to some “permitting” issues related to my age. Many thought I was crazy at the time, and I probably was. But my mother didn’t. Denny didn’t. Most importantly, “I” didn’t. The lesson for me? Failure isn’t a negative word, it’s a teacher. Conceding to it, is what makes it negative.
Being creative is vital to an entrepreneurial endeavors success. Share an out-of-the-box experience that has made you stronger as an entrepreneur.
To me creativity is born out of passion, desire, drive and an ability to tenaciously sustain relentless challenges. One has to really "WANT” something badly in order to succeed. Neurosurgeons and Cardiologists don’t achieve their level of expertise by halfheartedly waltzing into their chosen fields, they have vigor to attain what is near perfect results or their patients die. I know I share a similar vigor for changeclothing. The concept in itself is out-of-the-box and since its inception in 1999, I’ve perpetually worked on refining the business model and elevator pitch to help explain it best. I’m still working to hone that elevator pitch quite honestly. In 1999 there wasn’t a MySpace or Facebook to help explain this “social network” that is a central aspect of the changeclothing business model. The last 15 years of preaching to anyone w ho would listen; explaining what exactly is “changeclothing” has made me stronger. Using brick walls, napkins, dusty car hoods and anything else I could draw on, I’d draw out the model and answer questions thereafter. Keeping changeclothing in Tulsa, rather than taking it to much more receptive and progressive cities back in the early 2000’s has proven to be a huge challenge and learning experience. In ways, I think it would have been too easy doing that. I’m glad I did, Tulsa is ready to embrace change.
Tell us a story that involved you that either at the time or looking back makes you laugh.
I feed my family as a chiropractic physician in Tulsa. Some of the many motivations to become a chiropractor were to help people, and to someday afford the ability to FINALLY invest in and develop changeclothing. What makes me cringe and or laugh at this point is looking back at when I seriously started investing capital in my dream “start-up.” Thanks to my wife, my friends and some other trusted independent business comrades such as Carlos Moreno and Hal Collins, I can now laugh at how lucky I’ve been to retain ownership in my coveted “concept.” Wipe my brow! Phew! Being a fulltime physician, and the only person actively driving development of changeclothing, I literally “shopped” the concept to 4 new media development firms in Tulsa just hoping they’d bite and take an equity ownership position in exchange for out-sourcing development of changeclothing from concept to reality. In this “not so perfect” arrangement, I’d be able to maintain my practice while providing executive decision and brand directive for my beloved dream. Again, boy was I lucky. I’m thankful today for all those who have worked so hard to help changeclothing achieve the little amount of success it’s experienced to date and look forward to what’s to come in the near future.
- Sept. 12th: Tulsey Awards Kickoff - Nominations Open
- Oct. 6th: Tulseys Nominations Close
- Oct. 16th: Tulseys Voting Opens
- Nov. 8th: Tulseys Voting Closes
- Nov. 21st: Tulsey Awards Ceremony