A veteran entrepreneur, music producer, and home builder, Steven Ozbun is currently the CEO of the sunglasses and apparel brand TradingLooks.com. He managed to grow his company from a team of 3 to well over 150 team members as well as expanded their product line from zero revenue to a whopping $20 million annually.
Ozbun calls his first true love to be music. As an 80’s baby, he was influenced by some of the most iconic artists of all time such as Elvis, Cher, and Prince. Because of this passion for the music industry, he established Spinindustry Entertainment which was a production company that produces his music, as well as undiscovered talents, no one has heard of yet. What’s truly unique is the vision Ozbun had for this type of music – it was a blend of house music and hip hop which is somewhere around 120 to 128 bpm repeating hip hop phrases on a house beat. Ozbun goes by the artist name of “OZ music nation.” Under this name, he has produced 20 original tracks and has released five mixes. From a passion project – Ozbun has grown his passion project into something much more.
Just recently, Ozbun founded “Continuum Residential” which is a design and build firm specializing in finding first turn historical candidate homes and re-imagining them leaving character and modern, amenities. This is all done while doing their best to use the properties’ original footprint.
Originally going to school to be an architect, the vision comes naturally for him. In the Continuum Residential portfolio are five homes in different phases of construction in Point Loma spread out across Ocean Beach, Sunset Cliffs, Plumosa Park, and Loma Portal. The properties span across architectural types mid-century modern, Tudor, Spanish, and beach bungalow – all homes are being re-imagined with hotel-like amenities and true to era modernized flair.
In addition to these brands, Ozbun also continues to provide marketing and strategic consulting services to select clients in consumer-driven industries. You can learn more information about these services via his website www.stevenozbun.com.
Sassy & Co magazine recently caught up with Steven to discuss his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:
Can you tell us more about your journey to entrepreneurship?
2008 was a great year to launch a company, right? For most, absolutely not. We didn’t let this get in our way. We hit the ground running and never looked back so we were so excited about our marketing and website products and the problems they solved. I loved the industry and the people. I had a blast, I loved what I did. In about a decade we grew from a team of 3 to well over 150 team members, expanded our product line from zero revenue to $20 million recurring, annually and most of all, we were filthy rich in company culture. Our team loved their jobs and our clients loved our team, products, and successes.
Why did you start Trading Looks?
I love sunglasses, I remember once, I spent half of my paycheck on sunglasses yet they were constantly lost, broken, or borrowed indefinitely. So I decided to create a way to solve the issue of expensive sunglasses that do not last by providing fresh new pairs regularly at a low monthly fee.
Why do you think so many startups fail before reaching their full potential?
Creating something from nothing comes with a set of extremely challenging pieces and situations. I see many startups fail due to being too concerned about the immediate impact a decision has on the company rather than the long-term effects, losses, and gain that decision may be catalyzing.
What would you say is the secret to your success?
As a business owner, our number one customer is our team. Always put your team first, make sure they are valued, love what they do, and are in the right role for their success. Watching a team grow into leaders is probably the most enriching piece of entrepreneurship.
What is your definition of success?
Rich is happiness, rich is friendships, rich is love, health, and success. Success is not the title on your business card or the zeros in your bank account. Success is failing miserably, success is being broke but happy, smiling; no matter how your day is going. Success is an accomplishment, reputation and giving it your all, and being proud of who you are. Are you set up for success?
What are your future plans for your business?
More marketing. It’s exciting to grow brands in extremely different markets and industries. I have always been into real estate design and development as well as entertainment and fashion.