This week, we’re presenting a Business Leader Spotlight with Ryan Sisson, co-founder and CEO of Moniker Group, an uber-local firm that specializes in real estate, design and maker incubation. Moniker Group’s projects range anywhere from the popular Priority Public House in Leucadia to the new Moniker General retail space at Point Loma’s Liberty Station.
A native of San Diego’s Imperial Beach neighborhood, Ryan enjoys volleyball, snowboarding, and – of course – surfing. Read what he had to say below:
So, Ryan – what things are you most excited about for Moniker Group this year?
I think I’m most excited about two things – first, we just opened our first retail/third space concept. We call it Moniker General and it’s a retail store featuring Southern California inspired lifestyle goods including some really talented brands from here in San Diego.
We’re also able to share our new furniture line, Moniker Made and have a full coffee shop and a tap from a local brewery. So, technically it’s our first tap room, coffee shop and retail space.
The other thing I’m excited about is setting the company up for scale. Right now we are six different brands all focused in different areas although complimentary to each other. Moniker has been around for seven years but this year we get to put the final pieces in the foundation of the company and start really building something special.
Wow, that sounds really cool! So, being a business owner yourself, what do you see for the future of San Diego’s business community?
I see a lot of collaboration. Actually, this is my favorite part about being in the business environment in our city. I feel like we use competition to fuel us, not separate us. I also feel like we have a lot of cheerleaders pushing each other to be best at what we’ve created. The reality is that there are 7 billion people in this world therefore plenty of space for all our ideas to exist. I see San Diego as not just being a place to build a successful business but do so as you are supported, helped and cheered on by your peers. Maybe we change the city slogan to “a rising tide lifts all ships.”
Rising tide – I like that! Well, since San Diego is such a supportive space for business leaders, do you have any advice for young professionals that want to be in your shoes one day?
I think the most important thing I can think of is patience. Just be patient. Give your vision time to run its course, be tested, work through a process. Even the most successful businesses didn’t happen overnight.
Like I said before, I’ve been working on Moniker for seven years. Last December, I got my first paycheck! In that process we built a company that had a small full-time staff, but that is because it was more valuable to have people working for the company than me. I did it on the side as a passion project while the company took time to learn, mature and gain ground financially. Only then did I step out and do it full-time.
Things get better with age and so let your company get there before you let it go, pass judgement or move on to something else. Patience is everything and those that are willing to wait for the reward are likely to actually get it.
Seven years without a paycheck?! That’s some determination! Now, tell us – what book is currently sitting on your night stand?
Well, I tend to be one of those people that reads half of a lot of books. Because of that I have Launch by Jeff Walker, It’s Your Turn by Seth Godin, Start With Why by Simon Sinek and Onward by Howard Schulz.
Every once in a while I find a book that I can’t put down which is the case with Shoe Dog by Phil Knight the Founder of Nike. Just finished that one and it was amazing.
And, in an alternate universe – what would your profession be?
That’s a great question. I started off school doing Mechanical Engineering so I would probably be doing that in the automotive space designing cars.
Nice! And, finally – name one famous person you’d take out to dinner, past or present.
I’d really like to take out Richard Branson. His business model with Virgin Group inspired our most recent direction in how we’ve structured Moniker Group.