At 26, "my businesses are my life"

| Print |  Email
Articles - July/August 2012
Monday, July 09, 2012

 

BY JON BELL

0712 Dispatches YoungInnovator
McMenamin has started two companies: Anything Coral and Yield Pots.

He runs a successful business growing and selling exotic coral from around the world. He gets fabric from China and has it sewn into cloth flowerpots at a factory in the Philippines, which he then imports and sells nationwide. And yet 26-year-old Ian McMenamin failed his international distribution class at the University of Oregon three times.

“My real effort was with my businesses outside,” says the recent graduate of the UO’s business program and an inveterate entrepreneur. “My businesses are my life.”

Raised in affluent Marin County, Calif., McMenamin was 13 when he started working at a pet store that had an amazing saltwater fish tank. Well-heeled customers would roll up in fancy cars to buy exotic — and expensive — coral.

“I fell in love with the tanks and with that lifestyle,” McMenamin says. “I knew that’s what I wanted.”

It took some time, but eventually McMenamin was not only selling coral, but was learning to grow it himself. When it came time to look for a business school, McMenamin headed to Eugene in part for its lower overhead costs and cheaper water to grow his coral. Today, with his company Anything Coral, McMenamin grows all his own coral in 15 8-foot tanks in the basement of an apartment building. Coral prices range from $5 to several thousand dollars per piece, and he has wholesale distribution hubs in four U.S. cities.

McMenamin’s latest endeavor is a cloth flowerpot company called Yield Pots. Backed by a private investor, McMenamin found traders to work with in the Philippines who helped him source materials and find workers to sew the pots, which have become popular with nurseries and hydroponic growers. He did an initial run of 20,000 pots and a second of 80,000. The pots are now in 60 stores across the country, and McMenamin is working on a third run of 160,000 units. He’s also got another gardening product in the works.

If it all seems like a little too much work to fit into a single day, that’s because it almost is. McMenamin says he’s always working and only sleeps about five hours a night. But that’s just how he likes it.

“I hustle as hard as I can,” he says, “because I don’t ever want to look back and think about a time in my life when I was slacking.”

 

More Articles

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...

Beneath the Surface

May 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
0515-goodhacker01 250pxwBY LINDA BAKER

On April 1 I attended a forum at the University of Portland on the sharing economy. The event featured panelists from Lyft and Airbnb, as well as Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. Asked about the impact of tech-driven sharing economy services. Hales said the new business models are reshaping the landscape. “But,” he added, “I don’t pretend to understand how a lot of this [technology] works.” 


Read more...

Credit Unions Perspective

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Gene Pelham, CEO of Rogue Credit Union.


Read more...

Foundations perspective

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Martha Richards, executive director of the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation.


Read more...

Hall of Flame

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.


Read more...

The ancient fish that stops bullets

The Latest
Friday, May 08, 2015
hagfishthumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.


Read more...

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS