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

The Road to Reinvention

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.


Read more...

Bike Chic: 7 stylish options for cyclists

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cycling to work is all the rage. But not everyone wants to arrive at the office messy, sweaty — and unfashionable.


Read more...

Picture This

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

As a general rule, the more people with autism can be provided with visual cues, the better they will be able to understand and manage their environment. It’s a lesson Tom Keating learned well. The 61-year-old Eugene grant writer spent 31 years taking care of his autistic brother James, and in the late 1980s developed a spreadsheet that created a series of nonsense characters that grew or shrank depending on how much money James had in his account. 


Read more...

5 questions for Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur

The Latest
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
FW splashBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland is awash in rideshare options. We ask the head of Flywheel what sets his app apart.


Read more...

Shades of Gray

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Are we too quick to diagnose corruption?


Read more...

6 things to know about the Amtrak Cascades route

The Latest
Friday, May 22, 2015
thumb3BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C. 


Read more...

Courtside

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Power lunching at the Court Street Dairy Lunch in Salem.


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