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Meet Asher Ross of Ross Builders

Today we’d like to introduce you to Asher Ross.

Asher, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve been involved in creative design since I was a child. My grandfather, Edward Erickson, was a modernist architect, and he used to let me build his project models and play with all kinds of tools that children shouldn’t be allowed to touch. My grandmothers were both fashion mavens, and I learned all about style from them, which led me to create my first T-shirt line when I was 15, doing block ink prints by hand.

Over the next 12 years, I started several lifestyle fashion brands, snuck in a college degree, had the opportunity to design and manufacture clothing in Los Angeles, Central America, and China, and by following guidance from my mentor, Lynne Appel, received the 30 Under 30 Award from Entertainment Tonight for Fashion Design. My goal was always to design clothing and eventually design and build custom homes. The great recession led me to transition out of fashion and into construction and real estate.

My brother, Dash, and I went into business with a very meticulous, detail-oriented contractor friend of ours and we started building in the industrial space. We focused on the quality of construction from day one, and we designed incredibly efficient industrial energy systems. We learned building from him, and we were able to implement a huge amount of efficiency to the construction business by utilizing the framework we had learned for factory production scheduling in the apparel business. We wanted to grow the business as big as we could, and our partner was focused on starting a family, so we transitioned again and formed a real estate sales team with our father.

We focused on working specifically with developers and sold them a lot of very good deals, and once we built up a track record as good investment advisors, we identified some very safe, profitable investment opportunities and put our own capital to work by moving into development full-time in 2014. We built very profitable apartment complexes and started designing custom homes as well. We subsequently realized that we absolutely love building designer custom homes. Then our friends and other investors started asking us to build their own homes and investment projects for them. Our architects started recommending their clients hire us to build their projects because they respected our work. Ross Builders, our General Construction company, was created so that we could both have the opportunity to enjoy building designer custom homes and multi-family buildings and be able to serve a greater number of clients, both families and investors.

Has it been a smooth road?
We’ve been through some really bad development partners. We don’t tolerate any abusive behavior. Any time we see an ethical conflict, we cut ties and walk away. We’ve left a lot of money on the table because we care way more about our reputation and treatment of others than the size of our bank accounts. Not surprisingly, I’m asked for character references all the time by investors or other contractors, because they know we only work with good people.

Every day in the construction business has the potential to be seamless and smooth, or a complete dumpster fire. There’s always an issue, a bump, a change-order request from a client, a trade whose tools got stolen, you name it. The key is scheduling and continual contingency plans. We also don’t yell and scream. In the clothing business, everyone is a yeller. It doesn’t help anything. People want to be heard and feel appreciated, and the best way to get everyone on the same page for us is to slow down and address issues as they come up, determine the solution that works best for everyone, and keep moving. We like to say “if nobody is bleeding, we don’t have a problem.”

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Ross Builders – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Ross Builders is a Design+Build General Contractor. We specialize in designer custom homes, multi-family apartment buildings, and major landscaping designs. We’re known for always building the “nicest house in the neighborhood,” whether it’s an apartment project in an up-and-coming area or a beautiful new home on the beach in Malibu. We bring a bit of the Malibu beach design vibe wherever we go, which is to say our designs are modern in function and comfortable in feel. Regardless of how expensive the build is, my brother Dash and I are usually asking each other the same two questions:

  1. “Where are the dogs going to sleep?”
  2.  “Would it be fun to play here as kids?”

These answers are the drive to how we design every project. We’re always focused on the fun element as much as the fashion element, and that is where we set ourselves apart – in the materials we chose the yards and landscapes we design, and the layouts we build. We always want to delight our customers by doing something unique and special on every project.

For example, our most recent project saw us bring two 50-year-old specimens Olive Trees from Napa, CA to Studio City, CA, to frame the grand entryway to the Modern Farmhouse we designed and built. It takes years of being in the business to know even how to find these kinds of trees. But finding these touches is only half the battle, the dedication to quality and detail is where we truly excel. We inspected 300 different trees in this grove for the perfect archway shape, and branch strength. That’s the fun part – the other side is logistics and the massive undertaking to truck 20-foot tall trees with giant roots across the state, stop traffic, lift the trees up with cranes and set them perfectly in the ground. While everyone else saw and felt the chaos, Dash and I were calm and smiling because we were thinking about the children who will get to grow up in this house and have so much fun climbing these trees when they play together after school.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
The best part of the city for me is the variety of restaurants and the Kobe Bryant era Lakers. It’s a very pleasant place to work and a very easy place to live, and those of us who have lived our entire lives here and still choose to live here are very proud of our home.

What do I like least? The traffic and the street people taking advantage of our home. There’s a solution to both, however, it seems most people with authority or influence are unwilling to have an honest conversation about a realistic solution.

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