Today we’d like to introduce you to MarLan Parker.
MarLan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have always been one who was interested in helping the youth. After high school I wandered through the world of entry-level employment options as I wasted many days and nights taking classes at the local community college, dropping most of the classes after my financial aid check was disbursed. It wasn’t until I turned 20 that I began to realize that, life was indeed moving, and all I had to show for my recent efforts over those two years post-high school was a few credits and, at that time, a steady mall job. Equipped with a love for the study of history and a desire to help adolescents, I figured that education would be a great place for me to leave my mark on the world. I attended school regularly, graduated…transferred to the University, graduated…began to work towards a Master’s Degree, graduated. I have been in public education since 2006. My journey eventually leads from the classroom to the administration office, as I am currently an Assistant Principal. This is my day-to-day. Changing the lives of the students on my campus…
After hours and on the weekends, I am a determined entrepreneur who is seeking to create a business that one day can be left to my children. I operate a custom shoelace company aimed at providing athletes with the ability to represent their team name, slogan, logo, etc. on their laces. It’s a phenomenon that many have yet to see! Along with the custom shoelaces, I am also a mobile DJ.
Life is busy. Life is good!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I have not been in business for an extended period of time, yet I have encountered quite a few struggles along the way. My original obstacle was to determine where to find the money to front the initial investment. It wasn’t until I spoke with my wife, explained the vision/goals and she gave me the green light to just pull the trigger using some funds that were, prior to, put to the side for a “rainy day”. My next major obstacle was to build an internet following, I had developed both a personal and DJ business Instagram following of about 2,000 followers each, but it wasn’t until a conversation with my good friend Gary Clark, Co-Owner of the company, and Drew League sensation, No Shnacks who emphatically declared that I needed to create an online presence that was separate from my DJ business and personal endeavors. I agreed. That day, in June, I began to promote Get Laced on Instagram. My company’s name was already being used, so I settled with the current username @GetLaced._ and I have operated under that ever since.
Initially, my follower count was very low. Perhaps ten in the first week. I searched high and low about how to build it without using Instagram Ads or paying for followers. Remembering a video that I had seen posted by the legend Mr. Gary Vaynerchuk himself, in which his $1.80 strategy for building brands was explained, I started to follow. I spent 2-3 hours per night becoming a part of the community, commenting on images, searching hashtags, places and attempting to connect with potential customers. I began to see moderate success. Instagramming into the wee hours of the morning, “napping” for 4 hours, working my day job, being an all-in father of three, then grinding again…that was my life! Still moderate success. It wasn’t until I read/listened to the audiobook “Crushing It” by Gary Vaynerchuk that things began to turn around. I learned something very vital. Value was missing from my interaction on social media and from my brand in general. Here I am posting images and NO ONE was paying attention…maybe ten likes per post.
I started to search for the best athletes (using #AAUBASKETBALL or the top athletes in High School Basketball in CA) I could find and I sent them a DM. In the message it simply stated, “Hey, You’re a BALLER! Let’s help one another. I own a custom shoelace company. I will send you free product, all I need you to do is wear it, post it, tag me in the post and let everyone you know where to find it.”
At that point, things began to turn around. I still have some struggles, but we all face them. My response is to keep creating, keep grinding, provide value and never be afraid to give away some free product. LOL!
Please tell us about Get Laced.
A custom shoelace company! Get Laced!
We specialize in creating shoelaces for sports teams, school ASB’s, athletes, parents, everyone! We are uniquely known for creating laces that state BOLD statements like “You Can’t Guard Me!” and “UNSTOPPABLE!” Also, we have the ability to create laces, wholesale, to meet the specifications of the buyer. Any color, size, statement, logo we can AND will make it happen!
I am most proud of how quickly this has taken off. What was originally a dream conceived while speaking with three students in my office, now is an actual business. As of the day of this interview, I have shipped product to California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, DC, Maryland, Florida, Texas, New York, both Carolinas, Georgia, West Virginia and Illinois, to name a few. In addition, I believe that it is important to note that this is a family business. My wife and kids help to label and package the items prior to being shipped.
It takes a lot of my “free” time BUT…It is more than worth it!
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would have found ways to fulfill every request. In the beginning, I had a vendor with very basic abilities. They had many restrictions on what they could do. I lost out on a lot of potential business due to these restrictions. Had I searched out a way to provide these potential customers with product, I would have been much better off. Nevertheless, the grind continues.
As each day goes on, I strive to better my approach, my content and my overall customer service. My speed is great. Order on Monday, I will ship on Tuesday and you will have it in your hands by Thursday.
- Our laces start at $7 each.
- Phone: 951-965-8444
- Email: GetLaced82@gmail.com
- Instagram: @GetLaced._