Providing Classic/Couture/Custom mens clothing
for 26 years….”Reinventing the way others perceive your value”
An interview with Luis Masao Arandia by Mike Solis
This is my story. Enjoy….
MS: How long have you been a mens clothier?
LA: I’ve been at this now for 26 years.When I was fourteen I started with Ron Stewart a mens boutique located on 9th & Main in the Garment District of Downtown Los Angeles. My dad,an awesome networker and business man, was friends with Ron and he was able to get me the job. I was there for 10 years and the owner whos name is actually Ron Ford was my very first mentor in the mens clothing business.
MS: What did you learn with your first mentor in this business?
LA: Ron Stewart only booked appointments and worked with referrals. We had very few walk-ins so I learned quickly to value each person and build a healthy relationship with them. I had to deliver a great product that I believed in along with the best attitude and customer service to earn repeat business and referrals. It was alot of work to get to that level where Ron could trust me with the clients. I had to prove myself daily and put my best foot forward in any task I was given. I had my humble beginnings in Ron’s stock room in charge of inventory, then I moved to sales, coordinating entire wardrobes,designing showroom displays, buying inventory, and developing my interpersonal skills. By the time I was 18 I was doing well enough in sales to leave home and live on my own. It was fun and this business continues to be fun simply because I love networking and getting to know people.
MS: What types of people did you deal with at Ron Stewart?
LA: I was lucky, because off the bat I became used to dealing with professionals and executives such as
doctors,lawyers,CEO’s,and people in the Real Estate industry.
MS: Where did you go from there?
LA: 10 years passed and the L.A. Riots hit. Unfortunately, people were too afraid to come in to downtown. It was very bad for business and Ron Stewart had to close down. Fortunately, during my time there I met Alex Rodriguez,an image consultant, who was a friend of Rons. Alex saw that we were closing and asked if I wanted be his sales assistant. Alex was the first guy out there that was doing office visits for fittings and image consulting. That personal service and attention to the client taught me a whole new way to take care of the customer.
MS: What types of clients were you working with now and for how long?
LA: For a good 6 years Alex and I took care of Major League Baseball players,managers, and agents. I helped in suiting up teams like the L.A. Dodgers,Baltimore Oreos, San Diego Padres, and Chicago White Sox. I was also able to meet and consult agents from the Beverly Hills Sports Council. We also had our typical professional client base such as CEO’s,doctors,lawyers, real estate moguls, and car dealership owners.
MS: So since day one you’ve dealt with hi-profile clients,professionals, & executives.
LA: Yes, I was fortunate. I had to quickly learn to build rapport with them. They have a totally different mindset and don’t have time to waste. Being professional and taking care of them quickly was and still is very important.
MS: What did you move onto next after working with Alex?
LA: After 6 years I went on to tackle the business on my own. It was humbling because I had to start from the ground up with just 2 clients. Dr. Rob Seidman was my first client and Cliff Yamaki , a pearl dealer, was my second client. It was when I met Richard Polanco Jr., son of retired State Senator Richard Polanco, that my business really took off. He helped develop my business by referral and networking at fundraisers,business mixers, and private events. I’m fortunate and blessed to expand my business and have clients such as Jose Huizar (Councilman), Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, David Lazarga (CEO,Telacu), George Pla (CEO,Cordoba) , John Ek (CEO,Ek&Ek), and many others.
MS: I recently became aware that you’re pretty involved in the community.
LA: Yes, i’m involved with Girls Today Women Tomorrow, Soledad Enrichment Action, Dolores Mission, CHP 1199 Foundation, and the USC Moch Tails Club. I will donate time, food, or offer my suits for auction at a fundraiser. I love them all and I would have to say that working with the USC Moch Tails Club has been my favorite because I get to apply my passion for mens clothing and mentor youth on how to dress for success.
MS: What’s new,what’s next and what is Masao?
Masao is my middle name. The Masao Collection is for the client that wants something exclusive or for someone looking to get a quality Bespoke suit. I wanted to come up with a line to honor my mothers Japanese heritage. My mother is my best friend and gives me purpose. My mother along with my business savvy father have been intstrumental in my success.
I’ll be having more public and private showcases of my private label, the Arandia & Masao Collection, here in Los Angeles. I had a great turnout for my first private showcase with the Dodger Stadium Sales Team and I would like to offer that personal service to more people. I’ve also been having fun taking care of the groom and groom’s men for weddings.
MS: Thank you Luis. Any last words for people in business?
LA: I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been supportive over the years.
To people in business…………”Keep going. It’s worth it.”