Keeping Small Businesses Competitive through Sharing Best Practices of Global Leaders

Angelo Garofalo’s BIO

Born and raised in Brighton, Massachusetts of Italian immigrants.  My parents, Lucia and Salvatore Garofalo, worked as a seamstress and a tailor before retiring just a few years ago.  I grew up as a Boston sports addict, living about 3 miles from Fenway Park.  For me Boston sports was a tale of two worlds–agonizing as a child and but exhilarating as an adult.

After receiving a full scholarship and attending Boston University, I earned a bachelor’s degree in education with a concentration in physical education in 1989.  My first teaching position was working in a residential school for boys.  After acquiring a position in the Lexington Public Schools, I moved to Wakefield, Massachusetts with my future wife Angelique.  Yes, Angelo and Angelique.  When we decided to get married we moved out to Phillipston, Massachusetts where we reside today.  In 2007,  I earned my master’s degree in educational leadership and acquired my elementary principal’s license.

During those early years in education, I met a teacher and friend who introduced me to woodworking.  I loved it so much I began purchasing tools and machinery as well as taking workshops and classes to develop my skills.  I became an avid reader of several woodworking publications and spent my summers creating a variety of woodworking projects.  In 2005, I immersed myself in digital photography.  As the digital age exploded shortly after the turn of the century, I purchased my first DSLR camera and developed my professional photography skills through online courses and trainings.  Candid portraits became a specialty of mine.

After the past 10-20 years mastering skills in woodworking and photography, my creative juices got the best of me.  I decided to retire early from education after 22 years and today I work for myself out of my own home focused on a creative combination of woodworking and photography.  Angelo Wood Design was born after a year and a half of research and planning in December 2013.  The transition has been challenging, frightening yet rewarding and extremely satisfying.

 

In the Spotlight Interview

1. You are Owner and Designer at Angelo Wood Design . Please share with us your path to this role.

Angelo: My first career was dedicating more than 20 years of my life to educating children as a teacher and principal. While working those years in education,  I developed passion and skills in the areas of woodworking and photography. The idea of taking this passion to the next level became increasingly enticing. Ultimately, I made the decision to retire from education and plunge wholeheartedly into my creative ambitions.

After a year of researching the technology and acquiring the necessary capital equipment, I created an artistic marriage between woodworking and photography. And Angelo Wood Design was born in the fall of 2013.

 

2. Take us through a typical day, start to finish.

Angelo: My typical day starts with a prioritized list of tasks. Depending on the size and number of projects on a particular day, I will allocate times for designing, creating and finishing projects. In addition, I check my email 4-5 times a day. Viewing and posting on social media is dictated by the optimal and suggested times of the day for each social media site. I always schedule time to eat and take a break away from the work.

There are, however, several scheduling challenges that impact a typical day. These include traveling to meet with clients or acquire necessary supplies and participating in training’s that allow me to stay abreast of new software developments that impact my products and services.

 

3. What was the best advice you received when you joined Angelo Wood Design?

Angelo:

“Enjoy the journey”
Through all the challenges and speed bumps, if you do not enjoy what you are doing, it will impact the results.

 

4. What are your strategies for building awareness of your organization, short and long term?

Angelo:

1) Wood carved gifts to local and charitable organizations as well as targeted businesses
2) Using  various social Networks – LinkedIn has delivered the most success and connections
3) Participating in local business and entrepreneurial groups
4) Coordinate opportunities display my work to the public
5) Participating in Arts and Craft events
6) Providing newsletters and press releases

 

5. What is your proudest achievement?

Angelo: Taking the risk and making the leap away from a secure and salaried position.

 

6. What are your top 3 book recommendations?

Angelo:

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (Stephan Covey)
“Paris 1919” (Margaret McMillan)
“Thirteen Days” (Robert F. Kennedy)

 

7. What charitable causes are most meaningful to you & why?

Angelo: Support for military veterans and their immediate families. Military personnel risk their lives for our protection and freedoms. If they are injured or killed while serving this country, financial support should be allocated to those veterans and their families in order for them to sustain a manageable life.

Child Abuse/Animal Abuse

It is a cowardly act bearing down on victims who cannot defend themselves. I believe no child or animal deserves that trauma for the rest of their lives.

8. Who has been most influential toward your accomplishments, professional & personal?

Angelo: First, and foremost my wife who has more strength than anyone I know. She has supported me in this risky and frightening venture from the start; a handful of close friends and family members who took the time and effort to not only support me, but challenge me to be a stronger person; and my parents, Salvatore and Lucia Garofalo who took a similarly frightening journey as immigrants to America from Italy more than 50 years ago.

 

9. What advice would you give an entrepreneur in the first 90 days of launching a business venture within this industry?

Angelo:

1) Streamline–focus on creating one or two great products and then add new selections.
2) Have a “regroup plan” when things go awry and you may get frustrated. Ask yourself how you are going to handle it when it happens. I take a break away from work and will do something fun that completely takes my mind off the situation.
3) In this field, keep in mind that creativity does not have a schedule. Do not force creativity. Let it happen.
4) In the first 90 days, do not forget to direct attention to yourself. You will likely be working long hours but I think it is imperative to do something else and get away from your work from time to time. Take care of yourself or it will impact the efficiency and quality of your work. Don’t compromise life’s essentials–a good diet and regular sleep.

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