We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Elewaut and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
That choice can be one of the most difficult things. If you’re an entrepreneur or an artist, or if you work for yourself in any way, this can be a big conundrum– and one that might even come and go, and come back again and again. Most people are familiar with the idea of the sunk cost fallacy, even if they haven’t heard the term. This is where you keep pouring resources into a project instead of cutting your losses, and how the decision is supposedly so obvious to everyone else except you. But you’ve already invested so much and they just don’t understand!
I think it all depends on what you get out of the endeavor other than monetary returns. If you do something that you love, this is the non-quantifiable factor and it’s extremely significant. But if it’s sinking you further into debt with no forward progress, then it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror.
I love what I do and have a strong commitment to my craft. I also really enjoy the creative aspects and the problem solving needed to run a business. If you have a thorough and realistic plan and if you continuously move forward– even when the direction shifts– if you have passion for your endeavor and as long as you can pay the bills… I say never give up. Many who succeed are committed to their pursuit beyond what might be considered reasonable to everyone else.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Every customer is different. It’s like dealing with different types of wood and various cuts of trees. I like what I do because I get to tailor my approach with people in different ways. I try to give every client a great experience whether they are a casual player or a picky perfectionist. And sometimes it’s actually a fun challenge to please the most discerning musicians.
In order to make an excellent guitar, the custom builder will give individual attention to each piece of wood. We choose and pair the wood components with other consonant pieces. I do this by taping and listening to the wood, feeling the consistency and characteristics of the rough material. I will also carve the internal braces and customize the internal parts to voice the instrument perfectly.
I’ve learned that having a mindset of service and giving a great customer experience is the only way to operate a business. I see some successful artists who are in high demand because they are so hard to make demands of. But I think that can only go so far. It can work but it’s hard to make a business model out of that kind of eccentricity. My pursuit is to grow beyond the individual. That’s one reason Solstice Guitars isn’t named after me.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Elizabeth, my wife. She has supported my endeavors and shenanigans for a long time.
Jason Bowyer Eric Hayes