Shawn Parr: How To Turn Passions Into A Full-Time Career

Shawn Parr: How To Turn Passions Into A Full-Time Career

The CEO of Bulldog Drummond discusses how the secret to doing what you love all the time is keeping it real and staying true to well-defined values.

Shawn Parr, Bulldog Drummond
  • 4 august 2013

One of the first real characters I met when I arrived in to the States more then twenty years ago was Matt Rimel. Everyone else could have been directly out of a Ralph Lauren ad, but Matt was like Mickey Rourke at his best—rough around the edges, outspoken and proudly American. Comfortable in his own skin, he said whatever was on his mind and paired it with his signature laugh. Back then, he didn’t have a planned career path and he was trying to figure out what to do next. But he always knew who he was.

Fast-forward to today and Matt is an incredibly successful, passionate entrepreneur who oversees a diverse group of connected businesses. He’s been extremely disciplined about letting his passions guide his business choices and the pursuit of his lifelong dream of owning a ranch. Matt grew up in Southern California, and fell in love early on with hunting, fishing, surfing, his beautiful wife Jacqueline and cooking—probably in that order. He’s always been a hunter whether it’s with a bow, line or a gun, and today his focus and outspokenness reminds me of Gordon Ramsey.

In 1996 before natural and organic eating became a movement, Matt and Jacqui decided that La Jolla, California needed healthy takeout food. They opened a small rotisserie chicken restaurant and haven’t looked back since. They worked hard running the restaurant, and Matt continued to hunt and fish. Along the way he started Ocean Giant, a distribution business that supplies local restaurants with line-caught big fish, and as he built this business, he saw a significant demand for this type of high quality fish. That was the spark that motivated him to open his next venture, Zenbu, a sushi restaurant also based in La Jolla.

All of their businesses are fueled by his passions and desire to do something better than he can find available. As they added more restaurants, Matt was searching for local grass-fed beef. He’d been hunting on a friend’s local ranch for years, and one afternoon the two sparked up a conversation and the next business was born—Homegrown Meats, an old-school butcher shop offering only hormone and antibiotic-free meats, including beef, lamb, poultry, game, homemade sausages, custom cuts and local grass-fed and grass-finished beef from his partner’s ranch. As the butcher shop gained notoriety, it inspired Matt and his partners, the Mendenhall family, to form the Homegrown Cattle Company. They are currently a major grass-fed beef supplier to Whole Foods Markets Inc. in San Diego and Orange counties, as well as to local restaurants.

Matt doesn’t call this sustainability; he calls it the way it should be. All of the mesquite burned in his rotisserie ovens, as well as the wood used to make the bars in his restaurants, come from the local ranch, the fish served in his restaurants are from Ocean Giant, and the grass-fed beef offered in his restaurants are from Homegrown Meats. After talking about how he runs his business and how he’s designed his life, it all seems to be about as authentic as it can get.

Until recently Winston Churchill was always my go-to man in history for inspirational speeches, wit and words of wisdom. While studying to become a U.S. citizen a few months ago, however, I came across Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena” and was taken by his wisdom and power for living life. “It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows with great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows in the end, the triumph of achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Matt has dared greatly in the years that I’ve known him. He’s always pushing the limits by looking for a better way, and if he can’t find it out there, he usually thinks about creating it himself or building it with close friends. With Matt what you see is what you get—and what you see is a man who followed his dreams and stays close to his passions.

Matt and Jacqui have worked extremely hard and designed a life that is fueled by doing what they love. They’ve built each of their businesses on the same principles that many companies and individuals are striving for—being real and authentic. Here are a few thoughts to consider on the journey:

1. Always be true to yourself and what you believe in. Consistently lead with your values and don’t vary them for the people that surround you.

2. Fuel your life and your work with your passions.

3. Success takes time, hard work, determination, patience and a little luck.

4. Look inside and immediately outside of your own personal or business network for new ideas and inspiration.

5. Don’t live in the middle. Push yourself to the edges.

Shawn Parr is the CEO of Bulldog Drummond, an innovation and design consultancy headquartered in San Diego. Clients and partners have included Starbucks, Diageo, Jack in the Box, Adidas, MTV, Nestle, Pinkberry, American Eagle Outfitters, Ideo, Virgin, Disney, Nike, Mattel, Heineken, Annie’s Homegrown, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, CleanWell, The Honest Kitchen, and World Vision. Follow the conversation at @BULLDOGDRUMMOND.

[Image: Flickr user inkswamp]


Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Technology december 2, 2016

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children december 2, 2016

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Retail 2017

See All
Travel december 2, 2016

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

Related Expert

Noreen Chadha

Travel & New Luxury

Food december 2, 2016

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences

Design & Architecture december 2, 2016

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport december 2, 2016

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed november 22, 2016

Digital Strategist: Why “Big Sensing” Is Key To Retail’s Future

Bud Caddell, Founder of NOBL, shares why the most capable and useful asset in any retail environment is the workforce

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Syndicated december 2, 2016

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

Retail december 2, 2016

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

Fashion december 2, 2016

Alexander McQueen Designs A 3D-Printed Umbrella

3D-printed fashion arrives in time for the winter season

Work december 2, 2016

Why Training Associates To Be Advocates Is Key To Retail Success

In our Future of Retail 2017 report, PSFK Labs discusses strategies to prioritize customer service, which begins with associate advocates

Media & Publishing december 2, 2016

Netflix Creates Binge Candle To Celebrate A New Season Of Gilmore Girls

The streaming service developed a special layered candle that creates candle with episode-specific smells


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Arts & Culture december 2, 2016

Interactive Film Tells A Story About Living With Cancer

A moving song written by a father of a cancer patient comes alive in a 3D environment

Automotive december 2, 2016

Audi And LEGO Exhibit Autonomous Vehicle Installation

The installation at Design Miami explores the 25th hour, which represents bonus productive work or play time

No search results found.