An innovative, bright mind with a knack for business and a “you never know unless you ask” mantra, Justin Nanfelt constructed his career with a few flecks of paint and a bold, go-getter attitude. Metaphorically speaking, one might say those “flecks” include being named to Forbes 30 Under 30, as well as parallel accolades from a leading entertainment marketing firm in Los Angeles where Justin serves as Director of Marketing. Amidst the corporate grind, Justin still managed to lay the groundwork for two successful side hustles.
Justin discovered a knack for spray painting in college when he and a friend created a mural to memorialize the bond between their twelve housemates. A few short years later, after graduating and moving to California, Justin co-founded 2/14 Graffiti LLC with his roommate and friend, Taylor Calmus. The inspiration for their new company began with a clever birthday gift idea Justin had for Taylor’s girlfriend: an urban graffiti-style rendering of the happy couple on canvas. One thing led to another, and soon the two artists were spraying over 200 custom commissions for local businesses and personal collections, which, in LA, included the likes of Warner Brothers and ABC. By the way, both Justin and Taylor pulled this off while still maintaining their day jobs.
Today, the two entrepreneurs have shifted their side focus to side hustle number two: TAYBLES. It began when Taylor found inspiration for a new coffee table in an old cassette tape. Spying opportunity in a retro, music-themed piece of novelty furniture for an LA market, Justin said to his partner, “Dude. We could totally sell that.” The duo began building a prototype and a website. “I liked having it as a side hustle because if it became a full-time project, it became a full-time stress,” Justin said.
It was through a connection with 214 Graffiti that Justin and Taylor made their first TAYBLES sale. Some of their art was being featured at “The Mixtape Festival,” a New Kids on the Block-curated music festival, and the pair was given permission to bring their prototype backstage. “At that time we had gotten the patent, but we hadn’t sold any tables yet,” Justin said. One of the members of NKOTB noticed the table and offered to buy it. That became the first line item on the TAYBLES’ ledger, fortuitously whisked away on the NKOTB tour bus. The question of demand was answered, and thus began the flurry of events that made their second side hustle a success, selling over 600 tables worldwide across 10+ countries. Today, the price range for a table is between $350 and $1,899. Handmade wooden A-SIDE tables top the pricing chart, while you can choose a more affordable mass-produced option with a B-SIDE table constructed of high-grade composite.
Justin Nanfelt attributes his accomplishments to scrappiness, relationships, and willingness to try something new. He has consistently found ways to interpret no’s as not yets while working his way into the entertainment marketing industry and the great beyond of entrepreneurship. Justin’s advice: “Treat people like a person no matter who they are. And if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. What’s the worst they can say? No?”