Antonio Centeno’s story begins in a trailer park in West Texas where he grew up. When he left Texas to attend Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa no one would have guessed he would end up founding two companies and affecting the way men dress around the world.
With a few exceptions, the people who lived in the trailer park where Antonio grew up did not seem to care about the appearance of their property or their clothing. In contrast an aunt of Antonio’s kept herself, her trailer, and her car neat and clean. She taught him that even though he might not have expensive things, he should always put his best foot forward. The people Antonio came to respect were the people who took care of their belongings regardless of price.
Just before graduation from Cornell College he joined the Marine Corps, following the example of other family members who had served in various branches of the military. The Marines is considered by many to be the premiere branch of the U.S. military, and Antonio saw it as a challenge. The Corps had a significant impact on him; he even says that the Marines formed the person is today. He was humbled yet encouraged to constantly seek ways to improve himself. As an officer in the Corps Antonio learned what it meant to be a servant leader whose purpose was to support for the ground troops. This instilled in Antonio a desire to help others.
After leaving the Marines Antonio lived in the Ukraine for a couple of years. While there he ran a nonprofit organization that provided services to orphans. It became clear that the nonprofit was not going to survive, but Antonio had learned that he knew nothing about business.
An Idea Is Born
While still in the Ukraine, Antonio searched for a suit for an interview. He discovered that he could not find one that fit in the Ukraine. He tried to find one online, but was disappointed with the quality and fit. During his search he realized that he knew how to wear a uniform, but knew nothing about how to wear a suit. He met with custom clothiers and discovered that the industry was dominated by people without formal education in fashion who were making good money; and an idea began to grow.
Entrepreneurship was not something Antonio was exposed to growing up. His family members were hourly workers who didn’t much care for the jobs they performed. His experiences in the Ukraine helped Antonio decide to go to graduate school and get an MBA. He returned to Texas where the Hazelwood Act helped support him while he attended the University of Texas. He enjoyed his time in graduate school, where he was surrounded by people who loved business. Here were people for whom making money was like a scorecard in an athletic event, a way of comparing themselves with one another. The people he met in graduate school taught him that business was fun!
While completing his MBA, Antonio interviewed for a number of financial and consulting jobs. When he saw the amount he would be paid and how much he was expected to work, he decided to found his own company; and A Tailored Suit was born. Antonio sells custom-made suits, sports jackets, trousers and dress shirts through the website (http://www.atailoredsuit.com/). A Tailored Suit got lots of traffic from men who were hungry for quality content about style and appearance. Antonio also posts advice on the blog the Art of Manliness (http://www.artofmanliness.com/).
In January 2011, Antonio launched Real Men Real Style (http://www.realmenrealstyle.com), a blog, where he provides men with the tools they need to dress well and built a wardrobe that fits their individual styles. Having read Pat Flynn’s (http://www.smartpassiveincome.com) eBook about how to write an eBook, Antonio wrote ‘7 Deadly Style Sins’, an eBook that can be downloaded for free at the Real Men Real Style website (RMRS).
When Antonio first decided to make videos explaining how to wear different types of men’s clothing he was embarrassed by the comments he received about his appearance, but he developed a thicker skin and kept at it. Real Men Real Style started slowly with about 20 views per day, but quickly became a huge sensation. The videos, now a library of over 250 of them, are a huge success with over 3 million viewings so far! Antonio also leveraged the existing traffic coming to ‘A Tailored Suit’ by pointing them to RMRS, and encouraged readers of the ‘Art of Manliness’ to go there too. Other bloggers who were grateful for Antonio’s help in various ways linked to Real Men, without him even having to ask.
Many men seem to believe appearances aren’t important. Antonio strives to overcome this misconception and help men master their appearance. He believes that knowing how to dress, speak, and present themselves gives men the confidence to achieve whatever they want in their lives. Antonio wants to help average men become successful, someone like a master electrician who wants to grow his business. Uniforms would make his employees instantly recognizable and create trust and credibility with his customers and help the electrician reach his goals.
How Antonio Runs His Business
Antonio is big on using systems and checklists to help him keep track of routine details so nothing gets forgotten. They help him save time and ensure quality by freeing his mind of the mundane details so he can focus on the important things. He says that anything you can put on a checklist you should. A good checklist helps others take over in case of illness, accidents, and even so others can take over while someone is on vacation. Antonio sees checklists as living documents that change as needed. For instance he set up a system for shooting videos; it helps ensure that all the details are taken care of before he begins. It takes him an hour to the setup to shoot a video and twenty minutes to shoot, so he does several at a time. He recommends that people read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande to learn about how useful checklists can be.
Antonio’s advice to people just starting out is to surround themselves with excellent company. He believes that no matter where people are in the world or how isolated they are they can find peers on the internet. People can frequent websites such as http://www.therisetothetop.com/ and http://mixergy.com/ and watch the podcasts and videos. Another suggestion is to read or listen to deep content, Antonio thinks people have gotten away from doing that and that it’s important – he suggests checking out http://www.audible.com/.
He also recommends reaching out to someone you admire in your field, not an A+ person like Bill Gates, but a B or C level person. Do not ask the person for favors, but try to see if you can give them something, some information, that has value to them. Antonio doesn’t see his competitors as enemies, but tries to become friends with them. Instead of believing that there is only so much pie (business) to go around and what they get he doesn’t, he thinks that by working together competitors can increase the size of the pie.
Having children has given Antonio a different outlook on his life and business. They have helped him focus more on the future and his legacy. Antonio has a deep passion for making the world a better place. He gives back to the world for his great education and experiences by creating jobs for others through his business. He also helps other entrepreneurs as a way to repay those above him who are constantly reaching down and pulling him up. Through Real Men Real Style Antonio is changing the world by empowering men and women to change their lives and claim the success they deserve.
Antonio Centeno is a remarkable man. Through his businesses he has affected people around the world and made the world a better place to live. That says a great deal about the boy from a trailer park in West Texas.
In this episode you will learn:
- How an US Marines Officer became a world leading style expert for men.
- Why dressing sharp applies to everyone, and it’s not necessarily about 3 part suits!
- How Antonio networked and became friend with market leaders.
- How Antonio handles competition.
- Why making money is moral (!)
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- Real Men Real Style Website: www.realmenrealstyle.com
- Real Men Real Style Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/realmenrealstyle.com
- Real Men Real Style Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/realmenrealstyle.com
- Real Men Real Style Twitter: @rmrstyle
- A Tailored Suit Website: www.ATailoredSuit.com
- The Art of Manliness: www.artofmanliness.com
- Pat Flynn: www.smartpassiveincome.com
- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
- Mixergy: http://mixergy.com/
- The Rise To The Top by David Siteman Garland: http://www.therisetothetop.com/
- Amazon’s Audible: http://www.audible.com/
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[spoiler title=”Episode 020″]Still in progress, please come back later![/spoiler]
3 thoughts on “IIP020: From USA Marines To World Leading Style Expert For Men”
Another filler interview. I like how you talk to people that are in diverse industries and yet are able to bring their similarities together. I loive the idea of checklists! (My wife does, too, that is why I always have a checklist in progress!)
Glad you enjoyed this episode 🙂 I agree – checklists ROCK! The more I implement them, the more I believe in their power. ESPECIALLY when you grow and add employees or VA’s to your team – checklist make all the difference. If you enjoyed this episode, I think you might enjoy episode 16 with Ari Meisel (from the ‘Art Of Less Doing’) – he’s a systemization Jedi! You can check it out here: http://iipodcast.com/AriMeisel