Ryan Mast dreamt of flying planes for a living. Naturally, he's running Bloem Living LLC, a growing Michigan-based company that makes plastic flower pots.
So much for dreams, right?
“I got my pilot's license in high school. In high school, it was primarily a reason to date women. You know, they always want to go on a date in an airplane,” Mast laughed.
Did he ever take a woman up in the air?
“Yes, in fact, I married her. She's the mother of our three children. That all worked out OK,” Mast said.
The 32-year-old CEO admits it's a long way from pilot to plastics. But a summer job in maintenance at his father's condominium development sparked Mast's idea for the underground sprinkler market. That project gave him insight into manufacturing overseas with a business venture he eventually abandoned. But it laid the groundwork for the creation of Bloem and domestic manufacturing.
With two silent partners with financial chops, some tools from China and a reliable custom molder, Mast set off small in 2012 with Bloem.
“It was my sister and I working out of our basement. Most of the time she'd work out of her home. I'd work out of my home. We had one main line that came in. We'd answer it and run it as professionally as we could. We often joked that if people really knew what they were calling into, the size of business they were doing business with, they'd have had a fit.”