Career Q&A: Living Out Childhood Dreams with Delux Kustoms
If I was going to be completely honest (and don’t take this to mean that I am normally dishonest), it is Sasha Hollenbach from Delux Kustoms, who had a very strong influence on my decision to make my career change after I had my (well, our) first child. Yes, he’s my husband, and he is also an individual who is incredibly true to himself and very clear about what success looks like for him. He’s always had the strongest sense of self and lived by his own set of rules. His two brothers are the same and so I can only hope that my (our) own two boys will be as sure of their own career paths.
Sasha has always pretty much done what he loved. His mother tells me that from a very young age he was pulling things apart and putting them back together. This ended badly at times, with a few funny stories of wheel caps of cars being filled with bolts, and the like. How Sasha has influenced me is that he has never referenced the success of others, but instead has ruthlessly and passionately gone after what brings him joy. I have shared his more recent successes on Instagram and Facebook, with one of his VW Kombi restorations being the first Volkswagen to be invited to the prestigious MotorClassica, winning both the People’s Choice Award and it’s Category, Modern Classic.
Please tell us a little about a day in the working life of Sasha
Breakfast with Family (generally).
At work by 8.00am. Coffee at work with staff and I run through the day’s activities and go through the job at hand. We usually discuss approaches, go through any questions and I always ask for their opinions as If they have a better way or idea I want to hear it.
Generally I go through our stock levels, order any parts and then I am on the tools for a few good hours before I get visits from customers, etc.
Each day is different, sometimes I can work an entire day uninterrupted and others can be full of client meetings, usually discussing current or future projects. Sometimes these meetings can take a while, as the majority of my customers own their own businesses and building a car is a great release for them.
On the days I have staff working with me we’ll often venture out for a quick lunch in Dandenong, which has a great variety of cheap eats. This gives us a good incentive to be productive in the morning and is a great way for us to keep up our workshop morale and encourages team work.
In the afternoon we are always quite busy trying to finish things off, painting etc. I am constantly forward planning and thinking, especially driving on my way home, always trying to predict our next hurdle and plan out the next day. I believe this is our formula for success. Fail to plan, plan to fail!
How does this differ to your career ambitions as a young adolescent?
I was always quite entrepreneurial as a child and have always loved cars. I could tell most cars by the sound of their engines. My passion for them has never diminished. I knew I wanted my own business always. I did a Bachelor of Business and majored in Marketing and knew I had a problem when I would read car magazines instead of my text books. I guess the car business was inevitable but not always an ambition.
What was the defining moment that set you on the career path you are on today?
When I was working for another establishment and we were finally building a quality modified classic car and I said to my boss, this is what I would only work on if I could. He replied, “You could never have a successful business doing this”.
Well, I proved him wrong. We only build cars that I want to see finished. I don’t take on projects I don’t like, as I think it would show in the final result.
I stand by my quality and pride myself on not cutting corners.
What is one of the best decisions you’ve had to make in your journey to success and career happiness?
Starting my own business, and trusting my instincts.
You can’t do good business with bad people.
If I meet a prospective customer and have reservations about the project or our personalities don’t gel, I believe it is better not to take the project on rather then compromising what I have worked hard for. A great team achieves great results! Everyone works with each other, not for each other. This means my painter does not work for me, he works with me. Whoever I am building the car for, we are working together. Whoever you are, whatever the size of your budget, I am not working for you, we are doing this together.
My happiness is determined by a fun journey which leads to a great conclusion. We build beautiful cars for interesting people.
What advice would you give to someone starting their career/business in your industry?
Do it for love not money. If money is your primary ambition, this will show in your end result. Love always prevails, and everyone can see that.
………and if you are afraid of hard work, then this is not for you.
Please tell us more about your plans for Delux Kustoms.
A larger premises which has room to maybe attach a coffee/cafe to it. Everyone always comes to see us to check out new projects and drink my delicious coffee. I would like to combine the two which would also include some of our merchandise and collectables. Food, coffee, collectables and cars go hand in hand and are all passions of mine. I am a little risk averse, but I have carefully planned my journey in a way that the road is smooth and slow, but I will get there in the end!