Since that whole financial crisis thing, jobs aren't exactly appearing out of thin air. But if there's one thing ill-conceived credit default swaps can't quash, it's the entrepreneurial spirit.
After doing freelance production work for some time, local hip-hop artist Omaur Bliss joined forces with his studio mentor, Andrew Lucas, and Yoni Reinharz, both of whom he's known since their days together with the group Medida, and Jared Lewis to launch Verge Industries this February. The initial plan was to start their own recording studio, but things snowballed after they found a prime space in Whittier that had been an audio house for years. All it needed was a little makeover.
"The place looked like Liberace threw up all over it," Bliss recalled.
At the time Bliss was living in New York, waiting tables and picking up production gigs, so he would fly back to the Twin Cities to do shows and work on the studio. During a monthlong return to Minneapolis, Bliss and Lucas had a beer-fueled brainstorming session in which they decided to make Verge more than a studio -- rather, an all-around multimedia company. "We needed to think about recording as a way of getting people into the door," said Bliss, who can wax endlessly about social media and technology.
The idea was to become a one-stop shop for bands and businesses looking for audio/video production and promotional help, heavily leveraging social media. To date, Verge's client list has ranged from metal bands to real estate companies, with an emphasis on upstarts looking to establish their brand.
Being on the precipice of launching your own business seems an inopportune time for, say, a three-month junket in Southeast Asia, but Bliss caught the travel bug and bolted for Bangkok toting two bags -- one filled with clothes, the other recording gear so he could work across continents. "It felt like this was one of those last crazy, 'I don't know what's going to happen' overseas trips before I have to get serious about what I'm going to do," the 33-year-old said.
Now back in Minneapolis and with Verge still in startup mode, the brawny Bliss has a side gig as a yoga instructor at CorePower, where he spends about 30 percent of his working hours. Yoga became his workout of choice after searching for a way to stay fit after a knee injury.
Between his various titles and interests, he sees a common thread. "All these hats I wear fit so well together because they're all about things that we use to further ourselves," Bliss said.
With no handouts available in this economy (unless you're a failing financial institution or auto dealer), it's a good thing Bliss is willing to go DIY.
Title: Co-founder; yoga instructor
Employer: Verge Industries; CorePower.
Hire date: Verge launched in 2012; yoga instructor since 2006.
Background: Studio apprentice/assistant engineer. Intern, Fuzzy Slippers recording studio. College tour booker, DreamScapers International. Certified to teach vinyasa and hot yoga.