oakhold group llc
oakhold group llc project
- client scouting
- web design
- customer service
- us llc taxation
When I was 21, I was inspired to start my own company, such as other unicorn founders had done at a similar age: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs to name a few. Of course, the stars had not aligned to provide a genius coworker, an incredible idea, nor was I born into a time a new technology had just begun to change the face of the world (the internet). I was a bit late to the party, but I wasn’t about to let that stop me from trying.
After my registration was processed and I had my license, I spent all day riding my bike on the ferry from my home, and through the city to reach the bank. “What’s the special occasion?!” A man cried out as I barreled past, my freshly ironed black pants and white shirt flapping in the wind. I was about to open my first corporate bank account, and I was thrilled.
My first few projects with Oakhold were web design related. I continued to work for Optimer International, the company behind Seattle Cutlery, where I had worked as a business strategist. This time as a contractor. I also began to work for the University of Washington at the same time. I would work on websites in the evening, and then finish my homework. On top of scholarships and the money I made from my other job, I was actually able to save money after paying tuition, instead of going into debt like many other students.
My Seattle office where I worked for Optimer International.
COVID-19 disrupted my flow, and I decided to shift strategies as the global pandemic came into full effect. I built a few more websites for family friends during this time, but continued to brainstorm potential new business ideas. I landed on the idea of refurbishing and reselling used electronics. Living on the island, there wasn’t any similar competitor, and there were plenty of wealthy people with too much stuff.
After posting advertisements on the local version of craigslist (called drewslist), people quickly began to respond. The respondees wanted to give away everything from old macbooks to vintage record players. People had old phones, old CRT televisions, speakers, you name it. I made a deal with my friend Quinn, whose dad would drive us around in his van to pick up the larger items. In return Quinn could keep a share. I also occassionally would buy used computers from people. Someone had been using one of the original macintosh kits as a doorstop for their business for over 20 years, and I made a deal to give them a percentage of what I sold it for. I would also buy items from people outright.
I didn’t drive, and it was a big limitation for me in rural America. The bus that used to run past my house had been removed from the schedule years before due to budget cuts. However, around this time my mom decided to buy an e-bike. It had just enough battery charge to get me to the post office and back to the house. I started strapping boxes to the back and riding off to the post office several times per week.
In order to save time, I rented a space in a pirate-themed thrift store called Second Hand Booty, and I would keep my boxes there and take them out the back, the post office was just across the street.
During the pandemic, I also spent a signficant amount of time working on my idea for a mechanical keyboard startup. I spent hours in my room learning how to build a keyboard from scratch. You can read more about my keyboard assembly project in this post.
Using the parts that I had built, I began to sell the PCBs and other components in kits on my Ebay store. I would buy PCBs for ~$0.50 in bulk and then sell them for $10+ each. This business, combined with the electronics resale, became the outsized part of my income during 2020. I also experimented with silicon moulding keycaps, which is what the vacuum chamber on my desk was for. I also had created a web store called openkeyboard.com, which I wanted to be the Amazon equivalent for anyone to sell parts for their custom mechanical keyboard builds. I planned to move my entire business to the website.
Ultimately, after I obtained my Italian passport in 2021 after several years of collecting documents, and waiting over a year for an appointment, I fell in love with the idea of moving to Europe. I put my business plans on hold, bought a plane ticket, and moved to Amsterdam to begin my classes at the University of Amsterdam. There is a lengthy and seemingly expensive process for registering a foreign business in The Netherlands, so I put my plans on hold. Perhaps, I reasoned, when I am settled again I will try giving the business another shot. For now, I want to see the world, and experience everything I never tried as a teenager, developing myself to be more confident, well rounded, independent, and healthy. It was time to leave my island for good, and see what the world had in store for me.