Gay Business Apt2B Needs LGBT Votes This Month

Mat Herman, the owner of Apt2B in Los Angeles, wants that "Most Inventive Award' from Daily Candy.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

August 13 2012 3:00 AM ET

Tell me about your background. How did you get to Apt2B?
I have been in the home furnishings business for 15 years on both the wholesale side and the retail side. I went to Indiana University and after graduation I moved home to Cleveland, Ohio, and was a sub-rep for my dad, who has been in the furniture business for 40 years. Shortly there after I was transferred to Los Angeles in 1998 to have my own territory and the rest is history.

I say you have a great gay eye, but you must have a wide array of customers. Who is your biggest fan base?
I like to say that we cater to the people who are starting up or starting over. Basically 20- to 40-year-olds living in the heart of Los Angeles who are looking for fun, functional, and stylish items for their places. We definitely have a huge gay following. Originally I think that came from word of mouth through myself and my friends helping spread the word of Apt2B when we first started. I'm the voice of Apt2B from all you see on the site and our social media, so I know I attract the gay consumer because I am a gay consumer, and I like to think they I have good taste.

Has the recession affected you greatly?
This entire business model was built around our current economic situation. I built Apt2B because I was hit as hard as anyone during the recession. I lost my job in 2008 and shortly there after I lost my house. This is when I realized there was a huge void in the marketplace. I was too old for IKEA but could no longer afford Design Within Reach, but I still liked really nice stuff.
 
Does being a gay entrepreneur hold any perks or challenges?
Having my own business has been a huge growth for me personally as a gay man.  I had no idea the effect it would have on me regarding this. I have been out since I was 27, but embarrassingly not out in my industry. Now that I’ve launched something that is truly mine, I am proud to boast that I am a gay business owner. 

 

To vote for Herman, go to Daily Candy.
To read more about Herman, visit MO.com.

Tags: Business

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