Company: Rizza &
Associates Inc., a Newport Beach, California, company selling
sunglasses, cigars, jewelry and other paraphernalia via carts
stationed at retail locations throughout Southern California
2000 sales: $1.1 million
2001 projections: $1.5 million
It became apparent to Waly at a young age that working for other people often proves to be boring and unchallenging, so he actively sought opportunity. Since he took it upon himself to survey retail stores about their most successful products, by the time he heard there was a cart for lease at the Irvine Spectrum, a local shopping mega-center, he already knew what he'd stock it with.
Waly didn't want to hear family and friends' concerns about the risks involved with a start-up, so he just went into business without telling them. (He didn't even tell brother and now partner Ali until three days after the fact.) "That's how it should be in life," says Waly. "You shouldn't just accept everything people tell you. You should research things yourself and make your own judgment."
Apparently, Ali's the human resources/people person and Waly's the negotiator. ("I blow up at small things like someone not coming in on time," admits the latter.) Together, they find balance. Big brother often stresses being "really down to earth" as the key to success.
Aside from the carts, the Rizzas are getting into wholesaling with their new business Elusion Technology, purveyor of eBodyLights.com T-shirts and belly lights. Exploring new business models is how the brothers avoid monotony, but aspiring to match the success of role models works, too: "Richard Branson of Virgin is one of my inspirations," says Waly. "I like how he's done business. Hopefully I can be where he is in 20 years."-Michelle Prather