My journey starts way back in 2004 when I was playing music for a living and having the time of my life. Two of my best friends and I had a pretty successful local band; nothing major but paid our bills and was what every kid dreamed of. We played 3 nights a week as well as weekend weddings and events. In the midst of this, we needed a logo and I offered to help create that logo. Out of that simple design came a passion for art as well as business marketing and management.
In 2009 I was a single father with a baby girl that needed me around. At the time I worked for Home Depot as a product vendor working 16 hour days. Which meant my time with my daughter was limited to just weekends if at all. Having a father that was never there for me gave me a passion to make sure that would not happen to my daughter. Each night I prayed that God would show me how to make a living while being at home. I was laid off of my position in mid 2009 and had several months to sit and ponder what I was going to do for a living. During that time I was presented with the opportunity to design another logo and it all clicked.
I had found my passion and a way to stay home with my baby girl. Not knowing where to actually start, I called around to every local graphic business and asked for help in learning how to move forward. Each and every person said no and ignored me like the plague, which only fueled my passion to move ahead. I went out and purchased photoshop and watched youtube videos on how to design logos, how to design for print, how to just design in general. It took hundreds of hours to get good enough to have confidence. I found one person who showed me how to access the back end of a website and find the code that makes up a website, he then told me good luck. For months I went line by line teaching myself how to hand code a website. I was determined to become self sufficient.
In late 2009 I had taught myself enough skills to start my graphic business and be able to have my daughter 6 out of 7 days a week. This was a major accomplishment for me. Over the next year I became friends with a local designer (Tammy) who was gracious enough to teach me everything I asked for. Because of her I was able to start a print company and expand my business. Our agreement was that I would never take a job from her and that was more than fair.
As my business grew, so did my clientele and opportunities became plentiful. In 2012 while buying a car I was given the opportunity to join a team of gentleman that were building a guitar company from the ground up. I was told he would keep me in mind and would call me when they were ready. Honestly I never thought I would ever get a call as most people just blow smoke. But in late 2012 I got the call, met with the guys, and eventually we started what was known a Zane Guitars.
I joined 3 other guys and officially became a co-founder of Zane Guitars. We each had a specific skill set, and since my background was web development, marketing and branding those were my initial job duties. My goal was to take a no name company to national status as quickly and professionally as I could. My job responsibilities were as follows:
• Web Development
• Marketing Application and Marketing Research
• Graphic Design / Digital Marketing
• Branding across all mediums
• Strategic Consulting, plan & sales strategy development
• Artist Relations
• Head stock Decal Application
• Marketing Material & Design
• Print Design and Production
• Product Management
• Social Media Management / Design / Networking
• Application of Binding on Guitars
• Sanding and Buffing of Guitars on a as needed basis
• Building Company to Company Relations
During my time with Zane Guitars I had the pleasure of working with artists / members of: Joe Nichols, Keith Urban, Chase Rice, Thousand Foot Krutch, Breaking Benjamin, Carrie Underwood, Trace Adkins, Newsboys, Disciple, Tantric, Seventh Day Slumber, Everfound, Spoken, Tony Palacios (Guardian), Rapture Ruckus, Danny Goeky, Brian Wooten and many many more.
In early 2015 Zane started to self implode due to micromanagement, poor leadership and lack of a contract on my end. I eventually decided to part ways with Zane for many reasons, but the main one being I was told marketing did not matter. When I left they chose not to invest into the website, marketing or social media and eventually the company collapsed. It was heart breaking watching as this company was well on it’s way to being a household name as the artists above all played our guitars on a nightly basis. For almost 3 years I put minimum 12 hours a day into getting our branding and artist relations to the point where almost everyone in the music industry had heard of us. I turned this company into a national brand in less than a year through marketing, Facebook interactions, and website development.
By late 2016 Zane was in a death spiral and by early 2018 was virtually non existent. Folks, marketing matters! Don’t ever believe the lie that a product is all you need. We had a million dollar idea, a great luthier and A-list artists playing our guitars, but without constant marketing and branding it was a losing battle. I started to see the writing on the wall well before I left and had built a relationship with another company in the music industry, Sinister Guitar Picks. Sinister Guitar Picks is a major player in the guitar pick industry and I was blessed to be a major part. Joe is one hell of a guy and I consider him a close friend. I have worked with members of Michael Cutting, Powerman 5000, Megadeth, Otep, Trixter, Ted Nugent, Ministry, Prong, In This Moment, Deliverance, Nonpoint, Armored Saint, Skid Row, Through Fire, WWE’s Elias, Metal Allegiance etc.
In late 2018 I decided to part ways with Sinister and focus more on my own projects. While a great opportunity, it was pulling me away from my graphics business and the things I needed to focus on to provide for my family.
In 2018 I changed my business name from JNBRANDING to Iron Horse Branding (llc). The new name represents a couple things in my life. 1. I love and ride motorcycles (2001 Road King). 2. My family loves to ride horses on their mini farm in Crandon and 3, My services are strong as Iron. I am just a guy who had a passion and did not give up on the way. I am a blessed man and love what I do because it allows me to not only spend every second with my family, but it also allows me to help others just like me start businesses and succeed with the right tools.
Iron Horse Branding partners with a network of talented artists, designers and businesses to complete our work. Because of this we can offer exceptional work, fast turn-around and top of the line services for a fraction of the price. Most in my network are just like me, dedicated self employed individuals who have a passion for success and business. Let our passion bring your brand to life!