Nick Matarese, owner of The Barn Creative located inside in coIN Loft at Start It Up Delaware, on minor league teams that never existed, the small global economy and the person you're sitting next to right now:
"So, I landed a contract that had me brand multiple professional baseball teams. That league never actually got off the ground … but at the time, I thought, ‘I'm going to be branding sports teams? This is what the long-term goal always was, and I'm going to do seven of them? This is the coolest thing on earth.’ And then the league folded a month before they were going to start games. But mentally, that helped me switch gears completely.
"From there, I landed Disney. I landed Adobe, and then International Tool. We just rebranded a pro sports team. This wasn't a minor league team that never existed. This is a hockey team in Georgia that's been around for 20 years, the Columbus Cottonmouths. It's definitely humbling when a client like that calls.
"We just branded Dew Point Brewing. We did a bunch of stuff for The Mill, all their branding. We're doing something for 1313 right now. We did the 7th Street Arts Bridge logo, and Gable Music Ventures, really cool local companies.
"The global economy is smaller. Everyone worked for DuPont back in the day, either DuPont or Delmarva. Everyone … your uncles, your family. Now, the new wave is not going to be these enormous conglomerates. It's a bunch of little companies doing great things. And the idea that this person can help this person who can help this person who knows this person ... is great.
"That idea that Delawareans have always known that there's only three degrees of Delaware ... that people always say that everyone knows everyone, it's like a small town, it was seen as a negative, and now it's turned into a positive. I feel like everything started around Market Street. Now they're starting to branch out, but they all know that Market Street ... is where the blood is, and you kind of need to be out there, you need to be walking the streets every once in awhile and bumping into people. You'll bump into people in Wilmington that make a difference.
"There are at least three amazing co-working spaces if you're starting a business. Even if you're not, there's a lot of meet-ups in those spaces. These are not the people who go to work and go home. They're the people who want to do something, who have fun little side projects that they're trying to figure out – ‘I want to start a food truck,’ or ‘I want to start a marathon.’ And walk Market Street as much as you can. Go to the farmers market. Go to lunch. And get off your phone. You'd be surprised who you're sitting next to. The person next to you might be the CEO of a major bank. It's shocking.
"This is where the small town works well."