Young Professional 2018: Lauran Wang
Lauran Wang, President of Mustang Signs
Education: Bachelor’s in finance
How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? Born and raised
Do you have family? Pets? Two kids, Blakely, 2, Noah, 10 months, husband, Will, and two dogs, Mowgli and Baloo.
Briefly describe your company: Mustang Signs is a sign and graphics company. We serve businesses with high-quality signage and identity systems. Our team is made of the best designers, fabricators and installers. We focus on vehicle wraps, electrical signage and installation, and all types of other non-illuminated signage.
How long have you worked there? Acquired the company in July 2012. Just completed our sixth year.
What word best describes you? Resourceful
Your biggest flaw? Not seeing an opportunity and looking long term. I have a habit of seeing the next one to two years only, and not five to 10 years.
Biggest pet peeve? Over-promising and under-delivering.
Dream vacation? Disneyland
Favorite book? “The E-Myth”
Favorite movie? “Red” and “Red 2”
Favorite musician? Meghan Trainor
Favorite sports team? U.S. Women’s National Team (soccer)
Favorite website? Google
Favorite Tri-City restaurant? Fujiyama
Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? I love going to the Puzzle Room in Richland. We always have a great time getting stuck in the room.
What thing would people be most surprised to learn about you? I’m a finance grad and have no formal education in marketing or graphic design.
If you could have dinner with one or more people (living or deceased) who would it be? I’d love to have dinner with my grandma. She passed 10 years ago and I’ve missed sharing the experiences I’ve had over the last 10 years with her. The other person would be Marcus Lemonis (CNBC “The Profit”).
Describe your job: Six years ago, I was looking for a change and not satisfied in my current career. After lots of job applications and unsuccessful interviews, my husband and I found Mustang Signs for sale in a Craigslist ad. After months of learning about the business and negotiation, we settled on a buy-sell agreement. I quit my job the very next day and took full control within 14 days.
Mentors: As cheesy as it sounds, my husband is a great mentor for me. Our strengths and weaknesses balance each other really well, so I have lots to learn from him. He is a very people-centric person and has helped to shape the way I interact with my employees and clients. I’m naturally an introverted person and he’s coached me in those areas.
Toughest career decision: Deciding on when to have kids was a tough decision. I was really worried people wouldn’t respect pregnant Lauran and look at me different from a business owner’s standpoint. I tried to hide being pregnant for quite a while. It obviously didn’t have any material impact on my career from a client standpoint, and has helped me to learn better work-life balance, since I now have additional priorities in my life.
What do you like most/least about your job? I love building something and seeing tangible results from our hard work. Both on a daily level of building beautiful signs and wraps, and the results of our efforts over the last six years of building a company from one to 16 employees and the good community reputation that has come with it.
The most challenging part of my job is managing people. It’s definitely not naturally my strong suit. Being responsible for the welfare of everybody under our roof on both a professional and personal level has its challenges. I want everybody that works for us to enjoy the job, the environment and feel professionally satisfied. It’s a big hat to wear, and one that I’ve had to transition into. When we first started the business, I was in every sense a technician and did every job within the business. It’s been a challenging transition to move away from some of the technical skills that I became good at (graphic design, wrapping cars), and now just worry about managing people who are actually professionals at them.
First job: My first job was at a local marketing company. On paper it was an amazing opportunity and we got to work with a lot of big companies and our office had bean bag chairs and video games and felt “Google-esque.” It taught me how important work satisfaction was to retaining employees. I left after a short 10 months because I didn’t feel like I was contributing to the team and that I had more to give. People want to feel like they’re making a difference; it’s not just about a pay check.
Achieving work-life balance: It’s still a work in progress, but having kids has definitely helped. Being responsible for two little ones helps to get me out of the office more often. I used to be there until 8, 9, 10 o’clock at night and on the weekends. Prioritizing time with them has helped me to get out of the office more.
Community involvement: As a company we frequently donate signage and services to local nonprofits. Some of my favorites are Junior Achievement, Rascal Rodeo and Second Harvest. We also donate wraps and decals on babies’ cranial bands and helmets. We’ve done some Star Wars themes, flowers and a lot of Seahawks.