Jeff Alpaugh is the founder and owner of Jeff Alpaugh Custom, a company that makes custom formal clothing for men and women.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

I was born in Toronto, Canada. I moved to Vancouver at a young age. Overall it was good, had a brother and sister and my parents still together. I think the moving forced me to adopt more than maybe I would have liked and I think that has been an asset.

I think an important part of bringing a product to market is understanding just how different people are and I think those moves really helped me understand that people in different areas think very differently.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

  1. How to budget and build a financial model.
  2. That there are lots of con artists out there. And many of them prey on new entrepreneurs. I learned some tough lessons early on because in the pack animal mentality of The Army I didn’t deal with many bad actors. I have become significantly more street smart since start JAC.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

A lot of “Just go for it/quit your job” without a lot of testing and trialing prior.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Understanding people and understanding why people actually buy clothes. That understanding comes from a general curiosity, liking people and listening.

What is your morning routine? 

  • 6 am = Wake up
  • 6-7 am Drink coffee, read, think
  • 7 am = Leave for gym
  • 7:30 am – 8:30 am = Gym
  • 9-9:30 Breakfast

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Fitness / exercise. It’s very grounding.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

Planning time ahead. Schedule everything! Anything that does not have a time slot, will not get done.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. In his will be the book I recommend on my Podcast. I have read it 4 times and I am currently reading it again. And it has been out less than 2 years. This is the most human telling of an entrepreneur’s tale I have ever read. It’s the story of a guy who took his own advice and just did it.
  • Gates of Fire by Stevan Pressfield. In his book is about the Spartans and the Battle of Thermopile (Think the movie 300). But I think it contains a lot of really amazing lessons about culture and fostering winning attitudes in a collective. (Have read twice)
  • Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. A story about a hard-nosed logging family in Oregon in the 60’s and their trials and tribulations. Lots of good lessons about how to face unglamorous adversity with valor and dignity and mindset that will set the conditions for success.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

This was part of Theodore Roosevelt’s famous Citizenship in a Republic speech. I can recite from memory and often end speeches with it or use it to motivate myself during tough workouts.