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Inspiring Conversations with Michael Trussell of Smoove Customs, LLC

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Trussell.

Hi Michael, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’m 22 years old now. Growing up, I was always interested in art, basketball, movies, and video games. I had a very extensive imagination which naturally made me a very expressive person and allowed me to see the world in a different way. I love to have fun and goof around with friends. I was someone who could have a very serious game of basketball hanging with the athletes, and then nerd out over superhero movies, Dragonball Z, and new Star Wars content. Throughout school I was somewhat of a class clown, but I was never a bad student. I was a mixture of an extrovert and introvert, leaning more on the introverted side. Drawing was something I always enjoyed. Whenever I was stressed, bored, or angry, it helped to bring me to a calming state of mind. I always loved the idea of creating something atheistically pleasing to the eye, along with the whole process of creating something from just an idea is the most satisfying feeling in the world. I mainly used paper and pencil through most of grade school. It wasn’t until the middle of high school that I began to care about learning Photoshop and other tools to create art. I started to gain more of an appreciation for painting at this time. Also, in high school, my interest in sneakers grew, and I began to watch sneaker videos on YouTube. Eventually, I got my first pair of Retro Jordans, which was given to me by one of my basketball teammates, the Laney Jordan 5s. I liked those a lot, and eventually, they got scuffed up. Then, I was introduced to videos of people painting on sneakers. So, I had an idea to get this special paint to fix them up. After I repainted them, I got another spark of inspiration to do something bigger. I was a fan of the Jordan Aqua 8s colorway. I had some Air Force One’s lying around and officially did my first custom, dubbed the “Aqua Air Force One.”

I was very excited to show them off the next day at school. I received many compliments along with my first client! I was very thrilled to have my first client, and I was motivated to create something dope for him. I charged him $35 for a full deep clean and a simple color change from white to black with white speckles on the midsole. The custom was on Jordan 4 “Pure Money”. From that point, my business started to grow and gain notoriety and respect. My nickname in high school was Mike Smoove, which carries me to this day, so naturally I decided on the name Smoove Customs. From 2018 until now, I’ve been creatively evolving my skill level, knowledge of different art software and their amazing capabilities, like Blender and Adobe After Effects, and even my understanding of the business aspect. Eventually, I want to create something wonderful and a timeless masterpiece. I do want to make a film one day.

In late 2019 early 2020, I became interested in real estate. Mainly in owning something of such a high value and, of course, the wealth opportunities. I figured since I like helping people and with interest in real estate, I’d become a Real Estate Agent. So, I studied hard to take the test, and I officially became a licensed Real Estate Agent in March of 2021. For the rest of that year, I focused on learning the game of real estate and working on growing that along with my shoe business while working part-time shifts as a Team Leader at Chick Fil A. I sold my first house on October 13th, 2021. Throughout that year, I learned a lot about myself and what I can handle, and I had an idea to quit my day job and work on those two businesses once 2022 starts. What I noticed as I was going through with that plan for the first half the year, a change of focus took place in mid-2022 when I decided to return to school and work on myself. I had conflicting interests and was struggling to truly land on what I wanted to do with my life, so I reset myself. I plan on keeping my license updated because I also have big real estate and business plans for the future. I just needed to do the inner work to overcome some limiting beliefs and improve some areas in my life. I am currently in a more positive state of mind, working out more, picking up boxing, and learning to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’m excited to see where life takes me!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
A lot of my struggles in life come from inside. I grew up in a family where I had what I needed and some of the things I wanted. Life overall was pretty good. However, most of my adversity always comes from the limiting beliefs I had put on myself. I had low confidence, low self-esteem, was afraid to fail and do new things, had low discipline, and had trouble being consistent in areas of my life that have trickled into my business career. In terms of Smoove Customs, my struggles included how I handled mistakes with clients, standing firm on prices and protocols that I set, being afraid to speak up, marketing and networking, and my communication. In my early custom days, my durability wasn’t that great, although that did get better over time. I improved that area of my service through research and trying different ways to prep the shoe, played around with the number of layers, and even other finishers until I finally figured out the best system to keep customs as durable as possible. An example of being afraid to speak up would be in a situation where I felt like the work put in was worth way more than what I was charging for some customs. However, I was afraid to speak up and set a higher price that would make more sense because I thought I would lose that customer. Recently, I have been working extremely hard to break out of those negative thought patterns and work on reversing those limiting beliefs. Where I am in life right now is a true blessing and I’m very thankful. I’m proud of myself and incredibly excited to continue growing. At the end of the day, I’m going to be the best businessman and person I can be!

Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about Smoove Customs, LLC?
Smoove Customs, LLC is a creative business geared towards custom wearable art and cleaning sneakers started in 2018 in my senior year of high school. Under this name, I have expanded beyond just working on shoes. I have worked on a nerf gun, logos, shirt designs, headphones, paintball mask, and marketing material. So, my skill level is very diverse and is continuing to grow. Smoove Customs, LLC is simply a way to share my creative gift with the world for people who want to express themselves creatively. I’m proud of what my brand can provide people, whether to start their business with a created logo or further their brand image with shirt designs. Or feel empowered in their daily life because they have a unique pair of sneakers that nobody else has. Art is influential, and without it, life would be boring. I wouldn’t be able to grow this business if it wasn’t for the people who believed in me. Especially the ones who entrusted me with their sneakers, which are many of people’s most prized possessions. I truly appreciate it, and shout out to my family, friends, and amazing clients!

What was your favorite childhood memory?
I think back to my middle school days when I remember being the happiest person. My only obligation was doing homework and some chores. The biggest thing I remember was coming home from school on a Friday and playing Call of Duty Black ops Zombies, Minecraft, and Modern Warfare with my friends. Those Xbox Live chats were truly a thing to remember! I used to have a basketball hoop outside my house, so on weekends, I would shoot around and ask my friend to come outside and play. I appreciated the period of 2011-2014 because the internet space wasn’t as overbearing as it is now and was a simpler time. It was a lovely time capsule of good music, YouTube videos, movies, Vine videos, and video games. I truly loved that time!

Pricing:

  • Shoe Cleaning: $25
  • Sneaker Custom: Starts at $150-$$$ (Labor only)

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Earl Little; Instagram: @earl.sweatpants_ Jorden Scruggs; Instagram: @jaybino_14

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