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The Light Files - Jared Lang

Jared Lang

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It’s all about image and lifestyle. Laura Max visits with Jared Lang, general manager of Audi Central Houston and founder of Fashion Houston.

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Laura: Hi everyone, I'm Laura Max, your host of the Light Files on TheBusinessMakers.com, brought to you by Audi Central Houston and as a matter of fact that's where we are today with the General Manager, Jared Lang, of Audi Central Houston. Welcome to the show Jared.

Jared: Thank you Laura.

Laura: I'm so excited to have you because you are such a special guest as our sponsor and right now we are standing - as I always like to say - in the largest Audi dealership in America and possibly the world.

Jared: Possibly the world, there's - I'm still waiting on some estimates but for sure the U.S.

Laura: So you've been the General Manager of Momentum Audi, which is now Audi Central Houston, for several years.

Jared: Fourteen.

Laura: Is this something you thought that you would always be doing?

Jared: You know, when I was in college, uh, I didn't really, uh, aspire to be in the auto industry, I really didn't know what I wanted to - I was going school for PR and Marketing and - and, uh, I got a summer job one summer when I was off school and got in the auto industry and made some good money. I've always been really a people person so the auto industry afforded me the opportunity to really meet a lot of people and kind of morph what my passions are, which are PR and Marketing, really kind of lifestyle association and branding.

Laura: Well you are such a people person; you were actually recently voted one of the top 40 most fascinating people by the Houston Chronicle, which you are certainly fascinating, and as we were speaking earlier you said, you know, I don't necessarily consider myself as part of the car industry, more the lifestyle industry, and I'm so curious about that.

Jared: Well it is. For me, you know, when you get into this type of car or this - high line is what we call them - car, I mean, you're really about a lifestyle. It's about image, it's about where you're getting parked or valeted, it's about who sees you, what neighbors are driving what and. So yeah, I morphed, like I said, this business into lifestyle and it has parlayed into other things such as Fashion Houston and

Laura: Right, Fashion Houston is our answer to Fashion Week. We're the fourth largest city and as I saw you wrote in a previous article - or quoted in a previous article - we're all about oil and gas here, we kind of forgot about fashion and you're so well dressed.

Jared: Absolutely. You know, the thing is and the economy here has been thriving and made it through the recession unscathed and we have more disposable income here for a major city than anywhere in the U.S., so.

Laura: Which is what makes a dealership like this thrive in Houston.

Jared: Oh, it's amazing and we are the top 2 in the nation last year, you know, ahead of L.A., ahead of New York, ahead of the other big cities.

Laura: So of all the places you could be, Houston's a pretty good one to be in.

Jared: Houston's great, I mean we don't have the best beaches but we can fly where ever we want.

Laura: So you brought Fashion Houston to Houston, what year are we in for Fashion Houston?

Jared: This will be our fifth year for Fashion Houston and we're really excited about this year, it's kind of our anniversary year. And when we first started this we didn't really know where it was going to go and I wanted to bring it here to Houston. And I collaborated with the city, which was very excited about it, HCC, Art Institute, big retailers like Neiman Marcus and Saks and - and they've. tons of local designers and that's the key point. We're not only about bring the A designers, we're bringing, you know, bringing light to Houston about it being a fashion destination and the emerging designers that are coming out of here are amazing; there's a lot of talent in Houston.

Laura: Bringing light to Houston, I love it. So what, I mean, what attracts you to being in the lifestyle business as you like to call it?

Jared: I mean, it's just always intrigued me. You know, why do people do what? Why do they spend this much money and then why did certain people get in certain clicks and only buy certain things and what do we do to change that. And that's what I feel like we've done here at Audi is we've really - well and we've got great product - but we've really changed and we've really closed the gap on our competitors like Mercedes or BMW and, um, worldwide we already do. Worldwide we outsell them, it's just here in the U.S. because we are very about our possessions here in the U.S., right. So, and it's not really like that in Europe. It's more about the product, it's more about those things and that's, I think, why we've had the edge. But we've really, really narrowed the gap and we've kind of gone mainstream where we're in a lot of movies in Hollywood, Iron Man and so on, I mean.

Laura: Yeah, I see Audi's everywhere I go now because I'm paying particular attention.

Jared: Absolutely. So we've definitely made a turn in the last 6, 7 years to go mainstream and that's really what the U.S. - if you want to go anywhere you've got to go mainstream. We tried to be this unique, kind of niche market and it's great, you know, but it wasn't - we weren't maximizing our potential.

Laura: So speaking of taking turns and maximizing your potential, I actually met you I think 8 years ago, I was a teenager, and I've seen you just, you know, rise and rise and you've had great success and for those watching who are aspiring Jared Langs, what do you think your key has been?

Jared: You know, I just feel it's a lot about passion and that's always been my key phrase is it's about passion. One you love something I feel like you'll thrive and I feel like you'll maximize what you can do with that passion and if you don't believe in it, it's really hard to really kind of thrive.

Laura: Do what you love.

Jared: Absolutely.

Laura: Do what you love and the money will follow, as they say.

Jared: That's right, that's right.

Laura: So the last thing I just have to ask you - I have to ask you about this building. I've read so much about it. This building I think was originally shoveled with gold-dipped shovels, is that correct?

Jared: Yes, indeed it was, I think there's some pictures.

Laura: So what was the inspiration? I mean this is the largest dealership in the U.S., what made you?

Jared: You know - well, one, our parent company Sonic Automotive - they're based out of Charlotte they believe in the brand and they believe in what we've done here and we've climbed a, you know, over 14 years from probably one the top 200 dealers to now one of the top 4 dealers, you know, in the country so they've definitely stepped on board and made the investment, uh, based on our successes and they believe in the brand. And we're really, really, really excited about this new building; it's 7 stories tall, I mean there's nothing like it in the U.S.

Laura: It's incredible. If you haven't driven by it and you're in Houston yet on 59 it's pretty amazing, I encourage you to do that.

Jared: Oh, it looks like an ocean liner going down 59.

Laura: It really does, it's unbelievable, it really does. Well thank you so much for coming on the show today, this was awesome.

Jared: All right, thank you.

Laura: Jared Lang everyone here at Audi Central Houston. You're watching the Light Files brought to you by Audi Central Houston on TheBusinessMakers.com. We'll see you every Saturday on TheBusinessMakers.com and on the radio on Sunday at noon, News 92 FM. We'll see you next week, bye everyone.

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