The best way to describe Ian Moore is the way a close friend of his does, “You know that person you can call in the middle of the night and he’ll come help you with out asking or judging? Well that’s Ian, he has people’s back.” This might seem obvious to people that know him, but he is a genuinely friendly guy, not just polite and nice, but authentically open.
He loves sports and labour intensive activities, such as picking a pile of stuff and carrying it to the other side of the room. “I know it is weird, but I’ve always enjoyed it, even when I was young,” he says with a big smile on his face. Another peculiar trait is his love for work. Ian started working from an early age delivering newspapers, but it was his local Wendy’s, busiest in town, that taught him about hard work when he was 14 years old. “We were a small staff and so incredibly busy, but I enjoyed it more than going to school,” he points out. Upon high school graduation, instead of heading to college, Ian decided to work full-time in labour intensive jobs, mainly in warehouses, and bought a house just as he turned 18. “It was a little one in Ontario and it is far cheaper than Vancouver,” he stresses. Ian grew up in London, Ontario, “This is why my son is named London,“ he adds quickly. It was the need for change after breaking up with a long-time girlfriend that brought him to the West Coast. He was just spending the summer with relatives, but as Ian puts it, “it’s B.C., I fell in love with it right away. I never left.”
Sure, the weather was nice and golfing almost year round was a huge perk, but Ian also met Reisa Pollard – who years later would become his wife and business partner – while working at the same furniture store. A few years later, she started Beyond Beige, an interior design company, and soon after Ian brought up the idea of joining forces and starting a furniture store. It took some time to figure out the details, but soon The Living Lab, Reisa’s and Ian’s furniture company, was born.
Working with high-end furniture, Ian was confronted again and again with the lack of professionalism of moving companies serving the area: he experienced every moving nightmare imaginable, from movers smoking during the job to furniture continuously being damaged. The solution became obvious; he had to start his own moving business. “It was a natural fit, I knew I could bring something to the table that didn’t exist in the industry: properly branded trucks, proper uniforms, hiring good, strong, clean-cut guys.” And so The Move Man came to be. Ian observes that so many people have had bad experiences with other companies and that instantly provides The Move Man with the opportunity to provide them with good service. “It’s easy because of how bad people has had it before. We just have to do little things that people aren’t used to having – like movers showing up in clean uniforms or not smoking during the job. People spend so much money on their personal belongings and furniture and it needs to be taken care of and moved properly.”
Managing three companies is no easy task and takes some hardcore entrepreneurial skills to survive. So what is Ian’s advice for those starting an entrepreneurial journey? “Really walk before you run; don’t grow to fast.” He explains that people thought Reisa and Ian were crazy when they decided to get into the furniture business. “Just the fact that we have survived for over six years is a huge achievement.” Ian believes the problem for many is that they get too big too fast or take too much debt and then something unexpected happens, making the business unable to respond.
Ian seems to have all the answers when it comes to business, but he hesitates when asked about his personal challenges. He explains that managing three companies consumes him and turning off work has become his biggest challenge. It’s easy to talk about work when you live with your business partner. But something has changed in the past two years; Ian became a father. “I can’t finish work quick enough. Becoming London’s dad has given me balance, without him I would just work and stay late everyday, but I have to go home and take the first shift. My wife manages a bigger operation than me, so I am able to finish earlier and take care of London.”
The three companies share common themes, not just the fact that they are part of the furniture industry, but also consistency and the need to be as good as they possibly can be. He underlines that if anything bad happens, the word can spread like fire in the Internet and the wheels of his businesses could fall off easily. These two characteristics might be essential in any business (and true for many), but what makes it particularly interesting is how Ian lives and breathes this philosophy, it trickles down to his family. When asked about London, Ian’s face lights up, eyes open wide, words flow out of his mouth. “I want to be the best person I can be for my son. When I think about every thing I’ve ever done, it triggers in my head the question ‘Would I do it again, and would I react the same way?’ I know it sounds like a cliché, but I want to be the absolute best role model that I can be. I want to be somebody to look up to.”
So what’s the biggest success for the man with the three companies and many awards? “ My marriage for sure. It is still as good as the first day. I am most proud of how well we are together. A lot of our relationship has to do with work, but she is without a doubt my best friend. I love hanging out with her.” He is interrupted by Reisa, who pops into his office and says “Bye love, see you in a bit.” “We were talking about you, love,” he answers.