He served our country for years, and even almost lost his life in Afghanistan, but after surviving a rocket attack, Colin Wayne rehabbed himself back to shape, and transitioned from the military into a life as a fitness star here in Los Angeles, before transitioning once more into creating a multi-million dollar business back at his home in Alabama called Redline Steel.
But even though he now runs his big business in Alabama, Wayne has not forgotten about his friends and the people here in Los Angeles. Since COVID-19 hit, Wayne has used his resources, connections and friendship with countless A-list stars to raise millions of dollars in products to give back to nurses, teachers, the homeless and more both here in LA and across the United States.
The Los Angeles Tribune sat down for an exclusive one-on-one with Wayne to learn more about his time in the Army, living here in LA, how he has continued to help other business owners across the country during COVID-19 by running special retreats out of his home, and why making the world a better place, is something that is just in his blood.
You are an Army Veteran that survived a rocket attack in Afghanistan eight years ago. How has your mindset changed since that day and coming out of that situation alive?
Ironically, the gym almost killed me, but it also saved my life. Following an intense physical therapy plan, I began Fitness Modeling. A lot of people would be afraid to re-entering something so traumatic, but I was able to flip a life-threatening event into something I describe as life-defining. After overcoming a series of physical and mental obstacles just to be able to walk again, I’ve realized that anything “challenging” today pales in comparison to what I went through in Afghanistan in 2012.
What about Veteran’s Day coming up (November 11th) do you want people to really know about and appreciate?
A lot of people confuse Veteran’s Day with Memorial Day, which should be noted that these two days of remembrance have different meanings. Veterans Day is meant to celebrate and honor all of those that have served our country by thanking them for their sacrifice to our country. On the contrary, Memorial Day is recognized as a day of tribute to those that served the military and sacrificed their life fighting for our freedom.
Since your retirement from active duty you have gone on to create a multi-million dollar steel decor company called Redline Steel. How was transitioning from the Army to business?
I actually didn’t start as a CEO after leaving the Army. Before Redline Steel was even considered, I actually became a fitness model and even had owned a nutritional company prior to diving into the Steel Manufacturing industry. One of the big takeaways from serving that I’ve instilled in my business was and is having an attitude that reflects a “Never Quit” mentality. You learn to give it your all and never consider defeat when you first join the Military and it’s something that I’ve held onto as a business owner.
Why do you feel your company has had the success it has so far?
We’ve been able to capitalize on market opportunities through marketing and advertising while continuing to build a rising customer list through consumer trust and brand recognition. Understanding your audience is crucial to converting website traffic into consistent sales and customer retention. One of the biggest strengths is having a strong social media presence. Many of our paid ads and digital content have opened the door into getting a first-time buyer and making them a lifelong customer. The continuous growth within our Facebook community whether it be our main page or our “VIP Group” has provided our brand with consumer validation and trust necessary to build a successful business.
What are the top products people here in Los Angeles have been buying from you?
Some of our best sellers for those living in the LA area would be our “God is Good” design, along with others such as our “Tree of Life”, “Nurse Life”, and “Faith Hope Love” Collection Set.
During COVID-19 you have been doing a lot of charity work, especially with Habitat for Humanity and the Midnight Mission here in Los Angeles. What about these specific organizations really caught your attention?
Although I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve always been a humanitarian and philanthropist first and am always looking to find causes that align with my values and beliefs. These beliefs led me to both of those organizations due to their valuable contributions in communities across the country. Being that Midnight Mission feeds the homeless and provides them with adequate resources towards a better life, it’s extremely important to me as at-least 2/3’s of the homeless population are war veterans. As a Christian organization, Habitat for Humanity really stood out to me, given their help and platform in building homes and repairing communities for the less fortunate.
You have also partnered with Hollywood celebrities such as Megan Fox, Lance Bass, Amber Heard and countless others for all types of charity give-backs. How important is “celebrity influence” in getting the word out there to make a positive change with your “people over profits” endeavors?
With Social Media so prevalent in today’s society, having other celebrities post and endorse your brand’s mission is extremely powerful. Celebrities have quite a large following online and are able to reach millions of diverse people that likely would not have known about our philanthropic endeavors otherwise.
As business owners across Los Angeles and the rest of the United States have been having a tough time during COVID-19, you have started to run out of your home “Founders Mastery” retreats. Tell us more about these private retreats/gatherings and how the idea for these came about? How can people get involved with your team?
This was actually my first series hosting a Mastermind retreat. I’ve attended a few other retreats as a guest and can honestly say that by attending these seminars, I was able to exponentially grow my business by learning and implementing tactics and strategies that I would’ve initially never thought about or learned myself. Therefore, having the ability to help other hungry entrepreneurs scale their business and engage with other like-minded individuals was extremely meaningful for me. For any business owner making 250k annually that wants to increase sales and retention, I encourage you to send an invite and apply to join our Founders Mastery group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/foundersecommastery/).
What safety measures have you been taking at your retreats and company overall during this pandemic?
The safety and well-being of our guests and my employees at Redline have always and will always come before the business. Throughout the course of this pandemic, we’ve implemented many safety measures in hopes of helping prevent the spread of the disease. Besides the standard guidelines and procedures mandated by the State of Alabama through the CDC and WHO, we’ve structured our attendance policy to encourage those that have any symptoms whatsoever to stay home and self-isolate without fear of termination or consequential actions taken by the employer. Furthermore, we’ve recently begun temperature checks prior to clocking-in to ensure the safest work environment possible. Face Masks are highly encouraged and, in some areas, strictly enforced to add a level of precaution while at the facility. Despite the polarizing views on proper handling of the virus, we adhere to and are obeying the guidelines and procedures set by the health officials and will continue to monitor the situation and play a role in protecting ourselves and others moving forward.
What does the future for yourself, company, retreats and charity initiviates look like as 2020 comes to an end shortly and we look ahead to 2021?
As I look ahead into 2021, my goal is continue expanding operations and maintaining our strong presence within the home décor space. As a successful entrepreneur, I understand that future success derives from the ability to learn from past failures and “pivot” my business model to reflect the rapid changes in consumer behavior. What may have worked in 2018 may not have the same value or return in 2021. So it’s crucial to understand buyer trends and accommodate our business accordingly. Currently, we’re looking into expanding our platforms in SMS Text Messaging, Subscription Services, and largely scale our presence on Amazon as we move into 2021. As for myself and my personal initiatives, I look to continue fostering a relationship within the Huntsville, Alabama community and strive to continue being a viable resource for any entrepreneur looking to build their brand.
And finally: What about Los Angeles do you simply love the most about?
Believe it or not, I actually spent a couple years living in the LA area while in the Fitness Modeling industry. My favorite thing about Los Angeles would have to be the surrounding beaches and overall nice weather. I’m a huge fan of the “water”, so I definitely enjoyed and miss the access to the wonderful beaches out there in California…. that said, I definitely don’t miss the agonizing traffic or cost of living!