You probably know Carey Hart as the king of motocross, but over the past decade the Las Vegas native has become quite the mogul—overseeing a punk rock empire that includes Hart & Huntington Tattoo Co., a fashion line and sponsored athletes as well as hip hangout Wasted Space.
Growing up, Hart says it was motocross that kept him on the straight and narrow. “I’ve always had a pretty good work ethic as an athlete,” says Hart, who began riding at the age of four. “I wasn’t the kid that, when I finally started making good money, cashed the check and went out and bought a Bentley. I was very hands-on with my sponsors, producing my signature line, because that was my outlet to get creative and create a bigger, better fan base.”
Then, after breaking both of his arms and legs (for the second time), Hart, 34, turned his attention to business. In 2003 he launched Hart & Huntington Tattoo Co. at the Palms; to further the brand he also developed the first tattoo-based reality show, Inked, along with an extensive collection of signature apparel.
Today Hart & Huntington is located at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, where Hart also owns nightclub Wasted Space. “I grew up on Southern California punk rock, and—no disrespect to the club scene in Vegas—but it’s all that shiny-shirt crowd, that techno, thud-thud music, and it’s nothing that I’ve ever really identified with,” he says. “When I came up with the idea for Wasted Space, I wanted to do something that’s high-end but heavy rock ’n’ roll, where a tattooed kid like myself could show up, listen to good music and drink a couple PBR beers. I wanted something that was very well rounded for tourists as well as the hard-core music fan, and I like to think we did a pretty good job of that.”
But even this entrepreneur may have found his limit. Besides the Las Vegas flagship, Hart & Huntington tattoo shops can be found in Orlando, Florida; Honolulu, Hawaii; Newport Beach, California; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Niagara Falls, Canada; the brand also encompasses Hart’s team of BMX, motocross, freestyle and off-road riders. Several more Wasted Space nightclubs are on tap to open around the US this year. Plus, Hart continues to ride motocross.
“Me and my wife [singer Pink] recently got back together and she’s finally coming off a tour, so I’m going to start enjoying some time with her and just focus on building what I have,” he says. “That’s the hard part, time management. It all sounds great on paper, and then once you’re eyeballsdeep in it, it’s a whole different monster. I don’t sleep much, and I don’t take days off very often. Fortunately I’m surrounded by my friends, and everything I do I’m passionate about; there’s no part of my business that’s a drag.”
LAS VEGAS FAVORITES
Drink: Pabst Blue Ribbon beer Set-in-Las Vegas movie: The Hangover Local band: Big B Late-night eats: Roberto’s Taco Shop Off-Strip hangout: The Cracked Egg