My first businesses
I was a hustler from the start.
At 5, I learned how to make friendship bracelets and origami. Not content to make them for family and friends, I set up a stand in the front yard - some kids do lemonade, I did CPG off the bat.
In middle school, I fancied myself an author. I wrote fantasy stories about our teachers and sold them to the other students, I was finally caught when one teacher got a hold of his story and asked if I really saw him as a flamboyant centaur playing pan flute in an enchanted forest of fairies who torture him. That shut down my publishing company.
I took a break in college to go live in Bucharest, Romania. While there, I decided to work on opening GLOW, a salon with distribution rights for the country for Magic Tan Systems. Yes, I was the Floridian opening a luxury spray tan salon, but I bucked any typical tanning salon style going with black, white, and crystal chandeliers…not a single damn palm tree or beach scene allowed.
Back in the US and back into college, while I studied 21 credit hours a semester of Anthropology, I started Refurb Clothing. I would peruse thrift stores for designer merch or stuff with interesting fabrics I could tailor or update, then turnaround and sell them online for a profit.
It was back in college, I also wrote my first full business plan for an SaaS we temporarily called Project No. 9 while we brainstormed the best name…though it became Servvy for awhile, we folded the company after I moved to NYC…
It was 2010 when I moved to NYC
where I worked in business development for a consulting firm. Here I learned invaluable information about management structure, sales strategy, and streamlining while working many late nights.
I was offered a position at an marketing + advertising agency - I had never directly worked in such a role but the CEO saw I was hungry and confident, yet humble and ready to learn. I became a advertising and marketing sponge - I religiously read AdWeek and AdAge, I studied new digital marketing research and trends to put into play and most importantly, I was able to experience the creative and intuitive process that goes into creating a brand or rebranding. That intuition that only comes from experience. I also saw the correlation between my Anthropology studies and marketing - the research, data, target demographics, trying to get into the mind and culture of a group of people…I finally found my place.
Thankful for the experience but not satisfied to plod slowly along, dragging myself up a ladder within an agency, I resigned and started my own thing, but not sure what to call it, I remembered I owned projectno9.com. Project No.9 was perfect - I was always working on a another business, another project.
My biggest client came in the form of a soon-to-be-launched liquor brand called KAS Spirits. They needed an all-encompassing Marketing Director to help launch including marketing strategy, branding/rebranding, PR, social media, marketing materials, and business development. Within the first year, we were named one of the Top 100 Spirits by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, also appearing in the New York Times and Eater.
Getting KAS off the ground was so rewarding, I just wanted to do it again…this time in LA.
Los Angeles is full of startups
and I was offered a consulting role as Director of Business Development with another soon to launch brand, called Pixsweet. Though officially the head of Biz Dev, I was also acting as head of Marketing, at least for the first few months. Similar to KAS Spirits, launching Pixsweet meant audience and target research, branding, social channels setup, website design, PR, verticals, pricing, sales strategy, just about everything the CEO wasn’t already doing. We launched in November of 2016. Within 3 months, I would integrate us into the Tao/Beauty & Essex opening and close deals with Warner Bros, Dodgers Stadium plus create a partnership that would bring in multiple deals with clients like Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter. After the first year, I was ready to move on the next project – this time as the Marketing Brand Director and temporary National Brand Director with Hemingway Rum Co to bring new insights and strategies to revamp and stimulate sales growth (results = +60% growth after Q2)
Looking through this history reveals my passion: I love to launch and reinvigorate stagnant brands. If your company or brand needs help launching or it’s time to strength and refresh your sales and marketing strategies, reach out. I’d love to you help you achieve and surpass your goals.