Interview #9. Kyle Jasey: Tells You How 1 Break Can Launch Your Entire Business - and How to Prepare for It

Watch a quick preview - Awesome story of how Kyle got his first break with College Flavor
Check out Kyle's responses to our Word Association Challenge under “Boxers or Briefs”
Click “read more” for Kyle's full interview
Founder and President:
College Flavor Inc. (www.CollegeFlavor.com - sells t-shirts and posters geared towards college age demographic - over $100k in annual sales)
Connect with Kyle:

From Public Policy major to Business Owner, Kyle took a killer idea and launched a successful business.  While at Duke, he stared at the movie posters on his walls one day and thought... "I can create a poster better than that!”  He approached a close friend about the idea and within months College Flavor was born and Kyle and his partner were selling their own creative, hilarious posters and t-shirts to fellow students.  Learn how to take an idea and put action behind it.  Learn how to find someone who is doing what you want to do and land a meeting with them.  Learn the pros and cons of LLC vs. C/S Corp.  Learn from a young leader who has over $100k in sales and is now launching his 3rd company.  Watch the preview and then click "read more" to see the entire interview.

Advice for young leaders:
  • Don’t always listen to those around you (the nay-sayers may not be the right people to talk to)
  • Find people who are doing what you want to do and talk to them
  • Find a partner (2 is better than 1)  - Google, Twitter, Microsoft, etc.
    • Someone who may make up for your weaknesses (Kyle didn’t have the sales experience, but his partner was a sales guru)
    • Someone you trust (his partner was his best friend)
    • There is going to be so much to do at the beginning, it is crucial to have help (someone you get along with and can work well with)
  • Kyle met the CEO of Art.com and was able to get a tremendous amount of insight and guidance from him.  So go out and find a mentor who is aligned with your vision and get in front of them
  • Many entrepreneurs are successful until their 3rd or 4th business.  So learn along the way and don’t give up.  You’re going to have to take your licks as an entrepreneur so you might as well start young and get going.  The average age of the successful entrepreneur is 37.
  • Have concrete goals - after the 3rd or 4th time that you’re not reaching your goals, be willing to walk away
Kyle created a business in college (before College Flavor) that wasn’t successful.  Here is what he learned:
  • Didn’t have the strong sales and marketing support
  • Didn’t know how to push a product
  • Wasn’t able to get the word out
  • With College Flavor, simply bringing in his partner who had the sales expertise helped them sell to large vendors and get in the door at their major clients.
  • Have a structured plan of action to move the business forward (one thing he wishes he had done at the beginning of College Flavor)
  • Go after funding if you are trying to expand rapidly (they needed new designs on a weekly basis to really compete - because of underfunding they struggled with that at the beginning) - after you get some traction
  • Get traction to prove to investors your business has real potential
  • Once you decide to go forward with the business - full on- then you might as well incorporate (Incorporated College Flavor in 3-4 months as an S-Corp and he incorporated his new business within a year as a C-Corp)
  • If you are going to seek funding at some point you might as well start a C-Corp instead of an LLC - (the advice Kyle received from entrepreneurial contacts was that LLCs were just for lawyers to make quick cash and C-Corp are what you will eventually need if seeking funding so you might as well go for that in the beginning.
  • Research the market you are entering
  • Good idea to have a board of some sort to be accountable to (help you hit deadlines, develop ideas, have check-in points).
  • Don’t avoid the % - cut talk when it comes to partnering up with others
  • Learn things as you go - be flexible to know that what you don’t know now, you will eventually learn along the way.
Kyle’s success path...
He studied Public Policy at Duke, part of the Democratic State Committee, Interned at Assemblyman John McKeon’s office, obviously headed towards politics.  He says that politics and entrepreneurship have always been his twin passions.  He didn’t want to enter corporate america, so he sought after an independent venture....College Flavor was the one that took off:
College Flavor story:
  • Had movie posters in his room that weren’t capturing the quotes and right vibe from the movies.  
  • One day he said “Maybe I can start a Poster company”
  • Shared the idea with his buddy and they agreed to move forward
  • Art.com was local and Kyle reached out to the CEO (courage) several times to try to get a meeting.  what did you want to do with your life after college at that point?
  • Through a contact Kyle landed the meeting (Awesome Story!!  watch the full interview to hear the entire story)  This was the meeting that really launched them to success!
  • Went after Spencers and landed them as a client (Another Awesome Story!!)
  • Initial ideas for posters and shirt came from college life - in a fraternity ATO (Alpha Tau Omega)
Best Day:
  • Getting the big order (e.g. Target and another company screwed them over then came back with a huge order)
  • The shoot for their TRUST poster: bunch of dudes standing on the ledge of a building at Duke - kept getting chased off campus...(Another Awesome Story! @ 19 mins in)
Worst Day:
  • Being screwed over by people - not everyone is trust worthy 
    • must be diligent to get payment and follow through
Goals moving forward
  • Launching new business - building the site now
  • Seeking funding at this point in the development of the business
    • speaking to VCs and Angel investors now
Final words -- Just go out there and do it.  The people who are the most successful are the people not afraid of failure!
Feel free to reach out to Kyle anytime.

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