I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Lim, founder and CEO of iHeartRaves and INTO THE AM. They are curators of all over print clothing and world leaders in festival fashion and gaming apparel. They are currently grossing over $20M per year and have been featured in the Inc. 5000 four years in a row.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was going to music festivals all the time and we noticed there was a need for festival outfits and apparel. I quickly realized that buying apparel on sites like Etsy and eBay wasn’t the greatest source because they didn’t have very good customer service, and often times I wouldn’t receive products on time. The other thing that really stuck out to me with the whole rave scene is the freedom of self-expression that’s associated with it. I wanted to inspire creativity and encourage people to continue expressing themselves freely through fashion. So I started out with $100 selling out of the trunk of my car and was able to grow that into a 50+-person company, which grosses over $20M per year.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I was on season 6 of ABC’s Shark Tank where I received offers from all five sharks. It was one of the most exciting moments of my career as a business owner. On the show, Robert Herjavec said I was “one of, if not the best entrepreneur we’ve had here”. I took a deal from Mark Cuban for $650,000 in exchange for 5% equity in the company, and a licensing deal from Daymond John for 20% of profits.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
· We really focus on brand building. This means providing an exceptional experience for our customers at every touch point.
· Since we live, eat, and breathe festivals and gaming we are closely involved in the community and have a great relationship with our customers.
· Hiring is a long process here at the Emazing Group and we really focus on creating a diverse team that works well together.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
· Lux Rave — we just wrapped up a five-day pop-up shop at the Luxor Hotel & Casino that grossed $600k at EDC Las Vegas
· We just released our officially licensed God of War collection:
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
· Culture eats results for breakfast. I spent a tremendous amount of time refining our hiring process to ensure we only hire the best for our needs and culture.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
· I have a lot of mentors in my life and find tremendous value from learning from their experiences.
· Scott Elliott, who was my original financial advisor, turned into a consultant and then into our company president/COO and has made a huge impact on my life and business.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
· Earlier this year, we created a gaming scholarship in which we award $1000 per semester. We are planning to increase this scholarship 10x over the next few years.
· One of the social initiatives that we’ve created is called the Unicorn Crew. We actively recruit new members to represent our brand at festivals throughout the year in an effort to interact with attendees, spread positivity, and provide coverage of the event. Our goal is to inspire individual creativity and self-expression. We are strong proponents of body positivity, no matter your size or shape. We feel that it’s important for people to express themselves and have the ability to wear whatever they want, without judgment from others or society in general.
Can you share the top five ways that increased diversity can help a company’s bottom line. (Please share a story or example for each.)
· All of our teams are diverse in terms of ethnicity and culture. We also have a 50/50 female to male ratio when you exclude our warehouse fulfillment team.
· Design meetings: Having a diverse team really helps with new design ideas and eliminating bad ideas. New designs are the bread and butter of our sales and our intellectual property.
· https://emazinggroup.com/pages/careers — Because our team members are diverse it really shows when you learn more about our company from the outside and when you come in for interviews it solidifies that we’re open to all ethnicities. This really helps us compete for top talent in the marketplace
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“Free up time to work on the business, instead of in the business.”
· The sweet spot in life is the intersection of your strengths and passion
· If you could rehire this person again today knowing what you what you know about them, would you? If not, they shouldn’t be a part of the team.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos — They are both leaders in their respective industries and could offer a ton of valuable insight.
Originally published at medium.com