A complicated childhood, with a small family and constant failures: these are some of the situations that Kevin Leyes went through, but that later served as a great motivation and impulse to go after everything and conquer world markets and industries.
Kevin is a 19 years old Italian-Argentinian entrepreneur who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is the founder and CEO of Team Leyes, an urban jewelry brand and company who achieved a revenue of about $6.5M ARS last year. “Throughout my career as an entrepreneur I have had a number of setbacks, which have undoubtedly shaped my mentality and personality, making me who I am today. The important thing is that I never let those stumbles turn into falls“, Leyes told us.
“No matter where you are from, no matter how old you are, if you work hard and persevere, success is inevitable no matter what the circumstances are”.Kevin Leyes
“While society and young people complain about socioeconomic situations, government, and things more internal to each family, I prefer to take action, fight and work for what I want to achieve in my life. I believe that no matter where you are from, no matter how old you are, if you work hard and persevere, success is inevitable no matter what the circumstances are“, he assured.
Through the mentioned connection with music industry, Leyes has managed to associate and work with many artists, public figures and celebrities from Argentina who are internationally recognized in the world, such as Khea, Ecko, Seven Kayne, Alex Caniggia, Blunted Vato and Cacha.
Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey. How and when did you start in this all?
Kevin Leyes: I’ve been working since I was about nine years old, when I started to offer and have my first paid clients as a web designer and developer, as a freelancer. At the age of 13, I offered to mow the lawn and maintain the house gardens of my city next to my cousin. Later, at the age of 16, I tried to start businesses and ventures related to fashion, clothing and accessories (caps, and a brand of clothing), which were not successful. At that same age, I sent resumes to Burger King, a bookstore and even a supermarket in my city.
Finally, at the age of 17, and with a lot of accumulated experience, constant failures, but still an intact hunger for success in me, I began to resell sneakers. Something simple, but it grew exponentially, to such an extent that I began to think that I should transform this informal business into something more serious and solid, with an identity: to start selling as an established brand.
Thus Team Leyes was born, where the main focus of products was also changed. They stopped being just sneakers.
“Be patient and work hard. Make sure you are really passionate about what you are doing, since you won’t make much money at first”.Kevin Leyes
Which tips would you recommend to entrepreneurs to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Kevin Leyes: I am aware that many times stress and anxiety take over. In these cases, the first and most important thing is to recognize and know that there are no perfect lives and that we are human beings after all. Even the people who are best seen on social media always have some problem, but that it is not generally made public, so it is not worth comparing ourselves with others.
Relating anxiety and business, it is very important to understand that many stages of a venture can take a long time, not everything will grow and progress from one day to the next. You have to be patient and work hard. And this is where the passion comes in too, since everything will take time, you have to make sure you are really passionate about what you are doing, since you won’t make much money at first either.
Then, already within the environment of medium and large companies, I think it is very important over time to find ways to delegate certain tasks so that our time is much more productive and we can focus (as senior executives in a company) on much more important tasks, which with less investment of time and effort, give us even more in terms of finances and growth. If you don’t do this in time, you may not be able to scale your business, or it may take much longer.
How did you promote your company in the early days?
Influencer Marketing: This has played a very important role in our company, and even more so when we started, as we didn’t have many contacts or relationships formed. Partnering with artists, celebrities and public figures has been an evolutionary process, but in short, very positive and growing. We managed to generate in our audience and public a desire to belong to the social group that Team Leyes imposes, a desire to look like their favorite artists, factors that have been very powerful.
With the passage of time one also matures, acquires much more experience and realizes that not all relationships bear fruit in the long run, but one should not stop investing and trusting, since perhaps that successful and fruitful deal is much closer than one imagines.
“I always advise not to close deals based on net number of followers but rather on interaction rates, really reflecting the loyalty of those followers to the influence in question”.Kevin Leyes
I also think it’s very important to analyze and evaluate each particular public figure to determine whether it’s worth investing and working with or not, and I mean its scope, specifically. We live in an era where everything is fake, you can “inflate” everything and make you look bigger. However, it’s not always like that really. I always advise not to close deals based on net number of followers but rather on interaction rates, really reflecting the loyalty of those followers to the influence in question.
Advertising: To tell you the truth, we didn’t invest a penny in direct ads at the time of our launch in 2017 and we still achieved a turnover of approximately $80K USD. However, we are now investing high amounts in our international version in order to grow exponentially, and even faster. At the moment we are having very good and effective results.
Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple years? What’s your dream?
Kevin Leyes: Personally, I see myself running and launching more successful companies and products and building and working on my personal branding and presence.
We launched our international version last year, so Team Leyes is officially an American company now. We’re currently looking for angel investors in order to keep expanding our business.
We truly believe and researched that there’s a huge market in the U.S. predisposed to acquire our products and become loyal customers, especially in California and Florida, states where you will see a lot of artists, celebrities and public figures.