Many entrepreneurs launch their companies in addition to working a full-time job. How did you manage your time when launching LVFT to get the company going? When did you decide to quit the day job and make this a full-time operation?
In the early stages of LVFT or even before LVFT was even a brand, I was a full time student, full time personal trainer, men’s physique competitor and ran a T-shirt shop in the Eastside of Long Beach. I was attending college at CSULB studying kinesiology so everything around me was revolving around personal training/fitness. At the time, my main goal was to crush it as a personal trainer. I had over 50 clients and as a trainer you make your own hours so I managed to schedule clients around my school schedule and around when I had to run the T-shirt shop. During my shifts at the shop I would design random T- shirt designs for my personal training business “RP Fitness”. I was also a graphic designer so the designs I did I put effort into them. So while all this was going on and time went on I eventually saved up $300 bucks and had shirts for my clients made to wear with my training slogan “LIVE FIT” in the front and RP FITNESS in the back. My clients really loved the shirts AND people that weren’t my clients really liked them too, and that’s where it really began to spark. As the first few shirts caught on, people that weren’t my clients or training with me wanted to buy my shirts. Friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, friends of clients and more people wanted the shirts. By this time, I had already made a name for myself locally and somewhat on social media. Remember I was a trainer and men’s physique competitor so I had to market myself constantly.
A year or so went by and what was just clothing for my clients started becoming a recognized brand. The income was skyrocketing each week / month so I decided to drop out of college, quit training (left in good terms with all clients) and push the brand 100%.
When starting your company three years ago – what was the aha moment you realized the success and popularity of LVFT?
Long story short, the shirts kept selling and I kept making more and not just the same design but made new designs after designs and eventually became a collection/brand. I had prior experience in the retail / clothing industry when I was young so I knew how to start a clothing brand already but I won’t get into the details because I can go on forever talking about my life haha. Anyways, I started marketing full force, shooting all my contents, editing all my videos and just did all the digital media for the company (website, social media platforms and other online platforms). I also connected with a few people in the fitness industry that were really blowing up and fit into the same lifestyle as the brand. I asked them to be affiliated and sponsored and of course we all connected and it just had a upward momentum from there on. I started doing shoots with them, myself and just really getting the content out to consumers digitally. And I can honestly say that in the fitness & bodybuilding world, no one was doing what we were doing. I treated the brand like it was a skate company but instead of skaters, we had fitness athletes. Once we established the blends of the street wear, skate culture fashion and fitness industry (which was my intentions in the beginning) the popularity really took off.