This week on the Elite Advisor Blueprint, Kevin Lavelle takes us through his incredible journey of building and scaling a business from the ground up.

Kevin is an entrepreneur and business executive. He is the founder and CEO of Mizzen+Main, which is a men’s clothing brand focusing on performance fabric dress shirts. He was named to the 40 Under 40 list by Dallas Business Journal in 2013 and was also named to Men’s Fitness list of Game Changers in 2014.

Kevin was repeatedly laughed out of the room when pitching his idea to create a dress shirt that would not only look great, but would feel great too! After being rejected over and over and being told nobody would want to buy what he was selling, he decided to go out on his own, push the fabric boundaries and carve out an entirely new clothing category.

Despite what the traditional menswear big shots said, Kevin knew what the market wanted and made it his mission to turn his dream into a reality. The company has since skyrocketed, being sported by people all around the world, including many super athletes and online influencers. 

If you’re a financial advisor who has never shopped at Mizzen + Main before and are used to wearing stuffy suits all day long, you need hit the pause button right now and go make an order. Trust me, you’ll thank me later when you’re wearing the most comfortable shirt in the world!   

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

  • We get into how Kevin’s idea as a 19 yr old intern on capitol hill led to him founding a company that changed the game in men’s fashion by creating a product that didn’t even exist before 2012.
  • Next the conversation goes to how, as Kevin says it “being dumb enough to ask the wrong questions and ignoring traditional industry standards” was actually an advantage that led him to thinking differently about the fashion industry and creating a product his customers actually wanted to buy.
  • Then we hit on the challenges of scaling a company that’s outgrown 6 offices in 5 years and the lessons learned along the way.
  • Finally, don’t miss the marketing lesson Kevin learned from taking a leap of faith by cutting his biggest check ever to advertise on Tim Ferriss’s podcast and the INSANE GROWTH that followed and changed the trajectory of Mizzen & Main.

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SHOW NOTES:

  • [05:30] Kevin explains the origin of his company name, Mizzen + Main.
  • [06:30] The “ah-ha” moment that led Kevin to push the fabric boundaries, overcome the traditional naysayers, and create the most comfortable dress shirt in the world!
  • [09:39] When asking all the “wrong questions” can actually be a huge advantage for new startups. Find out some of the questions that Kevin asked early on that pushed preconceived notions to the curb and gave him a competitive edge!
  • [18:21] Kevin breaks down the critical steps to quitting his corporate job, building a prototype, and leaping into the world of entrepreneurship.
  • [19:38] How does a solo entrepreneur scale from 1 to 21 employees, grow out of 6 offices, and get into 300+ retail stores in only 5 years? Kevin explains the big touchpoints for making it all happen!
  • [27:23] Kevin reveals the 3 biggest lessons he learned when it comes to scaling a company, including one of the BIGGEST pain points for Financial Advisors… Knowing how and when to hire A players!
  • [28:50] Find out how Kevin hit a homerun sponsorship deal with the one and only, Tim Ferriss, and how it paid for itself entirely within the first 5 days of the ad airing. TIP: Don’t fall victim to thinking that any known influencer with a big audience will be a good fit for your brand. Kevin explains exactly what made Tim’s show the perfect match!
  • [36:20] As Kevin puts it, his mention on the Tim Ferriss Show resulted in having to “drink from the fire hose for a couple of weeks.” How was a small company able to manage the INSANE amount of traffic? And you’ll also hear his brilliant tactic for turning his short term sponsorship deal into a neverending reason for Tim to talk about his brand.  
  • [41:10] What can financial advisors learn about incorporating podcast and Facebook advertising into their marketing mix. Kevin shares his best practices and lessons he’s learned.
  • [47:20] Find out the simple secret to Kevin’s success when it came to landing big deals with major companies and super athletes and influencers like JJ Watts, Marcus Luttrell, and Kelly Starrett.
  • [54:19] How financial advisors can stay ahead of the curve, differentiate themselves, and build an unstoppable brand. HINT: If you do things right, you’ll never have to worry about what the competition is doing!
  • [01:01:19] The 2 people Kevin thinks of when he hears the word successful.
  • [01:02:11] Discover the 2 entrepreneurial traits that were instilled in Kevin as a kid that he attributes to the success of Mizzen + Main.
  • [01:03:27] Kevin shares his most gifted book.
  • [01:04:37] The power of overwhelming optimism and how to overcome difficult moments during your entrepreneurial journey.
  • [01:08:11] The one piece of advice that has led to his success

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

  • Connect with Kevin Lavelle

Website | Blog | Medium | Facebook | TwitterInstagram

PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE

TRANSCRIPTS

Click here to Read the Transcript

 

This is provided for informational purposes only. Producers are ultimately responsible for the use or implementation of these concepts and should be aware of any and all applicable compliance requirements . Results from the use of these concepts are no guarantee of your future success.

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