“Culture Eats Results for Breakfast” The 5 Lessons I Learned Being a 20-Something Founder

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.

Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?

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.

Jean: 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.

Jean: Are you working on any 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 and Assassin’s Creed collections. In addition, we created official player jerseys for Overwatch League.

Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?

I really enjoyed reading EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey. In the book, he’s very straightforward and to the point with a wealth of valuable knowledge, and as a busy entrepreneur, I appreciate that.

Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

· Vision and goal setting is key. As the CEO it’s my duty to provide a clear vision for the direction of the company and to align all team members to achieve those goals. This allows everyone in the team to understand how the important work they do each day helps further the company’s objectives.

· Core values and a mission statement are not just fluffy statements to make us look good. These are vital documents that we make our hiring and firing decisions based on. We make sure our team members embody these values at the Emazing Group.

· Culture eats results for breakfast. Thoughtful planning and execution is required to build and maintain a great company culture.

· Don’t ever skimp on the recruiting process. Hiring the right people based on cultural fit and skill are critical to success. I would much rather hire a hard worker that is a cultural fit than a highly skilled person with no cultural fit.

Jean: 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 see this. :-)

Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos — They are both leaders in their respective industries and could offer a ton of valuable insight.

— Published on June 27, 2018