How Mikael Schaub and Bryan Schaub started a successful jewelry brand, Leo Mazzotti, in just 1 year
LEO MAZZOTTI is a jewelry brand founded by brothers Mikael Schaub and Bryan Schaub.
Inspired by their travels through Italy, they created LEO MAZZOTTI in 2016 and designed a range of jewels in their Geneva office, combining Italian class and Swiss precision. Success was quick to follow and in just one year they are selling their bracelets, watches and other fashion accesories to thousands of customers in over 65 countries all around the world.
Let's find the secrets of their success story as we discuss with Mikael and Bryan.
Tell us a bit about yourselves?
Mikael Schaub - CEO & Co-founder
I'm passionate about entrepreneurship for the past 10 years, and i'm today at the head of a company that sells products in more than 65 countries around the world. I can describe myself as a hard-working and persevering worker. My role is to manage the company, manage the employees and ensure the prosperity of the company.
Bryan Schaub - Marketing Director & Co-founder
I'm 21 years old and i'm the co-founder and marketing director of a company that today has thousands of customers. My role is to study the market and the competition (benchmarking), to set up adequate marketing strategies and to develop our company on the different social networks. I'm also currently studying at the University of Geneva where i want to become a teacher in primary school in the future.
What's special about LEO MAZZOTTI ?
''Beauty can be found in simplicity." This quote is totally the image we wanted to give to the brand LEO MAZZOTTI. Inspired by the Italian class and Swiss precision, we have made every effort to combine these two characteristics to offer our customers quality products.
Why did you start LEO MAZZOTTI ?
Having always been interested in entrepreneurship and marketing, we both wanted to devote our time to creating a project that brought together these aspects. We wanted to take the risk of venturing into a vast and competitive environment. We don’t regret our choice and love what we do today !
How did you start LEO MAZZOTTI ? Did you have any previous experience as an entrepreneur ?
LEO MAZZOTTI started at the end of 2016. Starting from the simple discussion around e-commerce and its powerful rise, we set out to try to set up a project in common. In order to focus and put the chances of being successful on our side right from the beginning, we started with the basics : establishing a plan and a strategy. Starting from these, we have over time climbed the ladder while overcoming some obstacles or unforeseen. We have both had some experiences in entrepreneurship : Bryan Schaub, an independent photographer who has worked for many famous companies such as New Balance or Feldschlösschen, and Mikael Schaub, having already created various successful e-commerce stores before.
How is it like to be brothers, co-founders and building a Startup together ?
It's something cool. This allows us to share and build a project together. We sometimes have misunderstandings on certain points but this is usually settled quickly. We make every effort to understand each other's desires and vision.
How did you finance your project ?
We started by investing both small amounts of money to acquire a stock of products and better manage the logistics. We did not start with much, just the necessary to buy stock, advertise on social networks and build the website. It must have been around 3000CHF.
Subsequently, due to the profits generated, we were able to reinvest in products, collaborations or to organize different competitions (we recently made a contest to win a trip to Rome!).
How did you market and promote LEO MAZZOTTI when you were launching ?
First, we started by creating an Instagram and Facebook page : the two pillars to extend our visibility. Gradually, we made collaborations with influencers, which allowed us to give ourselves more visibility and to acquire new customers. Thus, from day to day, our Instagram account has grown and we now have a community of 108,000 followers and a hashtag used by more than 12,000 clients !
How long did it take to launch your startup and to see the first results ?
It took us quite some time, about 4 - 5 months before first results appeared. At first, we were a bit lost but we trained ourselves, especially on the internet or with books, and we improved our process.
What has been key in growing your business that fast ? Indeed, in just 1 year, you already have about twenty employees, thousands of customers from more than 65 countries and more than 100 000 followers on Instagram.
As said before, Instagram is largely the key to our '' success ''. This platform has allowed us to expand all over the world and hundreds and then thousands of customers have joined the adventure.
In order to maintain stability within the company, we had to surround ourselves with competent people in almost all areas : marketing, finance, design and photography, etc. Twenty employees joined the team and are now working to further develop this business.
What do you like most being an entrepreneur ?
Freedom. We don’t depend on a boss or someone who is above us. We make our own decisions and if that does not work, we can only blame ourselves. If we fail, we say "Okay, i'll have to do it like this the next time" etc. This is a constant challenge that can be positive, we always try to improve.
What has been your biggest challenge / failure as an entrepreneur?
The hardest part of entrepreneurship is time management. Nobody is behind us to tell us when to do this or when to do that. It is our responsibility to organize our time as well as possible. In addition, problem solving is also an important factor to consider. Indeed, we must find solutions to problems by ourselves, without the help of a superior or other.
What are your business goals for this coming year ?
Always in the perspective of expanding our company, we are currently in discussion with creators to release new collections. We also want to sell more in shops. We already have some partner stores where our products are sold but we want to focus on this particular point to increase our outlets.
What's your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs ?
A prime advice: Dare to start. In the worst case, we fail. At best, we succeed. But if we do nothing, we fail at all levels, so try! It is therefore important to believe in your idea and not be afraid to get started. It's not at 70 years old that you have to regret because you did not dare to start your own business !
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur ?
We both have a list of tasks / reminders for the day. This helps to maintain a good organization of the company and to be more structured in our day. We use the Google Keep application which allows a good visualization of the tasks.
What's your favourite quote ?
‘’I’m grinding while you’re sleeping’’ Gary Vaynerchuk
To find out more about LEO MAZZOTTI and their products, go to their website at www.leomazzotti.com
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