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.
What is a typical day like in the shoes of Randall Pich and daily operations @live_fit_apparel?
Ah man, every day is never the same. I’m always helping different departments of the company. Marketing, media, customer service, warehouse, wholesale etc… Yes I still have my hands in every department. After a full day of a 8 to 10 hr work shift I’d still manage time to get a workout in, skateboard a little and just hang out. Oh and ping pong, we play a lot of ping pong at the office. There’s a whole room dedicated to just ping pong… But on the weekends I like to just hang out with my friends, workout, go to the beach, go shooting to get media content (I guess you can still call it work). I don’t know, every day is literally different.
Sounds like you wear many hats 😉 With fashion and fitness being very competitive, what separates you from other companies and defines your brand?
Honestly we are an “activewear” brand but we side more of a skate and surf brand. We’re bringing that street/skate/surf culture to the fitness industry. And I’m not talking about fitness like you would think Nike, Adidas, Reebok… no I’m talking about fitness as in the gym, bodybuilding, the independent sport, the supplement industry type of fitness. As far as the fitness industry we are definitely the first brand merging two cultures together as one. Another big thing that separates our brand is the athletes we chose to represent the brand. We don’t just pick anyone and anybody, we are very picky about it as we only have very few. Jeremy Buendia our head athlete and 2x Mr. Olympia physique is a great example. I knew him before he was even an IFBB Pro. I watched him grow and signed him before he hit the Olympia stage and now he’s absolutely killing it, number 1 in the world (to put it in perspective).
Everyone is like a tight family, everyone gets along and everyone is real. I say real because in this industry today, people can fake it easily especially on social media, but our guys and gals are relatable and we push to motivate and inspire those around us.
Do you find as an entrepreneur, that you enjoy the challenge of the industry being complex with trends and fashion always changing?
I enjoy the challenge and as far as the trends… we don’t follow the trends like most brands do. We do what we do and actually create trends unintentionally. We’ve seen so many other companies pop up left and right straight ripping our designs… Don’t get me wrong, there’s a difference between being influenced and inspired and another to just steal a design. But we know that comes with the territory and our fans and loyal customers know. We just keep quite and do our own business. Honestly a lot of product we come out with is just stuff I would wear myself hence all the black garments we use haha.
Social media has had significant impact for young entrepreneurs over the past couple of years. Has this helped your business excel quickly and how?
Yes, it definitely has helped us out tremendously. Instagram, facebook, Tumblr etc all play a major roll to help get the world out and not in just a marketing aspect but a tool for me to reach out and connect and meet people and potential athletes and or ambassadors. (If so – do you think your company would have excelled so quickly without the increase in recent development of online marketing & apps.)
I’m not quit sure what rate or how fast the brand would have grown without the advanced tech and online marketing platforms but I feel strongly we’d still be here where we are at because I knew how to create a brand like I said before and market it without social media etc. I’ve been in the retail/clothing industry as kids when the cool thing was “myspace” haha. But I’ve had friends that ran successful brands and other companies when I was in my teens that I saw so with or without social media, I was going to make it happen.
What were some of your first big marketing wins to promote LVFT?
Creativeness and bringing the skate/surf action style media content into the fitness industry.
In your opinion, should the entrepreneur focus primarily on promoting his company or promoting himself or herself?
Solely the company, focus on creating actual good product; eventually the individual will die out, its better to leave the world with something great. The only reason why I play a vita role as far as being the face is because I modeled the clothes, I was an athlete back then, I skated, surfed and lived the life my brand is about but the brand has gained momentum to where I can step back and the brand grows organically.
What’s next for LIVE FIT?
This year we have our biggest year yet. Last year we focused on growing online, this year we will still be growing heavily online and at the same time attend more fitness expos to get interaction with our fans and customers; to say thank you for always supporting and just to put a face with the people that support us. We have about 15 expos this year domestic and internationally.