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Business of HYPE: Aaron Levant

The Business of HYPE is a new weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders and entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On this week’s episode, we learn about the man behind Agenda, Seventh Letter and ComplexCon, Mr. Aaron Levant.

“If you had a brand before the era of ecommerce” says Jeff, “your goal was to get your stuff in as many stores as possible, all across the country, all across the world.” There were a couple ways to do this, but the most economical of these was to attend various trade-shows in huge convention centers. Naturally, a pecking order forms among the brands at these shows, according to Jeff: ”Big brands with big budgets win, while smaller brands with shallower pockets get shitted on.” Seeing a flaw in the system, Levant saw an opportunity to disrupt and turn trade-shows upside-down.

Levant believes that there are three chapters in everyone’s life. This week’s episode comes at a very special time for Aaron: at the time of this recording, Bobby Hundreds had just announced that Aaron Levant would be leaving his role at the apparel company he had built for over 15 years, to pursue new business ventures. As first chapter closes, Levant is eyeing his next move.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Aaron explains how he made the move from the graffiti world to the streetwear world and how Agenda started as a warehouse party in the early 2000s.

The conversation contains references to the following:

00:07: Headspace App

3:30: ASR Tradeshow

3:33: MAGIC Tradeshow

5:08: Bobby Hundred’s Post

8:15: LA Book Fair

9:13: Gypsies & Thieves (GAT)

12:05 Tribal

12:16: AWR & MSK Graffiti Crews

14:34: Vapors Magazine, XLR8R MagazineComplex Magazine

15:24: GRN Apple Tree

15:27: Reed Space

15:50: Kofie & Axis

17:28: Soho House

18:25: TBC Trade Show

19:11: Pool Trade Show

21:03: Rickey Kim / Evil Monito
Wane COD / Writers Bench
Dennis Calvero / Big Game Hunters / Crooks & Castles

22:28: Billabong

22:43: Naga Thai Restaurant

24:25: Howe
Apex Museum
Mass Appeal

25:26: Freg Segal

28:01: ISPO Germany

30:12: Obey

31:05: The Foundation

30:36: Magic Slate Show

34:11: US Open of Surf

36:38: Project Show

36:52: Liberty Show

36:56: Capsule Show

44:03: Agenda Emerge

48:02: ComplexCon

48:20: Noah Callahan-Bever
Rich Antoniello
Moksha Fitzgibbons

48:50: Marc Ecko

49:09: Pharrell Williams
Takashi Murakami

53:04: Atheism

53:57: Mark Zuckerberg

55:07: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

56:11: The NTWRK Agency

56:21: The Imaginary Foundation

56:32: Primitive

57:57: Herschel Supply Company

58:32: Ciroc

58:56: Stance Socks

59:30: HQ Trivia

1:00:04: Slowtide Towels

1:00:30: House Beer Saint Archer Brewing Company

1:00:50 Pressed Juice

1:00:54: Truff

1:01:15: The Seventh Letter Known Gallery

1:02:10: Dollar Shave Club