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Business of HYPE: Jason Stein

Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On this week’s episode, Jeff sits down with entrepreneur, investor and business operator Jason Stein. 

The founder of ad agency Laundry Service and media company Cycle, Jason Stein is currently the partner of his own investment management group, Steins Co., where he serves on the Board of Directors for various brands, including Ovadia & Sons, John Elliott, Front Office Sports and more.

Prior to this, the self-made businessman got his start in 2010 at a time when social media was an untapped market. With a desire to create social content for brands, he began searching for clients on Craigslist and eventually landed upon a goldmine opportunity with Foot Locker.  After building a solid portfolio of clients, he managed to pitch and land an account with Nike’s Jordan Brand. Soon after, Beats by Dre reached out and within four years Laundry Service grew from 15 to 550 people.

“There was nobody doing content creation, video production, photo production, video editing in-house as an agency, they are mostly farming that out. That was one innovation that we had, the second one was doing media buying in the same place. Right now even today for the most part you have creative and media buying separately and I just thought I could do this all literally with my phone.”

After a decade of running Laundry and Cycle, Jason sold his company and began Steins Co. where he began investing, advising and helping companies have their own intellectual property. He stresses that due to over-saturation and ease of content creation, having a great product is crucial. 

“What really stands out on social media today is a great product. The product to me is the content. Of course you need to have consistent brand, look and feel, but what’s most important is how much people care about the product and that you show it to them in a nice way.” 

In relation to content creation, Jason wonders about over-saturation in the apparel space and what the future holds for streetwear brands. Because social media has made things simultaneously easier and trickier, he reminds us that “the product is the art, not Instagram.”

This episode features references to the following:

1:36 – Laundry Service & Cycle
2:10 – Post-college life
2:44 – Rise of social media
4:51 – Idea to begin Laundry
7:43 – Jordan
8:47 – Importance of product
16:00 – Early beginnings
16:19 – Craigslist
21:10 – Competitive basketball
22:22 – Foot Locker
23:39 – Stacy Tarver
24:08- Winning Jordan account
24:08 – Coltrane Curtis
32:00 – Beats by Dre
33:30 – Growing business
34:06 – Selling to Wasserman Media Group
38:11 – Comparing content creation to apparel
39:40 – Oversaturation in content
40:45 – Thoughts on streetwear
44:09 – Kith & Netflix
45:30 – Thoughts on wholesale
50:31 – Nike
51:17 – Supply & Demand
53:05 – Steins
56:02 – Ladder
56:22 – Transmit
56:34 – Front Office Sports
1:00:00 – Advice
1:03:26 – Cycle
1:04:15 – Thoughts on Instagram
1:10:28 – Eaze