Entrepreneur and branding expert Jay Leopardi sat down with us to discuss Fanstereo, his partnership with Ayo & Teo and the key to his success. Leopardi, who has worked on the set of “Shark Tank” for years, is the founder of Bad Boy Branding and has worked in the entertainment branding industry for over 15 years.
So, we have Jay Leopardi here and we’re talking about Fanstereo and the partnership with Ayo & Teo. How did this partnership come about?
You know, it was a very interesting thing. Ayo & Teo were a part of some of my music crew with Jazze Pha and we go back a long way. We found out that Ayo & Teo were on deck to be the next Justin Bieber in a crossover version of dance-type music with the Southern crunk to it. So, I was like, “Yo, I really like this.” You know, I’m a music guy and our consumer electronics company is almost like a record label. So, we sign artists based off their talent. Long story short I met them through Jazze Pha , my right hand man Lorenza (Big Lo) and their manager, Wil, who I knew. They told me about the kids and I said, “Yeah, I’m on it. Let’s go!” We did the deal, it was an overnight deal and we decided to kind of push back the artists we had on our roster that we were going to launch to start off with Ayo & Teo.
Talk about Fanstereo as it relates to the product that they’re promoting..
Well, it’s actually their product. It’s not that they’re promoting [it] and that’s what’s so unique about Fanstereo. We realize coming from the entertainment industry that artists don’t make a whole lot of money selling or streaming records. If you look at the CEO of Spotify, Daniel EK, this guy himself has made $300 million. Look at an artist like Future, he’s made $18 million in his whole career. So, there’s a significant difference there like, “Wait a minute, these guys aren’t making enough money. Let’s figure out a different way to do this.”
Being in the technology space/sound space we’re going to build out this brand of headphones and other cool things. Like we were the first people to do a Bluetooth speaker. Then we basically created a revenue partnership with artists. We don’t do endorsement deals or advances. We don’t operate like that. We’re not like Nike. We partner up with them to create a celebrity capsule collection. They promote it, we promote it and we get with the record labels to increase the closeness that they can get to a fan. Does that make sense?
It makes a whole lot of sense. What would set the product apart from Beats by Dre that all the kids now think are cool?
Well, you know Beats by Dre is a great style of headphone. They created the headphone market in my opinion from a consumer electronic standpoint. However, where we’re set apart is we’ve created something called High Precision Audio, or H.P.A. So, we came up with the very first hybrid headphone, one that is a studio quality headphone but yet is a consumer brand. It’s Bluetooth, it has a lot of consumer functions to it that other headphones don’t have.
For example, if your phone is ringing you just say “yes” or “no” it will answer or decline. You don’t have to do anything else to it. In the recording studio, we spend a lot of money, a lot of time trying to get a sound all the way down to the compression, the reverbs, the “SKRT! SKRT!” in the background because you need to be able to hear these, right? So, our headphones are basically delivering that mixed and mastered sound even though it’s being compressed through a streaming platform. It is still going to deliver the quality that was intended for somebody to listen to. So that’s our main reason.
Additionally, we’ve made our headphones out of aluminum and stainless steel, which are very durable. They’re clean. They’re sexy. Not to mention the headphone itself, the functionality, the weight of it is incredible. They’re very comfortable. You can talk on the phone in stereo and no one can really touch our price. An MRSP of $139 for a headphone that has an 18-hour battery life and charges in two hours, that’s crazy. We made it very woman-user friendly, which nobody ever thought to do. If you look at our Nubump Bluetooth speaker it’s a very woman-friendly type of speaker, you can fit in a purse. So our Eirs earbuds, if you notice we did a white leather case, we made the product out of aluminum and stainless steel. They have an incredible sound with a warmth to it. They’re very flat with a nice bottom sound to it and we have 12 different earbud styles for your ear that have no irritation and they’re really sweat proof. So, these are the things I think that make us stand out amongst our competition; and the fact that we have celebrities [who] aren’t endorsing it but it’s their brand. We’re doing commercials, social media things, we do lots of interviews and that kind of stuff. I think that makes us stand out more than another brand that’s just trying to push a product.
As a businessman, there are some secrets to your success in cultivating relationships. Can you share some of those secrets to your networking and relationship success?
You know, that’s a very simple one to answer. I’ve been in the business for a long time and the easiest, yet hardest thing to do is to keep a good reputation. If you say you’re going to do something, you do it. If you tell somebody that you’re going to make a brand and you’re going to get it done by XYZ time, people believe you.
Being a branding guy for the past 15 years and primarily branding people off of Shark Tank and celebrities in general, you build a level of trust with their agent, their management companies, the companies they’re signed to because we deliver on time. If they say, “Hey, we need this movie shot by XYZ” we had it done. So just being that person and surrounding myself [with] people [who] deliver on time and do what they say that really gives you a super, amazing reputation and people do business with you. Additionally, we pay people. If we owe them a check, they get paid that day. We don’t make them wait.