The University of San Diego sits in a picturesque location on the southernmost tip of the sunny state of California. Boasting beautiful weather, pristine beaches, and a vibrant community, San Diego seems like the perfect place for college students to call home. While some USD students might find this environment indicative of relaxation, Nathan Resnick found entrepreneurial inspiration in his San Diego surroundings at the age of 21.
Meet Nathan Resnick
A rising senior at USD, Resnick majors in finance, though the company he started does more than just crunch numbers. In 2014, Yes Man, a lifestyle brand, began to take shape. The company creates premium watches and sunglasses “that empower people to do more with their lives.” With his vision for the brand in mind, Resnick launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring his idea to fruition.
The story begins after a summer internship two years ago landed Resnick in the 9-to-5 rut. Resnick knew he had a different calling in life. “My life felt constrained by my 9-5 position, and entrepreneurship was my outlet,” Resnick told us. Because of this, he was inspired to create a brand that focused on the importance of the use of time; how does one utilize the 24 hours in a day? As with all companies, there were bumps in the road during the initial research and launch of the company. With hindsight being 20/20, Resnick discussed what he would do differently if he could go back to when Yes Man first started. “I would optimize and analyze everything we can. When starting, we didn’t know much about digital marketing, yet now understand that there are an abundance of platforms and tools we can utilize to better understand what our customers want.”
Success, however, was found in launching a Kickstarter campaign, a crowdfunding website featuring thousands of ambitious entrepreneurs looking for money to support the launch of their company and/or product. Launching in January 2014, the project was fully funding (and beyond) by February. To Resnick, the key to a popular campaign is to focus on the pre-launch strategy, as opposed to focusing after the campaign launch. “You should start building hype and a mailing list a few weeks before your launch so you can have a huge impact on your first day.”
If pre-launch strategy is key, we wanted to know how someone prepares for such an endeavor. “The first step is ensuring you can source the product you are preparing to sell,” he told us. Having more than a homemade prototype and being prepared with all the costs and budgets associated with bringing the product to life is key for staying organized. After you find out how the product will be made, marketing and branding follow suit. Resnick emphasizes launching connections with potential customers, “Start discussing your project with your friends and stem off of every network you are connected to.”
Introducing Azula – A First of its Kind Fabric Faced Watch
Building upon the success of Yes Man watches and sunglasses, this hungry leader launched a new venture in late 2014. Azula will be the first ever fabric faced watch, a truly unique product because each fabric piece is hand sewn and made with authentic textiles from across the globe. In fact, funding for the project has already begun with a recent Kickstarter launch.
“Respecting the wrist and the world” is the tagline for Azula watches. We asked Resnick why he chose such a philanthropic statement, and what it means to him and the Yes Man brand. “As a brand, Azula strives to do more than just sell watches. We support native communities by sourcing our products direct from the locals. Every watch purchased helps provide full time jobs to local artisans who design and make our fabrics.”
Learning to be a Leader
With so much going on, it is hard to remember that Nathan Resnick is also a full-time college student. Some students might find balancing coursework and running a company to be stressful, but Resnick takes advantage of how it intertwines with his education. “Overall being in school while starting a company has been a plus. I get to utilize my university’s network of students, professors, and advisors, while applying what I learn inside the classroom to my business and vice-versa.”
As a young business owner, Resnick has a strong philosophy on how a good leader operates a company. “One of the hardest parts for me as leader is learning to delegate, yet once you understand how to trust people you work with, everything works out better than before,” he told us. In addition, Resnick believes empowering people you work with is simple if you ensure their work has value. And of course, leading by example is a must in any setting if you really want to be getting something done.
“At Yes Man, our goal is to be a motivational tool for students and dream-chasers who strive to turn their ideas into realities. Whether it is a photography project or starting your own company, Yes Man is there for you, ensuring you know that everything starts by saying “yes.””
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