Episode 41 - Adam Khafif: Do What You Love But Something That Benefits Others

One of the greatest takeaways I’ve personally had from this podcast so far is that people are always watching you even when you least expect it. Anything you put out there to the world online can be seen or heard by anyone which can be powerful if the content hits home and in some cases can spread like wildfire. This podcast epsiode may never have happened if I hadn’t made a comment on Instagram which is weird/scary to think because as time goes by the internet seems to only grow into our lives more. Adam saw that comment, checked out the podcast, reached out and was the reason this podcast came about.

Adam Khafif, founder behind “Lisn Up Clothes” was influenced by the entrepreneurship world since he was a kid with his parents owning “Toni’s Own Cookies” and seeing them hustle to make the family business work. His father always told him “do what you love but something that benefits others” and when he launched his streetwear clothing line the advice had always stayed with him and he decided to donate 50% of all profits to a charity of the customer’s choice.

The experience you get with the company is unlike no other. Each new collection is an “album”, each product is a “track”, the lookbook is printed on “CD booklets”, pop up events are part of their “tour” and the products arrive at your doorstep in a cardboard “boombox.” Everything has been thought through and with inspirations from Lupe Fiasco to create a meaningful message and paying attention to the minor details like Johnny Cupcakes, Adam puts the customer as his number one priority.

I think one of the main takeaways from this episode is finding unique ways to stand out from the crowd and creating the ultimate experience for your customer no matter your industry, what product or service you sell or if you’re a producer of content. There is tons of “noise” in this world and very low barrier to entry for anyone with an idea so in order to stand out from the crowd and to be in this for the long haul make sure to give your customer more than what they expected. If not, they can take their business elsewhere at any moment in time.

 

Podcast Outline

  • Who is Adam Khafif today and how young is he?

    • 22 year old entrepreneur that runs ‘LISN Up’ clothing, a social lifestyle brand

  • Grew up in Saugus, MA

    • Parents taught him to go the extra five steps to make sure to please the customer  

    • Always go above and beyond for the customer because they could take their business elsewhere

  • Being consistent with your message and your packaging

    • Even when no one is watching treat it as if you’re already at the ending destination so that when you get there… nothing will change

  • What it's like being a Muslim today in America

    • More people feel they now have to speak up because of the political environment we’re in

    • Big misconception when talking to people about Islam is that there are a lot of restrictions on the religion but it's not as difficult as it seems, he makes the culture work with his religion. (9:40)

  • Studied at Babson College the #1 entrepreneurship program in the country

    • Learned his freshmen year how important it is for a team of people to be on the same page. Four people who understand the vision is better than thirty people who have 0 direction (13:40)

    • School gave students freedom to work on their own endeavors and very hands on learning versus just sitting a classroom

  • “Lisn Up Clothing”

    • Saw a vision for the brand, wanted to donate money towards charities and ultimately wanted people to “listen up” to his message.

    • 6 years strong and counting, his competitiveness is what has gotten him to continue to push forward with the brand and wanting to prove people wrong

  • Donates 50% of all profits to a charity of the customer's choice (22:20)

    • Father always told him, “whatever you do, do what you love but something that benefits others”

    • With competitiveness of other streetwear brands he wanted to give customers 5x for making a purchase (24:10)

      • Incredibly high quality product, when you check out you get to choose where you’re donating the money towards, the product is shipped in a cardboard boombox with business cards and stickers inside and interacting with fans and followers on all social media

    • Give people every reason to support the brand even if it results in the brand losing money

  • Set a picture of Lupe Fiasco and Johnny Cupcakes as his background on his phone because he visioned of meeting both of them (30:00)

    • Got into Lupe Fiasco because of his socially conscious music and loved that he was also Muslim

    • Used to stop into Johnny Cupcakes store on Newbury St in Boston everyday during lunch to check out the products

    • Influenced to create a brand with as much detail as Johnny with a message like Lupe

    • Collaborated with Lupe for a t-shirt and hosted a pop-up event at Johnny's Newbury St location (42:00)

  • Got a few breaks from traveling around and setting up booths at different conventions

    • In California met 2 NFL players who contacted him to collaborate

    • In Washington D.C. met muslim olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad and collaborated

    • Connected with Lupe Fiasco by having all his friends tweet at him

    • Very successful with one of his most recent collabs, Noor Tagouri, his now wife

    • Built brand awareness from collaborating and cater to their message or the direction they want to take it

  • Created the ultimate experience for any customers that come across his brand (44:30)

    • Each new clothing line is a called an “album”, each product is called a “track”, printed the lookbook on “CD booklets”, packaged inside a boombox and every pop-up event they host it is one of their “tour stops”

  • New background on his phone is entrepreneur Gary Vee and hip-hop artist Logic

    • Gary Vee’s energy and passion for being the best possible person you can become

    • Logic for going the extra mile and creating the ultimate experience for any of his followers. He painted one of his followers on his album cover, went to fan's house to play his album and always gives back  

  • Has been fortunate to have been featured on Huffington Post, Business Insider, Forbes and more

    • Adam has always stayed true to himself, gave back and followed his passion

    • Always more concerned about his customers and followers rather than worrying about the amount of money he has made

  • Announced the next collaboration by putting out a phone number for people to call and personally talking to every person (51:00)

    • Phone blew up and spent the next 4-5 hours calling back each person

    • Had people tweet out how the experience was and what the next line was all about

  • One of the biggest mistakes Adam has made in 2017 is announcing a release date for the next line when he wasn’t fully finished with it

    • Had to push back the date twice and felt he had let down some of his customers that were looking for the product  

  • Ignores negative people completely unless he can talk through a situation or problem

  • Being able to tell if someone is being authentic versus a sales person

    • If they show practicality and are being true

    • Being able to tell if someone is a surface scratcher and if they have actually taken the steps to do their research (60:00)

  • Ask Bobbbaaaay 1 Question

    • What is the coolest part about tour managing and the most difficult lesson you had to learn along the way?

  • Picture frame on the wall 10 years from now, what/who do we see?

    • Celebrity pop-up shop in LA along with all of the people he’s collaborated with

  • Find Adam and the brand on Social media

    • Instagram: @Adamkhafif

    • Instagram/Snap: @LISNUPClothing

    • Website: lisnupclothing.com

  • 2-3 pieces of advice to someone try to find their passion/purpose

    • If you would never make money off of it, would you continue to do it? That’s where you find a passion

    • Be the hardest worker that you know and don’t stop