Personal

My Brother Brad.

Most of you know I have an older brother Brad, but I wanted to share his story and how it relates to my career. Brad was born is South Africa and grew up in sunny Irvine California. Like most kids who move to a new country, Brad faced many challenges at a young age; meeting new people, adapting to school, and fitting in. On top of that, Brad was born with a club foot, which led to several corrective surgeries and he was in and out of the hospital. Things were never easy for Brad, but he did not complain. By the time I was born Brad was 7 and had already learned to cope with all of his challenges. He welcomed me into the world with a big smile and open arms. 

Throughout my entire childhood Brad went out of his way to include me in all of his activities. He wanted to make sure that I felt included, because that’s the kind of person he is. Whether that was letting me run along the sidelines at his football practices, going to the beach with his friends, or just hanging out, Brad would let me “kick it". I really looked up to Brad and his friends and wanted to be just like them when I grew up. 

Eventually Brad had to go away to college and decided to attend UC Davis in Northern California. During his freshman year, our middle brother Graham was diagnosed with Brain cancer, and Brad started making several trips home to be with the family. I don’t think he liked being that far from our family and eventually he decided to transfer to UCLA. During his time in LA, I would visit Brad and hang out with him and his friends on campus and go to fun places like Magic Mountain. I really liked coming up to LA and always dreamed of moving here because of those experiences. 

During college Brad decided he wanted to become a lawyer and after graduation he moved down to San Diego for law school. Our middle brother Graham was already in San Diego attending UCSD and would eventually go to medical school and become a doctor. During Brad's first year at law school, he had an epiphany that he wanted to make business deals, and had no interest in being in a court room or dealing with criminals. So he decided to enroll in business school and switch his focus.

After being exposed to the culture in San Diego through my older brothers, I decided to attend SDSU and I began my career immediately. I saw an opportunity to express my creativity and make some money, so I started a printing company with the help of my friends and family. Our brother Graham invested in the company and Brad oversaw sales and operations. With a lot of hard work, and some luck, we were able to drive millions of dollars in sales and work with some amazing clients. Brad closed deals that put me on the map, like the merchandise we made for shady records, the thousands of shirts we printed for Mission hockey, and the products we made for celebrities like Paris Hilton. As much as I like to take credit for this stuff, it was my brother who made it happen. 

If you have ever worked with me, you know that I create the fires and Brad contains them. I have always looked to him to help me problem solve. So in 2011 after I co-founded Flex Watches, we appeared on MTV and over sold by 10k units right before Christmas. I was receiving hundreds of calls and thousands of emails each week. I immediately turned to Brad for help with the operation. From that day forward Brad ran the operations for Flex Watches and became a staple in that business as well. Over the last 15 years Brad has acquired the skills to start a business, create a process and facilitate millions of dollars in revenue. Without him, I really don’t know where I would be today. 

For this reason you have seen Brad featured on CNBC the Profit with me and Marcus Lemonis several times. He was by my side the day we met Marcus to the last air date just two weeks ago when he became a Partner in Community. Brad has been involved in running all of my companies and has always been my number one supporter. I often times take this for granted and want to recognize the amazing Entrepreneur he has become!

The Profit Effect

When Trevor Jones' mother passed away from breast cancer, he lost more than just a parent -- he lost the key figure behind Flex Watches, his charity-based business. The stylish wristwatch company, which he'd co-founded with childhood friend Travis Lubinsky, was created with her as its charitable muse and carried a suitable mission: 10 distinct watch styles with 10 percent of proceeds donated to 10 charities.

But after her passing, Jones found it hard to continue telling his mother's story and largely abandoned the brand identity that had brought Flex success. Without that guiding light, Flex became unfocused and began to spiral into an unremarkable, me-too luxury watch brand. Sales soon drastically dropped. But a visit from The Profit's Marcus Lemonis was all it took to get this charitable company back to its roots and back in the black.

In 2016, when Marcus first arrived at Flex, he was puzzled by the absence of the colorful watches and charities that had initially attracted him to the business. It soon became clear to him that Trevor, unable to cope with his Mother's death, had steered Flex away from its successful branding model. He also isolated another major flaw in the business: Travis, with his eye fixed on cutting costs, often rushed out unfinished and cheaply made products.

To get Flex back on track, Marcus had to do more than just "rebuild the brand using social media, using packaging [and] product development." He also needed to help heal Trevor's emotional wounds. And that he did in a touching heart to heart that convinced the young founder to reignite his passion for charity and embrace his mother's legacy.

As a result, the '10 colors, 10 charities, 10% donation' model was reinstated. Marcus even overhauled the look of Flex's in-store displays, packaging and watch designs, putting the company back on the path to success.

Today, Flex is flourishing once again with a renewed focus, diverse designs and additional charities onboard. "We're excited to expand on not just our ten causes, but more causes and introduce the cause per month. And get more and more people involved and really make a difference in what we're doing," says Brad.

And, due in no small part to their performance under Marcus' watch, the tiny team of three has now been folded into a new company under his umbrella: ML Creative. The company, which functions as an e-commerce and digital marketing agency, works alongside a portfolio of Lemonis' brands like InkkasDiLascia, among others, to help with their campaigns.

"Marcus really recognized our skill sets and our ability to sell product online and create cohesive campaigns from the top of the funnel to the remarketing to the conversion," says Travis of the Flex team's new agency life.

Thanks to Marcus' talent for spotting creativity and passion for backing businesses with a cause, Flex continues to expand, giving the company ample time to carry out its charitable mission.