Founders Interview: A Talk with Jon Shanahan, Founder of The Kavalier | Logo.com
Coming up with The Kavalier.
Jon’s days with a camera can be traced back to his childhood. When he was 6, he was directing his friends to make mini-movies. But high school was a defining time for that passion as he joined the video club.
“There’s certainly no substitute for hard work and dedicating thoughtful time to what you’re working on. I’ve published over 500 videos in the last three years, and it takes a lot of time and effort to get there, but if you show up every day, you will be ahead.”
When Jon started his first corporate job, he started buying “nicer clothes.” He was drawn to almost all the sales and deals he could find at the mall; he even got them tailored to fit him. But unfortunately, after a few months of wear, they started to deteriorate, and Jon realized they were just not made well.
Not only was he buying the wrong size, but he never got the full story of the clothing. That realization changed him; he started to buy the best he could afford and was much happier.
Jon soon started to work in the industry and learned more about the business side of fashion, and his passion only grew. As the online fashion industry grew, he realized that not many people talked about them, and the idea of supporting “the little guy” was born. This is why the first video posted is about Frank and Oak.
A little bit about The Kavalier.
Jon started the YouTube channel in 2015 as a platform to help men find great undiscovered menswear brands just as the direct-to-consumer world was beginning.
He molded his approach on The Wirecutter, intending to deliver helpful, in-depth recommendations by category. “Kavalier” is the 14th-century German word for ‘Gentleman.’
Jon wanted to model himself after Consumer Reports or the Wirecutter, with excellent independent information, and then build a business of affiliate revenue. He wanted to give the best information and build trust.
“I only recommend products that I enjoy and believe in.”
Recognizing the need for his presence, he started the blog in early 2018 but still focused on putting out a video every weekday. He’s grown each year steadily; currently, he’s at 118k subscribers.
Coming up with Stryx.
Stryx is one of the first companies to make cosmetics from the ground up for men. Their first two products are concealer and tinted moisturizer. They’re built around the premise that every guy can benefit from touch-ups, such as pimples, under-eye bags, or razor burn. Women have a ton of options. Guys are expected to live with it. We’re out to change that.
The company wasn’t Jon’s idea; he knew the team behind Stryx because they were covering similar companies.
He was invited by the CEO and the head of marketing to spend a day at the factory and put together a video on my channel. That morning he woke up with a massive pimple on his chin, and he had the Stryx pen with him. He used the pen to conceal it, and the video turned out great. You can’t tell that he was wearing it. This was the first time Jon realized just how interesting the produced is.
Later on, Stryx started looking to take charge of content, community, and branding. Jon took up the opportunity and joined as a full-time co-founder a bit late in the company. From there, it’s been a wild ride.
Read the whole story here.