Vandal: Kevin Benejam
A MORNING WITH KEVIN BENEJAM
We Spent the Morning with Kevin to Discuss HIS VIEWS
Text: Spencer Ahn Photography: Patrick Chen
We recently spoke with Kevin Benejam; Menswear Stylist, Lifestyle Influencer and Brand Strategist. A New York native, Kevin began working in luxury real estate post college graduation. As he started to meet clients and build his network, his clients began to seek his fashion advice and how to dress for a big event or their nights out. During this period he realized that he could use his skills gained from years of real estate experience to help people with their business and sharing their unique visions with the world.
What do the next 48 hours look like for you?
Very busy! I'm on my way to a meeting right now with my team(marketing agency) where we help businesses and individuals with their brand and expressing their story online. This includes anything from paid media, digital marketing, facebook ads and SEO. Afterwards I have a meeting with two partners to consult with a client. Later I have a meeting with another one of my partners for my fashion line that will be coming out in the Fall. And then yoga later. Of course in between that, I have to handle my social media, make sure I post on Instagram and also organize things for my blog. Tomorrow, gym in the morning and a couple of meetings for NYFW.
As someone who's old enough to have seen the growth of social media what are your thoughts about it?
Honestly, I know a lot of people hate it because its "compare city" where you're constantly comparing yourself to someone else and it becomes a big distraction. But it's a double-edged sword, you can use it to your advantage and you can literally make your business. I think in this day and age, if you don't have social media for your business, you don't have a business. Social media is key, people are following the brand but people also want to follow the CEO of the brand. They want to know what the story is like, who is creating the vision behind the brand.
Another big thing is that even less than 10 years ago, all the content that we create for social media would have costed thousands of dollars and you would have to wait to submit it to a platform like television or print media. Now we have so much more control over our destiny, we can do whatever we want and release it whenever we want and a lot of people don't see it that way. We have our own broadcasting channel on our phones. Right now is the most important and crucial time to get your name and your brand out there, get brand notoriety and recognition because I have no idea where it will be 5 years from now.
Most distinct daily routine/ritual
I've transitioned to waking up and not checking my phone. I start my day off by writing my goals for the day in my journal, doing a 5-minute prayer and 10-minutes of meditation and maybe hit the gym before I get into my day. It definitely sets a good tone for my day and I feel like it's necessary to start your day with something positive in the morning. The world is naturally negative and you have to systematically wash your mind with positivity just like you wash your body. If not you will end up with the default which is negative.
You place a lot of importance in identity and individualism, can you speak a bit more about that?
I come from a place where I wasn't always comfortable in my skin and I felt kind of insecure in a way. I didn't see that I had a gift or think what I had to offer the world was valuable. But through the people that I've met and the books that I've read and through the actions I have taken, I've realized that everyone has that diamond inside of them. Every person is one out of one. You have to follow your gut all the way because no one else knows what you want and cares about your goals as much as you do. The reason why I go all in on that is because theres a lot of people out there that don't have confidence in themselves or in their dreams and aren't excited to create amazing things for their lives. I just want them to know that we're living in the best times even though society or the news doesn't always portray that. But I truly believe that we're living in the best times.
Do you feel you have a sense of responsibility?
I've been trying to follow my intuition more. Rather than just being motivational, what are the actual tactics and strategies I can share to actually grow a business? What can I actually do to make someone’s life and business better? Having a positive attitude is definitely valuable but that needs to be supported with a real strategy and routines. I'm all about positivity and I want to portray that with my artistic vision.
"I loved helping people feel amazing, develop confidence, and build their personal brand." -K.B.
Who are some people that you look up to?
Drake, Gary Vaynerchuck, Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter to name a few. Drake not only because of how talented he is as a musician but also for his brand. I think he has been successful in expanding his brand into fashion and business and I think he truly wants to make peoples lives better. Gary is all about focusing on your strengths and not your weaknesses. He speaks a lot about how people come out of school feeling insecure because they may not be academically successful and school tends to focus on your weaknesses. This leads to them not knowing what to do once they finish their education because they weren't "good at school" but they could easily be gifted in another area that they didn't get attention in. Jordan and Jeter I think really set the standard for excellence in their fields and I try to set the standard for excellence in anything I do as well. But, I've learned the hard way that being too much of a perfectionist you could really lose a lot of momentum.
Something from your childhood that you wish you still did or continued doing.
Probably playing baseball and watching cartoons haha. I used to love playing baseball, I wish that I could dedicate time to it as it isn't really a priority right now. Definitely the team aspect of it I miss. Its also such a great feeling when you're on a team and everyone is rooting for each other and when you win everyone wins. Similar to a business where colleagues all work together and when there is success everyone feels it. I I feel like watching cartoons gives you some cool creativity that you need because it brings you back to childhood. I guess just being more of a child in general, I'm trying to incorporate that more into my year because if gives you more creativity. The world makes you want to grow up but I think the real people that change the world in creative fields they stay true to what they believe in and they never grow up. They have the mind of a child so to speak.