With its first large retail shipment under its belt, Revive Brand Co. can focus on the rest of its busy season.
On Monday, the College of Southern Nevada received 750 backpacks from the local company, making it the largest order Revive has fulfilled to date.
CEO Jonathan Santos said that’s just the beginning.
At 22, Santos heads Revive, a manufacturer of colorful backpacks, baseball caps and, soon, duffle bags — all products designed for students.
“I grew up on the east side of Las Vegas, and I saw a lot of my friends get into trouble. The only real difference I had versus what they had is I went to (VoTech). It was a different environment, and they were stuck in the same environment that I was living in,” Santos said.
VoTech, now called the Southeast Career and Technical Academy, is a magnet high school. Santos said he believes attending classes there helped him stay out of trouble. Now he wants to pay it forward by using his business as a platform from which he can help youth stay on a positive path.
“We try to bring people under our wings. We try to be there for them whether they just want to call us and talk,” Santos said.
Word of help has spread: When the company is attending events, they attract throngs of young people. From there, relationships have grown.
Santos also helps the community via the SBA’s Business Success Center, through which he hosts a radio show on KRLV-1340 AM called “Mi Negocio, Mi Dinero” targeted to young entrepreneurs. There he shares his business experience — in high school he sold candy from his backpack — and talks about attending business school at the College of Southern Nevada.
“I was fortunate to have a pretty good professor,” Santos said.
That man, Kevin Raiford, is still Santos’ mentor.
In class, Raiford said Santos’ business plan blew him away, but what struck the professor was Santos’ desire to know how to make it better even after the grade. Raiford said now it’s Jonathan who inspires him, in part because of his loyalty to everyone around him.
“He’s awesome,” Raiford said. “Jonathan, he wants to know everything about business. He’s a student of the total game.”
Raiford described the entrepreneur as “sharp” and “dedicated.” Recently the mentor, who was a product manager at Hewlett Packard, suggested that Santos create different backpacks to hit different price points. Santos initially didn’t want to, but the move helped him secure more sales.
“He’s going to be successful. He’s going to attract attention from bigger brands that will want to buy him out,” Raiford said.
At 19, Santos received a personal business loan from Wells Fargo. He subsequently created backpack prototypes, gathered a team behind him and launched Revive.
“It was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” Santos said.
His entrepreneurial journey has led him to business plan competitions and local arts festivals and has turned him into an e-tailer.
His experience hasn’t been without struggle.
Supplies have been lost in transit while being shipped to Las Vegas, resulting in lost money, and website designers haven’t delivered on promises.
“We had to just keep pushing forward though,” Santos said.
Since inception, about $18,000 has been put into the business, all of which has been funded by the founders: Cesar Santos, Amanda Love Appling, Medin Gebrezgier, Mason Barnett and Jonathan Santos himself.
Revive’s products launched last summer to the public, and Santos said back-to-school season, June through September, accounts for 70 percent of sales, while the holiday shopping season accounts for 20 percent. The rest of the year sales trickle in, and that’s when Santos and company increase their focus on product development, strategy and marketing.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.