Bisser Georgiev, founder of LiveTrends, which is a GrowFL 2017 Florida Companies to Watch honoree, was not discouraged by two early startup failures to launch. He used the lessons learned to launch LiveTrends, which has grown from three to 120 employees in four years.
"I launched my first company at 22 and it failed miserably," he said. "My second company followed suit and I had two other small companies in the last five years, but nothing compared to LiveTrends. I was president for a large horticulture company with 400 employees before starting LiveTrends. I wanted to switch gears and launch my own so I put all my savings into it and instead of launching in garage we launched in 150,000 square feet warehouse ready to go to market. It was make it or break it - no life boat or canoe. All my connections with big box retailers really paid off and LiveTrends was born with three employees and now four years later we have offices in four cities."
LiveTrends is a design, marketing and production company that supplies home décor for mass markets.
"We design fashionable accessories for feature living plans," Georgiev explained. "We combine fashion, design and horticulture into one piece and supply the product line to the mass market at affordable prices. We are in about 14,000 stores nationwide like Costco, Walmart, Publix, Target, and Lowes, plus many independent stores. Our mission is to change how the home décor industry functions worldwide. We function like a tech or fashion company, not a horticulture company. Everything is based on speed, agility and trend research. We forecast trends 18 months forward and introduce products to corporate buyers 14 months ahead of time."
Being recognized as a Florida Company To Watch has highlighted Florida opportunities that Georgiev did not focus on previously.
"It's pretty cool," he said. "The GrowFL award was great because until now we never put our focus local marketing. We always focused nationally so for us there are so many interesting things we can do locally for hiring and recruiting. For us, this is a big deal. It’s a recognition that the state sees us, local companies see us and the biggest thing is our employees are proud to work with us and happy to be recognized for their hard work."
Georgiev's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to get as much education as possible before you launch a startup and make your first mistakes while working for someone else's company.
"Make your mistakes on someone else's dime," he said. "Get a job in a similar field and manage people there. Make mistakes on others' expense because those mistakes when you launch can cost you your company. Try to launch something you truly love and is close to what you understand."