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The success of Aaron Levant’s mobile-first video shopping platform NTWRK that launched in 2018 may have taken the retail industry by storm, but for those familiar with the NTWRK CEO’s entrepreneurial spirit, this was simply another notch under his business-owning belt. The mastermind and investor behind numerous successful ventures like Truff Hot Sauce and Agenda Show has always had an interest in startups, dating as far back as the fourth grade.
For those unfamiliar with NTWRK, the app described as “the QVC for Gen Z” with over 2M+ subscribers has seen tremendous success in the short span of 3 years. His pulse on the culture and trends is incomparable – he has strategically brought the e-commerce app into spaces that big brands are just starting to dive into: livestream video shopping, social commerce, exclusive product drops, and digital shopping festivals.
Find out more about Aaron’s entrepreneurial learnings and beliefs, what he sees as the “next big thing” in the e-commerce space, and what his go-to everyday outfit is…the answer may surprise you.
How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up with a natural interest in both entrepreneurialism and design. That manifested itself at a young age with my first entrepreneurial venture; publishing a car magazine I sold at school when I was in the fourth grade. In the late 90s, I self-published a graffiti blog and started my own small t-shirt company. I expanded my roles in the industry beyond design and learning every aspect of the industry, leading me to be the founder of Agenda, the largest independent streetwear trade show in the world.
All of these collective experiences were forged from an authentic connection to graffiti, street art, and design channeled through my natural entrepreneurial drive.
You were behind a number of other startups like Truff Hot Sauce, Hall of Flowers, and Agenda Show. What’s the biggest thing you learned along the way that you bring to your role today?
Ask for forgiveness, not for permission. Most people sit around waiting for someone to give them permission to do something. This can be the most paralyzing thing in business, and I try to still live by this motto today.
What’s the most innovative thing you’re currently working on?
We are rolling out NTWRK digital shopping festivals– they are what I’m most proud of to date. These festivals are biggest innovations in the e-commerce landscape. They are two-day celebrations where we bring together entertainment, community, and retail into one seamless digital experience. I think we have unlocked a really meaningful format with our events like Transfer, Beyond the Streets, and Off Court. NTWRK will host 7 tentpole digital festivals in 2021.
What new or up-and-coming innovation(s) are you most excited about and how do you think it will change the future of marketing?
Livestream video shopping and social commerce is going to be the fastest growing subset of the e-commerce market. In China already, livestream shopping is a $100B+ industry and we believe that North America has the same type of potential over the next few years. The interactivity, urgency, and fun that it brings to the shopping experience creates unparalleled conversion rates with consumers and turns it into a true “retailtainment” experience.