Welcome to our exclusive interview with John Aghayan, the founder of EMCEE, a groundbreaking social commerce platform designed to empower creators by enabling them to build and grow a business through shoppable content.
A passionate entrepreneur at the intersection of fashion, tech, and retail, John has set out to redefine the future of commerce by putting creators at the center stage.
EMCEE is shaping up to be the ultimate shopping destination for consumers, making shopping entertaining and fun, while offering brands a performance-based customer acquisition channel.
With an innovative approach to affiliate marketing and a focus on creator culture, John shares his insights on business growth, overcoming challenges, and the definition of success in 2023.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
John Aghayan: Thank you for having me!
I grew up in Paris and have always been passionate about fashion, tech, and retail. These passions led me to create two companies at their intersection: Pop Up Storz, a community marketplace for short-term retail space, and EBE, a high-end, made-to-order outerwear brand.
I moved to New York in 2019 and, during the pandemic, I came to the clear realization that creators are the new retailers. However, there was no platform in the affiliate space that was actually a powerful shopping destination in and of itself, where creators could build and own a customer base; EMCEE was born.
EMCEE is a social commerce platform with the vision to allow anyone with a certain expertise or talent to build and grow a business within the app through shoppable content.
For Creators, it is the easiest and fastest way to curate affiliate online storefronts powered by their own original content, with no more affiliate links sending the shopper to different retailers.
For Brands, EMCEE is a new customer acquisition and sales channel that is performance-based. It takes 1 minute to set up and there are no contracts or setup fees…it’s like magic.
For consumers, EMCEE is on the cusp of becoming the ultimate, most fun and entertaining shopping destination available.
TLDR; at EMCEE we are building the future of commerce and it is powered by creators.
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
John Aghayan: At the beginning of this year, we secured exclusive affiliate partnerships with two creator-favorite brands, Dion Lee and Luar (Luar won the 2022 CFDA accessory brand of the year and is now a semi-finalist for the LVMH prize).
Through these partnerships, not only do our creators get to sell products from their favorite brands, but they were also invited to private fittings during New York Fashion Week in February and sat in the front row at the shows.
This kind of exclusive access we provided to our creators was a great step towards delivering on our mission of helping this new generation of entrepreneurs build and grow their personal brands.
What advice do you wish you received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
John Aghayan: Our investor Richard Kurtz always said to me, “There is no substitute for good people.” This has stuck with me and these are words we live by at EMCEE. If you make a mistake and hire an employee who isn’t the best fit for the company and its ethos, you can put the entire business at risk.
For the next quarter, we aim to dramatically boost our brand awareness through the launch of our content strategy which is designed to establish EMCEE as a thought leader in the affiliate marketing space while also becoming the voice of creator culture.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
John Aghayan: Online business keeps on surging, which has caused customer acquisition costs to go through the roof.
As brands look for new acquisition channels that can scale, I expect to see a shift to performance-based influencer marketing as an alternative to paid ads. At EMCEE, we are pioneering this shift.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
John Aghayan: We more than quadrupled the size of our team in the past nine months to reach 40+ team members. So, the real challenge right now is maintaining our culture to uphold the rapid growth.
In order to do this, we are focused on improving our overall internal communication, as well as prioritizing cross-team collaboration.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
John Aghayan: It depends on your goal, but if you want to become the best at what you do, even giving 100% may not be enough. Every entrepreneur works hard, so it comes down to more than the time you put in–it is about your dedication; it’s the sacrifices, the discipline, and the focus.
These are required in order to reach your fullest potential and are often underestimated. You can work very hard but are you obsessed? Are you truly all in?
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
John Aghayan: Success for this year is having creators on the platform making a living solely by using EMCEE.
The vision is that as we become a very powerful content-driven e-commerce experience with strong organic traffic, creators will have the opportunity to be discovered on our platform (a unique offering in the space).
Creators will not only be able to grow an audience on EMCEE but really build and grow a sustainable business for themselves.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank John Aghayan for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with John Aghayan or his company, you can do it through his – Instagram
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