Failure Fund Reflection Post

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NXT LVL performing at Davidson College Battle of the Bands

NXT LVL performing at Davidson College Battle of the Bands

next level ent team in logo shirts

Our Failure Fund experience has been an invaluable learning experience and huge first step for our company. We have grown so much from this experience. With our first installment of funds from the Failure Fund grant we were able to do many things. First, we successfully opened up a joint account with Wells Fargo. Second, We ordered 50 NXT LVL shirts and publicly announced the launch of our clothing line to the Davidson student body. Third, we set up a PayPal account for mobile transactions. Finally, we applied for and got approved as an LLC through the LegalZoom website.

While we were waiting for Phase 2 funds we had the privilege of connecting with Davidson Alumni. We spoke with lawyer, Doug Kim, to discuss the legal implications of starting a business and managing a clothing line. We also spoke with Matt Loftus and Kevin Hubbard, Davidson alumni and founders of the clothing company Rhoback. We had a really good conversation about what mistakes we need to avoid as young entrepreneurs, how to generate interest for our merchandise and stay competitive in this business. These men became our mentors for legal matters and for running a clothing business.  

During this process we learned about the tough side of business as well. Our lawyer, Lyle informed us that our company/group name NXT LVL ENT was already being used by other companies, specifically BET. As a result, our brand was no longer secure and we would have to change our name. It was unexpected but something we had to accept. After brainstorming and researching we came up with a new name for our company and group, Trilla G ENT. We used the Phase 2 money to help us pay for the trademark fees. We’ll announce our new name officially at the beginning of our senior year.

We ended this experience on a high note however. We were able to recruit nine other artists into NXT LVL ENT. These new members will help us grow as a brand and help us fulfill our goal of becoming a successful artist collective. We were also able to sell all 50 our Nxt Lvl shirts to people of all ages, colors, creeds and races. We’ve been able to establish ourselves as a force on campus and we’ve gained more fans since the start of this experience. We owe a lot of our recent success to the Failure Fund team and we’re all very grateful. We’re confident that with all of the knowledge, connections and experience we’ve gained we’ll be able to effectively and efficiently tackle new challenges that will come our way. We just want to say thank you to everyone on the Failure Fund Team!

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Blog Post 5

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A lot has happened these past two weeks. The biggest thing was the revelation made to us by our lawyer, Lyle. He informed us that our company/group name NXT LVL ENT was already being used by other companies, specifically BET. As a result, our brand was no longer secure and we would have to change our name. It was unexpected but something we should’ve seen coming. After brainstorming and researching we came up with a new name for our company and group, Trilla G ENT. We talked to Lyle and he told us that this name was safe to use so we’ll be pooling our resources together to pay for the trademark fees. We’ll announce our new name officially at the beginning of our senior year.

We had our big artist meeting with the potential prospects during Easter Break and it went great. Everyone was excited and they respected our vision. After talking with them individually and addressing their concerns we got them to agree to join our collective; so now our team is 10 members strong. We’ve finalized our budget and now the Phase 2 money from the Failure Fund is on the way and we’ll be allocating that money towards paying for the trademark fees. Last but not least, we’ve sold the majority of our Nxt Lvl Inventory. We only have a handful of shirts left and we aim to sell the rest within these next two weeks.

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Blog Post 4

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The past couple of weeks have been super productive. We received our order of 50 shirts from UTEES. Before we started selling them, we applied for and got approved as an LLC through the LegalZoom website. We announced that we were selling shirts to the campus and over the past 4 days we have sold over half of our inventory. Our customers have paid with cash and venmo and we’ve kept a record of all of our transactions. We found a website domain provider through GoDaddy that we will launch once we’ve received the Phase 2 funds. We’ve also set up a PayPal account for mobile transactions and a Twitter account.

We’ve also done research on other brand items. We’ve been looking into new shirts and stickers to help increase the spread of our brand. We’ll have the exact prices from our Utees rep soon. Our artists are also currently working on new designs for future merchandise. The budget has been updated save for the exact prices of the stickers and transportation costs. Finally, we were able to successfully apply for the Davidson Venture Fund Competition and will find out tomorrow if we’ve been accepted as finalists. Things are moving smoothly and we’re confident we’ll be able to sell all 50 shirts and create more buzz for future products.

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Blog Post 3

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In these past couple of weeks, NXT LVL ENT publicly announced the launch of our clothing line to the Davidson student body via Facebook, our Instagram page and through direct emails. We created a survey for students to fill out that told us what size shirt they wanted and any additional feedback they had to offer. Requests for shirts have been steadily pouring in. We’ve also ordered the first 50 shirts and they should be getting to us either by the end of this week or early next week. In addition to ordering the shirts, we’ve also begun looking at other colors which we will wear to create more of a buzz for shirts and to gauge interests in other colors.

Also, we’ve begun recruiting other artists into NXT LVL ENT and these people will also be wearing the shirts and helping us to get the word out about the NXT LVL clothing line.

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Blog Post 2

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In the past two weeks NXT LVL ENT has made significant progress. We’ve met with the UTees representative and we gave him our finalized design and learned that the shirts were cheaper than we originally thought. We made inquiries about other items of clothing that we can order in the future in addition to shirts; items like baseball caps, sweatpants, long-sleeve shirts and stickers for laptops. We’ve received a preview of the shirts and once we make a small tweak to the font we’ll put in the order for the first batch of shirts.

We also had a conference call with Matt Loftus and Kevin Hubbard, the Davidson alumni and founders of Rhoback. We had a really good conversation about what we mistakes we need to avoid, how to generate interest for our merchandise and stay competitive in this business. They pointed us to websites they use for making online sales and they also told us about legal steps we need to take to be able to sell merchandise in North Carolina. It was a very productive conversation.

So now that we have our design finalized, the next step is to order the shirts. We’ll send out surveys and find out how interested the student body is in our shirt. We’ll also begin to let people know that merchandise is coming through our social media accounts and upcoming shows to get people hype about our new product.

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Blog Post 1

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I’m proud to say that NXT LVL ENT has been making progress with our clothing line initiative. We’ve received the first installment of funds from the Failure Fund grant and have successfully opened up a joint account with Wells Fargo. We’ve contacted the UTees representative and will be able to order the first shipment of shirts very soon. In the meantime, we’ve been talking with a lawyer, a Davidson Alumni, Doug Kim, to discuss the legal implications of starting a business and managing a clothing line. This includes trademarks, copyright and the necessary steps to becoming an entity.

We’ve also been in contact with other Davidson Alumni; specifically Matt Loftus and Kevin Hubbard, the founders of Rhoback, a polo-shirt company. Matt and Kevin will serve as mentors for us as we embark on this journey. We’re sure we’ll learn a lot from them. All in all, we’re off to a great start and Phase one will soon be in full swing. The money is secured and we have mentors to guide us through this process.

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Introducing NXT LVL ENT

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Team Name: NXT LVL ENT

Team Members:

Victor-Alan Weeks ’19

Bradford Grant ’19

Lawrence King ’19

How We Got Here: We all met Freshman year and created NXT LVL ENT. We decided to take this more seriously and make NXT LVL ENT a business. We found out about the failure fund while doing grant research, we applied and thankfully we got the grant and are in the process of becoming a legitimate entity.

What We Do: We are a Record Label/Production company. We make music, videos and art of all kind. We also sell merchandise ranging from shirts, to hats, pants, etc, that bear our brand name, NXT LVL. We’re also an artist collective and we recruit talented artists from all backgrounds to create art that is important to them and art that will have a global impact.

Where we’re going/what’s to come: We’re going to become a legitimate company. We’ll be a record label, production company, clothing company and artist collective. We’ll continue to make music and learn more about the music industry and make art that will have a global impact and change the world.

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