Seattle Academy Gavriel Staloch '18 Highlighted as Geek Wire's "Geek of the Week"
Above: Gavriel Staloch '18
Gavi Staloch '18 was recently highlighted on Geek Wire as their "Geek of the Week." Geek Wire profiles Pacific Northwest technology gurus, innovators, entrepreneurs, and more.
Gavi graduated from Seattle Academy this past June 2018. He accepted an offer to attend Washington State University's Entrepreneurship program in the Fall. However, he chose a different path this summer.
Gavi founded CityKillerz Ventures in 2016, and his company has since grown drastically. His business started with his Instagram profile @206shooter and then he created @CityKillerz. After a month long trip to Australia, Bali, and Japan, personal contemplation, and conversations with his parents, he chose to take a gap year to focus his energy and time exclusively on his business. CityKillerz Ventures serves as a platform for Gavi as a social media influencer and sales of his custom photo “presets,” or digital filters.
Now, at just 18, the Seattle native is running his own business and reaching millions of users who share his love for urban photography. - Geek Wire
Gavi works on CityKillerz Ventures every day in the collaborative WeWork space in downtown Seattle. He enjoys working in this environment because it adds structure to his day and offers networking opportunities for future employees. In Gavi's interview with Geek Wire, he shares, "I’m taking one step at a time right now,” ... "I'm loving the freedom to focus full-time on my business. Although I recognize the importance of college, I may consider taking a second year off. I’m learning more right now than I’ve ever learned before".
You can read Gavi's interview with Geek Wire below or read Geek Wire's entire article on Gavriel Staloch, their Geek of the Week here.
Congratulations on your success, Gavriel!
Geek Wire Interview with Gavriel:
What do you do, and why do you do it? I’m the founder and CEO of CityKillerz Ventures. The company was established in 2016 as an Instagram-driven company focusing on urban-oriented millennials interested in street photography. We operate a group of Instagram pages with a weekly reach of more than 1.2 million people, more than 73 percent of whom are age 18-34 years old. Our Instagram pages generate nearly 4 million impressions each week, have more than 700,000 followers, attract 15,000 new followers every week and are growing rapidly.
We use our highly-engaged community to drive traffic to and interest in our e-commerce store, which specializes in selling custom-made photo-editing tools. These tools, which are known as “presets” and are digital downloads that are compatible with Adobe Lightroom, are essentially filters that can help enhance photographers’ images in a single click. Some presets are made by me, but most of them are made by photographers around the world with whom I enter into revenue sharing agreements. Prices range from $15 to $75.
We are in the midst of launching two new business lines — online photography-related tutorial videos and corporate advertising services. The tutorial business will be similar to our preset business and will involve collaboration with photographers here in the U.S. and abroad. Our advertising business is focused on helping companies reach urban-oriented millennials through our social media platform.
What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? I’m considered a social media influencer. Obviously, we are living in a time when social media is having a vast influence on our everyday lives and influencers are leveraging their communities for the benefit of advertisers. It’s pretty crazy to think that companies in the past have had to spend millions of dollars to advertise without the kind of meaningful metrics we have today to measure the effectiveness of that advertising. Now with social media, companies can more easily tailor their advertising with greater effectiveness.
Where do you find your inspiration? My inspiration initially came from being a photographer and wanting to build a community of like-minded individuals. When I started CityKillerz, I had no intention of building a brand. In fact, I didn’t even know at the time that I could make money from my Instagram activity. As I continued to shoot and build my community, I was approached by the Four Seasons Hotel to do a photo shoot for them and was also approached by someone who wanted to sell my Lightroom presets on his company’s website. At the time, I was 16 years old. I agreed to sell my presets for 30 percent of the revenue from sales of the product. I remember receiving my first $250 through Paypal after the first two weeks of sales.
Although I was excited at the time to make that money, I eventually realized that I could make more if I created my own community and sold products to my followers. So, I decided I to launch my own preset company and instead of making 30 percent of revenue, I would get 100 percent. After launching, I made over $1,000 dollars in 24 hours. Since then, I have continued to grow and expand my brand and business, and I have sales in over 50 countries. I have found that I truly love building a business and creating a community of loyal fans and customers to whom I can provide value.
What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? My phone. On a daily basis, I am posting 10-20 photos to Instagram, emailing/texting dozens of people, engaging with my communities, and so much more. For these reasons, I couldn’t live without my phone or run my business effectively.
What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? I work from home and at an office in downtown Seattle. My home office is perfect to work from when I’m home for the night or need to be closer to home during the day. Most of my time working is spent at a WeWork co-working space, which I love because there are so many different people in different industries there and it is great for networking and potentially meeting future employees. Working at WeWork has been great because it adds some structure that helps me stay on task on a day-to-day basis.