A couple of weeks ago, I was on the hunt for a new job on LinkedIn and a sudden notification appeared on top of the tab. Stirred by my curiosity, a familiar face and name wanted to connect with me years after we’ve graduated high school together seven years ago. While I scrolled through his accomplishments and bio, I was shocked that the former jock I met in high school bloomed into an entrepreneur with two companies under his portfolio. Although I could’ve stopped gawking at his page, I suddenly jumped to my Insta, surfed through his photos and upon looking at his selfies, my jaw dropped. The babyfaced teen who bloomed into a handsome entrepreneur is Scott Smith.
Articulate, honest to the bone and empathetic, this passionate 25-year-old Melbourne-born Piscean describes himself as someone who has the “crippling joints of a 97-year-old” with a face of “16-year-old girl”. Alongside his sense of humor, Smith’s been loaded with three degrees inside his handbag for majoring in communications, economics and Chinese. On top of being able to juggle multiple subjects, the NYC-based bachelor has two companies: Parvenu and Edgepoint.
In spite of an extremely tight schedule, Smith and I get real about how he joined Parvenu, share styling tips for men, what it’s like to juggle two jobs, why helping others succeed sparks joy and the sexiest trait he admires in a woman.
Among all the people in our high school, I wouldn’t have thought that one day, you’ll launch a handbag line. What made you start Parvenu?
SS: “Parvenu London” was actually a company that our fellow SAS grad, Adam Petyt, started in his early years at University in London. He was selling smaller exotic leather accessories like cardholders, phone cases[,] etc. as more of a side hustle. Adam called me up in late 2014 and asked if I wanted to join. At that time, we were both working on our own separate companies and figured it would be a great opportunity to create some passive income. We partnered up and I brought my now co-founder [and] business partner Tyler on board with me.
After a year and a half, due to priorities with his other company, Adam decided he had to either close the company or figure out something else. Tyler and I were toying with the idea of taking the company and completely re-branding. We wanted to get out of the small accessory world and build a proper brand we could grow. We saw the potential of a direct to consumer bag company that coupled high-end design [and] quality without the luxury brand up-sell and retail mark-up. After years of strategizing, research & development and pitching investors, we were finally able to launch and start the long journey upwards!
Was fashion something you were always fond of?
SS: I think I was always subconsciously fond of fashion, but it always stemmed from whatever phase I was in at that time. Those phases would directly correlate to who my influences were and what I’d wear. I use the word “fashion” in its most basic form as I’m not necessarily into the world of high-fashion or well versed in the plethora of aspects that encompass the world of fashion.
The birth of social media and it’s infinitely accessible content definitely helped shape my fashion/style today. The ability to see all the vastly different styles has been crucial in developing my own taste. Throughout the years, my style intention has definitely transformed from being about looking good to impress others to looking good to feel good. Everyone’s style is different and I believe a key step towards a positive lifestyle is to quit looking for others approval. No outfit on this planet will ever compete with self-confidence.
Frankly, I barely see any man our age carry a bag unless it’s a briefcase for work or a messenger bag. For men who don’t know how to style a bag, what will you wear it with?
SS: I think the beauty of a men’s bag is that it’s seen as a separate canvas with regards to fashion/style. You can dress up, dress down, head to the beach, whatever you want. I see it as its own style constant, distinct and detached from an individual’s daily outfit style.
Apart from fashion, you also run Edgepoint, where you advise budding entrepreneurs. What inspired you to launch Edgepoint as an advisory business?
SS: I could talk about this for days and never shut the fuck up haha so[,] I’ll try to keep this short. The idea to start Edgepoint definitely stemmed from a multitude of factors. The first was a realization that I was always at my most passionate when helping others succeed. The second was fleshing out how exactly Edgepoint was going to provide a service that was completely proprietary and result driven. It was clear there was a gap in the market where the majority of companies were focused on the concept of growth, helping companies who are already operational strategize and grow.
What about the people who fall under what I like to call, “ the company infancy timeline”? Folks spanning the beginning stages of building company, where the most unknowns exist and subsequently when the majority of people give up. It was clear that if I wanted to make a lasting impact and help others truly achieve transformative results, it was imperative that I had a concrete platform where I could professionally focus on this market gap with quality over quantity. That’s when I decided to green light Edgepoint and build our services based on the absence of this crucial help/guidance I looked for when I started.
As a businessman running two companies in NYC, how do you manage to juggle a super demanding schedule and two companies in a very competitive city?
SS: It’s definitely not a life most people would sign up for. I’m lucky enough to absolutely love what I do and when you couple that core passion with seeing direct results from your work, it’s a rewarding experience unlike anything else. A crucial aspect to understand is that there’s absolutely no room for ignorance [and] ego. Every person, situation and place has something to teach you. When you embrace humility, you unlock the door to growth by learning, asking for help/advice, and fortifying your weaknesses. This is essential for being able to manage yourself positively and to take out any unnecessary self-brewed stress/anxiety from trying to prove yourself.
The time management aspect is something that comes with truly implementing your priorities. It’s one thing to get your priorities straight, but another beast entirely to action them day in and day out. Doing this properly means actually sacrificing something for something else and not just once. It’s one of the hardest things for a human being to do, to implement change in a direction that pushes towards the unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
You once said that you want to help people succeed. Who motivated you to launch your career on this goal?
SS: This definitely stems from my values as an individual and how I grew up. For example, on Christmas morning, I would always feel 1000x more joy when my friends or family open the presents I got them than to open any of my presents. I know…absolutely insane. I’m sure some people get where I’m coming from, [but] it’s just the way I’m wired.
From a business perspective, I always wanted to be successful for one reason, so that I could walk into any situation and have the means to change people’s lives forever. This is still my “ultimate goal”. This question definitely speaks to a bigger issue, the issue of intention and motivation within entrepreneurship. If you’re starting a business and your driving intention and motivation is money…you’ve already lost.
Speaking of my experiences of dating in NYC, it seems like finding relationships have taken a backseat compared to work. Most men I meet want casual relationships (i.e. Netflix and chill hookups or Tinder dates). As a man, do you feel that it’s difficult for you to build a relationship while you’re chasing your dreams at the same time?
SS: I absolutely love this question and I personally think people make this MUCH more complicated than it needs to be. The way I see it, we’re SO fucking young and this is a time where most of us (having no kids, mortgages, etc.) need to be selfish and shake hands with who we (personally and in our careers) are before making finding a relationship a priority.
That being said, I don’t believe in sweeping blanket statements or ultimatums. Every situation is different when it comes to relationships or meeting people at this stage. Some could find someone who has similar priorities and that relationship could positively bolster both of your careers and lives. On the other hand, you could find someone and it could be a complete disaster for both of you. I would say the best thing to do is have your priorities straight, live your life, stop stressing and play it by ear.
I will say that from my own experiences, the men I know have had a much harder time with relationships and career balancing. I don’t know what it is but the women I’ve been around are much better at being straight up with their priorities and concrete in what they want. Just something I noticed within my network!
What’s the sexiest trait you admire in a partner and where will you take her on a date?
SS: For me, the traits that I love are emotional intelligence, self-confidence, humility, and a strong sarcastic sense of humor haha. I think first dates that couple getting out of our comfort zones with the ability to talk and get to know each other.
If you have to pick a place to go on vacation, where will it be and what do you plan to bring inside your suitcase?
SS: I guess it would depend on the time of year, but you can never go wrong with [t]he Maldives.
Lastly, let’s just say that you have the Infinity Gauntlet filled with all six stones. Before you snap your fingers, what’s the one thing you want to get rid of in the world?
Photos courtesy of Scott Smith and Jason Au