Jon Cotay Events and Marketing
Energized by intellectual curiosity and an unyielding drive toward success. Jon Cotay tackles projects with full attention and optimum care; setting himself as a trusted “make it happen” marketing strategist with an entrepreneurial approach to branding and advertising. With a 14 year successful career in fashion, he is now developing his own brand, Jon Cotay events and marketing, offering his skillset to help new brands, as well as established companies, expand and grow their vision.
In his young adult life, Jon earned his BSN from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, working with all kinds of people, and furthering his interpersonal and listening skills. Then, wanting to explore the field of real-estate, he became a licensed realtor. Highly successful in sales and with a good grasp on buy-sell relationships, Jon moved on to his next venture: fashion retail.
Jon, along with two of his colleagues co-founded Akira—the now internationally acclaimed fashion retailer.
At the time, a single-store fashion boutique, Akira was a challenge at the start. The beginning of most new businesses is a struggle, and Akira’s beginning was no exception. The first few years were a learning curve. They were in survival-mode: constantly keeping cost as a factor while trying to achieve maximum brand exposure—it was an around-the-clock mission.
No stranger to hard work and hustle, Jon utilized his people skills to secure the most sought-after designers and designers that were just up-and-coming, to compile no-miss hit collections. Word of mouth exploded over the unique boutique that had something for your typical Chicagoan, as well as for an A-List celebrity. The concept proved fruitful, and Jon took the next step forward.
It was a road filled with Yield and Stop signs. It was the time of the economic downturn of 2008. This was when Jon saw the need, and the opportunity to contribute. Using his real-estate knowledge, he moved to expand.
Starting as one store with no employees, to spreading across Chicago’s neighborhoods into 20 locations, with over 400 employees, Jon converted each Akira store to fit the scene and feel of the locale. Akira became entwined with each place where it opened, and loyal fans eagerly welcomed the stores. During the lows of the recession, Akira’s red awnings became beacons of a more prosperous future.
But it wasn’t just real-estate that dotted the stores across the map—Jon took Akira on a journey that defined it as the change-maker, and taste-maker, that it is seen as today:
Guerrilla Marketing was a term Jon had never heard of as he was pioneering it himself. Not a student of traditional advertising, marketing, or business courses, he invented as he went along. Consequently, creating, and defining Guerrilla Marketing as the concept that savvy marketers know and respect today. Whether by the adventurousness of character, or the energetic jolt of creativity—compelled to solve problems, Jon kept thinking up of new and head-turning strategies to market Akira in the most cost-effective ways possible. After each campaign, people were abuzz with “can you believe” its and “that was amazing”s. Quickly, Akira became known for its high-end fashion shows, featuring talent from top modeling and entertainment agencies, and A-List celebrities, as well as for its revolutionary Experiential Events.
The final step was to make Akira’s products available to its fans around the world. Taking to the internet, Jon established the brand as a premier e-commerce site. With videos of its famous fashion shows, stunning events, and celebrities wearing the gear, ShopAKIRA.com became an international sensation.
After this highly successful, exclusive, 13-year run with Akira, Jon is taking on new projects, and opportunities, providing his skill-set to help companies expand and grow their vision.
The size, and type of your company, or brand, should not limit the impact and beauty of your event. Explore further to see Jon’s work and affiliations. Get in touch to discuss your options.