Brian Novitsky and David Luber grew up together in the suburbs of Philadelphia, attended the same high school, and played for basketball powerhouse Hatboro-Horsham, who produced NBA player Matt Carroll, from the Charlotte Bobcats.
They stayed in touch during their first two years of college before Luber transferred to Jacksonville to attend school only 15 minutes from his childhood buddy.
Both graduates were full scholarship basketball players: Novitsky graduated top 10% of his class (3.93 GPA) with a degree in Broadcast/Journalism from Jacksonville University. Luber graduated with a degree in Philosophy with a Business minor from the University of North Florida.
“I could tell we had good synergy and always dreamed big says,” Novitsky, who came up with parent company name Mansion Minds, Inc. “I would come home and Dave would be working on the most ridiculous business ideas; from selling homemade pizzas out of his car trunk to buying domains for future business endeavors.”
Since they didn’t have much money, they wanted to create a business that didn’t involve too much overhead. “We were social in college; we partied with our friends and often went out to the local bars by the beach. So we decided to created original, funny t-shirts for our friends to wear to bars and strike up conversation with the ladies. This turned into our first venture, CollegeSlogans.com,” says Novitsky.
They started by printing few of their favorite slogans in the garage of their college home. The shirts were an instant success, enabling the two to create their own high-end slogan t-shirt line, College Slogans. Before they knew it, Luber and Novitsky had celebs such as Svetlana from The Real World, model Shannon James, and WWE spokeswoman Kelly Kelly reaching out to them to model their creations.
“Although we were busy with school and selling t-shirts, we still made it a priority to sit at the kitchen table after our long days and run through more business ideas. One night we got on a tangent about the hottest girls on our campuses. We began wondering who the hottest college girls were from other universities. After coming up empty through numerous Google searches, Brian and I decided to expose the country with access to the hottest college girls by state, school, and class as our next project,” says Luber.
The roommates continued selling t-shirts to raise enough capital to set up their parent company, Mansion Minds Inc, which included both subsidiaries, College Slogans LLC and College Mansion LLC. After graduation (April, 2006), they decided to regroup and move back to the Philadelphia area.
Then the grind really began as they sold their t-shirts at flea markets, going door to door to retail stores, and promoting them around campuses in the Philly area.
“Our online sales were growing, more stores were interested in tees, and we were also selling twice a week at the local Rice’s flea market.” says Novitsky.
Novitsky and Luber were happy when one of their high school friends and fellow basketball teammate, Brandon Scott joined as a College Mansion executive shortly after moving back to Philadelphia. Scott, who also owns Fresh Produce music production, was able to bring a wealth of the visual expertise to the company.
“Since the start, we have committed ourselves to developing a brand that is synonymous with college entertainment. It was a clear area of opportunity that we identified, and ultimately decided to get to work within this marketplace. Entrepreneurship is a common denominator that strengthens our corporate growth and personal friendship. We are very aggressive in our approach, but we work with a great deal of humility and humor, which keeps us relevant to our niche market,” says Scott, EVP Brand Development.
The trio was fortunate to meet up with Matthew Parker and Terry Hahn from Aniglyphics Media to develop their website. Within a few weeks, CollegeMansion.com was ready for launch.
“Our initial goal for College Mansion was to be a resource that organizes and controls college entertainment. We’re able to regionalize and channel all forms of entertainment pertaining to the 18-28 demographic and exploit the information at an exclusive destination,” says Luber.
Their first contest included over 300 of the nation’s favorite college girls from 48 states. The instant hit not only was a viral break-out, but it broke College Mansion’s server from a surplus of website traffic in their second day of business; compiling more than 40 million page views and 17 million hits to the site in their first month!
“We couldn’t have been happier from the reaction that we got from the launch. In our first week, we had viewers from over 30 countries. The Preston & Steve show (Philadelphia’s largest radio show) was featuring us regularly and then we began getting attention from media outlets in other markets,” says Luber.
The next few months were very busy for the College Mansion team. They hosted two large “Absolute 52 launch parties” in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh which included 15 of the Mansion Girls from all corners of the country. This past summer they hosted “Paradise Weekend” at the Atlantis, Bahamas where the Final Four winners enjoyed an all-inclusive weekend with a guest. The marketing staff at Kerzner (owners of Paradise Island) saw so much potential that they flew out 10 other Mansion Girls for a private photo-shoot at the Cove and had them host an invite-only blackjack tournament.
So you may ask, “What keeps these young entrepreneurs going?”
They say the ingredients are to dream big, surround yourself with a solid supporting cast, and to love what you do.
It’s hard to believe that two years ago these guys were restocking their t-shirt inventory in their college garage, and now we are traveling across the country throwing events with over 300 of the nation’s favorite college girls.
Is there an actual College Mansion in the works? Well, I guess we will just have to wait and see.