Click on the video above for an incredible highlight reel from Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami. Did you notice the killer background track? That is original music by JesTone Productions, a music production duo originally from Kansas City and New Orleans. These two guys are making serious waves in South Florida.
JesTone Productions have composed original music for TV commercials and fashion shows all over the country. Joshua “Jes” Smith and Anthony “Tone” Lonon are cousins that started making music after the loss of a family member. I caught up with Tone, who described how he and Jes are taking over the music and fashion industry in Miami.
Q: What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
A: We were motivated back in 07′ when we realized that our work and sound could make an impact in this music industry. We have always been business-minded young men. We both made a commitment and decided that we would build this brand to its full capability.
Q: What sets you apart from your competition?
A: Our range and capability to step out of “the box” is what has allowed us to land big corporate jobs opposed to only doing hip-hop “mainstream” music. We are a full service music production company that specializes in exclusive music for brands. Our sound enhances the allure in brands.
Q: What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
A: Definitely, the biggest challenge was the decision to build our brand in Kansas City. We really took a risk. The market in Kansas City isn’t the best for music. Early on, we lacked resources in the city to network with major figures that could help our business grow. Networking has played the biggest role in overcoming most challenges. Marketing and PR have also played major rolls. We are very proud that we were able to branch out to the national audience.
Q: Why did you pick Miami for your expansion?
A: The homemade margaritas!! jk. Miami is the new “Hollywood” for music. Its a great scene for networkin with major figures in the music and fashion world. The fact that we have also landed some nice jobs in Miami also helps. From hip-hop to fashion, I think we are perfect for the Miami market.
Q: You mentioned that marketing has played a major role. What tips can you recommend?
A: Use every source you possibly can to promote your brand! It’s free, why not use it? Having a professional website can bring positive attention to one’s brand. Basically, promote your brand to the fullest!!
Q: Tell me about Envision Studios. You guys put together an amazing track for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim video.
Ha! Yeah, Envision Studios is incredible to work with. We met with Ben Nelson while producing music at a fashion show for Susan G. Komen. We first collaborated on a video project for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York in 2010. Since then, we have worked on a substantial amount of video projects for clients from Miami to Chicago.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: Jes. That guy is amazing!! Nuff’ said.
Q: I know being involved in the community is important to you, how do you inspire others?
A: Lately we have been involved with the outreach of the upcoming youth in the community. We have spoken to several different schools in the area. We have also been involved in several food drives around the holidays. Its all about us being an inspiration to others and givin back as much as we can!
Q: What advice do you have for those up-and-comers wanting to start a new business?
A: Always keep God first! Be true to yourself and to your brand. No one will believe in your brand like you will. Fully commit to what it is that you chose to build from the ground up. Believe in your product. It’s hard to promote/sell something that you honestly don’t believe in. Not everyone will believe in your dream but you must do what’s within your heart and get it done by any means neccessary!
Q: Where do you see JesTone Productions in the next three to five years?
A: Continuing to grow and staying relevant within this music industry. We just take each project day by day. We are grateful to be where we’re at. We are just two men who genuinely love music. We love our jobs! Although, a Grammy wouldnt be too shabby. Ha!