Gary Vaynerchuk’s Story
Gary and his family immigrated to the US from Belarus in 1978. He lived with eight family members in a studio apartment in Queens, New York, before relocating to Edison, New Jersey. Gary often calls himself a “purebred entrepreneur,” having successfully started a lemonade franchise at age seven, and eventually selling tens of thousands of dollars worth of baseball cards and toys throughout his high school career. At fourteen, he joined his family business bagging ice for $2/hr. When Gary identified “the internet” as a land-grab opportunity in the late 90’s, he transitioned his father’s local liquor store (then named “Shoppers Discount Liquors”) into one of the first e-commerce platforms for alcohol in the country – resulting in explosive top-line growth. Renaming the business to “Wine Library,” Gary grew his father’s company from $4-60MM in annual sales during his tenure.
During his time at Wine Library, Gary Vaynerchuk started one of the first long-form episodic video shows on YouTube in 2006 called WineLibraryTV. Gary produced an episode almost every day for five years. His charisma and uncanny ability to engage with his community landed him appearances on national television with Ellen Degeneres and Conan O’Brien.
After growing his family business through what he calls “underpriced attention,” – including the impact of content, ecommerce, email marketing, and Google AdWords – Gary began his own journey of producing original business content as the voice of entrepreneurship online.
In 2008, Gary gave a keynote at Web 2.0 in New York City that would ultimately change his career. That speech was the backbone of Gary’s $1MM, ten-book deal with HarperCollins and led to the publishing of his first book, Crush It!, in 2009. Crush It! then went on to become an international bestseller, laying the foundation for Gary’s principles on media, marketing, and communication. During this period, he began angel investing in notable companies including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, Snap and Venmo.
Replicating what he had done for WineLibrary for other businesses and brands, Gary then co-founded VaynerMedia in 2009 with his younger brother, AJ Vaynerchuk. True to his own DNA, Gary never raised startup funding and began the business in a conference room at Buddy Media. Just nine years later, the company included more than 800 employees, servicing clients such as PepsiCo, GE, Johnson and Johnson, Chase, AbInBev and more.
Since its founding, VaynerMedia has flourished, having built best-in-class capabilities in paid media, strategy, full-service creative, influencer marketing, IoT & Voice, eCommerce, personal branding, SMB marketing and in-house consulting. In 2017, VaynerMedia entered the publishing space by acquiring premiere women’s magazine, PureWow, under the Gallery Media Group, and restructured under the holding company, VaynerX. In the summer of 2018, men’s lifestyle brand ONE37 was launched as the second media brand under the Gallery Media Group umbrella.
True to his word, while scaling his business, Gary continued to behave as a media company on his own, writing four more New York Times bestselling business books and becoming one of the most sought-after public speakers. Five years in, Gary launched #AskGaryVee, an online business and advice Q&A show which later led him to launch DailyVee, a full-blown vlog documenting his life as a CEO.
Pioneering the practice of building a personal brand, Gary devised a new content strategy by producing these pillar shows. Today, Gary has more than 44MM combined followers across social media, producing content daily on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Snapchat, Spotify and more.
Gary also hosts a global top 100 business podcast, The GaryVee Audio Experience, which features new episodes every day.
In the Fall of 2017, Gary announced his first signature sneakers in collaboration with K-Swiss. The GaryVee 001 & 002s were released in November 2017, the GaryVee 003s were released in July 2018 & the GaryVee 004s were released in June 2019.
Gary’s life ambition is the pursuit of buying the New York Jets.