Leonardo Kashi has been a popular personality on the road for Le Vian, the New York-based, family-owned, celebrity jewelry brand of Chocolate Diamond fame.
The charismatic, Italian-born traveling salesman has been a favorite headliner for the brand at trunk shows nationwide for nearly two decades. Kashi loves entertaining, educating and engaging with customers, often breaking into song and dance, always looking to make people feel happy.
But in early January 2020, he approached his boss, CEO Eddie LeVian, to say that after 28 years with the company he could no longer continue life on the road, almost missing the chance to say good-bye to his late father, and missing time spent with his growing family. Not wanting to lose a company star, LeVian asked Kashi to consider what he’d like to do.
Some days later, while at a trade show in New York, Kashi started filming behind the scenes and posting Le Vian jewelry on the brand’s Instagram. He suggested to LeVian that instead of reaching only a limited number of people at in-person meetings and trunk shows, he could experiment with reaching far broader audiences by using his phone to post content online.
At the 2020 Centurion Show late last January Le Vian TV was born. While its genesis had nothing to do with the pandemic that ensued, its success has been crucial in enabling the brand to power through this past year.
“Le Vian TV is one of our biggest successes in the past year,” shares LeVian. “It has led to increased sales, in particular, a significant lift in sales for platinum, and has enabled us to witness first-hand enormous love for our brand.”
Live TV Engages
Kashi has been growing the network organically, with its hub at LeVianTV.com. While Le Vian TV has recorded episodes, the big draw for Le Vianistas is to be a part of the live shows hosted on Instagram and Facebook.
Kashi produces two to three live shows a day, sans weekends and certain holidays, and at the writing of this story, he has produced 378 live shows since he began. He says the span of a live show is typically 10 minutes, but he has had shows with audience engagement lasting two to three hours.
Some prime time Le Vian TV shows have reached audiences in excess of one million viewers, and current shows regularly see over 350 live comments. This channel reaches so many more people more often than Kashi could have ever reached on the road, and with even more information to share.
Le Vian TV offers everything, including behind the scenes at Le Vain; breaking news, like the latest gemstone discovery; experts from various trade organizations; gemstone education; stories from sales associates; shows in tandem with retailer events; and influencers from the worlds of fashion, beauty, wellness and sustainability.
Of course, peppered in is information about the brand and its products. In fact, Kashi says customers who’ve been buying Le Vian for more than 15 years discover things they say they didn’t know about the brand, including its lifetime warrantee and trade-up policy. While the ultimate goal is to sell product, the shows are designed to nurture relationships, a way to be a part of the brand.
Kashi describes the genre as bridging the trunk show experience with TV shopping style. And, he’s a natural in front of the camera.
“I’ve always been drawn to entertain people, since I was a little kid,” Kashi tells, sharing that at age 15 he was a disc jockey in dance clubs in Milan. So, it’s not surprising to see him pull out his turntable and play some music during a live show. “I love to see all the emojis flying around on the screen.” He says the slogan for Le Vian TV is “Bling, Sing and Get Jiggy with Le Vian!”
Just like your favorite daytime TV variety show, it’s a little of this and a little of that. It’s taking jewelry and putting it in a lifestyle context. Kashi mentions having as a guest a beauty influencer who had silver hair, and they spent 45 minutes talking about what matches silver hair, including playing with different jewelry styles. On another show a Le Vianista called in while cooking and Kashi engaged her on the recipe she was preparing. The conversations are fluid and fun.
“We want people to feel like they don’t want to miss it, because they don’t know what they’ll discover,” says Kashi. “We want people to make Le Vian TV a place holder.”
Nicknamed among his colleagues as Leonardo diKashio, Kashi regularly receives fan mail, including a two-page poem of adoration! It’s no wonder that Le Vian TV is now central to the brand’s core strategy moving forward, with plans to build a dedicated TV studio at its headquarters.
For the past year, Kashi has been a one-man show, literally, doing everything from host and cameraman, to orchestrating the lighting, guests, topics, marketing, posting, and managing comments. “We are working hard to build on Le Vian TV’s traction following its first birthday.”
The experience has convinced Kashi how experimentation is crucial in business, especially in our fast-moving times. “Limitations like the pandemic can engender a start-up state-of-mind leading to enhanced creativity,” he says.
He underscores that even though Le Vian has an old history, it has always been a modern, innovative company. And, because of that, Kashi is not worried about running out of content to share. “We have never said the same thing twice.”