On March 12, 2011, a man named Sergio Flores became famous overnight after posting a video of himself dressed in nothing but black leather pants, suspenders, a detachable mullet wig and sunglasses, all while playing the saxophone to unsuspecting patrons. His tune of choice: "Careless Whisper," the 1984 hit by George Michael. The video labels Flores as "The Sexy Sax Man" and follows him around as he plays at laundry mats, grocery stores, restaurants and a mall.
The video is hilarious and entertaining (I highly recommend you take a look, see below) and garnered a ton of attention right out of the gate; more than 10 million people viewed it and blogs lit up with stories about him overnight. He appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon less than eight weeks later and began getting offers to open for big name musical artists.
All of this isn't that surprising if you consider that YouTube sensations tend to pop up a few times a year. What is surprising about The Sexy Sax Man is his staying power. Today, more than two and a half years later, Flores is a running a thriving business based on his alter ego. He gets paid to perform "saxagrams" where he surprises people by playing "Careless Whisper" and other songs in full attire.
He has an app, a ringtone, a blog, and an online retail shop that sells shirts with illustrations of his likeness and loafers embroidered with his signature mustache. His opening act offers haven't slowed down; just a few days ago he made an appearance at a Jonas Brothers concert in Los Angeles (he also appears in the group's new video, 'First Time'). Last December he was flown out to play with Jason Mraz in London's O2 Arena. To date, his original video has attracted more than 21 million views.
Flores also makes appearances in office buildings to spice up otherwise mundane days. I should know; I've flown him down to Scottsdale twice to surprise and delight our customer service team. They loved it.
I find Flores to be inspiring and, after getting to know him personally, think he has several business lessons to offer entrepreneurs. Here are a few.
Lesson #1: Consistency is key
You know what you're going to get when you hire The Sexy Sax Man. You know the outfit that he will wear (he will don a shirt if the venue requires it), the song he will perform and you know that he will put his all into every appearance. His product is consistent, which helps to build his brand.
Lesson #2: Focus on social media
Flores has more than 22,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 10,000 followers on Facebook. He is passionate about engaging with his fans and is known to respond to nearly every comment or Tweet. This dedication has helped him develop a solid customer base and makes him easy to reach.
Lesson #3: Remember your core business
In the more than two years since The Sexy Sax Man came on the scene, he's been approached by a variety of companies for partnerships and new venture deals. As tempting as many of these have been, Flores has stayed true to his simple business model and it has helped him achieve startling success.