To Top

Meet Les Kollegian of Jacob Tyler Brand & Digital Agency

Today we’d like to introduce you to Les Kollegian.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
People often ask me where our agency’s name came from. The name itself – Jacob Tyler – is named after my son, Jacob Tyler Kollegian. But the inspiration for the brand that Jacob Tyler has become, began at a clothing store in Grand Central Station in New York City.

Let me rewind.

In the late 90s, I left a job as the creative director at a large agency to test the waters for new opportunities. While searching for a new job, I started to do some consulting work.

To legitimize my new business, I registered the domain name “Vivid Commerce” to host my portfolio, figuring it made sense for a graphic designer that had a strong interactive design and development background– though I hadn’t really given it much thought.

Most of my clients at the time – large firms I had connections with from my agency work and referrals from friends – happened to be on the East Coast, mostly in New York City. So I often flew east from San Diego to work with them (in no small part because my “office” in San Diego at the time was my bedroom and my business attire consisted of boxer shorts and tee shirts).

From a wardrobe standpoint, I was chronically unprepared for New York. I never packed enough clothes. During many of my trips, I had to extend my stay and the last thing I had time to do was laundry. Knowing I couldn’t go back to the office in the same dirty shirt and tie yet again, I decided to buy some clothes on the way to the office. Wearing the previous day’s outfit, I took the train to Grand Central Station and walked into the Kenneth Cole store… luckily they opened at 8 am. I bought a brand new shirt and tie, changed clothes in the fitting room and went off to work.

It became a routine.

Soon I was in Kenneth Cole up to three times a week, picking up new outfits. I was making decent money at the time, so had some “disposable” income but I kept going back because the clothes were reasonably priced, I thought they looked great on and the customer service was impeccable, always greeting me by name. Eventually, they had multiple outfits, pressed and ready to wear, for me to choose from every morning – whether I showed up or not.

By 2003, my “consulting” business was taking off and my son was about to be born. We had decided to name him Jacob Tyler, and I decided to rebrand my company with the same name. Of course, I loved the name itself – I had chosen it for my son – but it also reminded me of Kenneth Cole, a brand I wanted the Jacob Tyler brand to emulate.

Whenever I left that Kenneth Cole store, I felt and looked great. I wanted Jacob Tyler’s clients to feel the same way. I wanted Jacob Tyler to be the Kenneth Cole of graphic design. Like Kenneth Cole, at Jacob Tyler, we provide a great customer experience and top-quality products at a reasonable price.

The inspiration I took from my experience at Kenneth Cole in those early days in New York became the heart and soul of the Jacob Tyler brand. And really, that’s what a brand is – a living, breathing thing. It’s your organization’s culture. It’s the people. It’s what you deliver and how you deliver it. It’s something you live every day.

The name Jacob Tyler and our visual representation embody our brand and agency. They communicate who we are and what we’re about. But it’s our culture that defines us. For more than a decade, we’ve cultivated our brand and grown with it, but have never lost sight of those early principles I learned from Kenneth Cole.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think there is one case study throughout the course of the history of a “smooth road” when it comes to the entrepreneurial journey and owning a business. After 18 years of business, I have made every possible mistake and made some very poor decisions that have cost the company money and/or client relationships. The key to the journey is resilience. I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to give up. I just haven’t. In 2014, Jacob Tyler was a much larger company with a lot of revenue but because we had too many projects, we were not delivering the quality and experience that aligns with our brand promise.

This caused us to go into debt as we were not managing projects properly and losing money. In 2015, I completely retooled the company and changed course. It took 2 years before we could really right the ship again and now we are doing the best work we ever have and have a great strategic team that delivers effectively and efficiently, thus helping the company to be profitable and successful.

Jacob Tyler Brand & Digital Agency – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Jacob Tyler is an integrated brand experience agency. We deliver creative experiences and marketing strategies that amplify your brand’s reach, breed customer loyalty – and drive business growth. We are mainly focused in building brands and have completed successful brand and marketing projects for start-ups to global companies.

I am most proud that we have helped companies grow for over 18 years. We have clients that have come to us with ideas that we still work with and are doing millions of dollars in revenue now. One of them will do 60 million in revenue this year…. we built the brand from the ground up. I love working with our clients to determine creative ways to grow their business. Our team is GREAT at it.

One thing that differentiates us from our competition is that we offer a “short pay” for our retainer clients. That means we are so confident that we will deliver and exceed expectations that if they feel we didn’t, our client can simply highlight the offending item on an invoice and not pay. This helps us ensure we deliver great work always. No client has ever taken us up on that offer.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Rebranding the company after my son was born in 2003 and naming it after him. Jacob Tyler Kollegian is my only child.


  • All projects we do are custom so prices always vary. Our blended rate is $175/hr and we deliver to a very high standard of quality.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in