In this day and age of social media, image is everything. Some might even argue it is more esteemed than character. But what about the image in your head? The one you hold of yourself and of your life that plays incessantly in your subconscious? Entrepreneur, Armand Peri, would probably tell you it’s the most important image there is. The once skinny kid from Newark, New Jersey, who was bullied for not speaking English; is now a notable businessman living the Instagram perfect life that he visualized growing up. He held an image of success so dear and clear in his head that the only next step was for it to actualize. Armand is at it again, only this time he’s not the determined skinny kid visualizing his bodybuilder body goals. He’s a tenacious husband and father in a post pandemic period finding more innovative ways to provide for his family. The sanguine CEO has entered the PR world, and the image he’s now focused on is YOURS. His PR firm, New Age PR Agency, sprung from the ashes of disappointment. When the expensive firm Armand hired left him dissatisfied, he decided to take his image into his own hands and is presently helping others achieve their publicity goals. So is image everything? Or, is it our image of image that’s shaped it into everything? Either way, Armand Peri will manage it, while concurrently running his plethora of successful nightclubs and inspiring us all along the way.
RA: What got you into competitive body building which was ultimately the catalyst of your success?
AP: As a kid growing up, I considered myself very skinny and I wanted to put on some size. I saw how Arnold Schwarzenegger went from being a skinny kid to being a world champion body builder. So, I started reading books about how to transform my body and started working out at the age of 17. I went from 135lbs to 165lbs within a year. That transformation really set the pace for my confidence. It set the pace with me knowing that I can do anything. It’s really important to start somewhere and set small goals. I read different books and different philosophies on working out and I was able to apply the principles of the best in the business. There was no guessing game. At the time I wasn’t trying to be a competitive bodybuilder at all. My goal was simply to put on 10lbs, but because I followed the process of other bodybuilders, I was able to transform my body very quickly. With that transformation, I developed a certain level of confidence about myself and my ability to change myself. It was a good start for what I am today. Everyday I use the same techniques and system I used as a 17 year old kid trying to build my physique.
RA: Fast forward to the present you are the CEO of New Age Productions Inc which is a nightclub production and entertainment company. What does the company do exactly?
AP: The company produces world class shows throughout the country. We have roughly 54 shows per night every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and sometimes Sunday. It’s something that evolved for me from a short term goal.
RA: What do you find is the most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur?
AP: I like challenges and there’s always a challenge. One of the things I encounter almost everyday is the fact that I genuinely do everything in my power to make everyone happy 100% of the time, and it’s impossible. As an entrepreneur, you have to settle for 80%. If you can make 80% of people happy, you’re doing a damn good job. No matter how perfect or no matter how great someone is, there is always going to be someone who doesn’t think you’re doing a good job or who wants to criticize you. I’m one to never criticize anyone, unless they ask me for my honest opinion. Then, it’s my opinion and I try to be constructive. My philosophy is if you can’t say something positive about someone then don’t say anything at all.
RA: What was the impetus for starting a PR firm?
AP: The PR firm came about as a result of me hiring a firm and not really being happy with what they were doing. They were very expensive, they took my money and did not deliver. They were probably the worst PR firm I’ve ever experienced. I love clients that come to me from other PR firms because they are my best customers. They realize that I actually do a lot of the work myself. For me, it’s about integrity, and I’m at the point in my life right now where it’s not about money anymore. That’s why I don’t take on every client. I’m a boutique firm, I don’t want to be a huge firm. I only take clients that I like and I only take clients that appreciate me. I really deliver what I promise, if I tell you I’m going to get you featured, I will get you featured. My integrity is more important than anything, if I say I’m going to do something then I have to do it.
RA: It seems as if you really aren’t afraid to jump into new avenues. You didn’t have a background in PR and yet you went right in and started your firm. Is there a process to how you get into different fields?
AP: It all starts with that desire of wanting to do something. My initial goal was to get verified on instagram but you can’t just get verified because of who you are. Instagram has to consider you notable. How do you define notable? According to Instagram, you have to have a certain number of press. There was a time, years ago, nobody could find me, but I changed that. My goal was to get verified on Instagram, and to get my companies verified. Those are all things I did myself.
RA: How did the pandemic affect your firm?
AP: Well, I started doing PR for myself and my companies about a year before COVID. There was no way in the world I would have time to do it for other people. Then, when COVID hit, people came to me and asked “how did you do this or that? Can you do it for me?” and I said “sure.” Then, within a couple months, I ended up having 10 clients. My survival instincts went into play because remember, I have nightclubs. When COVID hit, I was like “what am I going to do now?” Everything was closed and I still had to support my family, but I found a way. I always find a way.
RA: Do you plan on hiring a team for your firm?
AP: I do have a team now because thankfully all my clubs are open and we actually had an incredible year. We actually doubled our revenue from the year before the pandemic. During COVID, I ended up opening clubs in cities that we weren’t in. I put everything in place and now we do 54 shows on any given night. This is almost double the number of shows we use to do before COVID.
RA: Is there anything that you learned in the bodybuilding world that you’ve been able to apply in your businesses?
AP: Visualization! It’s so important to visualize success with such clear vision. I remember even drawing a picture of my dream house, which is nothing compared to the house I’ve actually been able to buy. As a bodybuilder, I would put pictures of other bodybuilders that I wanted to emulate. I would put pictures up on the wall in my closet and would look at them everyday for inspiration. I still use the same methods today. If I want to achieve a certain goal, I visualize that goal with clear precise vision. Just like an architect, you have to draw the plan of the house before the house is actually built.
RA: You’ve also mentioned that you are an artist. Are you able to incorporate your art into your PR firm and your other businesses.
AP: Absolutely. I see and perceive things as an artist. All the elements of beauty that I learned in art school I apply everyday. Even when I was designing my house, when I did my basement and my wine cellar I actually drew it myself.
RA: It’s apparent that family means a lot to you. How do you balance spending quality time with your wife and kids while running these successful businesses?
AP: I feel very blessed that my wife is so understanding. She herself is also very motivated. We met 17 years ago in Brazil and she was young. She came here and she did not want to live off of me. She started really helping me in every aspect of the word. Every accomplishment, I give credit to my wife because she’s right there with me supporting me. I remember going on dates before meeting her, and the girls I went on dates with would complain “do you have to answer the phone now?” On the other hand, my wife was like “honey, answer the phone!” She’s all for it. You know the old saying behind every successful man there’s a powerful woman, I truly believe that. The choices you make in regards to your wife and friends should be in line with what you want.
RA: What do you believe is your purpose in life and do you think you’re living that purpose?
AP: My purpose in life is always changing. However, I do believe that one of my purposes in life is to inspire people and to really give back to people. To inspire someone, like an immigrant kid like me, who came here did not know how to speak English, had no money and was bullied. I want to hopefully inspire someone like that to gain strength and really overcome. I want to give back the tools that I used to go from poverty, to accomplishing a life that I couldn’t even imagine. As a teenager, if someone asked me to paint a picture of my dream life it still wouldn’t look as good as now. My purpose is constantly changing, my purpose right now is to be a good father, good husband, and good leader to my employees. It starts with my circle of influence and I try and be inspirational to my circle.