April 1, 2015

Florida Life

CEOs Who Break the Mold

Taking off the Gloves

Lori Capullo | 12/1/2010

Taking off the Gloves

Joey Hernandez
Joey Hernandez, 38
Branding Empire / CEO / Miami

Boxing: Won the Georgia State title in 1999 and Florida State title in 2000 as a welterweight.

Education: Bachelor’s in business administration from Georgia State University
[Photo: Gili Shani]
Joey Hernandez has made a career for himself by combining his love of the "sweet science" with his creative talents. Hernandez grew up in the Bronx and began boxing at age 9, later fighting in Golden Gloves competitions. After serving in the Marine Corps, he came up with the idea of creating advertising venues on fighters' backs using henna tattoos. He found sponsors and debuted his concept on the back of middleweight world champion Bernard Hopkins on Sept. 29, 2001, against Felix Trinidad at Madison Square Garden.

Today, Hernandez channels his marketing skills into Branding Empire, the parent company of Ruthless & Toothless, a children's clothing label featuring designs by the tattoo artists from Love Hate Tattoo Studio in Miami Beach — who are also the stars of the TLC reality show "Miami Ink."

The company is growing fast, with Empire Entertainment Group — comprising broadcasting, internet, publishing, merchandising and licensing for the purpose of cross-promoting content and products created by the artists — and the upcoming Upset Gentlemen T-shirt line in the works.

Hernandez eschews iPhones and BlackBerrys. He wishes people would read more books, invest in the future of children and care more about improving the state of the country than about individual accomplishments.

Hernandez credits his boxing background with his success: "It taught me to be disciplined, focused and determined."

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