Loyd Visuals is one of our state’s more interesting startup family businesses. Three brothers Khaleel, Najm and Maleek, in their 20s and raised in Greensboro, are developing a multimedia production business that has garnered some brand-name clients, some of whom will not let their names be identified. The brothers split off to attend UNC Greensboro, UNC Charlotte and Appalachian State University, where they studied different disciplines. But since incorporating in December 2016, they’ve blended talents to build a Charlotte-based company with a big upside.
Earlier this fall, the UNC Charlotte Black Alumni Chapter recognized Khaleel with its Excellence in Leadership Award because of his success building the company. Khaleel discussed Loyd Visuals in an interview edited for clarity.
What are the key responsibilities that you, Najm and Maleek handle? What is your education background?
Maleek, 22, handles the production and creative side of the business. He is the main cinematographer and editor for our video projects. He went to Appalachian State University for electronic media/broadcasting, but started filming and editing videos as a sophomore in high school.
Najm, 26, manages the creative direction and overall brand of the company. He produces social media content, take photographs and creates merchandise. He lives in Charlotte after moving from Philadelphia a few months ago. He attended UNC Greensboro Greensboro where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Consumer, Apparel, & Retail Studies.
Khaleel, 27, handles business development, sales, client communication, invoicing, establishing video agreement/contracts, financial tracking etc. I am also a photographer and serve as a second cameraman at times. I just get things done. I live in Charlotte and attended UNC Charlotte, where I majored in health communications and minored in public health.
What prompted you to want to start your business?
I’ve always understood the value of hard work and had dreams of becoming an entrepreneur at a young age. When I was 12, my cousin and I would spend the summers with my uncle and aunt to make some summer cash. My uncle was a superintendent for an apartment complex in Brooklyn and worked as a caddy part time. Throughout the week we swept, mopped and waxed the basement. We would take out the trash on every floor, cut the grass and even shine the brass on the mail boxes. On the weekends we would wake up around 5 a.m., drive out to the golf course and would caddy for 18 holes which took about 4 hours.
Those experiences combined with watching my parents work creatively to obtain income outside of their 9-5’s truly molded me into the entrepreneur I am today. Fast forward to college, I graduated in December 2014 and began working full time as a data analyst at a healthcare company in Charlotte by February 2015. I quickly realized that trading my time for money wasn’t going to make me or my family wealthy. I realized that my younger brother Maleek had a gift in cinematography and figured it may be a good idea to start a visual production company.
This is a young man who taught himself how to play the piano in middle school and began winning state and national competitions for cinematography. We also realized that he would need a way to provide for himself in college, so starting a business that could offer cash flow just made sense to us.
Were your parents entrepreneurs?
Both of our parents were creative entrepreneurs. Our father was a professional roller skater, martial artist and stunt double, just to name a few. Our mother is a seamstress who made most of our clothes by hand when we were younger. I like to think we were creative before creative was cool.
What are the company’s key strength?
Our perspective. Our mother is originally from Suriname, South America and grew up in the Netherlands. Our father’s family is from Christ Church, Barbados. He grew up in New York City. There are not many visual production companies that are from the type of neighborhoods we come from and that are also blood-related. We like to say “adversity breeds creativity”. We’ve been through a lot of adversity which gives us a creative perspective like no other.
Our company values are creativity, communication and collaboration. We ensure that our clients receive a good dose of all three.
What was your first project?
Since Najm has always been a fashion guru, we started out creating fashion videos and lookbooks for fun. After that, we went on to create music videos, small business promos, and local political campaign videos for clients in the Charlotte and Greensboro areas.
Who are key clients?
Communities in Schools, Intentional MVMT. (Some clients would not let Loyd Visuals use their name.)
What is the most fun part of your work?
Creating and capturing interesting stories. We love taking an idea and making it come to reality. We also get a chance to work with some really unique organizations and people who inspire us.
What do you expect the company to look like in five years?
Hard to say because things are constantly changing in our world. In terms of size we want to stay lean and work alongside a small, talented team. In regards to our work, we will begin creating our own content based around creativity and community — films, documentaries, etc. We will also begin developing our own workshops and events to educate other aspiring creative entrepreneurs.
What have you done for the BBC?
We contributed to a documentary called Extraordinary Rituals: Changing World and were able to license footage to BBC from a video project that we captured at UNC Charlotte.
Who are your favorite musicians right now?
Maleek: Tom Misch
Najm: Travis Scott
Khaleel: Nipsey Hussle
Who are your favorite filmmakers?
Maleek: Morgan Cooper, Ryan Coogler, Hiro Murai and David Fincher.
Najm: Dave Meyers.
Khaleel: Ryan Coogler, Ava Duvernay and Jordan Peele