Gavin Keilly is a confident man with movie star looks and a boyish, engaging smile. These qualities have helped Gavin to become a successful entrepreneur in Hollywood.
The amount of money that you can raise by having a celebrity at your charity event far outweighs the gift bag that they got. My charity events raises anywhere from $500,000 to three or four million dollars.
Six years ago, the Los Angeles native asked himself a life-changing question… "What am I suppose to be doing in this world?" And his answer, hands down – without any question or doubt – was "to help others." He realized that he wanted to help nonprofits and create a "win-win-win" situation in the process. This bent was hinted at in college where he was the Philanthropy Chair. Actually, Gavin says the desire has been with him all his life. Its business expression is GBK Productions, (formerly GBK Events).
One arm of the company the 35-year-old runs is a nonprofit side. Gavin works with numerous nonprofit organizations, helping to take their organization to the next level. By discovering their needs, wants and goals, he creates a strategy to help them accomplish those goals.
He spearheads the raising of millions of dollars for nonprofits and has the connections to secure celebrity involvement in fundraising efforts.
A second aspect of this Hollywood entrepreneur’s company is providing special gifts for movie premiers. He has also provided gifts for TV shows including "The Bachelor," "The Tyra Banks Show" and "The Steve Harvey Show’". In addition, Gavin produces launch or wrap parties for shows that are beginning or celebrating their finale.
The third area GBK Productions focuses on is gift bags. He provides gift bags valued at $40,000-$50,000 for award shows like the "Emmys." He also sets up gift suites for the "Oscars" and the "Grammies." He does the same for selected TV Award Shows and high-profile celebrity driven events.
This former Director of Development at City of Hope still provides hope through this unique business venture. He was "discovered" by Sharon Osborne, who liked his work at City of Hope. He had conducted an event on "Great Women in Film and attracted the participation of Susan Sarandon and Joan Allen. That is how he started his involvement in the entertainment industry. Sharon Osborne became his first client after he opened his own company. He did such a good job that others in attendance took notice and began calling upon his services. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Gavin says that heart makes the difference in relationships, and in getting to meet and talk with celebrities. Gavin put himself in the right place at the right time meeting the right people, but it was his heart they heard. He says they saw that he genuinely wanted to make a difference.
He says, "I’ve never put a celebrity up on a pedestal. To me a celebrity is somebody that’s making a difference with the gifts they’ve been given."
Gavin’s passion to make a difference has a twist to it. He says, "You have to feel good about yourself before others can feel good about you." And he wasn’t feeling good about himself back in high school. He was diagnosed with dyslexia his junior year of high school. He had been struggling as a student, but the new discovery allowed Gavin to live normally. Well, not really. He quickly blossomed and became an outstanding leader. Now, he leads campaigns to raise money for those who serve the needs of others. And he does it in Hollywood.
The three areas of his company work symbiotically. The gift bags allow him to meet celebrities. This access gives him the opportunity to invite and incorporate willing celebrities into his charity events, which, in turn, makes the charities more successful and raise the necessary funds because now they can have a few celebrities attached.
I have wondered why celebrities get the amazing gift bags we see publicized on shows like the "Oscars," when they seem to already have everything.
Gavin explains: "I’ll tell you why they get them. It creates a ‘win-win’. The celebrities get the gift bags because of one major factor. Whoever it is, if they give a gift certificate or product to a celebrity, and the celebrity uses it, now, they can say… ‘X’ celebrity is using their product. They can use that in their marketing materials. And we don’t just throw it in a bag. We set up a backstage area; the celebrities actually have the opportunity to walk around, pick the items that they want, pick it up; and the client gets pictures of the celebrities holding or wearing the product. Now, they’re getting tons of marketing exposure/press… and the celebrity gets the product."
As glamorous as the business may seem, it is also tough. There are only a handful of people trying it. Celebrities are constantly being asked for favors or endorsements, and Gavin explained that you have to have the connections to get celebrities to come to your event. Then, you have to have the connection with the award show, or you have to create your own gift suite and attract celebrities to come shopping, in essence, for free. Even with charities, celebrities are a premium attraction. And Gavin is able to put together attractive courtesy bags, sometimes worth fifteen to twenty thousand dollars, to thank a celebrity for their time, talent and participation… all for a good cause.
And a good cause is his ultimate goal. Now, if the value of his thank you baskets seems out of balance, Gavin offers this insight. "The amount of money that you can raise by having a celebrity at your charity event far outweighs the gift bag that they got. My charity events raises anywhere from $500,000 to three or four million dollars." Besides, being treated well bodes well for the next year if that celebrity is invited back. They would certainly remember the wonderful gifts offered as tokens of appreciation.
Carl Jung said that by the time a person is 35 years of age, they have the face they deserve. I asked Gavin what kind of face he had. His answer? "A face that, when someone looks me in the eyes, they can trust." I couldn’t agree more. WWW.GBKProductions.com 323-512-7170 Written by David P.Sharp