Struggling to find his place in life, a young Armand Peri grew up weighing in at 135 pounds and was constantly bullied throughout high school. After enduring many years of negativity from his classmates, he decided to approach weightlifting with laser-like focus and became determined to transform his physique. However, his goals were met with obstacles as his family struggled financially at the time and he was unable to purchase a gym membership nor was he able to buy the necessary foods to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. He overcame these obstacles by working at his school gym and was able to lift weights three times a week. On Sundays he would commute an hour each way from his home in New Jersey to Manhattan to work out at a commercial gym. At the time, commercial gyms were sparse and not as popular as they are today. But by staying focused and determined, Armand was able to gain the weight he needed and eventually competed in his first bodybuilding competition where he went on the win Mr. Teen New Jersey.
He applied his level of determination to other aspects of his life, including business. While in college, he met another fellow bodybuilder named Joey V and noticed that Joey was driving around campus in a new Corvette and constantly wore new clothes. Armand became curious and approached Joey one day and asked what he did for a living. He too was an aspiring bodybuilder but he also worked at a male entertainment revue called ESCAPES in Long Island. The two hit it off and Joey introduced Armand to the world of the male strippers.
Armand was working part-time as a bouncer at the time but his role put him in many dangerous situations and he knew it was a job he wanted to leave as soon as possible. Once he started working at ESCAPES, he began making more money in two hours of dancing than he did working eight hours as security at a nightclub. He quickly left the security job and danced Fridays and Saturday nights and did side-gigs for three to four other entertainment agencies during the week. After finishing his education, he became a freelance architect renderer while working at ESCAPES on the weekends. Eventually he made more working part-time as a male entertainer as he was working full-time. He saved up his earnings and started his own company in 1998.
In order to achieve success, Armand fully believed in applying new ideas to an existing industry to differentiate himself from the competition. He became one of the first people to use online marketing on Google and Overture (now owned by Yahoo). Yahoo was one of the first search engines to deploy pay-per-click advertisement and he used their early technology to optimize his company online. Through trial and error, as well as self-education, he was able to propel his company to the global brand it currently is today. His education was costly as he reinvested everything he made into his company throughout the years.
Armand’s male revue show Hunk-O-Mania took New York by storm. It was a male strip show unmatched by any other. Hunk-O-Mania was a hybrid between a Broadway-style production while maintaining the audience interaction environment of a traditional strip club setting. Patrons were impressed by the custom-styled choreography that kept bachelorette parties and birthday parties entertained for hours. In addition, the scalability of the show allowed it to enter other major city in the United States. As of 2019, Hunk-O-Mania is in over 19 different cities catering to thousands of patrons on a weekly basis. The company has its own tour and also has dancers making special appearances on television shows, movies and other media outlets.
Armand was truly a visionary of his time when he began Hunk-O-Mania and continues to change lives by creating jobs for entertainers and providing entertainment to clients unmatched by any other company. The company continues to grow as there are plans to expand the show internationally over the next few years. Armand also created a very popular drag show called “Diva Royale” and just finished writing a book, entitled “Unparalleled Success”, where he reflects on the obstacles he went through and provides a roadmap for aspiring entrepreneurs.
His goal is to help others achieve their dreams and by focusing on their passion, setting goals and overcoming obstacles. His peers and employees continue to look up to him as an inspirational leader and mentor and he continues to grow his company and himself every day.
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