My success has been based on one thing and one thing only: Find the best people and then let them do their job.
Richard Kornbluth is a Senior Executive with multi-industry experience and a proven track record growing consumer personal care businesses. Most recently he has managed the single largest first year launch of a new Professional Haircare company in North America with Kevin Murphy, a brand developed in Australia. His company Ashdyl, Inc has also done work on Tabatha Coffey’s line, Gene Juarez Salons (to help launch their new professional brand into the North American market), and most recently the development of Bangstyle; a new Professional haircare brand targeting 18 – 34 year old consumers that want something new and exciting.
Kornbluth currently resides in Rancho Santa Fe, California with Kimberly, his wife of 32 years, and their children, Ashley 25 and Dylan 21.
Geoffrey Nelson is an award-winning director and designer. Born and raised in Miami, Nelson attended Central Michigan University on a Theater and Music scholarship. He promptly left both programs to pursue a specialized Broadcast and Marketing degree. While at CMU, Nelson started the now infamous secret bar, the High Point Lounge, and hosted the highest rated morning radio show in the area, The Paul Michaels Show, starring Nelson himself. Due to numerous job offers, Nelson left CMU just nine credits short of graduating and started a live action/mixed-media/animation company in Detroit called The Big Picture.
While helming The Big Picture, Nelson produced and directed commercials for every US automotive company including award-winning spots for Chevrolet’s “Heartbeat of America” campaign. The company diversified into the entertainment arena producing the groundbreaking (and much copied) mixed media looks for ABC’s Home Improvement, and FOX Network’s logo, redesign, on-air graphics package and nationwide affiliates package.
In addition to writing, directing, and producing promotional campaigns for television, Nelson stuck his toe into the theatrical pond producing many “Best in Show” movie trailers and main titles for Ridley Scott, Ivan Reitman, Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville), Disney, New Line, FOX, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures and the Montecito Picture Company (Road Trip, Up in the Air, Old School). Collaborations continued with Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck and Glee), and Shawn Ryan (The Shield and The Chicago Code).
Nelson relocated from a safe life in the suburbs of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and Studio City, California to the wilds of downtown LA, where he currently resides.
What are you working on right now?
Rick Kornbluth: Building the distribution of Bangstyle as a global brand. Currently it is in 8 countries and we have plans to be in 25 before the middle of next year.
Geoff Nelson: Answering a very long questionnaire. But it’s about me so I’m semi-interested. Or launching the new Bangstyle App and “This is Next” hair product line.
Where did the idea for Bangstyle come from?
Geoff Nelson: A bar napkin, as I remember. We thought that the hair industry was ripe for disruption. So we began to craft a relevant, cool brand that we would want to be part of. Mobile, Indie Arts culture meets high quality accessible products.
Rick Kornbluth: The idea for Bangstyle came from recognizing a void in our industry of something new, fresh, young and exciting specifically catering to Professional Salon Clients ages 18 – 34. Instead of going to one of the industry marketing companies or creating the brand ourselves, we sought out an agency that was connected to this target market and could build a brand that would resonate well with the consumer as well as stylists that generally are tech savvy, young passionate and wildly creative.
What does your typical day look like?
Rick Kornbluth: I generally wake up at 6:00 AM to answer emails and get to my office by 7:30. Because Cutter + Stiles, the corporate umbrella over Bangstyle, is a global company (we also market Kevin Murphy through the professional Salon Industry), I work with our European Team and East Coast distributors on any issues or concerns they may have. Each day I touch base with the WPA (the creators of Bangstyle) to get updates on where we are with the website and product company. The rest of my day is spent supporting our sales force and global distributor network. My day ends generally around 10:00 PM when I check in with Australia toward the end of their day where our corporate headquarters are located.
Geoff Nelson: Darkness giving way to annoying, constant sunshine. I get up around 5am when most sane individuals are still slumbering. The next few, uninterrupted hours are best for creative I find.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Rick Kornbluth: We work as a team at Bangstyle; many of the ideas are created at The WPA, then we use the Cutter+Stiles team to bring our years of professional salon industry experience to mold the ideas to fit within our market. With that said, part of the DNA of Bangstyle is to disrupt our market by doing things differently and bringing new and innovative ways of doing business to the professional salon industry. An example of this is our Website that launched 5 months after we first started working on the brand and within 6 months was larger than every other website in our industry and most of them combined!
Geoff Nelson: We have a fully staffed design and production company so anything we dream up is usually possible…although wheat pasting the moon has proved a challenge.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Rick Kornbluth: Using technology to bring our industry new and innovative ways to educate and motivate stylists worldwide. The most exciting thing I believe our team is bringing to the market is the Mobile APP which allows clients and stylists to look at thousands and thousands of hairstyles and create their own inspiration collection to motive the stylists creativity or to use by the consume to show their stylists hair they like as a potential new look.
Geoff Nelson: Beautifully designed instant, mobile interfaces….also the coffee shop every 9 feet ordinances.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Rick Kornbluth: When I was 16, I was deep in the Sailboat racing industry and got a job at a Marine Hardware store. One of my jobs was marking each screw with a price. I learned that doing things the way they have always been done is not always the most efficient and effective way of getting a job done. Hire people that are better than you and let them do their job; don’t insist they do the job the way it’s been done for years because there could be a better way of doing it.
Geoff Nelson: Working at a cement plant shoveling industrial spills. The owned my back but not my mind!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Rick Kornbluth: I have had a fantastic career and truly would not do anything different, each experience helped craft me into who I am today and I took each experience whether good or bad to learn from it.
Geoff Nelson: Nothing. Although converting to Judaism would have sped things up in Hollywood.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Rick Kornbluth: My success has been based on one thing and one thing only: Find the best people and then let them do their job. I believe in managing by encouraging lots of communication. We have weekly staff meetings where we all share any issues and concerns, and decisions are discussed as a team where everyone gets the opportunity to be heard. I find that in the end, when we universally make a decision and leave the room, we’re united and fully behind it. If we find that we’ve made a bad decision, we fix it and move on, but as a team.
Geoff Nelson: Reinvent. Reinvent. Reinvent. Scary but necessary.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Rick Kornbluth: I have launched a number of brands that did not have immediate success. The option of killing the idea was and is always a last resort, and the remedy is to get to the bottom of the issue and then do everything you can to fix it as soon as possible. Use the market to tell you what the issues are. I was once told we were given two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we talk.
Geoff Nelson: I pretty much fail at something everyday. I think it shows I’m aiming high…or I’m a failure (not sure which).
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Rick Kornbluth: Like I said before, hire the best people that you can and then let them do their job.
Geoff Nelson: Entertaining B2B. More important than you would think if you’re global. Never underestimate the power of laughter in success.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Rick Kornbluth: Stop the constant finger pointing in politics and find a way to move together to get things done to help people. Term limits would help to reduce politicians who do things for votes and not always for the right reasons. I think everyone should try to do what’s right all the time even if it is not necessarily the best thing for them personally. It is how I try to live my life.
Geoff Nelson: More lakefront property. Foster a campaign of reckless, unsupervised digging.
Tell us a secret.
Rick Kornbluth: Bangstyle will be the most successful brand to hit the mass professional salon industry ever!
Geoff Nelson: I’m answering this in a bathrobe.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Rick Kornbluth: Bangsyle.com is truly a fantastic resource for viewing and sharing hair images and learning about what is hot in fashion, beauty, art, music and all things cool. Roambi a great tool for analyzing your company information in a easy to use format. The Kevin Murphy Mobile APP is an awesome tool for sharing the brand vibe and mission to stylists and consumers worldwide.
Geoff Nelson: Bangsyle.com is my go to resource for everything. And when I can’t find it there, search engines. It seems the older I get the more I want to know. Not the case when I was younger.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Rick Kornbluth: Good to Great. It is the best business book I have ever read and use it always as a basis for making decisions.
Geoff Nelson: The Tao of Poo. It teaches that you shouldn’t take anything other than kindness too seriously.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Rick Kornbluth: Yesterday. A text from my son who is a senior at USC.
Geoff Nelson: Right now. Answering this
Who is your hero?
Rick Kornbluth: My wife. She raised our two awesome kids to be fantastic individuals while working on her own company and supporting my crazy career. She is the most creative person I know along with Geoff Nelson the head of the WPA.
Geoff Nelson: My Grandfather. He was a quiet, completely at peace with himself and the world kind of Episcopalian priest.
Why do you do what you do?
Rick Kornbluth: I believe our industry (the Professional Salon Industry) needs a company fully devoted to the stylist and salon owner. Most of our competitors (L’Oreal, P&G, Estee Lauder etc.) all have retail brands that directly compete with the salon for their customers’ at-home haircare needs. They use their professional brands as a way of getting a salon endorsement or, conversely, suggest to the consumer that their retail brands came from the salon when the fact is the retail brands drive the formulas for the professional brands in an effort to drive down costs. Our industry used to be one of trust and cooperation between the manufacturer and distributor to help make the salons and their stylists more profitable and successful. Now it is all about market share and domination. We have lost sight of who created our business and who we need to help each day.
To what do you owe your success?
Geoff Nelson: Blind faith and energetic stumbling.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
Rick Kornbluth: I don’t and that is the truth. I would love to do a better job of it and I think we all need to do this better.
What do you think about the gluten free trend?
Geoff Nelson: I don’t think about the gluten free trend.