Denyelle Bruno

CEO of Perfect Union

Bruno was awarded 2020 CEO of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal, among other prestigious leadership awards while serving as CEO of Tender Greens, where she restructured the farm-to-fork restaurant chain to ready it for broad national scale. She was part of the seven-member team that created Apple’s retail experience and personally opened the first Apple store (Glendale, Calif. in 2001). She has held leadership positions at some of the nation’s most renowned brands, including Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Drybar, where she helped build one of the hottest brands in the beauty industry as President of Retail.

Where did the idea for Perfect Union come from?

Our name, PERFECT UNION, refers to the way we relate to our customers. We see them as friends, people we get to know on a one-on-one basis. In our humble opinion, the better we know you, the better we can serve you.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I’ll tell you when I have one. This is a very new and wild industry…there are no typical days, but I like it that way. Regarding productivity, my rule is to only touch something once. Whether it’s a document I have to read or an email, I really try to complete it before I move to the next thing.

How do you bring ideas to life?

When I have an idea I’m excited about, I can get pretty passionate. I bring them to life by talking about them to my team. If it’s truly a good idea, it will catch fire and someone will drive it to completion.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The new research being done on psychedelics. The potential impact could be amazing for society.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Exercise. It’s not always easy, but I make a point to workout at least 4 days a week.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t listen to the haters. No one has changed the world without rubbing a few people the wrong way.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

That mushrooms are divine beings.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I don’t take things personally and I take and give feedback constantly.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Stay focused on the problem to be solved. I am known for regularly asking people what problem they’re solving. You’d be surprised how many people working on big projects can’t actually answer that question.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I don’t believe in failure. Failure depends on where you end the story.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Halfway houses for people going through a divorce. In the early stages of a divorce one person usually wants to or needs to move out of his/her shared residence. Most people can’t afford to buy a new place or sign a new lease. Having a place for people to get back on their feet could really help with that tough transitional time.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

My cannabis plant; I call her Judy. I got the plant for free (I have a connection), but I bought her a great pot, nutrient-dense dirt and a good grow light.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

It’s so basic, but I use “notes” in my iPhone for everything. If I have an idea in the middle of the night, notes. If I remember something I need to buy, notes. If I think of something I want to put in the book I’ll probably never write, at least I have lots of notes.

And P.S., Notes can be used to scan documents.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

What is your favorite quote?

The most common way people lose their power is by thinking they don’t have any. -Alice Walker.

Key Learnings:

  • Trust your instincts and focus on your own unique abilities. You don’t become successful by emulating the success of others.
  • Share your ideas and passions with your team, and encourage them to do the same.
  • Not everyone will like you, your ideas, or your leadership style.
  • However, be open to feedback and opportunities for growth.