HL: Tell us how you got started out in the industry.
BS: You could say I was born into the industry. My family has a prominent hair care manufacturing company, and I was afforded the opportunity to learn the manufacturing side of the beauty industry, from the inside out. Over the years, I worked to oversee several aspects of the family business, including: quality control, marketing, logistics and product development before eventually becoming CEO of the company.
HL: How did you come up with Farouk Systems, Inc. and Beauty Elite Group (BEG)?
BS: My family founded Farouk Systems, Inc., and as I grew within the company, I took note of industry shifts and trends. Through the use of social media influencers, celebrity ambassadors like Zendaya and licensed partnerships with the Kardashians, Miss Universe and Esquire magazine, I was able to help grow the family legacy and relaunch CHI and Biosilk. At the same time, I started my own venture with Beauty Elite Group in 1995.
HL: What were some of the struggles of starting your own business? What challenges did you face?
BS: I was fortunate enough to have an extensive background in the business I wanted to start, but even so, starting a business from the ground up is no easy task. For me, putting together the right team was the largest challenge, and also the largest contribution to my success with Beauty Elite Group. As a result, it’s important to me to take care of my team. Gordon Bethune, the retired CEO of Continental Airlines, famously said, “Do you know how much faster I can fix an airplane when I want to?” I try to adopt this idea with my team, and keep them motivated.
HL: What has been your greatest accomplishment?
BS: I was afforded invaluable experience and professional growth, but I reached a place where I wanted to see what I was capable of on my own. I think my most gratifying accomplishments come in the form of recognition for my brands. To walk into Nordstrom’s or Macy’s Times Square, even Lord & Taylor, and see Blowpro on the shelves, for example, shows me that I am building a legacy that will afford my own children some of the opportunities that I had to learn. This is the greatest accomplishment one could hope to attain!
HL: How did you transition your umbrella brand into extending to other companies like Blowpro, Petsilk, Sosilk, FUEL Hair and Click n Curl?
BS: Petsilk and Sosilk were the first brands. These were started from scratch, with distribution strategies that were different from anything I had done before, in the salon professional world. In the time it took to grow them into successful brands, I realized I could acquire an existing brand with potential and build onto its momentum, implementing my knowledge of the salon professional distribution model. Thus, Blowpro came in 2014 and FUEL in 2016. Both acquisitions have proven to be successful ventures for BEG! I have recently acquired Scruples as well, and am looking forward to adding color to the portfolio.
HL: What are some of the core values of your company?
BS: It is very simple… market the highest quality professional products at a reasonable price, treat your team well, [treat] vendors with respect and listen to your customers.
HL: What are your plans for the new year?
BS: We have just merged with Scruples, a widely respected color brand. So, I would have to say, a great deal of my 2018 focus will be on the merger and potential success that our brands collectively have.
HL: What advice would you give to someone starting out looking to build a business just as you did?
BS: The best advice I have for anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit is to take advantage of every learning opportunity afforded to you. Be humble, but don’t lack the confidence to take a calculated risk. Every experience can be a learning opportunity, and your success will be directly correlated to what you take from these experiences and how well you treat the people who work for you.
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