Probably the best advice I’ve received is to “not grow too fast.” I’m very lucky that both of my companies have been successful, but you have to be extremely careful about how fast you grow. There have been instances where we’ve turned down massive retail opportunities because it just wasn’t the right time. There are so many factors that you have to think about before saying “yes” to a big retail deal like inventory management, cash flow, retailer driven fees that are never spoken about and shipping costs.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Glass.
Andrew Glass is a serial entrepreneur with a focus on beauty and creating category-defining products. With over a decade in the industry, Andrew specializes in building new categories and reinventing stale sectors
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
My career in Beauty started when I was 18 years old working retail, and I fell in love with the industry! After a few years in retail, I got my first job as an Account Manager for a luxury beauty distribution company which led into future positions working with brands directly. During those years I slowly worked my way over from sales & account management to product development & innovation. Through my diverse experience within the industry, I gained the skills and knowledge I needed to eventually launch my own brand! My business partner, Shayan Sadrolashrafi, has a background in UI/UX design, web development and packaging design. Shayan has worked with some of the world’s largest corporations as a Senior Designer. It was the mix of Shayan’s design background and my beauty background that led to the creation of wakse.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
We looked at the Hair Removal category and recognized that there hadn’t been any innovation within the last decade. We looked at the experience of removing hair and improved on literally every aspect of it. Wakse is a complete re-imagining of the at-home waxing experience. We’ve created custom formulas that look incredible, smell incredible, hurt less and packaged each product in a way that makes people want to post about it. Outside of shaving, hair removal has never been “Instagram-worthy” until wakse came out. With the opening of our brand new store, we wanted to reinvent the professional waxing experience as well. The customer can choose to have a Rose Gold, chocolate scented waxing service, for example, and be served a hot chocolate or cappuccino when they arrive. Each room has customizable color lighting, so we can even give a Rose Gold hue to the room for an added visual experience. What wakse offers, both in-store and at home, is a sensorial experience that has never been done before. We’re playing with the senses visually and by smell.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
During our first large shipment of products we decided to allow the manufacturer to hand-label 8,000 jars, only to find out once they were delivered that there were massive air bubbles on every jar! We got together in my kitchen, unboxed every jar and relabeled all 8,000. It was a nightmare! Ever since we’ve paid the extra dollar amount to run each jar through a label machine and will never make that mistake again!
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I can’t say that Shayan or myself have had a specific individual within the industry we’ve “leaned on” for advice or support. We’ve done a great job of leaning on each other, being there for one another and learning together.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
I think that there are some areas where disruption is needed, and other areas where it’s not. Maybe there’s a “dead” category that has obvious signs of opportunity for innovation, and in that case disruption is great. The mistake comes when someone creates a product or a brand for the sole purpose of getting attention or wanting to make waves, especially if it’s within a category that’s doing fine as is. Just like we, as people, need to “read the room” during a social engagement, brands need to “read the room” when it comes to innovation… especially during a time of “cancel culture” where what we say and how we say it can make or break a company in an instant.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
Probably the best advice I’ve received is to “not grow too fast.” I’m very lucky that both of my companies have been successful, but you have to be extremely careful about how fast you grow. There have been instances where we’ve turned down massive retail opportunities because it just wasn’t the right time. There are so many factors that you have to think about before saying “yes” to a big retail deal like inventory management, cash flow, retailer-driven fees that are never spoken about and shipping costs.
The second was to follow my instinct. This can be a hard one because you hear “no” a lot more than you hear “yes” in this industry… even if you have a great product. It’s all about timing. A buyer may say “no” to you and then 6 months later come back and say “yes”… the key is to not get discouraged.
Lastly is to be persistent. Just like I said before, don’t get discouraged! Don’t be afraid to follow up with buyers multiple times. You have to remember that they’re getting approached by hundreds of brands so sometimes your email may get forgotten.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
Shayan and I have several other brands that we’re working on, but unfortunately, I can’t tell you what they are just yet! We plan on expanding to more retail locations globally and are also planning on opening our own manufacturing plant in the US in the near future!
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
Not specifically. I’m a huge believer in dreaming, thinking outside of the box and having the mindset that ANYTHING is possible.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Follow your dreams. It’s cliche, but it’s true. If you asked my parents if they thought I’d be the Founder/CEO of two multi-million dollar companies by 32 years old, they would have both laughed in your face. I wasn’t the best student in high school or college and didn’t have much “direction” early on…. but I’ve always had big dreams and believed in myself. That is how I got here.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Kindness. Especially in today’s world, we all need to be more kind to one another. We are all human and all deserve love and respect. At the end of your life nobody will ever say “they were too kind”… so be it!
How can our readers follow you online?
Instagram: @andrewglass_ / Shayan’s instagram: @shayansadrolashrafi
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!