Focus on the customer experience and the rest will fall in line. All the other little things are minor and inconsequential. As long as your customers are leaving your business — whatever it may be — feeling that they have been taken care of, everything else will work itself out in the end.
Matt Maroone holds a bachelors degree from the University of Southern California and a MBA degree from The Wharton School. After working at three of the four major record companies as an undergraduate, Matt was hired as a Marketing Manager at SRC / Universal Records, a pop and urban label within Universal Music Group. Within two years at SRC, Matt was named the Director of Marketing and oversaw a multi platinum and Grammy nominated roster of Akon, Asher Roth, Melanie Fiona, Ray J and more. He also wrote, directed and produced much of the company’s web based video content during his tenure at SRC. This video work lead to the formation of an animation production company, MediaLuv, with college friend and animator Ryan Maloney. He is currently the founder and co-CEO of Silver Mirror Facial Bar, which as three locations and fifty employees across New York City and Washington, DC. In his spare time, Matt was a writer for Wharton’s Follies production, currently studies and performs Improv Comedy at Upright Citizens Brigade, and has recently written two television series pilots and four feature film scripts.
Thank you so much for joining us Matt. Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Ialways knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I began working on small scale startups during my free time in my early 20’s. It was only a matter of finding that right startup that could become something larger and more sustainable. I was working on a different skincare concept when my Co-founder, Cindy Kim and I had a dinner that changed the course of that project and my professional life.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lessons did you learn from that?
Finding the right teammates is the most painful and crucial lesson you encounter early in the experience. Everything is going a million miles an hour and oftentimes you just want to fill the role for the sake of filling it. Over the last few years, we’ve tried our best to slow down and spend a lot of time trying to find the right people for our team, even if it means short term pain from an empty role. The facial experience we offer is very unique: it’s about building a long term relationship with the guest. It’s only right that we spend a lot of effort finding unique and special estheticians who will build these lasting relationships.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
There were different ends of the skincare service spectrum that were being nurtured and then there was this gap in the middle was being completely ignored. You had these overpriced, incredibly long, once-a-year, treat-yourself facials on one end. Then, on the other end, you had skimpy, limited modality, low quality, express facials on the other end. No one had offered a premium facial for a non-so-premium price.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
1. It’s the little emergencies that will take up the largest amount of time. For example, a broken washing machine can cause hours of work and hundreds of dollars. But the important thing here is to remain focused and positive. These things are going to happen, but they’re not the end of the world. And sometimes, how you deal with these minor inconveniences is more important than anything else.
2. In can be fun to be a desk manager. When I occasionally fill in for our reception team, I am surprised by how much I enjoy meeting new customers and seeing our regulars return. No matter how fast you grow or what you accomplish, always be humble and never think you’re too big to lend a hand with some of the day-to-day. It’s founders and CEOs that aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty that are often the most successful. Not to mention, it sends a good message to your team that you’re all cogs in one machine working toward the same goal.
3. Direct mail campaigns are a waste of marketing resources. Sorry, USPS! This was a lesson we learned the hard way after investing unnecessary funds into what now seems like a very outdated marketing route.
4. You will solve customer complaints 99% of the time with a sincere apology and a clear path forward on how you’re going to make things better. There are going to be snafus in any customer/client-service industry, and founders can easily allow customer complaints and attitudes to get them down. Positivity is key here, not only to keeping yourself sane, but to repairing that relationship as well.
5. Focus on the customer experience and the rest will fall in line. All the other little things are minor and inconsequential. As long as your customers are leaving your business — whatever it may be — feeling that they have been taken care of, everything else will work itself out in the end.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Have intellectual pursuits outside of your profession. Use your brain in other areas of the world whether it’s a non-profit, art project, team sports, etc. Giving your brain a chance to flex itself in something you’re passionate about outside of work allows you to see your business from a fresh perspective after focusing your intellect on something in a completely different lane.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’m a 3rd generation entrepreneur. I’m blessed to be able to call my dad and my 96-year-old grandfather at anytime and pick their brains on all aspects of running a business. If I encounter a problem, there’s a 99.9% chance that they’ve experienced something similar along the way. Having that kind of insight and guidance is better than any textbook. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your family members.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
We think Silver Mirror could be a ubiquitous brand that stands for high quality skincare all over the world. We don’t want to show all of our cards, but we believe that Silver Mirror has a bright future in facials and beyond.
What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?
You always want to make sure you leave things (at least) a little better than when you got there.
If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
A media rating organization. The dissemination of quality, unbiased information will be one of the central challenges in my lifetime. There are some incredible online watchdog organizations, but I would love an algorithm that allows us to quickly judge the caliber of our news content. I attempted something similar in 2017 as a side project and failed — maybe next time!
How can our readers follow you on social media?