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“Bring beauty back to the concept of all seven dimensions of wellness.” With Candice Georgiadis & Rick Stollmeyer

Overall, we have to bring beauty back to the concept of all seven dimensions of wellness whether that be social connections, mental health, physical fitness, social wellbeing, and so on. It’s important for us to stop being our own worst critics, even during the unusual experience that we’re currently dealing with. It’s so incredibly hard […]

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Overall, we have to bring beauty back to the concept of all seven dimensions of wellness whether that be social connections, mental health, physical fitness, social wellbeing, and so on. It’s important for us to stop being our own worst critics, even during the unusual experience that we’re currently dealing with. It’s so incredibly hard to keep an eye off ourselves nowadays, especially with platforms like Zoom being so popular. We’re constantly staring at ourselves on a tiny box that appears on a screen. As human beings we’re drawn to our own image, but turn that camera off whenever possible.


I had the pleasure interviewing Rick Stollmeyer. Rich co-founded Mindbody in his garage in 2001. He serves as CEO and principal visionary, ensuring that everything the company undertakes — from product to business development to team member enrichment — serves Mindbody’s purpose to help people lead healthy, happier lives by connecting the world to wellness.

In 2005, Rick transformed the industry when he migrated the company’s business management software to the cloud. Today, Mindbody remains the leading technology platform for the wellness industry, streamlining business management for service providers and making it easier for consumers to explore and experience the many dimensions of wellness. Mindbody powers tens of thousands of fitness, beauty and integrative health businesses worldwide.


Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Iam the youngest of five boys and was raised in a small business family. My father was a small retail business owner specializing in lighting fixtures. My grandfather, my father, a couple of my uncles and three of my four brothers were all involved. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, you experience a lot of ups and downs depending on the sales of the business. It was down when I was in high school, which was part of what motivated me to go to the U.S. Naval Academy because college would be paid for.

Even at a very young age I was extremely purpose driven. I wanted to do something more — to be involved with something bigger than myself. Going to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland was a natural fit for me at the time.

Once I left the Navy, I held a series of different engineering management jobs — I was at four different jobs with three different companies in six years. No matter how many positions I held, I couldn’t find what I really loved. My last job prior to launching Mindbody was at Vandenberg Airforce Base on the central coast of California where I was an engineering contractor involved with the launching of satellites into low Earth orbit.

It was during that time that my old high school buddy, Blake Beltram, showed me the market opportunity of software for yoga and spin studios. It was then that the idea of Mindbody was born. Our initial discussions started around 1998, but we took the big leap in the fall of 2000 — I was 35 at the time.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Almost from the beginning, my partnership with Blake Beltram [Co-founder] was doomed. Within a month of starting, he said this wasn’t really his dream, and he had many other things he wanted to do with his life. He spent most of the next two years planning an exit and eventually left in the summer of 2003. Six weeks later, Blake came to me and said, “I want you to step aside and I want to come back.” The business was struggling at the time, so I was open to the concept.

I took Blake’s idea and surveyed the team, which consisted of 20 people at the time. The top employees at our company didn’t like the idea of me stepping down and would consider leaving if there was a leadership shake-up. It became clear to me that the business was going to fall apart, because while Blake built the original project, he was never really a part of building the team.

I told Blake that his idea wasn’t going to work for me, so I offered him to come back as co-CEO for six months — if it was the right fit, I would hand off my baton to him. He didn’t want that. After that, Blake and I didn’t speak for a decade. I wouldn’t pick up the phone and I was so angry and felt violated. I was running like hell trying to survive and was heavily in debt. But when times got tough, I got tougher and was determined. I thought to myself, “I’m going to get across this desert and survive.” In that, I was not being collaborative, and I wasn’t picking up the subtleties of how he was feeling. I should have offered to get a drink with him, walk on the beach, reconnect the relationship — that’s what I didn’t do. I was in a fight or flight place. It was fear. Neither one of us made the other justify their actions.

The best part of this is that we were reconnected by our nieces who coincidentally met while attending UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara). We basically apologized to one another and recognized our own roles in what had happened. That was magical for me. Before I had this conversation with Blake, I told one of our New York sales reps bits of this story. I told her I felt like there was a hole in my heart. If I never saw or spoke to him again, that hole was always going to be there. She said very specifically that I had to resolve this — it was only a month later that our nieces met. They were committed to bringing their uncles back together. It was only a couple of months after we reconnected that we were able to rebuild our friendship and I asked him to come back and work on special projects.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

There was a really important tipping point that I encountered early on in my career. I received fairly good success in the Navy and in my initial roles outside of the Navy, but there was this inevitable frustration point where I’d constantly find myself being at odds with my bosses. I’d start a new position as a hardworking, eager, quick learner who was willing to throw myself into anything. Then just about after the first year anniversary, I’d experience these frustrations and keep asking myself questions like, “Why am I so unlucky?” “Why do I have the wrong boss?” “Why do I always pick the wrong organizations to work for?”

I eventually picked up a copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and the story changed my life. It indicates that first and foremost, we’re authors of our own lives. Our happiness, or lack of happiness, or success, or lack of success isn’t a function of other people, but it’s a function of ourselves. Once we sign up for that belief system, our entire mindset changes. This was back in 1998 when I was frustrated with my Navy boss, so I listened to it on audio while driving back from a business trip to LA. By the time I got home it had completely changed my perspective. Instead of wondering why my boss was treating me a certain way and nearly causing me to quit, I began thinking about what he needed from me or what the situation demanded of me.

I realized that my boss felt threatened by me and what I needed to do was to help him look good. Once I shifted my paradigm that way, I ensured that everything I did both in front of him and while he wasn’t looking, positioned him in the best light when dealing with clients and colleagues. He soon began inviting me closer into the circle where I was put in contact with successful people and he gave me more meaningful assignments. Our organization was subcontracted under a major Air Force contract and within a year, the head lead at the major Air Force contract offered me a job. This ironically flipped the relationship between my boss and I because part of my new job was to oversee the contract that he was running. I ultimately became the person that my boss would report to and it actually worked out beautifully — we still had a good relationship today.

As soon as I got over myself and got out of my own head, I began thinking about how I could benefit my organization, boss and colleagues. When people see you in that light, doors open, and your horizons start to expand. You become a highly valued, beloved employee. Prior to that, I was coming across as someone who was self-serving until I had that pivotal moment. There’s no doubt that Mindbody would not exist if I had never discovered that book.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My father — he was a small business owner who taught me the principles of business. He always believed in fairness and hard work, but he managed to make the work fun. When I was eleven years old, he allowed me to do jobs inside of my family’s light fixture store and nothing ever felt like a chore. He taught me everything from accounting, to thinking about how to sell, to how to manage other people, and has managed to be a mentor ever since. Throughout the growth journey of Mindbody, he’s been there for me plenty of times. My business is very different and much larger than anything he’s ever seen before, which makes him very curious. He continues to offer insights that are extremely helpful, and I still look to him for advice today.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

The beauty industry post COVID-19 is dealing with challenges around social distancing. Contactless transactions will be extremely helpful, in addition to virtual consultations that can be done prior to a customer showing up at a salon. People will still want to be able to receive an education as well — many of our customers have begun teaching makeup classes and other beauty-related topics via virtual delivery. Doing all of this virtually will allow beauty businesses to continue to provide a similar amount of services than they normally did, while still managing to deal with the restrictions in this post COVID-19 world.

The industry will have to recognize that consumers now expect a digital extension to every business that they interact with. We can order any product or food item that will be delivered to our home in a remarkable speed of time, but we’ll still visit the brick and mortar locations that are out there. This is going to mirror what will happen in the future of the beauty industry.

The ability to reduce labor costs will also be extremely important. Bowtie, the virtual assistant, is the first AIML application of the beauty industry. The idea that you can provide an even better level of service for your clients and your labor costs as a beauty business is critical. Whether you’re an independent stylist who is working out of a home, or you’re a salon owner with 12 chairs, those types of technologies are going to help you be more effective.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

Technology has been showing us all that we can get so much done without any human contact involved. We’ve done this in such concentration over the past few months that we’ve also experienced the downside, which is a notable decline in the emotional, social and mental wellbeing of those across the world, or in the communities that we’re most familiar with. Technology is a system that can connect people in far broader and deeper ways than ever before, but it’s also a system that can isolate people. On the other end, we also see the misbehavior that’s happening where people are trolling, spreading hate and disrupting the lives of others through a digital means. As a society, we have to learn to deal with and mitigate this so that these wonderful technologies can help people, not hurt them.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

  • I’m excited to see what types of hybrid services the beauty industry will begin to roll out. We’ve seen most of the wellness world, like fitness studios, quickly adapt to this new normal and now it’s time for beauty to step its game up.
  • The future of Mindbody is going to be one to look out for. The app has done an amazing job at providing consumers with tons of fitness, beauty and integrative health services, and now there’s a new window of opportunity. Soon enough, our beauty customers will have a whole realm of virtual services for Mindbody users to try out regardless of where they’re based in the world.
  • I’m curious to see what most salons will look like. We’re already starting to notice them implement plexiglass between customers and stylists, roll out contactless check-ins, etc. so it really interests me to begin thinking about what other types of components will begin popping up in our post COVID-19 world.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

Like any other industry right now, everyone is doing their best to navigate their business through these uncertain times and figure out how to remain successful while following new state guidelines and protocols due to COVID-19. Being an entrepreneur myself, things like this keep me up at night. I want to make sure that Mindbody can be a resource for business owners out there who may be struggling to stay afloat or are having a hard time adjusting to unique standards. As a result, Mindbody recently developed a reboot toolkit that serves as a guide on how to properly reopen your spa, salon or wellness business post COVID-19. I hope that information like this can help improve the industry, as we all prepare for a successful future.

Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful?” (Please share a short story or example for each).

Overall, we have to bring beauty back to the concept of all seven dimensions of wellness whether that be social connections, mental health, physical fitness, social wellbeing, and so on. It’s important for us to stop being our own worst critics, even during the unusual experience that we’re currently dealing with. It’s so incredibly hard to keep an eye off ourselves nowadays, especially with platforms like Zoom being so popular. We’re constantly staring at ourselves on a tiny box that appears on a screen. As human beings we’re drawn to our own image, but turn that camera off whenever possible.

If you want to improve yourself in some way and have a goal to lose weight, for example, that’s fine, but do so in a healthy way that’s fun. It’s not all about fitting into a certain size dress or pants — what matters is overall health and wellness. Everything goes far beyond what we look like — it’s about who we are as human beings.

We’re all beautiful and imperfect. To a large degree, everyone understands that concept, but even the most enlightened people don’t look at beauty as being skin deep. Remember that you’re a whole person, which consists of much more than body image and outside appearance. Celebrate your differences — beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

That’s an easy one — it’d be wellness and it’s exactly what we do each day at Mindbody. As a company, we’ve made a global commitment to improving the overall wellness of society. When it comes to wellness, everyone benefits. This isn’t a zero-sum game where the only way to get a piece of the pie is to take something from someone else. That’s not how wellness or life works — the pie is infinite. When someone enhances their wellbeing, it magnetizes to those around them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote?” Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” — Habit #5 from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This quote reminds me to first and foremost listen, and to maintain a curious mindset.

How can our readers follow you online?

Twitter @stollmeyerLinkedIn, and at www.mindbody.io.

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