If you look at history, after world altering events, history has proven things will come back, many times stronger than ever.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Gould.
Kevin Gould is an entrepreneur, talent manager, brand builder, and active angel investor based in Los Angeles.
He is the founder and CEO of Kombo Ventures and after diving into brand incubation 2 years ago, is the co-founder of three self funded direct-to-consumer brands; Insert Name Here, a hair extension and hair products brand, Wakeheart, a fragrance and scent brand aimed at millenials and Gen Z, and Glamnetic, the world’s leading magnetic eyeliner and eyelash brand.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Igrew up in North Carolina and moved to Los Angeles after college. I ended up starting my career in the mailroom at William Morris Endeavor, the largest talent agency in the world, and after I got out of the mailroom I worked closely with a lot of actors and actresses on the representation side. It was a great crash course in the entertainment business and I spent three years there. While at the company, I started to get really intrigued by the convergence of Silicon Valley and entertainment and realized both sides needed each other, but didn’t know how to speak the other side’s language; there was a clear disconnect between the two worlds. On weekdays I was cold emailing founders and investors in the Valley and on weekends I would fly up there to take meetings. I was able to find a niche where I could be the bridge for both sides. I ended up leaving WME to launch an agency where we worked with startups on their entertainment and consumer strategy, and in exchange had a blended business model where we took a retainer as well as sweat equity in the startups.
After about a year, I realized that working with these companies also gave me an incredible opportunity to gain early access for investing. Using the profits I was making on the agency side, I parlayed that into angel investing. I ended up over the years, building a portfolio of around 15 companies that I angel invested in (Draft Kings, Beautycon, Clutter, Brandable, Pocketwatch, and a number of others) even becoming incredibly operationally active in a few of them, in the day-to-day business. I ended up diving back into my entertainment roots a few years ago, as the rise of influencers was happening and launched a management division of my company that focuses on representing digital talent.
Two years ago, I was looking to combine the unique influencer relationships I had, with the operational background I had in startups, to begin launching brands. The first brand, Insert Name Here, was launched with my two co-founders Sharon Pak and Jordynn Wynn, who were the first two employees at Colourpop Cosmetics and we really set out to reinvent the hair category. In 2019, I launched Wakeheart with Youtube sensations Grayson and Ethan Dolan, who have a combined following of over 20 million on social media. In that same year, I then came on board to launch Glamnetic, with my co-founder Ann McFerran. All of these brands are self-funded and we have not raised any outside capital.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
While I do have some books that inspire me (currently reading The Ride of A Lifetime by Bob Iger), I do not have one specific favorite that sticks out. I am a constant consumer of content whether that be books, podcasts, news, music, finance, stocks, business, politics, consumer trends, or social media. For me, it’s all about staying on the pulse at all times, with what is going on in the world and culture. The world is moving so quickly today, that what worked three months ago from a marketing or business perspective, may not work now and it’s imperative to constantly be consuming content to stay ahead.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
In times like this, you have to be an optimistic realist. It would be irresponsible to not look at the reality of the situation that we are in right now. Beyond the serious health consequences many are facing, the economic impact is going to be incredibly painful. Everyone needs to fully brace themselves that we are moving into a recession and 2020 is going to be very hard for a lot of businesses. With that being said, you have to stay positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel. When I look at reasons to be hopeful there are a few things I see that help me see that light:
- The sacrifices we are seeing from doctors, health care workers, delivery works, uber drivers, etc is inspiring.
- The country and local communities are really coming together to fight this and it shows that humanity is alive and thriving.
- It’s important to find peace in knowing that you’re not in it alone. Everyone is going to be fighting this together and having a strong community (whether that’s a friend group or the broader social media community) is important.
- If you look at history, after world altering events, history has proven things will come back, many times stronger than ever.
- Great ideas are made in times of crisis. This will be a defining moment in our lifetime and when we look back we will see that brilliant ideas came out of this time period.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Give a friend a call or a Facetime to check on them. Right now everyone is going through something, some more so than others, and for me I have been calling others just to check on them and make sure they are okay.
- There is only so much time in the day to call/Facetime everyone, but for those who you can’t call shoot them a quick dm/message to let them know that you are there for them if they need anything or shoot them a positive note. This goes a long way.
- Take personal time to think — you have to have a clear head to operate and make the best decisions in a situation that continually is changing day by day, so for me, I make sure to self-assess myself and the situation every day and after I assess I think through the best course of action for myself, my businesses, and our incredible team that we have.
- Keep a positive attitude- this is KEY and try to only surround yourselves with others who have a similar mindset. You have to have positivity to get through this.
- Bring ideas to the table. While I call my friends to check on them, I also try to think of tactical ideas on what they can be doing to navigate this difficult time (for me I think the most value I can add for friends now is how to be thinking about their business so I am trying to help there as much as I can) and have had multiple calls this weekend going over ideas.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
‘Life is a figment of your imagination.’ I have always taken this to heart as life is what you make of it and what you set your mind to. I am a big believer in willing things into existence. I do think that there are a few very important things to note here. It’s important not to live in dreamland; there is a huge difference between living in the clouds or a dream world, and setting your mind towards something, determining you are going to do it and putting all possible effort into accomplishing it. You need to know going into something, that it’s going to be really hard and there’s always a chance it won’t work out, but that’s life. For me personally, I put into motion and action what I want to happen and execute, and work as hard as I can towards that.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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. 🙂
Being someone in the startup space and a small business owner, I have a passion for entrepreneurship. There are a lot of people who just need a shot at building a small business. They may not want to build the next big tech company or consumer brand, but might want to open a small business in their community and just need a shot but don’t have the access to capital for it. I would love to find ways to help jump-start these businesses similar to a Kiva-type model and the incredible work they have done overseas, giving entrepreneurs opportunities with a specific focus on historically under-supported minorities.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online? Can keep up to speed on both my Linkedin or my Instagram where I post business updates (www.instagram.com/keving)
- Follow our brands at :
- Insert Name Here Hair: https://www.instagram.com/insertnamehere/
- Wakeheart: https://www.instagram.com/wakeheart/
- Glamnetic: https://www.instagram.com/glamnetic/
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!