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“To develop Grit, practice honing your problem-solving skills”, With Calvin Quallis and Phil Laboon

Practice honing your problem-solving skills. To successfully navigate life, we must be pretty good problem solvers. Big and small problems can arise daily and require us to be good problem solvers.


Practice honing your problem-solving skills. To successfully navigate life, we must be pretty good problem solvers. Big and small problems can arise daily and require us to be good problem solvers.

I had the pleasure to interview Calvin Quallis the founder of Scotch Porter. Scotch Porter is a New Jersey-based men’s grooming brand and part of the #beardgang culture. The company is the brainchild of millennial founder Calvin Quallis who took his idea from the barbershop to the shelves and online after noticing his clientele’s need for products that catered to their hair type.


Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path?

I’ve always been passionate about solving problems. My passion for helping men to look and feel their best was born out of observation and my firsthand experience as a barbershop owner and a kid in my mom’s beauty/barbershop, where I watched my mom and the other barbers and stylists transform the customers that walked into the shop. The customers would walk out as a different person. The barbers and stylists had this unique ability to help people feel better about themselves. That experience really resonated and stuck with me.

Also, when I owned my own barbershop, a lot of me would complain about grooming issues like dry, brittle and thin hair. So, I went home and began experimenting from the kitchen of my home, with natural ingredients, to alleviate their concerns and Scotch Porter was born.

Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

Before the launch of our product business, I owned a barbershop/salon. Neither my partners, nor I had any experience running a shop. It was such a foreign world to us, but we had a cool idea to also use the barbershop as a cultural hub/meeting place for artists and musicians. The goal was to build a profitable business around community. Although we built a name for ourselves in the community, the business just wasn’t profitable, and we ended up having to close the doors.

However, while building the business, I created a line of grooming products that were for sale in our shop and were becoming a hit with the shop’s customers. The products were gaining such popularity that people were driving in from neighboring states to buy them. The products that I’m referring to led to the inception of Scotch Porter. From this experience, I’ve learned that there is no such thing as failure. Failing is life’s way of correcting the course and placing you on the right path. Scotch Porter is a by-product of our short stint with the barbershop. Without the barbershop, there would have been no chance of developing a successful product line.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Maintaining my faith and having figured out my true ‘Why’ helps to keep me going even when things get very difficult. Truly understanding and believing that there is but so much control that I have over some of the things that happen to me in life, I feel a sense of freedom and relief. I stand strong in my faith and understand that this temporary setback I’m facing is something that I should learn and grow through, not avoid.

Remembering my ‘Why’ gets me through some of the toughest moments in business.

Without a strong ‘Why’ I’d be running on empty. My ‘Why’ recharges and refuels me.

So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?

Grit has kept me going. There are some days where I’ve felt completely defeated, tired and at the point where I wanted to give up. When I felt overwhelmed or defeated, I always reminded myself that the bigger the goal that I’m trying to accomplish, and the greater the impact I want to have, the more resistance and frustration I’m going to face. However, on the other side of all those dark thoughts is success.

Grit forced me to keep going and to see past where I was at during the hard times and ahead of my limited resources. What followed is a larger, fast growing business and a much happier personal life.

So, how are things going today? 🙂

Things are well. Again, the business is growing. I’m enjoying it all.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit?

My advice on how one can develop grit:

1. Practice honing your problem-solving skills. To successfully navigate life, we must be pretty good problem solvers. Big and small problems can arise daily and require us to be good problem solvers.

2. Practice resilience. Keep moving forward. There are some days where you’ll want to throw in the towel. I have personally wanted to quit many times, but I owe it to myself and my loved ones to keep going.

3. You must be passionate about this thing that you’re building or working on. You might have no idea how to monetize whatever this thing is that you love to do, but passion will drive you to figure it out. When you’re exhausted, broke, and utterly frustrated, passion will make you jump out of the bed and work late into the evening, because no dream can become a reality until it’s become an obsession.

4. Figure out your true “Why”. There are so many reasons to quit or not start something. There might be lots of risk or many unknowns. You could destroy your credibility. You could get punished by debt. You could even lose everything. However, your “Why” is much more powerful than every reason to quit or not to start, and it’s what you need to go back to when you start feeling lost.

5. Grow through obstacles and setbacks. Instead of trying to avoid obstacles and setbacks learn to embrace and growth through it. We cannot stop challenges from appearing in our lives, but we can choose how to handle and learn from them. They may be a temporary hindrance, but if we persevere then we can discover favorable opportunities that wait for us on the other side of the table. And as we get better with this process, we enable ourselves to see optimism in even the toughest situations.

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 you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?

I’m not religious, but I am a spiritual person. God has helped me get through all my toughest times. Through bad business decisions, the loss of loved ones, health scares and what seemed like insurmountable challenges.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

We bring goodness to this planet by encouraging every man to dare to care. We’re committed to not only helping men to look and feel better, we’re committed to helping men to think differently. We encourage men of all races, regions, religions, sizes to recognize our shared humanity, to take care of ourselves and to take care of others.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We’ve just launched Scotch Porter’s new CBD line. It’s our popular beard line infused with CBD oils. Perfect for those with skin sensitivities, and promotes a soft, thick growing beard. Really supporting our dare to care mission.

What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?

To thrive and find true happiness, I’ve come to really understand that it’s all about balance and focusing all or too much time and energy in one area of your life, leaves you a bit empty. It’s important to set goals for the important things in your life: Career, Financial, Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Family and Social. Finding and planning time every month to work on one of your goals, in each of those buckets, makes you a much happier person.

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. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good, it would be the daily practice of Love and Humility.

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

My favorite life lesson quote is something that Oprah Winfrey said a while ago, that has stuck with me. She said,” I got so focused on the difficulty of the climb that I lost sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb”.

The one thing that has gotten me through some of my toughest days has been my daily ritual of reminding myself of all the things that I have to be grateful for. Every morning that I wake, before thinking of all the things that I must do for the day, I think of all the things that I’m grateful for. It always begins with me being grateful for waking up to a new day, followed by whatever else I’m grateful for, like being able to pick up the phone and call my mom, or something as simple as being able to hear the birds chirp in the morning. It forces me to focus less on what I don’t have and all the craziness of the day ahead and find peace in the present and happiness in the simple things that I do have.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @ScotchPorter and visit ScotchPorter.com.

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