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“To dramatically improve your business, use LinkedIn’s advanced search feature to quickly understand where to focus efforts to mine market intelligence.” with Airason Heard and Phil Laboon

LinkedIn’s advanced search feature enables us to filter results by industry, demographic, company size and position. This allows us to quickly understand where to focus our efforts to mine market intelligence. As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Airason […]


LinkedIn’s advanced search feature enables us to filter results by industry, demographic, company size and position. This allows us to quickly understand where to focus our efforts to mine market intelligence.

As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Airason Heard, Blazon Co-Founder. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Airason Heard has always been a strategist at heart. Heard often found himself seeking creative ways to solve complex problems through the incorporation of storytelling into design. As the Co-Founder of Blazon, Heard integrated his artistry and structural design background into the development of the brush design. After serving in the US Navy, Heard received his BFA and M. Arch. from the California College of the Arts. After completing his MsAAD at Columbia University, he worked for Studios Architecture as a designer and strategist at Cushman & Wakefield. Working with various firms, brands and industry leaders in the design reignited his desire to create unexpected beauty in everyday objects and spaces on his own, as an entrepreneur. Wanting to convey the message that all hairbrushes are not created equally, he joined forces with Aaron Henry and Kibi Anderson to launch the first high-tech, streetwear accessory collection of hexagon boar bristle brushes in September 2018.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As an architect, I see how design is at the core of everything we do in the world. Design is a part of how you communicate who you are, and what matters most to you in a world flooding in commercial images and cultural self-expression. Traditionally, hair has always been more than just a physical attribute in the African American community…it’s an attitude that makes a statement. A lot of thought, time and energy goes into how we brush our hair to achieve a certain style. My Blazon partners and I not only saw a void in the market of quality products that offered solutions for everyday needs that come with brushing our hair, but tools that reflected the vibrancy of a culture that transcends color. We acknowledged the market gap in designing and developing a high-quality, high-performance, fashionable, top-shelf hairbrush aligned with today’s busy lifestyles.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Meeting my business partners! I could have never imagined that responding to a LinkedIn message would have led to the start of an unbelievable collaboration to bring the Blazon Brush to market. It started with a message response, next a few conference calls, then my partners flying from NYC to SF to meet in person. It was ‘synced’ at first sight. After a vibrant and creative conversation about how to disrupt the market, we decided to start a business and a month later we started the rapid prototyping process. After 2 years, we’re still ‘synced’.

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?

When you’re grinding away in a zone — you know, sometimes you forget to step away and return with fresh eyes. One night, I acknowledged this shortcoming. For me that meant returning to my computer, only to see my 2-year old banging on my laptop. I freaked! After pulling her away, I was grateful for her playfulness as it resulted in slightly shifting the bristle array on the brush paddle, which led to our patent-pending hexagon bristle array. After that, I realized that it’s the playfulness in the design process that brings the unimagined to the surface.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

While my partners and I have found that Instagram users are the most engaged and the most excited to share their experience, LinkedIn has helped us to navigate industry trends and connect with thought leaders that are essential part our ongoing marketing plan to increase business revenues.

Let’s talk about LinkedIn specifically, now. Can you share 5 ways to leverage LinkedIn to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. We leverage LinkedIn to identify potential investors and industry design leaders that we can learn from and possibly collaborate with.
  2. LinkedIn’s advanced search feature enables us to filter results by industry, demographic, company size and position. This allows us to quickly understand where to focus our efforts to mine market intelligence.
  3. LinkedIn has been extremely helpful in providing a platform for the Blazon team to test customer feedback, thus saving us a lot of time by avoiding tradition processes to capture the customer experience.
  4. LinkedIn is ideal for getting up to date business news! I check my LinkedIn feed before I read NYT every morning.
  5. LinkedIn is the best social media platform to see how others are collaborating and disrupting the market.

Because of the position that you are in, 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. 🙂

Influencing a movement of design and making products (the future of manufacturing) in urban communities. In particular, working with students (our future) to share the true power of design — that is, to show them how powerful it is to be able to create whatever you can dream up. I want to see 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC miller machines, and advanced 3D modeling software in every disadvantaged school in the US. Let’s start with Oakland, CA!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Elon Musk! Just like Elon, Blazon has reimagined an everyday product that’s been overlooked for too long. Through design, thinking and simply dreaming BIG — Elon has not only disrupted the automobile industry — he transformed the driving experience. It’s inspiring! When you see a Telsa on the road, you think of the future.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!

About the Author:

Phil Laboon wants to live in a world where actions speak louder than words, people shout their stories from roof tops, and where following one’s passion is the norm. As a serial entrepreneur and investor, his personal and professional life has spotlighted in hundreds of publications such as People Magazine, Rueters, Forbes, Inc, HuffingtonPost, and CBS This Morning. Phil also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column on the subject of how great leaders build great companies. When he’s not building memorable brands or launching exciting startups, you can find him backpacking exotic countries looking for new inspiration and challenges. If you would like to book Phil for an entertaining speaking engagement about inbound marketing or growing a business, he can be contacted HERE.

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