Product by Design

Join host Kyle Evans and guest Ryan Margolin, entrepreneur and founder of Professional Hair Labs, on this episode of Product by Design. Ryan shares his experience in sustainable product development across 15 different countries and his journey to building a stronger brand for his company. Kyle and Ryan also discuss their love for music and how they encourage their kids to explore their creativity. Discover Ryan's insights on developing the right product and effective marketing strategies, as well as his decision to manufacture products in-house instead of outsourcing. Get inspired by Ryan's advice on personal development and self-motivation for business owners. Don't miss out on the talk about a new technology with the potential to change everything that Ryan and Kyle are experimenting with in their businesses. Follow or subscribe to Product by Design on various platforms to stay updated on the latest episodes!

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[00:00:08] Global brand building with Ryan Margolin
[00:03:41] Musical Family Values and Creativity
[00:06:58] From Construction to Hair Replacement Business Success
[00:10:11] Entrepreneurial success and personal growth
[00:13:30] Future London Academy and Product Marketing
[00:17:14] Essentials of Successful Product Development
[00:20:35] Lessons from expanding into new markets
[00:23:49] Tackling Counterfeiting in Watchmaking Industry
[00:27:02] Technology for Counterfeit Prevention in Cosmetics
[00:30:35] Challenges of Product/software Development
[00:33:53] Why We Chose In-House Manufacturing
[00:37:12] Transforming Company Mission and Family Business
[00:40:21] Company Expansion and Product Development
[00:43:22] Focusing on personal growth in business
[00:46:21] Prioritizing Tasks and Embracing Technology as a Busy Business Owner
[00:49:23] Revolutionizing information gathering through technology

What is Product by Design?

Interesting conversations about product management, user experience design, technology, and how we can create the best product experiences for users and our businesses.

PbD Ep74_mixdown.mp3
Kyle 00:36
A podcast about product management user experience design, technology, and more.
This is product by design.
Welcome back to another episode of Product by Design.
I am Kyle Evans, And this week, we are joined by another awesome guest, Ryan Margolin.
Kyle 00:38
Welcome to the show, Ryan.
Ryan 00:40
Thanks, Kyle.
Thanks for having me.
Kyle 01:02
Well, we are super excited to talk with you, Ryan.
Let me do a really brief intro, and then we'll let you introduce yourself a little bit more.
But Ryan is an international business leader and entrepreneur, who works in more than 15 different countries.
And he helps create this sustainable services and products in industries full of subpar and harmful goods, which a lot to unpack there.
Kyle 01:07
So why don't you tell us a little bit more about yourself what you're doing and your business?
Ryan 01:24
So so the business is called professional hair labs.
We are now a cosmetic manufacturer we weren't always.
We were very niche in the nonsurgical hair replacement industry.
We've built a global leading brand surrounding, you know, our our cosmetic bonding adhesives and our scalp treatments, shampoo, conditioners.
Ryan 01:48
It's on a different ranges.
But more recently, over the last couple of years, we've kind of taken the the principles and methodologies that we've used to build the brand, and we want to bring that to a wider, you know, array of of or a deeper ranges in the cosmetic space.
So that's where it's led us, you know.
That's that's part of our expansion plans.
Me, myself, my my background is in sales and marketing.
Ryan 02:34
It's kind of the jobs I've always held.
And more recently, in the last, say, 7 or 8 years, I really dove deep into, you know, studying digital marketing.
I did my post graduate and my masters and applied some of those those lessons that I learned and things that I was taught over those years towards the industry.
Fortunately, when I did my masters, I had a an opportunity to do a thesis on on whatever I chose in the digital space, and I chose to focus on our industry, which taught me a bunch of different things that I would have never have necessarily known.
And we leveraged those the, you know, those touch points to to build a much stronger brand, which we we were successful in doing with the with team we have in place.
Ryan 02:37
So that's really the the bird's eye view of the company.
Kyle 02:46
Well, I'm excited to dive a little bit more into that.
But before we do, tell us a little bit more about some of the things that you like to do outside of the office and outside of work?
Ryan 03:09
So the last decade of my life has has really been solely focused on building our business.
You know?
It's myself and my 2 brothers involved in the company.
It was my dad originally, but through very strong succession planning and and, you know, kind of future foundations it's the 3 of us who are now in in in ownership of of of the company.
Ryan 03:24
More recently, over the last couple of years, I've had some time and space to kinda delve into things that I would have been passionate about before.
Music is a big thing in my life.
Sport is a big thing in my life.
I love basketball.
I live and breathe it.
Ryan 03:54
I play it every chance that I get.
You know, music is always if I grew up in a in in a musical environment, and really that kind of, you know, stands tall in my own family today with my own kids where I didn't have the time to really focus on nurturing there.
Ability to play music my wife took over, and she she's the reason they they they all play an instrument and are heavily involved in different different groups.
So that's really what my life looks like outside of work.
You know?
Ryan 04:12
It's it's it's I try to make it as family orientated possible now.
Obviously, when you when you own your own business, sometimes it never works out all the time in that favor, but, you know, you still do need to kinda take some time that's that's completely non negotiable to to spend in other places.
Kyle 04:19
I couldn't agree more.
And you you can kind of see -- Yeah.
-- enjoy music here.
Kyle 04:47
I for those who aren't watching, but are listening, I I have several guitars and other musical instruments in the background.
We we take a very similar approach in wanting to expose a lot of music and musical opportunity to our kids.
And so just having both having things around and then also, like, dedicating the time specifically to Right now, it's ukulele and piano, which are the 2 main instruments.
So Good.
And then hopefully moving up to some other ones.
Kyle 04:48
Ryan 05:16
And that's it.
But III think the most important what you said there is the, you know, the difference, you know, random instruments that lie around, you know, even more recently, my son plays violin.
And, you know, he's been picking up the guitar just because it's lying there in a case and, you know, he's just playing away on it.
And to me, that exploration of creativity is really where the magic is.
You in in look, my opinion when it comes to music is that you can, you know, train yourself and you can classically trained.
Ryan 05:27
You can be trained in whatever genre you want.
But ultimately, the natural creativity that's within you that comes out is where you form yourself as an artist and and I love that part about giving them the freedom to do that.
Kyle 06:06
Absolutely 100 percent agree.
I think that was, you know, my my first exposure was as a as a kid was from just having musical instruments laying around, and it wasn't we had a guitar that was just in the guitar case.
And just sat there and, you know, I was just fascinated and was able to pull it out.
And so that's the similar thing that I'm trying to recreate is just we have things that we're very specifically focused on, but then also just having the ability to explore lots of things.
And I think that has parallels both musically and in our interests and probably professionally as well, but just being able to explore a lot of different things.
Kyle 06:16
Makes you just a more dynamic person, but also just gives you the opportunity to to figure out what is it that I'd like?
What am I good at?
What do I want to be doing in the future?
Ryan 06:40
And I'll and also help you push the boundaries of what you, you know, you think you're capable of actually doing as well.
Because, you know, when you don't put hurdles in front of yourself, you end up engaging things in a much different way than you would if you just see a challenge in front of you.
You know, it's you know, sometimes it's better off to go into something without an expectation rather than, you know, looking at it in a specific way.
Kyle 06:58
Well, this is this is great.
I I love this part of the conversation.
But I guess, kind of pulling it back into, you know, some of the the business and and your journey.
I'm interested in, you know, what brought you to the the current place.
You know, you you talked about the the business that you've built, the things that you're doing now.
Kyle 07:08
Tell us a little bit more about the journey from from where you were and the things that you were doing to, where you are currently and the things that you're working on.
Ryan 07:27
2008 is when it kind of started know, global crash came.
I was working in sales and marketing at the time in an industry that was very heavily hit, which was construction and, you know, sanitary ware, wooden floors, all that stuff.
Naturally, that was the 1 of the first things to bottom out.
So I was kind of looking for other opportunities.
Ryan 07:43
And what happened was at that point, my dad had the business and he lived in Florida.
I was actually living in Ireland at the time.
And I was married.
We had 1 daughter at the time, and he my dad said, listen.
I'm not really happy with the way things are going in in the business.
Ryan 08:00
They're quite stagnant.
There's some things that I'm not pleased about.
Do you wanna come over and and and see, is there anything you can contribute?
And discussed it with my wife, and we actually turned it down initially.
But reflecting a little bit on it, we decided, look, what's the worst that can happen?
Ryan 08:13
You know, we we commit a year of our lives to it.
You know, we we head off and, you know, we we try something new, and that's what we did.
So we moved to Florida.
I think it was April I think it was April 2009.
Ryan 08:42
It was April 2009 is when we moved.
And I spent the first 6 months learning about the business, the intricacies of the internal operations, but also, you know, the the the the customer base and and and the different locations across the United States, I grew up in an entrepreneurial environment.
My parents were, you know, business owners They my mom was a master hair technician.
My dad ran the business as well.
So I knew a little bit about the industry, but I didn't really understand this, you know.
Ryan 09:08
So those 6 months were vitally important to me.
I manually built a a database of all hair replacement studios across the United States.
I think it was about 5000 of them.
And we decided to strip the whole company back branding messaging and and and speak to the same audience in a different way.
So we did some we did 3 really key simple things.
Ryan 09:35
You know?
We we redesigned the website we redesigned the product line, and we did a direct mail marketing campaign, which was a postcard front and back with a new product that we were ready to launch to market.
And on the front of it was the product and the benefits and the back of it was 2 testimonials from industry leaders.
And obviously, there was only 3 of us in the company at the time.
And we're, like, if we send all 5000 of these out, we can be absolutely hammered with calls.
Ryan 09:48
So we said we'd split it up into 3 sections, and we sent them out in 3 different phases.
And just like we kinda thought would happen, we started getting loads of phone calls.
So 1 bottle of orders to try it.
It was a great product.
We knew it.
Ryan 10:05
1 bottle orders turned to 2 to 5 to 10 to 25.
And before you knew it, we had a massive range of of replacement studios who have now validated this product for us, and we ended up tripling revenue within 18 months.
So we were like, okay.
Look, we validated the product.
What else can we do here?
Ryan 10:31
Because we had only just started to, you know, to to put the systems together to help us grow in the United States.
Ultimately, I knew I didn't wanna stay where we we where I didn't wanna raise my daughter in Florida.
It just wasn't where we wanted to be.
So basically, what I did is I created a business plan to tackle Europe and presented that to my dad at the time.
I wanted a hundred grand to put my back pocket and take away to to to make it work.
Ryan 11:03
And in true parent form, I was told very clearly that it would not work because he had tried it before.
And, you know, you know, it's funny the irony in it all because, you know, at the same things that, you know, my dad was told when he was starting the business by people in the industry, you told them what he was doing would not work.
Was the same message he was delivering to me when I was looking to, you know, take my own journey and and and, you know, help expand on what we've already built.
So eventually, it happened.
It was it was, you know, it was approved.
Ryan 11:22
I was like, this is a great new journey back in somewhere where we want to be.
Took the same principles and methodologies we used to grow the business there.
And we launched in in Ireland into the European marketplace, and it fell flat in its face.
So that was that was a big wake up call for me.
Ryan 11:50
So I had to figure that out.
There was there are points where decided, you know, look, maybe this isn't gonna work.
You know, those moments of self doubt that you get everyone gets Well, I stuck at it and about you know, just after the 6 month mark, built a couple of good distribution relationships figured out how people in Europe prefer to do business.
It's very different to the United States, the culture.
We were able to get a couple good distribution accounts.
Ryan 12:24
And from there, it kinda built and we started to move deeper into the, you know, the hair replacement industry and the the space, and we built a brand that was pretty much the industry leader.
And we then spotted a gap in another marketplace for individuals who wanted to wear wigs and, you know, on a leisurely basis, they wanted to change it up every day.
So we tackled that market and that's where our big phases of growth came.
It was more it wasn't so much a niche business anymore.
It was more so speaking to a much broader range of of of individuals.
Ryan 12:54
So there was a whole learning curve that came along with that, you know, from building better systems.
To being a better leader, to being a better person, to, you know, combat and counterfeits, to, you know, trying to put the structures in internationally to make sure your business was running tax efficiently so you're gonna reinvest.
There was a whole slew of different challenges that came along over the last, say, 7 or 8 years.
But ultimately it's led us to the point where we are now.
We're on pretty solid foundations.
Ryan 13:16
We still experience a lot of challenges, but ultimately, again, I'm a firm believer is that if you're convinced you don't have the business that you want, it's just simply because you're not the person you need to be that's required to get there, and that comes back to the core of personal development, which is where I think it all stems from.
Kyle 14:16
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Kyle 15:26
A number of things in there that that really struck me that I I kind of want to touch on and and get your thoughts on.
You know, the first is is going back to almost the beginning, when you were really turning things around, you you talked about the product and the sales and marketing and some of the things that you took there.
And I think this is just a really fascinating thing, and a really important thing regardless of the business, you know, whether it's you're selling physical products or software products or or whatever it is, is having the the right product, a really good product like you were talking about, but also having the right sales and marketing and the communication in order to get that out there.
So You had the right product and and I'd love to get your thoughts on on that, you know, how you were able to to achieve that.
But then also being able to get that to market and and start to communicate that in an effective way.
Kyle 15:45
You know, what were what was your approach on both sides of that?
And really developing the right product and then being able to get it out to market and you communicate that in a way that that people could start to really understand that.
This is something they need or they want or would benefit them in a real way.
Ryan 16:18
So I was quite fortunate in in that respect because a lot of the groundwork had already been done at that point.
You know, the the the product existed in the business already.
But what it didn't have and what I realized it was missing very quickly from speaking to customers when I was learning about the business, was it was missing 2 key components which were common challenges with this type of product, this water based solution.
Which was water resistance for people who were wearing hair systems and couldn't go swimming or couldn't go into a sauna.
Ryan 16:33
That was 1.
The other was oil resistance.
Naturally, if you trigger the sevaceous glands on the scalp, they secrete oil.
Those oils penetrate the adhesive and they break it down before it's given a chance to drive.
So you you would have not strong you would not have a very strong hold.
Ryan 16:59
They were 2 common challenges.
Now it was really weird because like opportunities just aligned, I went doing a little digging.
We found a company who manufactured a technology such as that for for for adhesives.
And it was a patented technology, which means it came at a lovely price point.
And we started to reformulate the the base product with with this with this technology.
Ryan 17:26
And this is where everything changed.
You know, this is where decided we were gonna rebuild a brand out of this product because it was worthy of just that.
So when we got the performance, we did you know, we sent it out to our test testing studios.
We did some, you know, allergy testing to make sure we were on point.
And then when we were confident that we had viable products, My position on it at that time would be very different than how it is now.
Ryan 17:43
I was very much of remove the red tape and go for broke type of person.
You know what I mean?
Just just get it done at all costs, which works great sometimes.
But depending on the mechanics of what you're doing, it could be also be detrimental But at that time, I was like, you know what?
Like, we don't need to test this anymore.
Ryan 18:05
Let's just let let's just shoot our shot.
And that's what we did.
Unfortunately, it worked out for us, you know, that the product was ready.
And it didn't need many more alterations.
We launched another product 6 months after that with improvements on the original formula, which has now become our most popular product and has done has been for the last since 2000 and since 2010.
Ryan 18:28
So you think about it 13, 13 years.
So this product still dominates the marketplace, and it's because it is a good product.
And I think ultimately, you can have the best marketing.
You could have the best sales team in the world, but you will not create longevity in, you know, in in in recurring revenue if you don't have a product that works.
So I think that's for us is where we always start.
Ryan 19:01
My position on it now is a little different.
I'm a firm believer in simplest solutions.
Create the biggest impacts.
But I also believe in process.
And I believe if you can learn to streamline a process and create it so that it's safe, you you can then kind of push the boundaries of what the process is capable of doing, and it protects you in the long run because you know when you when you've got, you know, hundreds of thousands in product development and and material costs, your ability to make a mistake becomes less and less, so you have to be somewhat careful.
Kyle 19:46
I I absolutely love that.
And the focus on, you know, first off, the the product and making sure that that is such a key part of the the business and what you're doing.
Not something that you can paper over or cover up with like, good marketing or good sales tactics like you said.
And it becomes then like the foundation, like you mentioned, of success, for for the long term, you know, having a good product.
And then basing that kind of like you were talking about on the feedback of customers and users and and going out and getting that feedback, understanding the main problems, and then incorporating that and really building something that is useful and a solution to those problems specifically.
Kyle 19:53
I find that to be just absolutely at the core of of course good product creation and good product development.
Ryan 20:11
And it is and it took, you know, for me, it took almost a decade to learn that.
You know, like, it's all well and good.
You need to experiment.
I mean, that's part of, you know, research and development, but ultimately, you know, you can't launch product to the marketplace that doesn't solve the problem that you're marketing for.
You know?
Ryan 20:16
It's or it can't have solve it.
It's either gotta it's either gotta do it or it doesn't.
You know?
Kyle 20:45
I I wanted to also, you know, touch on the when you moved into Europe and kind of moving out of you know, the United States getting out of Florida and moving back to Ireland, taking on the European market.
Because this is something that as a lot of companies grow and expand.
They move into other markets, kind of like you were you were talking about.
And a lot of times, we will try and use similar tactics that have worked for us in other places.
Kyle 21:07
And sometimes those work and sometimes they don't, kind of like you were explaining.
Walk us through yo, your thought process and some of the things that you learned as you launched and, you know, failed and then iterated and and ultimately succeeded in moving into new marketplaces.
What were some of the things that you learned, some of the things that you wish you had known as you did that?
Ryan 21:31
So I I wish somebody at the very beginning would have actually made it very clear to me.
The statement of how you do 1 thing is how you should do everything.
Is absolutely ridiculous.
So you can't it's all great to, you know, repeat a process, you know, from a from a procedural perspective, you know, something that is a repeatable process that doesn't change, but people change.
Ryan 22:04
And ultimately, when you're trying to develop relationships with people.
It's all different.
It's all based upon the culture they grew up in the environment they grew up in.
And if you don't try to understand that, or at least have an empathetic approach.
It's gonna be very difficult for people to to see you for who you really are because of I've sat I I've sat in meetings with people where I genuinely know at the core of of their being that they're good people, they just cannot let their let themselves sit within, you know, who they are.
Ryan 22:22
You know?
It's like it's almost like they put up this wall.
And it's like, look, you know, people wanna do business with people and, you know, you don't have to be something you're not.
At the end of the day, you are who you are, and that will connect with the right people.
And that's that that was the key difference that I found in doing business, say, in the United States versus Europe.
Ryan 22:42
In Europe, it's a much more personal personal experience where in the United States, it's just go.
It's just go time.
It's like, what have you got for me to sell and who can I sell it to?
And look, somebody else might, you know, argue that point, and they would be correct if that's their position.
But if this these statements that I'm making are simply coming from my experience.
Ryan 23:11
What the the the way I've built, you know, the the the things that that that I've contributed to the, you know, the growth of the company.
And then, you know, you've got other aspects of, you know, people in different positions within the company who have built other parts of the business through the way that they do things.
And look, for me, I think the key part of it all is just going back to is just don't do everything the same because it just doesn't work like that.
You need to be You need to be pliable.
You need to be flexible.
Ryan 23:24
You need to be empathetic.
You need to be understanding.
And most of all, you have to have an insatiable want or need to learn because if you don't, you'll you'll end up missing all of the lessons within every bit of it.
Kyle 23:35
I I couldn't agree more with that.
I think that's so important.
You you mentioned another thing, and I think this is such an important part as well.
Kyle 24:19
I've I've recently gotten into watches which are I I think an absolutely fascinating thing, the building and creation of of watches.
But they have a similar problem that you mentioned, which is counterfeiting.
And, you know, you you think about the the big a lot of the big brands in watchmaking like Rolex or Omega or even some of the bigger luxury brands like Patek Philippe that, you know, it's very it can be very easy to create a convincing counterfeit of some of these and then passed them off.
And you mentioned that as as part of the problems that that you face in creating some of these products.
So What have you experienced as far as counterfeiting goes?
Kyle 24:24
And and what do you do to address that challenge, you know, in your business?
Ryan 24:59
What I've learned is that it's going to be a part of the company and and the future of the company regardless of what we do.
So there is an element of it we have to accept there's an element we have to accept that we are going to have to fight, you know, ongoing in different parts of the world.
But there are things that we've now learned that I've now learned that we can do to minimize the ability for somebody to get a product in their hand and not realize that it is a counterfeit item.
So what we did, the fur the first counterfeit we saw come online was about 5 years ago.
I remember seeing it Ali Express I was devastated.
Ryan 25:20
I was annoyed.
I was emotional about it because it challenged the core reason that the company was even started in the first place.
And what I realized then is that, you know, if I'm gonna be emotional about this, I'm not gonna I'm just not gonna cope.
I'm not gonna exist.
So I had to learn to to to shut it off and and separate myself from the the business side to the, you know, the ethical side.
Ryan 25:55
So those that 1 listing turned into 10, turned into 30, turned into 300, turned into 3000.
You know, we estimate our losses now each year at the moment where we stand is probably somewhere in the region of about 5000000 dollars a year in lost sales due to counterfeits.
And what happened is is that we found like, not only do we know and we're addressing that right now where where the the where the product is coming from, and we have a a good understanding and hold of the network in which the supply is going through.
But we've learned how to minimize the ability for counterfeiters to get away with it.
Their their label is exceptional.
Ryan 26:26
It's almost identical to ours.
There's a couple of key components, which, unfortunately, I can't share that that we know the difference between the counterfeits and ours.
There's some key components on the bottle itself.
But more importantly, what it did is it really forced me into a position to think about how can we solve this problem not only for ourselves but for an industry that is rife with with with black market and counterfeit items.
So I hired a development team to help me build an app called Clarity codes.
Ryan 26:54
And what we did then is we we started testing it with our own products.
So now whenever somebody buys a bottle, there's a code on the box that they can scan through our app.
To tell if it's legitimate.
And if they feel or if they have any concerns that it's not, they can actually report it from the app where they bought at the location.
So we're getting all this live data of hotspots where we can send our investigators into Dubai's and actually try to find the source of these these counterfeit items.
Ryan 27:18
We've had huge success, you know, both in the United States and Europe.
In dealing with this through that technology.
And we will, in the very near future, be rolling this out for companies in the cosmetic space It is a it is a quite a flexible product that can, you know, can be applied to different industries.
But look, I'm I'm a firm believer.
Is that service the industry that you're in?
Ryan 27:44
Fully and holy and and and and just aim to protect what you really set out to protect in the first place.
So that that's how we've gotten around the ambiguity of whether somebody has a legitimate product or a counterfeit product.
And I think this year 20 23 in particular is going to really show the difference between the lost sales over the last 5 years and where we're going moving forward to protect our brand.
Kyle 28:12
That's that's absolutely fascinating.
1, the ability to create counterfeit goods, which has just gotten really, really good like you mentioned, you know, across industry, across the goods itself.
But then using technology, like you mentioned, in order to help users because ultimately, you know, that's 1 of the biggest parts of this is is ensuring that users are getting what they think they're getting --
Ryan 28:12
Kyle 28:41
-- which is, you know, the the brand and the quality and all of the things that that they expect when they're buying the specific good.
So I'm fascinated too, so maybe you could speak a little bit more about what some other companies or or other people in the industry are thinking about also using this type of technology in order to help them protect both their business and their users.
Like, what has been some of the feedback that you've gotten on that?
Ryan 29:25
So the feedback that we've gotten on it so far is is quite minimal, and I'll explain why.
So we've had surface level conversations with some of our private label and also our custom formula clients.
Who are extremely interested in the process after me explaining what we've been through, you know, over the last 5, 6 years.
But more importantly, we make sure that with something like this, because it is technology based, that we have tried and tested it rigorously before we even remotely let somebody else get their hands on because ultimately, we wanna make sure that it's difficult enough to try to navigate the waters of battling counterfeits.
It will be 10 times more difficult if you're trying to implement the technology that only 75 percent works.
Ryan 30:06
So we haven't quite gotten to the point where we started to test it with our clients.
But it is gonna be a full software as a service solution for the industry when it does eventually get to that point.
We like, we're we're we finished the development of it.
The functionality is all there, but we're still testing aspects of the actual daily use of the product before we're gonna be comfortable enough to actually open the the gates.
And naturally, you know, as part of that testing process, you know, we we look for, you know, some of our clients and and custom formula clients who who have large, you know, large quantities of product moving through their you know, their chains because ultimately that's what you need to get the data.
Ryan 30:20
So it'll be look, it's gonna be an interesting year.
I don't know what it's gonna show.
I just know from our end that it's given us some really good data of where to look rather than picking a spot on the map and guessing.
You know?
Kyle 30:35
That that's super fascinating.
And I'd love to get your thoughts too on, you know, both sides of this because you you're obviously doing, you know, the the physical product creation.
So manufacturing physical products.
And then also the technology.
Kyle 30:53
So software in order to both help and assist in in the physical aspect of it as well.
So What if you learned on both sides of those things, both, you know, the physical product and the software product that either are similar or different, you know, what what has been your experience?
Ryan 31:20
I think going back to what I said earlier, you know, sometimes the the red tape is is an is an evil necessity, especially when you're dealing with implementing new pieces of technology or launching a new product to the marketplace.
Because look, think of from a product development perspective, you start from the ground, you start from an idea, what are the characteristics of the product.
What problem are you looking to solve?
What market are you looking to serve?
You know, that really brings the product together.
Ryan 31:51
And when you do eventually formulate the product, you've gotta take it into stability testing, you know, climate testing, You've gotta do the allergy tests.
You have to make sure all of the pieces of the puzzle fit in before you even get to the point of making a pilot batch where you can start, you know, bottling it for for for testing with with different people.
So there is a there is a full process that comes along with the product development before it even hits you know, where that where that meets technology.
You know?
Naturally through the development process, there is technology implemented.
Ryan 32:32
I mean, you have, you know, you you have the tracking of your raw materials.
You have your GMP certifications for ISO purposes.
There's so many there's so many different requirements that, you know, as a manufacturer, you are expected to abide by, which again is why we kinda decided to have you know, our Irish location as our principal manufacturing facility because ultimately EU regulations are a lot more stringent than US regulations.
And if you applied by the EU standards, naturally, there's not many places in the world you're gonna come across a problem because there's such a high level abandon ingredients that you're not allowed to use in formulas.
So the and sorry.
Ryan 32:47
Coming back to where technology meets that the process is quite similar.
You know, you start from the idea, what are the characteristics and the functions.
Then again, what language are you programming in.
It's it's not more about what ingredients you're using, but what language are you programming in.
Ryan 33:29
When you're programming that language, what are the long term you know, what are the long term, what what's the lifespan of the language?
Do you expect it to be obsolete in 5 years, or do you expect it to be something that's gonna continue to evolve in in in into a more powerful into a more powerful language so you can expand the functionality of your software because what you don't wanna be in a position is, and I've learned this myself.
You don't wanna be in a position to develop something in a 5 years time having to redevelop whole thing.
It's very, very testing.
I only found myself in that position with 1 of our stores about a year ago, I realized that the flexibility of the language it was built in just wasn't good enough, and we our customers needed something else.
Ryan 33:52
So I had to dig deep and and and and put myself all in for a year to get that over the line.
And and that was a look, that was a lesson I learned, you know.
So look, I I think there's similarities.
Whether it's physical products or or technology, I just think you have to approach them from slightly different angle when you think about how you're building them.
You know?
Kyle 34:38
You you touched on manufacturing there and and the fact that you're manufacturing your products in Ireland and a lot of the the requirements and things that go along with that.
I'm interested in you know, this is something that you obviously are doing is manufacturing a lot of those products.
Kind of the thought process behind them, you know, doing the manufacturing and and everything that goes into that because obviously, you know, there's some amount in, you know, whether it's building software products or creating physical products of how much you wanna outsource versus how much you wanna build in house.
So what was What was kind of the thought process with that and doing most of that manufacturing yourself?
Ryan 35:12
Well, since the inception of the company years ago, we had been always using our own formulas.
They were made for us, but, you know, we weren't able to manufacture at that point.
So naturally, we would contract that manufacturing out.
Over the years, we experienced challenges when we started to grow.
Some of the companies not being able to keep up with the quantities or the lack of consistency in the batches or even just a separation of even, you know, water from, you know, from some of the products that we couldn't send the product out.
Ryan 35:36
So what was happening was a lot of that process was out of our control and we couldn't change it.
We had no eyes on the process of how the product was being made.
I think ultimately, at its core, that was naturally the motivator for us to to take the manufacturing and how Now where that became a real pain point was, well, how are we gonna do this?
You know, because it requires a ridiculous amount of investment.
So we yeah.
Ryan 35:49
We just had to make the decisions to to run the company so lean for 3 years that we set we we had 2 options.
We could've went to a bank.
We could've, you know, we'd taken a loan out.
We could've sped up the process.
Ryan 36:28
Or we could have done it the way we did it, which was run lean for a few years.
Bank as much money as we could.
And then set the foundations for the next phase of growth, and that's how we that's how we did it.
So we've managed to what are we with 20 23 in 4000 and I think, 2017, we were operating out of 2000 square foot facility in Florida, and we were operating out of a of a 1000 square foot facility in Ireland.
Fast forward to 20 23.
Ryan 37:12
We are now we now have a 20000 square foot or 17 and a half thousand square foot facility in Florida.
We are now moving into a 50000 square foot facility in in in Ireland.
And that's naturally from you know, learning how to run our company as lean as possible and to be tax efficient and reinvest back into the company for ultimately the benefit of of the industry and and ourselves because look, it it gives us a purpose.
It changes our purpose from where we were 10 years ago to where we are now.
But it also what I've learned is it also helps people, especially on the team, achieve a sense of something within themselves that, you know, they didn't necessarily realize they had in them.
Ryan 37:48
And that's been to me, that that my mission, if if anyone were to ever ask me what what my change or how my mission has changed over the last decade, it would be from carrying the mission of the company why it started in the first place to now being about how we can allow people to achieve what they want to achieve in their personal lives and and their professional lives by mentoring them and just leading them.
So that's that's to me, it's just been a it's there's been so many things that have come off of the back of deciding to take a short term pain for, you know, the gain in the long term.
Kyle 38:06
I think that's that's absolutely great.
You you talked about, you know, the the building of the business.
And as we talk a lot about, you know, building businesses on on this podcast specifically, it comes down to the team being so important and the and the people inside it.
Kyle 38:24
And yours specifically is a is a family business.
And so I'm interested in your thoughts in both the benefits and and, you know, what are the challenges of that?
And as you've as you've both grown and and had the family part of that.
And what have you found to be both a good parts and and maybe some of the more difficult parts of that?
Ryan 39:00
I think fortunately, for us growing up in the environment we did, my mother's Irish, you know, we we myself and my 2 brothers are quite empathetic.
We have, you know, an innate ability to put ourselves in the shoes of another and understand it from their perspective, which helps us solve 90 percent of the problems that we face on a daily basis.
On the flip side of it, you know, being in a familiar business, I firmly believe that, you know, progress is best achieved from a place of equality.
And, you know, look, swings and roundabouts, you know, some months, there's heavier workloads on another's desk.
Than there there is on someone else's.
Ryan 39:37
It's just part of the process you have to accept.
But, ultimately, I think everyone wins in the end.
You know, look for for me looking at, I suppose, the dynamics of even working in a familiar business said, there's there's always pros and cons But I, you know, I think we're all on the same page and we know where we wanna go and we know what we wanna achieve.
And I think, ultimately, that counts for for something.
You know, we don't have investors breathing down our necks or in share or shareholders looking for their piece, we get to remain true to what we want to achieve within the company without having to worry about, you know, what somebody else's agenda is.
Ryan 39:50
And I think that that has been very powerful for us.
We have company look, I mean, there's companies that are doing a hundred times more than we are.
But, again, they have a whole other set of challenges that that we will never have.
You know?
Kyle 40:10
As you look at, you know, both the the industry, the company that you're in, and and, you know, the market in general, you know, what do you see as maybe some of the exciting things coming up and things that you're really looking forward to both you know, for your business and and maybe other trends more broadly speaking?
Ryan 40:37
Well, for us, I mean, it's really exciting to see, you know, the different phase we're moving into now, you know, with such a heavy investment into the, you know, the expansion of our operating area.
We also have a bunch of new machines coming in over the next couple of months that are going to expand our ability to manufacture products we've never been able to manufacture before.
I mean, we have chemists down in our lab just below where I am now.
Who, you know, are working on products, product development to every single day.
Ryan 41:07
You know, in a couple years time, we'll have 300 plus products off the shelf ready to go.
So that's the exciting part of the journey for us to watch that that part of the play out.
And then, look, I mean, in in in terms of I suppose in in terms of the the personal side of things, I mean, naturally, what do we what do we want to, you know, to to start a business for.
It's really to have the freedom, isn't it?
I mean, that's really where everything starts to have the freedom and flexibility.
Ryan 41:49
And with that comes a lot of responsibility that you don't initially see or you don't initially realize that you have to take on in order to have some of that because you'll never have it the way you want it.
It's just you'll you'll have some of that, you know.
And so you you'll you'll never get it all.
I I look, III think for for me, the, you know, the the the vision for the company and the journey on a professional and personal side, both ends with, you know, having the the opportunity for not only ourselves but for the people on the team to achieve everything that they want.
And, you know, from a familiar perspective, you know, having the opportunities, you know, even for our own children that maybe we didn't have growing up You know?
Ryan 42:12
I I think it's funny, you know, because, you know, you you look back on the things from a familiar perspective of all the things over your childhood that went wrong or, you know, that that wasn't right.
But, you know, your kids are gonna do the exact same thing to you, you know?
And that's part of evolution, isn't it?
And -- Yeah.
-- you know and and this is what I what I love about it is, you know, you'll never you'll never get it all right, but at the end of the day, that's that's what life is.
Ryan 42:24
I mean, you know, whether you whether it's personal or whether it's business, it it it's all about the experiences in between.
You know?
Life isn't about being happy.
You know?
It's it's like happiness is just 1 part of the the equation.
Ryan 42:28
You know?
It's life is really about the the experiences and the journey.
Kyle 42:43
It is.
I love that.
So for somebody who wants to start a company or or build a brand or do something similar, what what advice would you give to them if they're thinking about this?
Or actually in it right now.
Ryan 43:04
So for me, the me now answering this question for myself 10 years ago, the first thing that would be like, okay.
If you've got a physical product or a service that you feel is going to be something you can market globally, look after your IP first and foremost.
Trade market in 3 places, Europe, USA, and China.
Ryan 43:34
You'll set yourself quite quite solidly at that point and you'll save yourself of money ultimately in the wrong in in in in the long run because naturally, even if you have a physical product, the first place it's gonna be counterfeited is likely coming out of China.
So get your rights together there.
That would be my first piece of advice.
Second piece of advice whether you're, you know, in the the starting phases of your business or even whether you're into your journey, it's always quite important to focus on personal development.
Take yourself in the mirror.
Ryan 43:48
I think that's where it all starts.
My own father and law said it to me, you know, over over 10 years ago.
He, you know, he he he said something to me.
It was you know, look, Ryan, you know, you can be dishonest, you know, with everyone around you.
You know, you can cheat, manipulate whatever you wanna do.
Ryan 44:21
But at the end of the day, you cheat the reflection staring back at you in the mirror.
So I think it's always good to always just look at yourself and say, you know, look what are the parts of myself that I have to address in order to to be a better person and move forward.
Personal development is at the core of all of that.
And then, you know, the other the other side of thing is is that we'll you know, when you were growing your business, you know, you're gonna have a lot of lonely nights, you know.
It's it's just part of the process you know, there's not gonna be anyone there to tell you great job or, you know, well done.
Ryan 44:59
You know, you have to kinda learn to be your own inspiration when when when shit gets tough and it's gonna get very tough at times.
And, you know, if you can learn to just get done what you need done without the need to be motivated by someone else, I think you you're pretty you're you're pretty well along the way.
So, yeah, those would be the key pieces of information I give to somebody starting a business.
I mean, there's so many other things you could talk about, some of which we've covered.
But ultimately, you know, that there's there there's so many variables that make up, you know, the kind of blueprint for success because it just looks different for everyone.
Kyle 45:12
I think that's that's great.
Well, this has been a really, really great conversation, and I've I've thoroughly enjoyed it, Ryan.
Where can people find out more about you, about business about the things that you're working on?
Ryan 45:34
My main hangouts is LinkedIn.
So you search me on on on LinkedIn, you'll find me really easily.
From a company perspective, we're on all major social media channels, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok.
So or there are our website pro hair labs dot com.
For me, like, I mean, look, you know, if it's a product that you're looking for, a cosmetic product, it's great to, you know, just to get in touch with us.
Ryan 45:57
Because even if you don't do business with us, you'll come out from the conversation with a different set of knowledge than you entered it with, for sure.
You know, from a personal perspective, I'm I'm always open to answering questions on LinkedIn.
You know, I do get messages sometimes.
And you're always happy to to, you know, to lend a piece of advice somewhere where somebody may be struggling or where somebody just might not know.
Kyle 46:06
Well, that's great.
We'll put all those links in the show notes.
And I do have, you know, a couple of wrap up questions as well before we before we finish up.
Kyle 46:17
And and we usually ask everybody just a a couple things.
But have you read or watched anything recently that you have found particularly interesting or would like to share?
Ryan 46:49
So I I don't really watch too much TV.
You know, I I kind of, you know, I I say the most that that that would happen to me is that, you know, maybe of a Saturday night, I might put my feet up for a few hours and watch, you know, something on Netflix.
So Some of you know, look, I have a few series that I've that I've seen over the last 6 months that have been, you know, really enjoyable for me when you just need to zone out and just you know, recharge and watch some TV.
But, yeah, that that's yeah.
That that's really it.
Ryan 47:19
I I find myself in a position at the moment where I haven't the time to read as much as I used to, which is something I really need to focus on going back to.
But look, that's part of the journey as well as as being a business owner, I think you have all these plans and these things you wanna do to, you know, make sure you're improving day by day.
But when you're growing a company as well, sometimes, it you you don't you just don't have that time depending on what's going on.
You know, you have to prioritize and Yeah.
That's that's that's really it.
Kyle 47:34
That's absolutely true.
The some things have to give in order for other things to to take precedent So completely understand that.
And I guess the final question then is, you know, are there any products that you've used and enjoyed or not enjoyed recently?
Kyle 47:38
Whether that's a physical product or a technology product that they come to mind?
Ryan 47:57
That is a good question.
Actually, you know what?
I've been using the same pieces as technology for so many years now, you know, like whether it's project map to Asana or Salesforce through, you know, lead gen purposes.
So there hasn't really been anything that that has really stuck out in me.
I tell you what I did have a bit of fun with though.
Ryan 48:29
I I downloaded an app on my phone, AAA version of chat, GPT.
And, like, just even this year oh, I just said it's it's mind altering stuff.
It's, you know, like, to to think that technology has advanced to that level, which is probably only the surface of what is truly actually going on.
You know, that to me was the piece of technology that I've used over the last, say, couple of months that that has really just made me really be like, you know what?
I'm not even ready to look at this yet.
Ryan 49:02
This is just this is a whole other something that just is gonna require, you know, so much so much brain space.
I mean, to think about its applications and how you know, even typing in some stuff about our own brand.
And it's like, you know, it's it's it's giving you full product descriptions on what the product does, and and you're just, like, How is that even possible?
You know what I mean?
To to think about, like, you just typing something so generic like a sentence and getting full blown, you know, whether it's blog articles or whether it's product descriptions or whether it's headlines.
Ryan 49:15
You're just like, this is just IIII need to dedicate, you know, 4 or 5 weeks just to using this completely before I can even get my head around it.
So that is that that's piece of technology that I would say has has really impressed me.
Kyle 49:23
That's definitely been 1 that I have been using fairly frequently to to both experiment with.
Ryan 49:23
Kyle 49:49
And to just get information well, to get information from, I, you know, put prompts in and and then have been doing just a lot of editing of things of of sites and different just text and things and and getting just feedback from.
So it's it's been a fascinating thing to just experiment with.
I think we've yeah.
It's definitely probably the start of something that's gonna be really changing over the
Ryan 50:02
next level.
And you see you know, you see technology that comes out, right, and you you start to use it.
And and then you realize after about 5 months it falls off a cliff, you know, no one's talking about it anymore.
There's no hype.
Ryan 50:16
There's no buzz.
But I genuinely think that this this technology is something that has the potential to change everything.
So it'll be really interesting to see how they use those applications in different trees.
Kyle 50:29
It would yeah.
I I feel like it's gonna start to be incorporated into just about everything as as we move forward in some way or another.
It's just burying in degree depending on what what you do.
Kyle 50:29
Ryan 50:53
Well, I I think its limitations are only gonna be the limitations on on the technology are only gonna be provided by the people using it.
You know?
It's like if if you got somebody in a position who really truly sees it for what it is, I think the application methods are endless for us.
Like, I look at it now and I'm like, I can't even remotely comprehend what what is coming back at me.
So I'm not even gonna try for right now.
Ryan 50:59
I'm just gonna let that be where it is until a later date So I I just I I think it's gonna be phenomenal.
Kyle 51:05
Well, Ryan, this been, again, a great conversation.
Kyle 51:17
We will put all of the links to connect with you to find out more about your business and the things you're working on in the show notes.
So definitely check those out.
And it has been, again, a great conversation, so appreciate it.
Ryan 51:22
Thanks, Kyle.
I appreciate you having me and it was really enjoyable and Have a good day.
Kyle 51:28
And thank you everybody for listening.
Thanks again for listening.
Kyle 51:52
If you like the show, be sure to follow or subscribe on your favorite podcast app.
You can follow the show on Twitter at prod by design.
That's prod underscore by underscore design.
You can follow me at kyollaryevids on Twitter as well.
If you want product conversation, check out my news that are product thinking, at product thinking dot c c.
Kyle 51:52
You can follow me on medium at Kaya Larry Evans as well or check out my medium publication, a product by design.
Thanks again.