The Unlikely Inspiration That Led This Entrepreneur From Boy Band Manager to Beauty Brand Co-Founder
In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what’s your business?
My name is Michael Cammarata and I am the co-founder and CEO of Schmidt’s Naturals, which makes high-quality natural personal care products accessible to everyone at affordable prices.
Your co-founder Jaime Schmidt started as a DIY maker. What inspired you to get into the world of natural products?
You might be surprised to know that natural products were not my first entrepreneurial go! I got my start in web hosting, online advertising and consumer electronics, which resulted in my entry into the entertainment industry with Viacom and Sony. I managed a teen boy band at the time, Big Time Rush, and that is where I first ran into the world of natural beauty. Over and over, teen and tween female fans bombarded the boys with questions like, “What products do you use?” and “Do you use natural?” I saw this as a common theme and was inspired to explore the world of natural products.
What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?
For me, being an entrepreneur is not a singular mission, therefore the word itself carries a variety of meanings. It means being an expert, but also a lifetime student. Our world and the industries within it are constantly growing and changing, so as an entrepreneur one must always approach new ventures with an open mind. It also means that risk-taking will become second nature.
What was your toughest challenge and how did you overcome it?
As a child, I struggled with dyslexia. It hindered me from learning by traditional methods. I overcame my learning disability and that process became an advantage for me -- I learned to approach business in creative ways.
What trait do you depend on most when making decisions?
It’s a combination of monitoring micro-trends in the marketplace and the ability to adapt. We are experiencing a major shift and consumers are ready for a change more than ever. Traditional retail is declining, e-comm is booming. Natural brands are overtaking conventional as the new standard. These are all factors that attributed to Schmidt’s success. We watch how consumers respond to micro-shifts and then strike while the iron is hot.
How has your leadership style evolved?
Over the years I have learned from the people around me. When I was in the entertainment business, it moved very fast. One wrong step and you became yesterday’s news. I found my true management style when I found my passion in the natural and wellness space. More than anything I am motivated to feel like I have made a positive impact in the world. When leading my teams, I look to empower my staff to find their confidence to be able to react in real time.
Is there a particular quote or saying that you use as personal motivation?
Steve Jobs: "I just want to put a dent in the universe."