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Episode 9: The Drive To Succeed: Sutra Beauty Founder Liam Ben-David Gets Real

AFB 9 | Sutra Beauty

 

Getting into the beauty industry was the result of being in the right place at the right time for Liam Ben-David; but building a multi-million dollar parent company with several hair tool brands under its fold was no act of luck. Ben-David is the founder, president and CEO of Sutra Beauty and the iBeauty Brands corporation. What makes the LA-based Sutra Beauty so special is its innovative, game-changing infrared hairstyling tools for stylists and consumers alike. Liam has been using his sales and product-development savvy to bring to market one-of-a-kind tools for Sutra Beauty for over a decade. He’s learned what works along the way, and when to bring in the right team members to consult in order to continuously grow his business—even in a pandemic. A four-year veteran of the Israeli Air Force, Liam credits his service time for his unmatched work ethic, his propensity for leadership and his ability to embrace change and be a disruptor in a highly volatile industry. But how did this former Israeli Air Force soldier get into the industry and how did he form a successful company with investors? This is one entrepreneur’s story you don’t want to miss!

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The Drive To Succeed: Sutra Beauty Founder Liam Ben-David Gets Real

Liam Ben-David, The CEO, President And Founder Of Sutra Beauty And iBeautyBrands, Opens Up About What Drives Him, Being An Early Adopter Of Infrared Technology And What Makes His Hair Tool Brand So Special

We’re so excited for this episode. We have one of my dear friends and longtime clients, Liam Ben-David. He is the CEO of iBeauty Brands. He is an absolute inspiration in our lives and in our team’s lives. I’ve learned so much from him and I’m excited for you to meet him.

He provides a lot of insight for business owners and entrepreneurs about how he was able to grow iBeauty Brands from the ground up, his background as a soldier in the Israeli Air Force, and so much more. His work ethic is incomparable. We were so honored that he took the time to talk to us.

I hope you guys enjoy this episode. Make sure you do follow him, @LiamBD on Instagram. Feel free to reach out and give us feedback on this episode. We would love to hear from you.

Enjoy.

We’re excited to have Liam Ben-David on the show. Thank you so much, Liam, for joining us.

Thanks for having me. It’s exciting and fun.

We talk a lot about success on this podcast. I want to know, was there a moment that you felt like, “I’m successful.” What does success even mean to you?

To answer the first part of the question, no. Part of success is always to have a drive. If at some point you reach a level like, “I achieved what I want,” perhaps but if so, I haven’t had that epiphany or moment. Obviously, I can look back at things or look at things now and feel proud and achieved. A lot of people think that it’s like a checkmark. People that have that ambition, I shouldn’t say ever but it isn’t something that I will be or I am quick to mark off, like, “I made it. I’m good. Next. Been there, done that.” That’s a thought or a feeling that’s foreign to me. I’m always constantly driving and reestablishing, redefining the goals in order to keep pushing through and continue to be successful.

What is success to me? Overall, that also changed throughout time. I’ve been doing this since 2005, 2006, in the hair industry, in general. It’s micro definitions that change with time. I was a 25-year-old kid when I started so the definition of success from that perspective is way different than it is now. I’m a father to the beautiful boy, he’s about to have a sister as well. The definition of success obviously changes. If it would be the same from the lens of a 26-year-old and a 40-year-old, something would be wrong. I expect it to continue to change as I continue to gain more experience both at home and professionally.

It’s insane because I met Liam when I was 26. I was in the office pitching him social media. I had one assist at the time, I had my spiral ring notebook. I was taking notes about what he wants. I would say that things are a little bit different now. I’ve grown so much, and I’ve learned so much from you over the years. I can absolutely concur with that because there’s already been such a big difference in the last years.

Congrats on everything that you’ve accomplished. I can’t even believe it’s been years thinking back at that spiral notebook. I would assume that again, going back to the Breanna in 2016 or ’17 with your spiral notebook, if I had to write, “What is your definition of success even years ago?” You probably already surpassed that where you are now. Ambitious people constantly find that because you don’t know what you don’t know. You’re always like, “If I do this, I’m going to be sad.” No. It’s usually once you get there, then you see it. It opens up a whole new realm of good opportunities, challenges, good stuff, and bad stuff that you have to keep constantly redefine and tweak.

Are you a believer in fate?

AFB 9 | Sutra Beauty

Sutra Beauty: Part of success is to always have a drive.

 

Somewhat. I definitely believe that there’s more to everything around us than it seems to the eye. A lot of times, people are like, “It’s okay. It’s all for the better.” That’s a good thing to say, especially when bad things happen, when you’re not in the best state or something, when something bad or tragic happened. A lot of time, it also is just an excuse like, “It isn’t up to me, it’s in the hands of fate.” There’s a fine line between not pushing because you feel like, “This is my fate anyhow,” and justifying things or feeling better because you know that things have a higher or bigger, better purpose. I definitely am in some sort of way, but I also am firm. I know that it’s up to me. At the end of the day, if I don’t make it happen, it’s not going to happen. It doesn’t have to be done it with my hands physically, but I have to will it, create it, or assign it. That is a better approach for me, to things than thinking it’s fate. It’s meant to be or it wasn’t meant to be. If I want it to happen, then I make it happen and it’ll happen.

You are the architect of your own destiny. Take us back to the mindset of when you were young. Was there a certain profession or something you wanted to be when you grew up?

What do you mean when I was young? I’m still young.

When you were five, were you like, “I want to be a doctor.” Was there something that you inspired?

I found a stupid thing from Junior High, it was seventh grade. It was what are they going to be in a few years. This is my first year back in the states. I’m sure I was figuring out my identity at the time anyhow, but I remember when people asked me what I wanted to be, I’m sure it was a basketball player but I didn’t. I was embarrassed to write that down, so I put down businessman. I actually thought about it. I imagined myself, I didn’t even know what a businessman meant. I just pictured dressing up in a suit and a briefcase and hopping on planes.

That’s somewhat not far from reality, COVID aside. I didn’t even know what it meant. I had no idea what the business would be, but I did see myself doing stuff and not being something easily defined like a teacher, an architect, a doctor, or a lawyer. Being a businessman or an entrepreneur, I didn’t know what that was. It wasn’t as trendy of a word in the ‘90s as it is now. If I did know what it was, that would be what I would want to be when I grow up.

You did have dual citizenship growing up. Did you bounce between Israel and the States?

My dad worked for the Israeli government. He was a diplomat here in the United States. When I was three, I moved to Los Angeles. When I was in 1st and 2nd grade, I did in San Francisco, then I was back in Israel until junior high. I did junior high and high school in Chicago. I graduated a year early, and I went back to Israel to the Army. I spent 3.5 years in the Air Force. I then traveled around the world for about 1, 1.5 years until I settled down here in LA several years ago.

Was there culture shock growing up? I would imagine there were such huge differences culture-wise between Israel and the US.

No, my mom is American. I’m assuming that a lot of people feel that I’m slightly different than the typical American, but growing up, I’ve always felt comfortable when I wear my American hat or Israeli hat. I feel comfortable in both cultures. There was always, as a kid, the first few months when you’re in third grade and going back to a new country, new friends, but not from a cultural perspective. It was more social. It’s the same moving to Chicago when I was twelve. It’s establishing your life, your social circles from scratch every few years. It’s challenging but I was always up for that. I’m never afraid to start fresh, to go to a new place and not have any friends because as a kid, I’ve always found and established my good surroundings fairly quickly. That gave me tools growing up, or as an adult.

Talking about never being afraid. I’m sure that was something that was instilled in you while you were in the Air Force, too. Tell us about some of the things that you were able to gain from that experience that you can apply to your business in terms of leadership, what it means to be a part of a team and something bigger.

Everything. I attribute so many of my day-to-day challenges both from a leadership perspective and facing an adversary. We could name off a few or talk about a few but it’s literally everything. The challenges that an 18, 19, 20-year-old soldier face when you know that you’re training for combat and being shot at, it’s insane what your mind goes through. Any challenging situation that I can find myself at is just minute.

There’s nothing in the world that you can put in front of me that I’ll be like, “This is too much for me,” because I feel like I’ve already been through everything, both mentally and emotionally. Knowing people that were killed in combat or that’s been shot at, it’s insane. Not to mention all of the physical and leadership training that I’ve received. It makes managing that much more, I shouldn’t say easy, because it’s always a challenge. I’m more experienced and I have slightly better insight in particular, challenging managerial or leadership situations.

If you want something to happen, make it happen and it will happen.

Tell us how you go from that at such a young age to delving into the beauty industry.

It’s an opportunity. I worked here in LA. I saved up some money and I just wanted to do something independently. I opened a cart in a mall back in 2005. We were selling women’s zip-up, these cool purses that zip up into this long string. It was crazy. It was down in San Diego, I did it for October, November, and December. A few carts next to me, there were some people selling curling irons, and they had no idea what they were doing. Now, you’ll see the concept of curling irons or hair straighteners in almost every mall in America, but back then, it wasn’t. This was brand new.

They had no idea what they were doing. I was like, “That’s fascinating.” That’s how I became attached to them and I helped them out a lot. A lot of my experience initially were back in 2005 was in that retail world. We then immediately took it to the next level. I was representing brands doing roadshows in Costco, the hair shows, and all of these specialty events. I would buy from different companies and redistribute them into different outlets.

I became familiar with different channels of the hair world, whether it’s the professional, selling to makeup artists at bridal shows, or if we were direct to consumers. It was interesting. I remember seeing how everybody cares about different things. When you’re talking about the consumer, they’re like, “Does this burn your hair?” That was their first question. Whereas when you’re talking to a hairstylist, they could care less. They want it to be fast and get the job done. I remember learning that the dynamics of the different crowds. Slowly, I always enjoyed it and became better at it. I believe you can be successful in anything, you just have to strive to be the best. I happen to be in the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the right time. I kept on digging deeper and learning more. That’s how I got to where we are.

Where do that hustle and drive come from?

You work on it. Drive is everything. It’s the basics for everything. Sometimes, you do become more complacent but you just have to find the things that give you drive. It’s establishing goals for each department, not only in sales, by the way. Goals are usually sales-driven, but you could do it for everything. You could do it for accounting. You could do it for customer service, but people perform better with a goal in front of their face. It’s not only the drive for me, it’s also translating that drive to everybody here in the office, or definitely every department. Getting everybody on the same page and driven towards that same common goal, and then you’re unstoppable. When it’s not only me pushing, a team of twenty-something odd people forward and we’re all pushing forward as one unit, then we’re unstoppable. The opportunity is endless.

Sutra is about a company of 25 employees. When you first started a decade or so ago, what did that look like? How were you able to put the right people in place who you knew, “They’re going to grow with me, and they’re going to grow with this business and stick with me in the long run?”

I didn’t know how to do that. When I interview anybody, you always hope that this person will grow with you and be in it to win it for the long haul but there are no guarantees. Startups do this through options, shares but I don’t know about any of that. This business was started without any idea of how to start a business. I figured stuff out as I go. It isn’t like I had an Angel investor, or a Series A or round A, and all those things. I didn’t do any of that. I didn’t know how to do any of that.

If I could start everything all over again, I’d do it in a much smarter way, but that’s a good way to get people in it long-term that you see in the world of startups, whether tech or not. I didn’t. It’s strictly the fact that people want to be in it because they believe in you or they believe in the common goal. You have to provide an environment that they’re happy with day-to-day, they see the growth, and they see themselves in the future and where they’re going. As long as you share that, then the good people are going to stay with you.

How do you provide that environment?

AFB 9 | Sutra Beauty

Sutra Beauty: People perform better with a goal in front of their face.

 

You try. I don’t feel like there’s a recipe. I also don’t feel like that’s something that I’ve been able to accomplish flawlessly. That’s one of the things that I’m constantly succeeding, failing, and tweaking. A lot of times when it’s someone you see long-term and you see the value of that particular employee in the future of the company, you want to make sure that they’re constantly happy. Not only now but they also see the future, not only the company, they see themselves growing with the company. They’re like, “I see a lot of opportunity going forward in the next 1, 2, 5, 10 years.” If you can create that vision with them, then they will be happy, assuming you’re paying them well.

I was going to say too, because we’re going through our own growing pains as well. We’re growing at a pretty rapid pace, especially when it comes to our team. I look at Sutra and at your brands. You’re saying that you have 25 people who are to Sutra. It seems like there are hundreds of people that work at your company, iBeauty Brands. How do you do that?

We are iBeauty Brands, that’s the shell company. Sutra is one of our brands. It’s probably our most well-known brand. That’s something that we’re trying to establish. We’re trying to establish ourselves to be more known. A lot of times, you deal mostly with Sutra, so a lot of people refer to us as Sutra and I get it, but we want to make sure that people know us for who we are. That’s iBeauty Brands. We have created Sutra and but we also have other brands, and we’re continuing to develop other brands in the world of hair tools. That’s something I wanted to squeeze in there.

I think we’re more than 25. There are a lot of different ways to grow from an employer’s perspective. One is, once you have the demand or the need for a particular position, then usually you feel like you’re missing out. You feel like you’re plugging somebody into a position that is much needed, that you’re missing an opportunity, people are complaining, that’s not good. The trick is to be ahead of the game and to anticipate your growth and where you’re growing. To have someone in a particular position even before you’re hurting for it.

For instance, sales. Every year, we’ll map out what our sales goals are for the year, and what channels and where we want the sales to come from. I will restructure or hire based on that. If we want our dot-com to grow X this year, and I realize we have one person on dot-com, that’s fairly unrealistic. Beginning Q1 of that particular year, we’ll already hire based off of what is the manpower that we need in order to achieve a particular goal.

If other things fall into place, if this is our company goal in the matter of revenue, then we’re going to need more merchandise. More merchandise means more support in the purchasing department. We have one person, “Is that sufficient? Do we need another part-timer?” That’s how it all stems from your original forecast or projection. It’s something that I’m have never been good at, but experience is everything. From year to year, you become better and put more focus on the forecasting aspect, which is something that I don’t like. I don’t it enjoy, but it’s crucial. You need to be good at it in order to not play catch up. Once you’re playing catch up, then you’re already chasing your tail. It’s an uphill battle as is, even if you do everything right, you don’t want to create more obstacles for yourself than needed.

Are you doing the forecasting alone?

No, I wouldn’t. I’d be applying for or comment on your brand’s Facebook posts if I did? I know what I’m good at. I know what I’m bad at. I know what I like and when I don’t. I’m involved and I approve the forecasting. The orders come from my direction. It’s data, it’s a science. Once you’re good at the science, then you can nail things down to exactly what you need both from a quantity and a timeline perspective. If the company was in my hands from a forecasting perspective, it would be catastrophic.

It’s good that you recognize that. You’re working with people who are able to do that. I see leveling up in so many different areas. You are our first client to work with, and dabble in media buying and be successful and create success from that, which has been amazing and such a huge learning experience for our company. There weren’t a lot of brands doing that. It was successful for the brand we are working on underneath iBeauty Brands. I wanted to circle back. Are you still doing your hiring? Do you still interview every single employee?

I won’t do the initial one, but ultimately, I approve most hires. If it’s someone that’s going to be working directly under me, or if they’re going to report to me, then I’m going to do the hiring from A to Z. Not the posting but I’ll go through the resumes and I’ll do the initial and the secondary interview. We have a sales manager, so anybody in the sales team, our sales manager is going to do the initial sorting, filtering, interview, and then he’ll bring to me, let’s say, his top three candidates. I’ll then interview the top three, and we’ll make a decision together. The same in accounting, or whatever. If it’s someone that’s reporting directly to me, I’ll spearhead that process from A to Z. It all depends on what department the employee belongs to.

Is there a special quality that you look for in someone like, “I’m going to hire that person?”

The qualities I look for in particular positions are different. For instance, creative is completely different than sales. In sales, you want to see that the person is driven, ambitious, and understands the particular channel that he or she is supposed to be selling into. Whereas let’s say, if it’s an administrator position, then you want to look for more organization. Drive is important almost everywhere, but not necessarily, for instance, in accounting or in creative, and even then, it depends if it’s someone with a responsibility or a supervisor role. You do need to look at different leadership qualities than if it’s someone that has nobody reporting to him or her, then the leadership, although it’s a huge plus, it isn’t necessarily a quality that’s required. It all depends on the position. Yes, there are particular qualities that I will look for in particular positions, but there isn’t one global, “You have it. That’s it. You fit everything.” If I was interviewed for graphic artists, I’d be the worst applicant or candidate in the world because of my personality, and my abilities. You can’t be the best at everything. You just trying to find the best for that particular position.

I want to circle back on something you said about how if you could do it over again, you would do certain things differently. What are those things? For any entrepreneurs reading, what advice could you give to them?

You can be successful in anything. You just have to strive to be the best.

The structure. The legal structure and accounting. Put more focus on the books. When you’re at the beginning you’re pushing forward, you don’t notice any of the stuff that’s so crucial. Once you’re a medium-sized business, you’re like, “Who cares about that stuff? It doesn’t help me.” All you care about is primarily one thing, and that’s selling. Bringing in money. The second thing you care about is spending less, and everything else doesn’t matter. I’m talking about the very beginning.

The structure is so important as you grow, whether it’s the legal or the accounting structure, and understanding that because you can’t make it to the next level without understanding whether it’s forecast, or cashflow, or having a plan. It’s all this stuff. It’s the contracts. The way you see your legal entity is set up. Its trademarks, its patents, it’s all of those things that I learned through mistakes as we grew into things. Knowing all of that I’m like, “If I could start this now with the mountain of knowledge that I’ve acquired over the years, it’d be game over.” It’s crazy.

I don’t even have a mountain, I have a pile of knowledge at this point but I would do very similarly different things.

I feel like you also need to go through those problems in order to learn.

Until you’re looking back on it, you don’t know that you’re doing it the wrong way. You’re able to say like, “Why did I start it like this? Great.” You’re able to pivot your guys’ structure when COVID first hit. I know that we were already talking about and doing ad spend, but how did that change your business for you? How did you even get your head into the space where, “We need to do ad spend?”

We’re multi-channeled. We have different brands, particular brands, and we cross sell into different channels. We always try to make sure that no one gets hurt or undercut, God forbid, but we’re in a lot of different places. I’ll pick up our online game, although I wasn’t sure what brand we wanted to do this with. That’s been something that’s been on my mind since 2017. In 2017, we tried something, I hired someone in house and it didn’t go well. For now, we tabled the idea. Everything is temporary.

There was more opportunity towards the end of 2018 and then we were revamping the website, and it’s a good time to do it again so we hired someone and it was a catastrophe. We hired someone else to revamp the entire website. Once you’re committed to doing something, then it’s a matter of time until it catches on. You were only indulged, as far as you’re concerned, we started this beginning of 2020, but I probably fired 2 or 3 people or agencies prior to that. Fail small, win big. “I’ll try this, it won’t work. Next,” and then, “Try. It works. Now, all right.” You’re pushing a lot more. Now you start to learn and turn this into a big source of revenue or attention or growth for the company.

There’re constant experiments that we have here in different channels that we fail, left and right. Part of them are stuff that we do together as well. I’m not afraid of failure. If we fail, “All right, next.” We’ll table it then now we know either what we did wrong, and how to tweak it in order to make it a bit better or, “This is an absolute catastrophe and I want nothing to do with this. We can focus our attention on a different idea.” It’s fine because I try to cap our losses and different projects. It’s fail small, win big. If you fail, all right, but if this does turn into something successful, then the win there is big. It’s something that can open up a whole new channel for the company.

Has it been successful?

Digital? Absolutely. We’re so much better now. We’re quicker to produce content. We know who we are. We know what does well and what the audience wants to hear. When COVID hit, the styling one blew up and we weren’t ready to have a digitally successful product. We were smashed with customer service. It’s a whole new angle that we weren’t used to but we’ve adjusted. We’ve established the foundation. We’re ready for what we considered then as a huge growth and an overload on our system, now it’s our day-to-day. We handle that business routinely. It’s cool to look back and be like, “I remember seeing this volume and considering that many.” Literally, people from the front office were in the back packaging boxes and now we do it routinely.

What are some things you can speak on for other business owners of things to look for in a digital marketing agency and things to avoid?

In a digital marketing agency, you want people to connect to your brand and what you’re selling. It’s such an important relationship. You also have to establish your goals. What are your goals? Is it exposure and impressions? Are you looking to move units? Is it an experience? Is it a subscription? Like any other agency or expert, you want to make sure that whatever your goals are, you find a good agency that is aligned and is good at what your goals are. There’re some people that are better at subscription types of products or services. It could be digital apps. There’re so many different things you could be looking to push online. As long your objectives are aligned with the strong suits of the agency, that’s a big plus.

AFB 9 | Sutra Beauty

Sutra Beauty: A lot of times, you need to go through problems and mistakes in order to learn.

 

Sutra was one of the first adopters of infrared technology. Did you have a lightbulb moment where you were like, “I know this is going to be huge?”

The entire industry has been using the concept of infrared like heating, even without infrared. I remember seeing it in the packaging of so many brands like infrared heat. I always wondered from day one. Infrared to me sounds like something you need to see. It like a concept that you could say, “It’s infrared.” Like so many different things that we’re marketed to, but you just have to believe that it’s there. Like electrolytes in your drink or stuff where you’re like, “It says it then I guess it’s there.”

When we started testing different straighteners or hair tools with real infrared, then I started digging into, “Hold on, this looks like a red light.” I started digging into what certified infrared and real infrared is or the difference between that and just red lights. In testing products and I noticed there’s a huge difference. That’s when we launched our original infrared hair straightener, which was a hit overnight, which later became our IR-2. It’s still a timeless hair straightener. The best hair straightener ever.

It’s untouchable.

You can vouch for that.

It’s around that item that we were like, “This is so good.” The feedback is phenomenal. We wanted to continue that success, so we did it with other things. We came out with a curling iron, a blow dryer, the second blow dryer, now we have the infrared thermal brush, which is an absolute hit. I don’t know if you’ve tried it yet. That’s the evolution. IR isn’t something that I had a passion for growing up but it’s something that I noticed years ago that it’s the real deal. Plus, it’s so beautiful. It has a visual effect to it as well, so this is something that we can ride on and market easily.

I believe the market is going to love it because the quality is there. It’s pretty and visually appealing. It isn’t like this concept that you’re buying into that you can’t physically see. There are a lot of pluses to it. Like the advantages on your hair, safe for eating, etc. Quicker, faster, better. It was a no-brainer. Now the entire industry is on it. No one is shying away from it. I’m not familiar with other brands that were on it before we were.

I’m curious what your product development process is like. How many tools are you creating that never end up on the shelf?

We have so many have dead projects or projects in the making that aren’t necessarily going to make it or they might make it or might change. I love the product development aspect of the business. I feel like I’m good at it because of the experience that we started the conversation with. I heard, seen, and been hands-on with so many different customers and consumers that I know what will fit. I’m in touch with that. I enjoy the development as well. Creating something from nothing is awesome. It’s fun.

We’re constantly trying to develop other things. There are so many that the thought process is so deep, and it’s so multi-layered. There’s pricing you have to keep in mind towards that target audience. “Where are you going to sell this into?” At the end of the day, you have to make sure that there’s enough beef in the project. I can’t make a $1,100 blow dryer. It’s going to be way too expensive for us to develop. Second, no one’s going to buy it. You have to be conscious of where you want this to be. We want an awesome item that’s going to land at the $100 cost. You know working backward what you have to work with.

A lot of it ends up dying out. We have a lot of patented items that are fully developed, but there’s just one thing that we still haven’t figured out so it’s on hold for years. We have other stuff that gets ditched completely. We have other products that we’ve launched that weren’t that successful or products that we’ve launched and then we’ve tweaked. There’s no one answer. The process is scattered and splashed all over the drawing board. It’s a fun one.

As a CEO, I’m sure you have to wear so many different hats every day. What do you feel is your strength though?

My strength is wearing different hats.

Fail small, win big.

Multitalented.

You’re right. Sometimes within fifteen seconds, I’ll go from a finance meeting to a creative meeting, or sales meeting, or legal. It’s crazy. The polarities of topics of conversation that I have on a daily basis are fun. It’s the stuff that I can’t even begin to try to explain to particular people but if someone’s visiting or shadowing me for even just an hour there, they feel like I have a disorder. I’m constantly going forward and back from one topic to another and they have nothing to do with one of the other.

Is it like the innovation or you know instinctually what’s going to work?

No. I’ve launched a lot of particular items that I looked at, and we’re like, “We’ll give it a try but I don’t see this working,” or that we’ve passed on and it had success with other places or areas or companies. You don’t get them all right. The trick is to get them right more often than wrong or get them wrong when it’s small and right when it’s big. That’s written in regards to product development and regarding hats, is there one that I’m better than the other? Probably. It doesn’t matter because if you have to put the hat on, you have to put the hat on. It doesn’t matter. I try to enjoy. There are particular ones that I enjoy more than others but it is what it is. If it’s something that I need to do, need to be part of, or need to be the best at then that’s what I’m going to strive to do.

We talk about that all the time. There are aspects of the job that aren’t going to be fun and that’s a reality of it, but you can still love what you do and be great at things that you might not naturally gravitate towards.

Watching some of your stories is like watching the Travel Channel from time to time and I’m not sure if it’s because you’re posting more often but I don’t remember this from a few years ago. I want to know from you, when did you start incorporating your work-life balance?

I think always. I work very hard, but I’ve always made time for family and vacation. You have to remind yourself what you’re working for. I’ll always want to reward success with whatever it is. Whether it’s a particular thing that you wanted that’s super expensive. I’ll be like, “This is what I need to do.” Whether it’s a car or a watch, I don’t care. “These are company goals. If we do ABC and if we hit them, then this is going to be my bonus, my promotion, my whatever.” We’re human. At the end of the day, we’re made of the same DNA and everybody needs drive. They’re little things that you need to do for yourself to continue to maintain the drive. I feel like I’ve always been pretty good at it work-life balance. My wife will tell you otherwise.

I’ve always made time for vacation. Perhaps I’m posting a little more often. I have a wife that looks much better than me on camera and a son that’s cuter on camera. Maybe that gives me more of a justification to post more often. I feel like I don’t post enough. There was a particular time in COVID that I had more free time and coupled with the fact that there were bargain deals in the world of travel, so I do feel like we did something different. The RV trip we had. There was Mexico a few times, and Bora Bora. It’s definitely been more than the usual vacation year 2020. Normally I travel way more. I’ll have the entire circuit of hair shows. I’ll be in China twice. I’ll go to Israel at least once a year to visit my family. I’ve traveled a lot less, but vacation was enhanced, no doubt. I’ll say cheers to that, I have no issue with it.

When you get overwhelmed with work, do you just book a trip?

No, it’s different. It’s the exact opposite. Overwhelming equals more work. You have to sort these projects out. I try to make sure that I’m overwhelmed only when it’s justifiably to be overwhelmed when there’s more work than time. It means you need to put in more time in order to alleviate that overwhelming sensation or it could be stress and I just have to breathe deep and write down everything I have to work on and go, “It isn’t that bad, I could figure all this stuff out.” When I go on vacation, I try to make sure that my plate is less full so I can enjoy having a Margarita at the pool on a Friday at 2:00 rather than being on the phone and putting out fires.

I know you’re a busy man but before you go, we want to know, where does the future of iBeauty Brands go from here?

The future is very bright and not because of the ring light that’s flashing in my face. We have a lot of opportunities. We want to establish ourselves. We already are but we’re going to continue to put the focus on establishing ourselves as the hair tool experts. We already are, so whether it’s a big private label project for a big retailer that we spearhead or it’s different brands for different avenues. We’re launching an Amazon brand that’s for Amazon only. TV brands. Online, professional, retail. Having different labels and collaborations. Social media and influencer collaborations.

It’s something we believe in and we’ve put it as a focus for this year, as you’re familiar with. There’re so many different places, tools, channels or audiences that like different things. We know how to relate to everybody so it’s sharing our expertise and our products and developments with different audiences. Being the best hair tool company. People know, “I need a good hair tool. I’m going to go to iBeauty Brands.” That’s how it works. Whether it’s a consumer, a brand, a collaboration, or an influencer, it doesn’t matter. People need to know that we’re the best in this field.

AFB 9 | Sutra Beauty

Sutra Beauty: You have to select the digital marketing agency can help you have people connect to you and your brand.

 

Amen to that.

We’re so honored to be a part of that ride and to be a part of your journey and to watch Sutra and iBeauty Brands continually grow. We’re so grateful to have you on our show.

It’s been fun.

Where can our followers follow you?

I’m on Instagram, @liambd. For the company, you can follow any of our handles, you should know better than I do.

Make sure you guys follow Liam, and you can follow his brands as well. We’re so thankful that you come on and to introduce you to our audience. You’re so inspiring and you are absolutely 100% a breadwinner. Thank you so much.

Thanks for the continued friendship and time and the past years have been fun. Let’s make sure the next years are just as fun.

Yes.

Bye.

Thank you so much for reading. If you guys want to follow us make sure you guys follow us on Instagram.

@Ambition4Breakfast and you can follow me and Breanna. I’m @WrittenByKaren.

I’m @BreArmstrong.

Thanks so much for reading.

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About Liam Ben-David

AFB 9 | Sutra BeautyLiam Ben-David is the Founder, President, and CEO of Sutra Beauty under his iBeautybrands corporation, which also includes Soleil Hair-Tools, Adagio California, Infini Therapy, and Selected Cosmetics. Sutra Beauty is a Los Angeles-based beauty brand with a specialty in creating technologically innovative hairstyling tools for stylists and home consumers alike. Since founding the company in 2011, Liam has been incredibly hands-on in product development, R&D, brand marketing, and distribution, combining his entrepreneurial background with his creative mindset to grow Sutra into the industry leader it is today.

From the very beginning, Liam has guided his company with two specific mandates: consistently manufacture only the most technologically advanced products on the market, and serve as an industry disrupter by offering products at a consumer-friendly price. After years of meticulous research and experimentation, Sutra was among the very first companies to widely manufacture and distribute hair styling products utilizing infrared technology for minimal heat damage while maintaining professional results. In addition to Sutra being recognized for its innovation in the world of hair-tools, Liam has worked to develop and formulate a new line of hair care products including serums, hair masks, shampoos, and conditioners, and is looking to expand to numerous other avenues in the hair and beauty industries.

A dual citizen of Israel and the United States since a young child, Liam was blessed with a multi-cultural background that forever shaped his attitude in dealing with people of all walks of life and has allowed him to assess problems from multiple perspectives. A four-year veteran of the Israeli Air Force, Liam credits his service time for his tremendous work ethic and ability to constantly stay grounded in a highly fluctuating industry.”

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