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Ari S. Goldberg is a serial entrepreneur who is constantly innovating. With his strong background in marketing, strategy, and business development, he is the founder and chairman of investment firm RNMKR, founder of StyleCaster and founder of his newest project, Barber Surgeons Guild. I asked him about his inspiration for BSG and what guides his own personal grooming.
How did you first become interested in starting Barber Surgeons Guild?
I have always been interested in ways to maintain and improve my style, and recently in health and wellness. Beauty was one of the biggest categories for us at StyleCaster and when I saw Dollar Shave Club get acquired for $1 billion I started researching the category.
When I met Dr. Justin Rome, we had a shared vision to create an arsenal of products and services that we wanted for ourselves, ones that we believed our friends and family deserved. Products and services that were the highest quality and backed by medical research.
What types of projects do you look to invest in at RNMKR?
I focus on companies that are $1 – $25 million in revenue and are profitable in categories that I am personally interested in as a consumer and investor. They have a proven operating team in place with a track record of success.
They have industry leading expertise in the category, but they lack brand, digital and marketing. Then we come in, build a brand, an elite digital media platform and apply marketing strategies to exponentially grow the company.
How did your personal style evolve?
It started in the personal shopping department at Saks when I was a young little fella and our grandmother would take us shopping with her. She was a very polished woman and early on I learned the importance of using style to present the image we want to convey.
Then 10 years in the fashion and beauty business, and the privilege of dating a select few of the most stylish girls in the world helped me refine my style. To me, it’s all about understanding the look you want to go for in whatever specific environment you are in, and then piecing it together.
How have your grooming rituals changed over time?
I have gotten more routine focused over the years, similar to what I strive for in business. My goal is to perfect the routine and then execute it each day. It makes me better and more efficient and creates less stress in the process.
Also since I started wearing my hair short, I get a haircut once a week or every 10 days. There is something about going to the barber that is a guilty pleasure and sort of therapeutic for me.
Has working in the beauty and fashion business changed your personal routines?
Not really, my routine is pretty straight to the point. What has changed is how much attention I pay to the products I’m using. I read the directions, I read the ingredients, I look at all the branding and packaging now with a level of detail I never have before.
What do you prioritize in your personal care routine?
Efficiency and effectiveness. I want it to be quick, easy and no stress, but I want to make sure I come out looking as good as I possibly can. Men are all about time and ease of use, which is something we have really learned to focus on with Barber Surgeons Guild.
What trends are you excited about in men’s grooming?
The growing interest in health and wellness, something that is at the core of why we started Barber Surgeons Guild. We were sick and tired of using products from big companies with ingredients that could be slowly killing us everyday and not knowing who was reviewing these things and if they were good or bad for us.
The increased consumer interest in healthy and effective products was one of the biggest inspirations for BSG.
Favorite 5 Grooming Products
The motivations behind starting BSG was the fact that Dr. Rome and I are not happy with what is out there, and even less happy about the lack of knowledge around the products and the effects on our health by using them.
We dedicated the company to creating the highest quality products with the finest ingredients, that are backed by science and medical research. We want to help our friends and family, and ourselves, look and feel our best.
I love the BSG HC01 Shampoo tingle. I love cause and effect. I told Dr. Rome when we started working on the new product line that I wanted the effects of the use to be real. I love when you can feel the stimulation on your scalp, especially in the morning, it’s another thing to get you awake and feel like you are doing something to help yourself first thing in the day.
I don’t understand how some guys function without baby powder*. I love it, it makes me so much more comfortable during the day, if I don’t have it on or ran out I freak out. Then I will go to the closest drugstore and get a small bottle.
“When I started wearing my hair short I stopped using product. My hair was short so it was ok, and I didn’t like the greasy feeling especially working out everyday. When we got the first samples back of the new BSG Pomade, I was like, “OK, finally something I like and will actually use.” I’m biased, and I’m selfish. We wanted the best so we committed to creating it. Try it, I think you will agree.
Nail Clippers and Cuticle Cutters
“I don’t have the patience to get a manicure, and the environments aren’t exactly the places I want to hang out. Because of that, I have found that I actually can do just as good of a job myself. Cutting your fingernails takes 3 minutes, once every week or two and cutting your cuticles takes even less. One thing I’ve learned is a well-polished man has well-polished hands, and it’s definitely something that women notice.
Goldberg is the founder and chairman of RNMKR, an investment firm that applies proven business practices multiplied by the scale of the internet. He is a founder of three of the RNMKR portfolio companies including Barber Surgeons Guild, RLBLC and Globalist, where he oversees and brand and marketing strategies.
Goldberg was the Founder and CEO of StyleCaster (acquired by SheKnows, 2014), Co-Founder of Sociocast (acquired by Aol, 2015) and Founding Member of Qwiki (acquired by Yahoo, 2014).