Hey Richard, tell us about yourself!
My name is Richard and I am currently the CEO and Co-Founder of KAPSUL Collective LLC. I am a Los Angeles native who loves challenges and can't sit still for more than 5 seconds. In the past 5 years, I've held roles at Yelp, Google, Facebook and launched two start-ups while moving to 3 different states. In my spare time, you can find me golfing or traveling.
Can you tell us what you do as the CEO of KAPSUL Collective?
As CEO at KAPSUL Collective, I may wear 100's of different hats on any given day. From organizing marketing collateral to shipping and packaging to designing jewelry-- the roles are always changing. My favorite part of the job though is working with some of my best friends to bring a new type of service to the market. Most days are spent acquiring new clients and attending meetings with entertainment labels to jump-start new collaborations with artists.
How did you decide to start your own business? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?
I've always wanted to take a step back from corporate to pursue what I liked. I didn't want to be 40 and look back and say, "I wish I had done it in my 20's." Jeff Bezos once said, “I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, ‘OK, I’m looking back on my life. I want to minimize the number of regrets I have." I think I always had that mindset, but it wasn't until I finally made the choice to start that made that into a reality. The most pivotal moment that pushed me to where I am today is the moment I registered an LLC. Strange, I know. But for someone like me, I needed something that said in big bold letters "THIS IS REAL, NO BACKING OUT NOW."
What inspired you to start your craft?
I've been in marketing for the last 10 years of my life. In that decade, I've marketed for 100's of companies-- big and small. From hearing out their business goals and challenges, to creating a strategy that works for them, was what I was paid to do. But as 100's of businesses came and left, I realized I never once tried to practice what I preached-- yes, to go and do it for myself. This was the spark for me to create an e-commerce business and I still operate as the marketer for my business.
Any advice on how to get started for those who want to start their own business?
Be true to yourself. I think this applies for those applying for a company and also for those who are trying to start their own company. Really think about why you want to work for a company and the role you are applying for. Also, really think about what you love and what your passions are before starting a brand. Being true to yourself will get you out of so many obstacles. Our internal motto at KAPSUL is: be good people, and create good products. Our team tries extremely hard every single day to live up to that motto and it's the one thing that keeps us rooted in times of difficulty.
3 Character traits that would make someone excel in your field
The 3 P's : Passion, perseverance, people-skills.
To be an entrepreneur, from my experience, one needs to be passionate about their product or service. They also have to be passionate for people, whether that be their customer or their team.
Perseverance is important and I say that because a large portion of entrepreneurs who don't succeed are those who gave up along the way. Believe me, there is not one day that goes by when I don't want to give up. But it's really about pushing through hard obstacles and leaning on your team to fight through those challenges together.
People-skills is a must. Whether that be dealing with your team, partners, employees on a daily basis or meeting investors and clients, without people-skills, it is extremely tough to do your job as an entrepreneur.
Most difficult thing about your owning your own business?
Our business, albeit being registered and located in the US, runs primarily in Korea. Running a business in Korea with 99% of our customer base in Korea is always difficult for someone like me who can't speak Korea fluently. The culture of Korea in the business-world is polar opposite of the culture in America and having to navigate through some of those nuances have proved to be difficult.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
Forget about what people think or say, just go do you. I always wish I started earlier. But when I was younger, I was afraid of what my parents or friends thought of me and thus made choices that were a part of the 'norm'.
Best advice you've received/heard?
At Yelp, there was a saying that we learned as trainees that I still live by till this day. FSO, or Figure S*** Out, is something that I continue to think about and use on a daily basis. There is no way we'll ever know all the answers or all the "right ways" to do things. But it's important to figure it out for yourself. Learn from mistakes, but keep moving forward. One other advice I live by as an entrepreneur is a motto we learned at Facebook as employee's-- Move Fast. As a start-up, we have to move fast every single day in our decisions, strategy and product.
Any last thoughts, advice, or recommendations for someone who wants to learn your be their own CEO?
Fake it till you make it? We've all heard of this, but I firmly still believe this saying is applicable in entrepreneurship. I run a jewelry company, but have never learned about jewelry, created jewelry, or designed any type of fashion-related merchandise-- ever. I think if I was told that I have to be an expert in a certain field to start something in a certain field, I would have never started. I was passionate enough about jewelry and accessories to start and now a full year later, we at KAPSUL have designed over 20 different pieces of jewelry, with over 10,000 customers.