Hair industry veteran John Costanza knows his stuff. A marketer in his salad days, his first job in beauty was with Joico, going from salon to salon in his native Toronto to build relationships for the brand with the salon owners and stylists. His story is one with lots of twists and turns and a steady rise to the C-suite. While always anchoring his career decisions with his dedication to his family—a quality that was not always looked on favorably by the higher ups when John was starting out—he has developed the ability to stand back from the day-to-day speed bumps and crises that any business faces and focus on what’s really important in life, beyond shampoo and conditioner. In this episode he shares his path and some of the consequences he faced as he navigated through the waters of his various opportunities…and how he learned that balance is a crucial part of leadership. It’s fascinating and informative listening from a seasoned and compassionate pro. Make sure to catch the entire podcast.
|Announcer||Welcome to, Where Brains Meet Beauty hosted by Jodi Katz, founder and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.|
|Jodi Katz||Hey everybody, it's Jodi Katz, your host of Where Brains Meet Beauty Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in. Today's episode features John Costanza. He is the CEO of Beauty Quest Group. And if you missed last week's episode, it featured Victoria Watts. She's the founder of VictoriaLand Beauty. I hope you enjoy the shows.
Hey everybody. Welcome back to the show. I am proud to be sitting with John Costanza. He is the chief executive officer at Beauty Quest Group. Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty.
|John Costanza||Glad to be here.|
|Jodi Katz||Is this your first podcast?|
|John Costanza||It is.|
|Jodi Katz||Oh, cool.|
|John Costanza||Kind of weird. Smaller room. Pink microphone.|
|Jodi Katz||So, let's start with my favorite question, which is, how will you spend the day today?|
|John Costanza||I'm actually from here going to the airport. I'm going to see one of our biggest customers, Sally Beauty in Dallas, Texas. So spend a couple of days there with the management team and then going to Florida, a customer's there. So it's going to be a long week.|
|Jodi Katz||And is that your last trip before the holiday break?|
|John Costanza||Yep. Yep. Looks like that way.|
|Jodi Katz||So what is Beauty Quest Group?|
|John Costanza||So Beauty Quest Group is a, it's actually a spinoff. There's a... What happened is Conair owned a group of companies and divisions at different companies, and one of those divisions was what we call a Liquids Division that's produces liquid shampoos, conditioners, products for styling, all that stuff for beauty in general. And about months back the Conair decided to divest parts of the business. And one of those businesses was the Liquids part of the business. So Beauty Quest Group is a brand new company owned by a private equity company called Transom Capital. We got to actually name the company, which was a great thing. And we thought Beauty Quest is probably an appropriate name because it's a new journey and a new quest.
So it represents three different brands. Some brands you may have heard of or not. One is called the Aquage, the other one's called the RUSK and the other one's called One 'n Only. And it also produces private label manufacturing. We have a manufacturing plant based in Illinois. And a great group of team members, over 300, 400 people on the field and in production and in marketing and sales and we are Beauty Quest Group.
|Jodi Katz||So walk us through the highlights of the process of selling off those businesses. Because you were at Conair before this, right? You were running these businesses.|
|Jodi Katz||So, is this something you'd ever done before?|
|John Costanza||No, I've been on the buying side with mergers and acquisitions but never on the selling side. This is... So it was a unique thing. And it's sort of almost a speed dating feel to it because what you do is you prepare months in advance the portfolio of the companies and all the revenues and the profits in the... And also, it's almost like a case study. You're preparing a case study, a model study of what the business can look like if you stand it alone. And all the pieces that go with it. So, what we'd have to do to stand alone, all the shared services, and then you look at projections for the multiple years and you put that on a PowerPoint, basically a PowerPoint presentation. And in that you use that as a pitch for many different companies to come in and look at their portfolio.
So we put the deck together and we had hired a broker and the broker sends out this deck to many PE firms, strategic companies, all different types of companies that would be interested in buying a portfolio company or looking at beauty in general on our space. And then the pitch comes. So it started off in October of last year, and we were in New York city and as you know, we're based in Stanford, Connecticut our HQ. And we were coming to the city every other day pitching to three or four different PE firms for multiple months. At least two or three months.
And you're pretty much be dating. You're doing the same presentation over and over and telling them all about what I just told you, and why we think we're so great and why they should buy it. And they pitch to you why they think they're a perfect fit and why they should buy it. And then it comes down to the final three, which is like dating vinyl three.
|Jodi Katz||It's like The Bachelorette.|
|John Costanza||Yeah. And then you sort of figure out if you're good for the relationship and then we pick one that we want to be exclusive to. And then we started going into a due diligence ball. So, pretty interesting process. Very interesting process.|
|Jodi Katz||And what do you think about your background, your expertise that made you the right person to lead that?|
|John Costanza||I have a passion in beauty. I've been in the professional industry for such a long time. So when I speak about the brands or the business, I speak with passion, I speak with the history. We can call it a skill set, but I speak as if I know what I'm talking about. So, most leaders probably get into the situation they might not know enough about the business and the space that they're in, but they're pitching, and they're pitching something that is an unknown to them. Where it wasn't that case with me. I knew exactly the customer channels, the opportunities, the potential, the team. I knew the brands very well. So it came natural to me.|
|Jodi Katz||Were there any meetings when you present in and your like, "Oh, I bombed?"|
|John Costanza||Oh yeah, the very first one. The very first one was... It was just very new. And I've presented many times, but the very first presentation, I looked back and I said, "Well, that's not me. That's not going to happen again." So you'd have to retool and get your mindset going. It's all a mindset. It's really a game with your own self and just retooling and go back at it.|
|Jodi Katz||So in retrospect, what was going on in that meeting? Were you not prepared? Or were you just like... Was it just the newness of it?|
|John Costanza||Yeah. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what the audience was like. You're sitting in front of PE firms and you don't know if it's going to be very analytical driven, data-driven, or is it going to be, "Hey, do you have the passion around the brand or you're selling yourself?" You didn't know really what to look for. And at the time I actually didn't know whether I was going to stay with Conair or actually go with this business. So there was a lot going on in my mind trying to figure out what's the play here. And should I spin it enough where it's me or is it the business that we're looking for?|
|Jodi Katz||Right. That's so interesting. So full disclosure, I'm your client and we represent your Liquid brands through social and influencer marketing in PR. So we are working with you guys during this time. And my guess is, most of the people we're working with now that I think about it didn't know if they were going. Staying or going.|
|John Costanza||Well, there's a team that it pretty much knew that they were going because their responsibilities was all around the liquids part of the business. The RUSK and the Aquage. And then there was a team that actually that worked on both parts of the business. When I say both, there was a part of the business and the pro side that stayed with Conair, which was the appliances and the tools and so forth. So anybody that actually crossed over both, like myself or some of the marketing team, or logistics, or creative, they didn't know which side they were going to be on.
Some of them came forward and said, "I want to be... John, I want to follow you. Or I don't want to be a Conair anymore. I want to try something different. I want to take a leadership role." So there was various people that did come up and said where they want to be or, "I want to stay at Conair," but there's a group of people that it came down to the last minute to try to figure out how do we split it.
|Jodi Katz||Right. So as a leader, you're trying to lead the sale process. You're trying to lead the continued success of the brands as they are under Conair. And then you're leading some team members who feel confident in their role and many team members who might not know where they land. That's a lot all at one time.|
|John Costanza||Yeah, there's a lot going on. It's a perfect storm.|
|Jodi Katz||So let's get to your history. You have a very long career in hair. What was that first job in the hair industry?|
|John Costanza||I was a sales consultant. What we call the DSE or distributor sales consultant that called on hair salons. So I represented a brand called Joico, you may know it. And we went in and really pitched the product. Pitched everything that... Pitching the salons. Salons for consumption, whether they're using it in the salon there for services or retailing it. And retailing was hot at the time through salons. Professional products at that time was really on a surge. It was the first, in that time, it was in the '90s, it was a first blush of professional products being sold and having really a big voice in beauty in general.
So, you would go to salons and build relationships and pitch your brand, and explain all the reasons why they should be buying your brand over their brand. And I will tell you, it was all about relationships. It's really at that point, salon owners and our industry's very much... And it's an emotional business, very passionate business, but it's very much relationship business. So you go in there, you become a partner with them, and if they trust you, then they're going to give you your business. Because there's a bunch of sales reps that'll walk in every day and solicit their product.
|Jodi Katz||So before the Joico job, did you have a passion to get into the hair industry?|
|John Costanza||No, I didn't even know what hair industry was really. My friends were hairdressers and barbers. I knew that, but I'd never thought in a million years I would get into the space unless you're a hairdresser. I didn't even know there was a haircare component to it, or a beauty space that is different for a guy like me. I was a marketer at the time. I thought I was going to be head of a marketing department, maybe a creative agency or advertising agency. That's what I thought I was going to do. And I got into this space by fluke.|
|Jodi Katz||And where did you grow up?|
|John Costanza||In Toronto, Canada.|
|Jodi Katz||And is that where this job was?|
|John Costanza||Yeah, it was. Yeah. Local area in Toronto. And that was my geography.|
|Jodi Katz||And what was the next step after Joico?|
|John Costanza||Well, Joico, the great thing about Joico's over time I had opportunities to be a sales manager, and then a general manager for the same operation in Canada, small operation in Toronto. And then Joico itself was actually based in California. So I got to know the owner very well, and I was a performer, so he knew who I was, I knew who he was. And there was an opportunity to be in the USA working for him as a regional independent distributors. and I took the leap. And it was one of the things that we had a great connection and he gave me the opportunity and that was a first glimpse of me going from Canada to the USA and work in the US market.|
|Jodi Katz||So you moved to the US at that point?|
|John Costanza||Yeah. Well, no, actually no, I'll take that back. I actually worked back and forth. I might as well have move to the US because I was working from Monday through Friday in parts of the US. I had a visa to go back and forth and work the market. And my wife and I decided that our kids were so young that let's keep them grounded in Canada with family surrounding us and let me do the job back and forth. And it was like trains, planes and automobiles every everyday.|
|Jodi Katz||And how many years did you do that?|
|John Costanza||For two years.|
|Jodi Katz||So for two years, Monday through Friday you were on the road, home on the weekends, and pack the bag and start all over again.|
|Jodi Katz||What was that like as a family dynamic for you as a parent and your relationship with your co-parent, your wife?|
|John Costanza||Well, that was a tough one. And not just my parents, I mean, the family members and everything. My mother thought it was crazy. My parents thought it was nuts. And when they opened up... They were immigrants. So they opened up opportunity to me have a stable life in Canada and they thought they have done everything possible to take the risks factor out of our lives and then all of a sudden I decide to do something like this. And my wife, very supportive with all my careers, and for us to decide to be grounded was a good thing for the family. Her family was surrounding her and where we lived and so was my family for support. And the kids were young. My kids were at the time, four, two and one. And we thought it was just too much of a culture shock for them to move to the US or do anything in the US but it was, I'd say about six months in, we already had. It was just a difficult thing for me to be away from my family.
And the kids were so young. So you're missing a lot of things. And it was actually two years too much. It was a lot. And luckily there was an opportunity that came up that brought me back to Canada. And I didn't make that leap, that opportunity when it came. So we all know that it was a blessing. And my wife will tell you today that she became an independent person, or an independent mother throughout that time. And it was a change in her life for the better, but it was a lot of work. A lot of work.
|Jodi Katz||So what was that next opportunity?|
|John Costanza||One of my distributors was Sally Beauty. They were starting to make acquisitions in the US of independent distributors and gotten into what it is today, which is a pretty big arm. And they were looking at acquiring independent distributors in Canada. And they knew I was a Canadian, Canadian-born, I was going back and forth and they said that there's an opportunity for a GM position, and in this GM position we're going to make ramp at acquisitions and make Canada a big stomping ground for beauty for us. And the opportunity came as a general manager.|
|Jodi Katz||So let's just take a pause in your story to explain the professional hair industry. Because for our listeners who focus on consumer beauty products, it's very different. Can you just give me the simple outline of how this business works?|
|John Costanza||It's not simple. It's simple to us when you're in the beauty industry for long, it's simple to us. But what happens is, when you have a brand, a brand portfolio, anything like Joico or anything else in this industry, you're selling through salons, right? So you're typically making the brand, selling it through a distributor, and the distributor sells it to the salon and the salon ultimately sells it to a consumer. And that has evolved over times because we have players like Ulta that sell professional brands, Amazon sell professional brands, and independent distributors are fewer and far between at this point. You're dealing with big conglomerates like Sally Beauty who holds a BSG. Or I'm a CosmoProf that sells B2B, that sells to hairdressers. They have trade stores across the country. They have sales reps across the country that call on salons like I did.
And then you have, L'Oreal has a distribution arm that's similar to that. So those two conglomerates own the space when it comes to distribution. But they ultimately sell to the end user. They sell to the hairdresser who sells to the end user in our space.
|Jodi Katz||So your brands move through from your company through to BSG for sale at the CosmoProf stores and or through this hair salons, and then to either the backbar. So when they're using the products at the salon or a customer is buying it off the shelf at retail, at the salon.|
|John Costanza||Correct. Or direct to Ulta and then Ulta sells it to consumers. So that that Ulta arm is a new arm for us, relatively new. They've been in business barely over 10 years, but it's new to the professional beauty space and it's become a strong arm for consumer recognition in the professional industry.|
|Jodi Katz||And then Amazon. So you sell these products to Amazon, they're professional products sold at Amazon, but not at the professional price. Right? There's a pricing difference.|
|Jodi Katz||So can you talk about that a little bit?|
|John Costanza||Their pricing is like Ulta's pricing. So our retail pricing, they sell directly to the consumers. Most brands at this point deal with Amazon directly at what we call, a gated community. So you don't have a lot of third parties trying to sell product online, and they sell to consumers. They could sell to consumers at the retail price just like Ulta does and retail outlets do.|
|Jodi Katz||So then the pro who's looking for those products, they're not going to shop at Amazon because they'd be paying retail price?|
|John Costanza||No, not yet. That's something Amazon is testing is a B2B strategy that goes right to the hairdressers and salon owners, but that's not the case. That's not their core competency. Right now it's consumer.|
|Jodi Katz||I just was with a hair stylist last weekend, she was saying she wanted one of your products, wanted some Aquage product but she couldn't find it in New York city. And she's lamenting at how the Amazon, obviously she could buy it on Amazon, but then she's paying Amazon retail pricing and not styling pricing. So, there's always an opportunity for your customer, whether she's the pro or the consumer to find what she wants when she wants it, where she wants it. Right? And it's like a moving target, right? Because digital evolves.|
|John Costanza||Yeah. That's a difficult thing because our brands are... they live in a specialty world because you're selling it through your distribution channels. Most of the time your distribution channels are an exclusive one. You have a relationship with them, and potentially you don't sell to other distributors. You'd need to have that relationship with them. And that makes it not as accessible for a beauty salon owner or a hairdresser that doesn't shop at CosmoProf. So that's why there's an option like SalonCentric we deal and sell to with most of our brands, but there's options there as well then a hairdresser can shop there. But if they want a brand and they like a brand, because we're still a specialty as a trade person is very difficult to get if you're not shopping at CosmoProf.
And on consumer side Ulta is the animal at this point. Amazon is secondary and they're growing in this platform but Ulta is the professional place of choice for retail. So if you're dealing with Ulta, at least consumers can go online and find a product at Ulta.
|Jodi Katz||Right. What we've heard from stylists who we've talked to is that they will shop full retail price at Ulta because they get their points. And I'll tell them that it feels they are spending on things outside their hair.|
|John Costanza||Yeah, that points program is fantastic. I mean, my wife shops there, so she finds all kinds of cosmetics and their points program is great and it's worth it. But it's, for a hairdresser's point of view, you're not getting any better price. Because you could get, if you're buying trade to trade you're getting a better price.|
|Jodi Katz||Right. So, thank you for that education. Let's get back to your career. So was it 14 years at Sally?|
|John Costanza||Yeah, almost 15 years at Sally in an executive role, really growing the Canadian operation. It was a small operation at the time. I started very young. I mean, I was a GM at 30 years old. So there's a lot of pressure there. And it was a small 45 stores, about 50 sales consultants, and then it grew into 200 stores and about 100 sales consultants. So we got pretty big in 15 years.|
|Jodi Katz||So let's just take a step back. You were out of college, your friends are stylists and one of them says, "Oh, I'll introduce you to someone for a job." So this is an accident, right?|
|John Costanza||It was. It was very much an accident. My friend was a salon owner and he said to me, "Just your demeanor and your marketing knowhow and your style, I think you'd be great as a sales rep selling haircut to the hair salons." I'm like... I didn't know what he was talking about. And he said, "I'll introduce you to the GM of Joico in Canada. I'll get you connected and see if he has an opportunity for you." And it's just sort of follow my pull up. I think I was getting my haircut at the time when he told me.|
|Jodi Katz||Are you still connected with that stylist?|
|Jodi Katz||Oh, that's awesome.|
|John Costanza||Yeah, he's still in Toronto. He's got a place in Florida. I'll probably see him at the end of this week and chat with them, but it's one of those things that we always look back and I say to him, he's the guy who started me in this industry.|
|Jodi Katz||That's so cool.|
|John Costanza||He brought me to where I am today.|
|Jodi Katz||The human to human connection is so important. Even as we digitize everything or bot everything. So after almost 15 years at Sally, why leave?|
|John Costanza||L'Oreal came to me. L'Oreal was one of my biggest suppliers at Sally Beauty. And when L'Oreal knocks on your door, you're going to listen. It's the biggest BD player in our industry, whether it's consumer or professional. It was going back to the US working in New York city which was quite interesting for me. And I was at the time of my life where I had been a GM for 14, 15 years. My family has gotten older. I had a great team. Everything was pretty much humming.
And when you get to that point, you get to a point where you start to realize you need... Some people couldn't work that way, but I was still young and I needed a challenge. And L'Oreal came knocking at the right time and I said, if I don't take this I'll probably regret it. So I gave it a shot and we moved to New York. I was actually in New Jersey. And commuted to New York city every day and working for L'Oreal as a GM for two of their brands. One is called Kerastase, which is a luxury brand in their portfolio in L'Oreal professional, which is a color brand in the portfolio.
|Jodi Katz||So you picked up the family, moved the family from Canada to New Jersey. You shared some really interesting learnings with me on our intake call about what that experience was like. And I think our listeners really value from it. So what are one of those lessons you learned from picking up the family and moving?|
|John Costanza||Yeah. One, New Jersey is not in New York. So it wasn't taxing for my 20 year old kids, girls then to tell them that we're moving to New York and it's not. I was working in New York, but we were living in New Jersey. It's a far train ride from New Jersey to New York where we lived and it was in Wayne, New Jersey. And that wasn't appeasing to them over time. And they realized that we're not in New York.|
|Jodi Katz||So did they think they were actually moving to New York city?|
|John Costanza||Sure. I mean, they didn't know the geography that well, we're sheltered people in Canada. They have never come to New York. I've been a million times. They've never been there. And even when we first... I remember when we first moved, we went from Toronto to New York. We stayed in the city because L'Oreal got me a place in the city for a period of time until we found a house. And when we got the house we took the drive from New York to New Jersey and they realized it is not New York. And it was a great learning curve.
But over time you really need to prep yourself on your surroundings and what it's going to mean to your family more than yourself. It's easy for me to adapt because I was busy. I was busy, I was focused on my career. But what was more important is how was my family going to get grounded?
We bought a house because I felt that was the best thing to do. We've always owned a house and I thought it was best to live in New Jersey because it's more in the country, it's safer, bigger space. We're used to a bigger space and you can't really get that in New York. Little did I know if I talked to my girls they would have said, "No, let's be in a small place in New York city." And I just want to live the culture and the lifestyle in New York, and soak it all in and take that experience on. And then we had problems with visas and we wanted to get our green card, our resident card. And those take a lot of time. And in between all that there was just compiling like kids not being happy being in New Jersey. We're definitely not going to move to New York at this point.
We bought a place. My son was moving high schools, having a difficult time. High school is difficult as it is. And his second year of high school was in a new country in New Jersey, tough school to be in. We're used to small town schools, not a lot of students going into thousands of students. And a football town we're known to be a hockey town. So very, very different. And it had a toll on my family pretty quickly.
Of course my wife was always supportive and my girls decided they're going to move back to Toronto. And they did. And they left us, and it was fine. We worked it out. Toronto's not too far from New York, which was okay. And my son was alone for the first time without his siblings and that was a difficult thing. And my wife balancing all that out. So there's a lot of things you need to balance off and understand and what you realize is just not all about you. And if you're going to sell it, you better deliver what you're going to sell.
|Jodi Katz||So in retrospect, was the move worth it?|
|John Costanza||Yeah. It's always worth it because we experience a lot. I'll tell you, my daughters will tell you, it was a funny situation because we actually moved back to Canada eventually for another job and my girls decided to move back to the US and on their own to California. And I will tell you that if we didn't make that leap to move somewhere out of our small town in Toronto, they probably wouldn't have understood that there's other experiences and other places to go and you can live your life elsewhere and make those sacrifices. So if we didn't take the opportunity and we didn't move, they wouldn't have made the leap and we wouldn't have had other opportunities that came our way as a family or myself as an individual.
So it's always a learning. We don't sit back and regret. The whole family's great that way. I certainly don't do that. And I always teach that to my family is, don't regret. I mean, there's an experience for a reason. You're here on earth for a reason and things happened to you for a reason. So you soak it in, learn from it and then move on and it usually makes you a stronger person.
|Jodi Katz||So let's talk about that sort of life philosophy. Because it's this idea of moving through struggle and acknowledging and honoring the struggle is really a challenge for me. Like when I'm going through a struggle, like unhappy client, right? Like I'm in the job of making my client's life easier, right? If I have an unhappy client, I'm sad, right? And then it's very easy for me to take that sadness and get into a hole with it. Right? But maybe the client's not happy because there's new learning, right? There's something around the corner and something that I need to learn and they need to learn and we need to learn together that's going to make everything awesome later. It sounds like you're able to move from the rim of the hole to what awesome learning is there without getting into the hole. So how do you keep from getting into that hole?|
|John Costanza||Well, I mean it's not that easy. You make it sound like really easy. It's not the case. I mean, you always get into your negative mode, but something has to take you out of it. So I find my zone, I find something that takes me out of it, whether it's listening to music, or being alone, or finding the ocean, finding water, whatever it is, I find my peace of mind that takes me out of that hole to say, I need to think differently. And I tell you, I... Because I've started everything when I was young. I was married young, I had children young, I had my career start young, there's a part of you and it's probably respect from my family and my father. You do it because there's people that depend on you. So that driving means a lot. Because you sacrifice a lot for it.
And then later, I mean, I'm older now and I look back and say, "Okay, it's time for me at one point." But when you sacrifice for your kids and your family, you do it and you don't even think twice. And the minute you get sucked into a hole where you feel that you can't do it, you look at them and you say, "Well, I have to." And you drive. So, you need to look for that driving factor, and it's there. And that's what I look for. What's that driving factor?
And I lost my dad at a young age. I was 29 when I lost my father. So when you go through something like that, nothing else really matters. So I look at that, that gives me perspective. And when you lose a family member, you go through something that's horrible. You sit back and say, "It can't be worse than that." Whether it's a client or for us, it's one of my employees come to me and say, "Well, we're not going to ship this product." And I'm, "Oh, really, I mean, there's a shampoo nightmare going on. We're going to have to call 911 shampoo because we can't deliver a shampoo." We're going to get over it. I mean, there's other things worse in life that happen. We're going to get over it.
|Jodi Katz||It sounds like a great boss to have. So it's not a shampoo nado, right? Like a Sharknado, it's just a small stumble. How do you think your team responds when you like don't treat these things as a huge crisis?|
|John Costanza||Everyone's different,, and the teams I've worked are different. When they understand... I'm very inclusive type of manager. Like, I try to keep it light. We're all going to get pressures and you'll see it. You'll see it when I'm pressured. You'll see the stress on my face, around my shoulders and I'll talk to you about it. It'll be up front. So you'll understand that part of you because I am direct that way. But the other part of it is, I have a calmness about me. So I sit back and I like to calm the team because I feel that you're going to make smarter decisions if you're calm and you're not reactive and you're not emotional. So, I think they respect that. You'd have to ask them, but I believe they respect them.
I will tell you that when I first came to New York and I managed the team here in in a very competitive, in a driving space and so used to working from 6:00 AM to 9:00 at night and on weekends, they didn't get it. It took a while for them to understand, yeah, you're a nice guy, but you don't seem to have that sense of urgency. And I do. In the right time in the right space and no one needs to get emotional because of it. So because I'm not that erratic over emotional type of guy. I'm not saying that I don't express my emotions. I do. But there's a time and place for that, and sure I react every once in a while. It takes me a lot to get there. And I feel that just calmer heads prevail and that's a big philosophy.
And balance of life is a big thing for me because of what I went through. And how I started young. And I see kids today working in New York city, very competitive, and I say to them all the time, 10 years from now, there's parts of you that are going to regret that you went so crazy for what reason? And I'm not saying you don't have to drive, you definitely have to. You're constantly proving yourself and proving to others that you can do it.
But there's sacrifices like family and balance that you have to be careful you don't make because that will never come back. And I was thankful that some of the opportunities that came to me came when my kids were older. And I did sacrifice, I had to... My kids moving back, my girls moving back to Toronto and my son going through what he did was a tough thing to swallow. But I will tell you that I was happier that I did it when they were older and they understood it more than when they were really younger and they didn't understand why their dad wasn't there. Or why we moved and you pulled them away from their friends and family. And that's a difficult thing to explain to a nine year old, or a six year old, or a four year old.
|Jodi Katz||So what does balance and equilibrium look like for you now? Your kids are grown up, you and your wife live in Stanford, so you have work and then what else?|
|John Costanza||Yeah, that's a tough question. So I'm in a different phase of my life, my wife and I, and we have nothing else. So we're trying to understand what that's something else means and we're starting to develop that. So that's a new level for us that we're trying to figure out. We haven't figured it out yet, but we will.|
|Jodi Katz||Is that because you had to fill the void of all that time you would've been going to practice or picking kids up?|
|John Costanza||Right. I mean, there was a point in time when I was working at Sally in Canada. I coached soccer, I coached soccer for both my girls. We are on the soccer field seven days a week, literally seven days a week. And that kept us busy. And we got to meet wonderful families. I got to coach great, great mostly girls at my daughter's age. And my son played as well and got to know the family members there. And we just really connected. That became our social scene. They became friends later on and we don't have that now.
Today, my girls are in California, they're living there. My son's in Toronto living there. We're in Stanford, Connecticut. We have extended family that we're very close to. So we miss birthdays, and special events and we've always been there and we'll go back for the holidays. We're not used to that. So, we're trying to figure out what it all means. And it's not there yet, but we'll figure it out.
|Jodi Katz||You have so many opportunities now, right? So much time.|
|John Costanza||Netflix is great. So, with this lack of pressure to spend your time, let's say with your kids, which certainly fills up plenty amount of time. Does your body react to this sort of the seductive nature of work and growing in business where you end up spending more time on work than you'd prefer to be because you don't have this like hard out every night?
Yeah, absolutely. There's a difference. When my wife is out of town, when she goes back home to see my son or visit the girls in California and I'm at home alone working, then that's all I'm doing is working. So it's definitely easy to get sucked into that. But when she comes back, it's a different story. I want to go home, I want to spend time with her, I want to go out to dinner, have drinks. We have a small little dog named Abby. We're with her because she's our little baby. So going for walks, doing whatever. You want to come back. You definitely do appreciate that time of life.
And I felt that way even when I was busy with the kids and coaching and soccer, it drives you to go back home and balance. I mean, and I encouraged those activities, and later on in life you'll realize that it meant so much to us. We look back in the time where we are on the soccer field and say... And you talk to parents, young parents now and they think it's a real sacrifice and it's a lot of work and it takes up a lot of time. And I always tell them, talk to me 10 years from now when your kids are in their 20s, in the 19s, when they go away and you don't see them. They're not home. They have their license. They have their own life and you're not on the soccer field anymore.
You're going to miss that so much. You're going to miss the surroundings, the activity, the busy-ness, and you're going to miss your kids, because somehow you were all together. And that's what we found. As a family we were always on the soccer field together. And there was a little bit of divide and conquer, but most of the time we ended up at the end of the night together and we celebrated something. And that means a lot.
|Jodi Katz||Well, thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom and journey with us. I'm getting a little misty. I'm thinking about my kids growing up and I love being around them. I want to make it last forever.|
|Jodi Katz||It's really hard that they grow up.|
|John Costanza||I went to... I'll tell you a short story. I went to a leadership seminar, an executive leadership thing that I did in my years. And in there was a bunch of executives that were like myself, all heading for a CEO position or a leadership position. And the whole session was about leadership, your leadership style. But there was sessions about balance. How to create balance. Because the culture of creating balance affects you and your family but also affects other employees because they look at you as a leader and say, "If he knows how to balance it then I should know how to balance it."
So there were times where you start to understand, how do you interact with people and how do you affect people in your life? And it could be employees but can also be your family, your siblings, your extended family. And you would have to tell stories about how things in life have changed you and how to affect the different people in your life. And the biggest question you had is, well, how do you think your family sees you? Or anybody that's close to you sees you? And what do they represent? I mean, is there a tangible that they represent?
And I told them a story about one point in my life, my daughter who had to do a project about me and our whole family and what they represent had symbols of what they represented. And for myself it was a luggage in a Blackberry.
|Jodi Katz||Oh God.|
|John Costanza||So that's a harsh reality. Because I was always on my phone and I was always traveling. So that's something at the time my daughter was, I think she was 13, 14 at the time. And that's what I... She believes that that's who I was and that's how I was represented. My other daughter was a soccer ball because she loves soccer. And my son was video games because he liked that. And my wife was all about shopping, which is... Those are symbols. My symbol was a luggage and a Blackberry. And my whole family reacted like you did. They laughed. I wasn't laughing. I wasn't laughing. And I told that story to executives and I will tell you, it was a hard hitting thing for them to say, "But that's not what I want my kids to feel like. I don't want people to feel that's all I do is I work and I'm on my phone all the time. That can't be it. There's got to be more than life to that."|
|Jodi Katz||I laugh because it's painful and it's real. I mean, I think if my kids had that project they'd say I show a picture of like bed. Like I'm always just saying like, "I want to go to sleep, leave me alone, I want to go to sleep." Because I'm like wiped out at the end of the day. Which is so sad because that's the time we have together. They don't get the best version of me. And certainly after nine o'clock at night it's very downhill for me.
Thank you for sharing that story. It's very meaningful and I'm sure it's painting a picture in a lot of our listeners heads right now.
|John Costanza||No problem. I appreciate it.|
|Jodi Katz||Well, thank you for joining us on this show and for our listeners I hope you enjoyed this interview. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes, and for updates about the show follow us on Instagram @wherebrainsmeetbeautypodcast.|
|Announcer||Thanks for listening to Where Brains Meet Beauty with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.|