Episode 56

 

Call him a 21st century renaissance man: Laszlo Moharita, Global Director of Beauty Products at Johnson & Johnson, describes himself as a “squared up engineer who also likes to paint.” This yin-yang quality is more likely than not how he’s found himself in charge of creating everyday objects so well designed, we all take them for granted. Lotion pumps, dental floss, perfume bottles – Laszlo is the brain behind the most minute details of these items, from how much lotion comes out of the bottle to which way the box opens. If you’ve ever wondered exactly how the products in your bathroom get made, this episode will reveal the surprising process behind it all.

 

Announcer

Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty, hosted by Jodi Katz, founder and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.

Jodi Katz

Hey, welcome back fans to “Where Brains Meet Beauty”. This is your host Jodi Katz. This week’s episode is with Laszlo Moharita. He is the Global Director of Beauty Packaging at Johnson & Johnson and a super cool dude who really walks us through the engineering process of packaging. This will be really fascinating for any packaging designers and engineers or aspiring people out there. If you missed it, tune into last week’s episode with Paul Peros, he is the CEO of FOREO. Thanks enjoy the shows.

Good morning, “Where Brains Meet Beauty” listeners. I am joined today by Laszlo Moharita. He’s the Global Director of Beauty Packaging at Johnson & Johnson. Welcome to “Where Brains Meet Beauty”.

Laszlo Moharita

Thank you. Good morning.

Jodi Katz

It’s so cool to have you here.

Laszlo Moharita

Excited to be here.

Jodi Katz

I want to tell our listeners how we met. We were panelists together at last year’s ADFPCD Conference in New York. Deanna, the editor of “Cosmetic Design” hosted the panel and put us together. It was a super great presentation. It was really fun.

Laszlo Moharita

Yeah, it was great.

Jodi Katz

You just don’t know where you’re gonna meet the next person you’re gonna meet, right?

Laszlo Moharita

I know.

Jodi Katz

Which is so awesome.

Laszlo Moharita

It’s all about networking.

Jodi Katz

Tell us how you’re going to spend your day today.

Laszlo Moharita

Today, I love to obviously talk to you about my past, where I grew up and how I came about to love packaging and love beauty. I’m just planning to have a lot of fun and spend an hour talking and see where we go.

Jodi Katz

Do you have to go back to the office after this?

Laszlo Moharita

I will have to go back to the office. I’m meeting somebody in the city and then heading back.

Jodi Katz

Your office is in New Jersey where Johnson & Johnson’s headquarters is?

Laszlo Moharita

Yes it is.

Jodi Katz

Is that the global headquarters?

Laszlo Moharita

The global headquarters are in New Brunswick and I work out of their R&D facility in New Jersey.

Jodi Katz

I’m very excited that you’re here because you’re our first guest that’s an industrial engineer. We’ve had a lot of product developers, marketers but you’re our first industrial engineer, which is actually really good timing because we did a recent poll of our listeners and what they’re craving, and they really want more behind-the-scenes people. You’re really very behind the scenes, right?

Let’s start with your first job in beauty, which was at Lauder Companies, right? Can you tell us what that job was?

Laszlo Moharita

Yeah, I started there actually as an intern in their manufacturing facility in Oakland, New Jersey. That’s where they used to manufacture fragrance. They’ve closed it since. I was doing just essential industrial engineering work. Manufacturing, engineering work, doing conversion codes, label stands, some things like that.

Jodi Katz

Slow it down a little bit because our listeners are probably mostly marketers. What does that mean?

Laszlo Moharita

What it means was … My role was essentially to tell the brand and the package developers back in the city how much it would cost ’em to run their product on their lines. Based on the level of automation that their lines had, number of people that you need to put it all together. Put the cap on the pump, fill the bottle and everything else. That was my role. I very quickly realized that a lot of people that were assigning these things, that were developing these packages had very limited experience of the manufacturing end. I thought, maybe that’s an area that I can cover ’cause I love doing this, but I love the creative side of packaging as well.

At the time, Lauder was having … They called it our presidential management program. I applied. I got in. It was 10 people out of 100. I was the only men out of the whole group that was actually there. The only engineer as well. It was all marketer, sales, PR people.

The idea was you were working any function that you wanted. In this case, for me it was package engineering or package development as they called it. For a period of a year, you would do that role. If you wanted to switch to any other role because you wanted to get experience somewhere else, you could do that. In the meantime, they were giving you presentations, key leadership skills. It was a really nice management program.

After a year, you would get the work at whatever function you wanted or ended up with. I applied, I got in. I started package developer and I loved it. I stayed there. I never changed, I never switched. Did it for a year. I was actually doing Jo Malone packaging; a London based company. I redid all of their set-up boxes at their stores and worked under a fragrance launch. You learn. I was working obviously under managers that were dealing with all these brands, but I loved it. I really loved the creative aspect of it. I think the manufacturing background helped quite a bit ’cause I could tell right away to the signers, the marketers, don’t do that. Let’s do it this way ’cause this will run better on your line, so it’ll be much better in the cost end of it.

I stayed at Lauder for about six, seven years.

Jodi Katz

Can we go all the way back to school? What were you studying in school that you got that first job?

Laszlo Moharita

Industrial engineering.

Jodi Katz

Did you envision it being industrial job in the beauty industry? Did you think you were gonna build ships? What goes through your head as someone who’s studying that?

Laszlo Moharita

Not really, to be honest with you. As an industrial engineer, I called it more like processing engineering. It’s more around finding the most efficient way of doing any process, whatever that process may be. You have industrial engineers in the airplane industry. You have industrial engineers in computers. You have industrial engineers across many aspects because they’re concentrating on making the process much more efficient.

My dad has a background in beauty. He’s a civil engineer who never did civil engineering and ended up running plants for different companies. I grew up, since I was six, seven years old, around beauty.

Jodi Katz

What was he doing in beauty?

Laszlo Moharita

He was plant manager for a couple of different … He worked for Procter & Gamble. He ended up working at Estee Lauder where he retired from as well. But, I’ve been around beauty since I was seven years-old.

Jodi Katz

As a plant engineer, that person would be overseeing the-…

Laszlo Moharita

The whole plant.

Jodi Katz

…people like the job you had?

Laszlo Moharita

Everybody in the plant.

Jodi Katz

Did he ever had the job that you had when you were at the plant?

Laszlo Moharita

When he was working for Procter & Gamble, he did a similar job. He was more on the floor, managing people that were working on the lines. He grew up in a similar background. He never went to the creative side. He always stayed more on the manufacturing side of it.

Jodi Katz

I love that your experience is so deep in the manufacturing process because I feel like, at least dealing my own clients on the agency side, we’re talking about maybe set-up boxes. They really have no idea what we’re talking about. They don’t understand the language. They definitely don’t know what it’s like to make them. We actually started making some videos like educational videos for our clients like, this is how we make these, this is the process. Really showing it piece-by-piece. Showing all the handwork of wrapping those set-up boxes. Mounting those cute, little papers on the set-up boxes.

We started doing some videos of actually taking them apart, so people can see it in reverse. This is all the stuff that’s inside your box to make it look nice. I think every single project is better when a creative person, whether they’re a creative marketer or their art director, whatever has some knowledge of the manufacturing process and has watched these things be made or die cut or whatever, anything.

Laszlo Moharita

No, I agree with you. I think there’s a … It’s a powerful team when you compare a really good designer who understand those constraints with a really good … I don’t wanna say engineer, but somebody that has that manufacturing process who’s typically an engineer. I think that’s what I love the most about package development is that I bring that engineering aspect that, this is how we do it aspect to people that are very creative, may not necessarily know how to get it done.

Now, I like to think myself as creative, but I’m not as creative as a designer who grew up in the field is. If you pair those two people together, you have the designer pushing for out-there and then, the engineer bringing it back a little bit, but closer to what the designer wants to do. I think that’s the best combination.

Jodi Katz

In your career, and we’ll get back to the details, when you’ve run your teams, have you insisted that your teams get educated on all those processes?

Laszlo Moharita

Typically, when we hire packaging for packaging and they can call it package developers, there is schools out there who do package engineering. Very limited and typically, if you’re brought up in any kind of engineering, you could essentially do packaging at the end of the day. We hire a lot of material scientists, mechanical engineers, few industrial engineers, but mostly mechanical. Obviously, with packaging background.

I think engineering is key, but also if you know how to run a project and you know how to get from point A to point B in the fastest way, there’s many people that do packaging that just learn by doing. They just have that extra oomph that gives ’em that project management skills from taking things from point A to point B. Having the engineering background obviously helps to do more complex things, but yeah. It’s really an interesting world.

Jodi Katz

You are a lover of education and we’ll get to that as you’re going back to school. You were at Lauder. You went through the management program and then, you landed in … What did they call that role?

Laszlo Moharita

It was … At the time, they called it assistant manager. I was doing Donna Karan. I was one of the engineers doing Donna Karan ’cause [inaudible 00:10:30] bought fragrance.

Jodi Katz

For listeners who really don’t know what you’re talking about, that would be like working on the Appleshade fragrance bottle, like that kind of thing?

Laszlo Moharita

Yes.

Jodi Katz

Bringing that concept to life and figuring out what manufacturers can help us get this Appleshade to really look like an apple.

Laszlo Moharita

I was involved, not as a main developer, but really just helping the developers develop different parts of it. The launch of Black Cashmere. I don’t know if you remember that little egg, rock, petal shape, black fragrance. Cashmere mist.

Jodi Katz

Is it part of your job to go out into the universe and find manufacturers who can actually create this vision?

Laszlo Moharita

My role is … A designer would essentially come with an idea on a back of a napkin. Just, I want this. My first role is figure out, what do you really want? Then, work with suppliers, bottle suppliers, cap suppliers, pump suppliers and their engineering team to kind of bring that idea together.

By doing that, we start by running 3-dimensional drawings of what it is that the designer wants to do. We’ll do prototypes. If we feel we get to a point where it’s close enough to what they put on a back of a napkin, we’ll run a 3D prototype of it to make it real-size, something you can touch. They were will be many, many changes that come out of that because they may think, “Oh, it’s smaller than I thought. 50 mL I thought was a lot bigger. It’s actually too small”. You start going, “Do you still want the 50 mL? Then, we’ll find ways to make it bigger. Or do you wanna go to 100 mL?” That way you can get the size that you’re looking for.

Once we get to a point where that’s nailed down, we continue to work with suppliers to say, how can we manufacture it? We want that shape out of glass or out of plastic. What’s the best plastic to mold it in? What’s the best way to design the mold that’s gonna make that specific bottle? How does the cap and the pump and the bottle fit together? Is it a tight fit? Do we need to adjust anything? We do a lot of testing as well. That’s the scientific of what we do. A lot of testing to make sure that your product doesn’t affect the package, that the package doesn’t affect the product. That when you grab a fragrance by the cap, that there is a specific force that’s gonna bring the bottle with it. It’s not that your bottle’s gonna slide out midway as you’re trying to use it and crash on the floor.

A lot of detail that goes into … That people don’t get to see, sometimes even understand, but at the end of the day, it’s part of the whole experience in how consumers actually handle and manage that product.

Jodi Katz

For something like a fragrance launch where everything’s customized. The bottle’s custom, the cap’s custom. Are the actuators custom?

Laszlo Moharita

Sometimes.

Jodi Katz

How long is this process between the napkin drawing and it launching?

Laszlo Moharita

It depends on the company that you talk to. Typically, if it’s fragrance and it’s beauty and it’s the Lauder of the worlds or L’Oreal of the worlds. I’ve seen fragrance launches that are out in six months from the beginning and typically, probably a year, a year and a half. You’re planning ahead a little bit. It depends on how complex the design really is.

I worked on … Elton John does these yearly party, white tie and tiara party that he does as a fundraiser. I got to design one of their fragrance for … In a partnership with Jo Malone. Jo Malone at the time, going back maybe 15, 16 years ago, did the fragrance for him. That one with the idea that the manufacturing process, the set-up box that went with it ’cause it was a custom set-up box. Everything was probably done in five, six months.

Jodi Katz

But, that would be the fastest?

Laszlo Moharita

That would probably be the fastest, yeah. It depends what you’re working with and how complex designs are. There’s a time … Part of what marketers and designers don’t understand is it’s not like you design a bottle and I call up a supplier and the next day, the bottle is here. There’s a process that goes to develop all of that. They probably need … The tools are gonna make that. The tools in itself, just building them, are gonna take 20, 25 weeks at times. Again, depends on how complex it is.

That’s where that engineering, working flawlessly with a designer, the marketer comes into play.

Jodi Katz

I feel like we should do a manufacturing boot camp for marketers and publicists and everyone else to get involved in the process.

Laszlo Moharita

I try to do that every time. Every chance I get on a project.

Jodi Katz

A bus tour of manufacturing facilities and what it takes and lead times. I don’t know, I feel like I say it again and again. I feel like that’s why we make these videos now. I don’t listen us, just watch the video because we keep repeating ourselves. I just have a lot of respect for the process and all of the people and minds and tools that go into it. Maybe that’s because I’ve been on press when I was very young in my career. I don’t know, I went to all these behind-the-scenes things. I think more people need to see what happens.

Laszlo Moharita

Sometimes people don’t wanna listen to it, but I think … And I work with designers that take an interest, learn the process. Sometimes some people might see it as they’re not being creative because they understand the constraints. I really feel that a good designer is that one, who can design around the constraints and still make something beautiful.

Jodi Katz

If we didn’t have constraints on what we can create, then I’m just a fine artist and I get to be in my own studio doing whatever I want, but I think that it’s the constraints of the timeline, the budget, the client needs, the whatever that make us be the most creative. I think that’s our job, to make the best out of those constraints.

You had a great time at Lauder. How did you land at J&J?

Laszlo Moharita

I wasn’t looking, to be honest with you. I was fine and I had a good track record at Lauder. I thought I was gonna be at Lauder for all my life. I still love Estee Lauder. One day, J&J called. I was already a manager at Lauder doing Estee Lauder travel retail. They called me up. It probably took about a year before I actually decided to move. I wasn’t sure. They came with a couple of different offers that I didn’t quite enjoy. In my mind, I’m like, “Listen, let me see what else is out there”.

I love Lauder. I know if the option allows, I’ll come back. I love beauty, I love cosmetics, but if I’m gonna go and look at something different, let me at least go to a company like Johnson & Johnson. Well-known and very good reputation. Let me try that. That’s why I left.

Before I decided to spend my whole life in beauty, let me see what else is out there. That’s why I switched to J&J. Took about a year. They came with different offers, different positions and I’m like, “No, no, no”. I think it was more because of my love for Lauder than the position itself. But, then I finally said, “You know what? It’s maybe a good time”. I made that move.

Jodi Katz

What was the job that you took at J&J?

Laszlo Moharita

At J&J I started doing … Again, it was more on the backend. Trying my luck here. I’m like, “Let me see how much I really love beauty and new product development”. I landed … It was a role that they called cost improvement projects.

Jodi Katz

Cost improvement.

Laszlo Moharita

Cost improvement. It’s like a value analysis. You go in there and look at everything that’s on the market already and how can you make it more cost efficient.

Jodi Katz

I look at the bottle, I look at the pump, I look at the actuator, the cap.

Laszlo Moharita

You look at the process itself of making it.

Jodi Katz

Right, the process. The carton, the shrink wrap.

Laszlo Moharita

Everything.

Jodi Katz

The everything?

Laszlo Moharita

Right. Do you really need the shrink wrap? Can we take it off? Do you really need that double-sided print? What if we don’t print on the inside? One less pass through the press, so you might save some money there.

Jodi Katz

Are you looking at things like glue? Glue type, glue brand?

Laszlo Moharita

Everything. Anything that can save any amount of money. I think that was my first realization of the difference is your dealing now with consumer product brands that sell in Wal-Mart and Target. Maybe not as … Consumer that’s more conscious than if you’re buying a $45 lipstick, for example. Or you’re expecting certain quality.

Jodi Katz

When you’re … I think this is actually really fascinating, this idea of the cost analysis ’cause when we’re talking about a company as giant as J&J, you’re looking at how do you split up a penny. You’re looking to carve as much savings as possible.

Laszlo Moharita

There’s three ways. It’s formula, package, conversion. That’s what we call it. Conversion being the manufacturing cost of making it. You dissect all of those. When you look at the formula … I wasn’t so much on the formula, but I was definitely part of looking at the packaging and the conversion cost. What are the parts that contribute the most to that cost going in? Those are the parts that we try to dissect and see what else can we do to save the money.

Jodi Katz

But, if there’s a chance to save half a penny per product, you’d do it.

Laszlo Moharita

Of course. It’s a million to a million, three million pieces that you’re running. A penny makes a lot of difference.

Jodi Katz

This must’ve been pretty startling.

Laszlo Moharita

It was startling, to be honest with you. It taught me a lot. It showed me a different way of being creative. But, I still … I learned that I loved being on the creative side. I’m closer to the creative side. Closer to new product, new package development. I didn’t wanna try to fix other people’s mistakes later.

Jodi Katz

In that job, did you find real opportunities to save costs?

Laszlo Moharita

Yes. At the time, I was working … Part of the brands that I handled was the oral care brand. If you’re not familiar with Reach Dental floss, which you don’t see as much out there anymore. It’s still out there, but you don’t see as much. I worked on a project to revamp the whole manufacturing process. The manufacturing process was very manual. It was a … For the secondary packaging especially to put the container in a blister with a backer cord and the whole thing. We went with essentially converted the whole equipment to something that was much more automated. In the process, I think, if I remember correctly, we saved about a million in half dollars just by doing that.

Jodi Katz

Is this process for … I’ve never worked at a giant company like that, so is it like, “We’ll get it to market and then, we’ll evaluate it and we’ll make adjustments?”

Laszlo Moharita

Yes. Getting it to market with a good cost breakout is important. You wanna be first. But then, the work that happens afterwards is just as important to let’s get as much profit as we can. Without affecting the way that we present that to the consumer. That’s the one piece you wanna keep always in the back of your mind is, don’t do not affect the consumer experience.

Jodi Katz

Let’s talk about that ’cause that’s … You called yourself a juggler when we first talked. That you have that design ball floating in the air and then, you have that cost effectiveness ball. Then, you have like, “Does it really work?”, is it functioning the way it needs to … Is there always a struggle between design and form and function and profitability? Or does it sometimes just all work out just fine?

Laszlo Moharita

I think there’s always a struggle. I think when it’s a right struggle, it’s very important that it’s there. That that tension is there ’cause I think that’s what makes everybody creative when it’s necessary. When there is a good vision, where there is a good strategy. I think the struggle is definitely necessary. I think package engineers, or package developers or however you wanna call them, have a tough role in finding that perfect balance because they’re like, and everybody could say I’m the center of the wheel. But, they are essentially the center of the wheel because they have to bring in the design, the marketing perspective, the finance piece of it, the design for manufacturing piece of it, the supply chain costs, the quality.

All of these things that sometimes don’t see eye-to-eye have to be in perfect balance for you to bring something to the market. Sometimes what the designer wants may not be what the finance person wants to have. What a manufacturing side may wanna run in their lines may not be what a designer wants to see either. Again, you gotta bring balance to all of these things. I think a packaging engineer has the key to unlocking all of these things.

Jodi Katz

What would be your advice to a designer in this space? Because I could imagine … I mean, I’ve sat next to people like this who they just get so frustrated that they’re initial vision isn’t being realized. They throw their hands in the air and they pout and they walk away. That might’ve been okay 15 years ago, but I just feel like that probably doesn’t work anymore. That person’s gonna get canned if they just can’t cope with the realities of trying to run the business. What advice would you give designer who has a strong vision and feels that all these other forces are creeping in on deluding that vision?

Laszlo Moharita

You gotta find a good packaging engineer and stick to that person. I think finding a packaging engineer that has that understands that design aspect, that has been in manufacturing, that understand those constraints. If you can find that person, and any designer, any brand, I think it’s like a secret weapon in a way. You not only found, but listen to that person as well.

Jodi Katz

Really partner up and collaborate.

Laszlo Moharita

Yes, absolutely.

Jodi Katz

When you said that it makes me think of, I am not a performer, but if I was a singer, I need a great producer. I could sing and sing and sing, but if there’s not a great producer working on the other side of the wall, it’s not gonna be awesome.

Laszlo Moharita

That’s exactly what it is.

Jodi Katz

Do you feel like you’re paired up that way? You have your collaborative partner or are you sort of like a one man show at this point with all your education and toolboxes? ‘Cause your part designer, part engineer now.

Laszlo Moharita

I know. I don’t wanna … I think I … I don’t know if there’s more people out there, I’m sure there are. I always looked at myself … I love pretty much doing everything. When I was growing up, I loved math just as much as I loved art. Just as much I loved sports. I always try to tailor my career unintentionally ’cause I’ve been making decisions along the way to fulfill those three aspects of what I like, what I love.

I went to industrial engineering pretty much because 1) I’m not afraid of saying this, my dad was an engineer and 2) I was born and grew up in Venezuela, South America. You were either a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer. A lawyer and a doctor-…

Jodi Katz

Those were the choices?

Laszlo Moharita

Yeah. Those were the choices. If you really wanted to live a good life. A lawyer and a doctor took too long, so I went for engineering. Then, industrial engineering, why? Because the industrial engineering saw a little bit of every single engineering. I couldn’t imagine myself to be an expert in just one thing. I wanted to understand a little bit of everything. In the four years of college, you look at electrical engineering, electronic engineering, you look at civil engineering, you look at mechanical engineering. You look a little bit of everything. Not too deep to be an expert, but enough to understand how things work in general. Sometimes we’re called generalists in a way. Again, it gives you that base to understand many other processes.

That’s what gave me the engineering background. As I was working at Lauder, I made that switch over to start working with designers. They started talking about fit, form, function. I’m like, “What are they talking about?” I’m a squared up engineer who likes to paint. I immediately recognized it was a gap I had at that point in time and I went back and I did a product design, industrial design out of NYU.

I was there three years and taught me what I needed, but it made that interaction between a designer and myself a lot easier. I understood their constraints, I understood mine. Good partnership, let’s move on. At some points, I would even make designer calls ’cause I’m like, “There’s no way they’re gonna like that. Just send that back”. I would tell [inaudible 00:28:25], “Just send that back. You gotta look at this way. Take out that knit line on the side of the bottle ’cause they’re not gonna approve it. They’re not gonna like”.

It helped the process a lot, in my career a lot more that way.

Jodi Katz

Let’s talk about education ’cause when you were at Lauder, you went back for your MBA?

Laszlo Moharita

Yes.

Jodi Katz

Then, you’re at J&J and you get another degree.

Laszlo Moharita

Yes, product design. That’s the product design degree that I …

Jodi Katz

Do you think it was necessary? Could you have learned this stuff on the job?

Laszlo Moharita

Yeah, I probably could’ve learned it by now. I’m 40 years-old, probably, but … If you wanna move fast, if you wanna grow in whatever thing you’re doing, you gotta understand what you do well. But, know enough of what’s around you to make you that much stronger in what you’re doing. At Lauder, again, I’m in front of business marketing people that are talking about this six P’s, all these things. I’m like, “What are they talking about?” Cost and finance, PR. I’m like, “Okay, but I’m just a packaging engineer”.

But, I always like, “I just don’t wanna just be a packaging engineer. I wanna understand what this whole thing is about”. How does my piece fit in the overarching scheme of things? That’s why I went back to do my MBA in marketing ’cause I wanted to have that background, understand it more. It just made me that much more stronger to have that basis conversation.

Jodi Katz

I love that you did that. I’m laughing to myself a little bit ’cause when I was a lot younger, I realized, “Oh, I wanna be a creative at an advertising agency. I wanna be a copywriter”. I had zero will to go back to school to do that. There was not an ounce in me that was gonna either spend the money or take the time to do it, but of course, it would’ve accelerated my path. If I just went … I don’t know, I probably could’ve gone for a year. Built a book, created a book and put it out there and gotten a job. But, I resisted it for whatever reasons and had to find a loopy way to getting that job many years later. I could’ve just followed your lead, but I didn’t know you then.

I had to slowly figure it out. But, I love that you just said, “If you wanted to do it and do it now. You’re just gonna go to school and learn it”.

Laszlo Moharita

I’ll try to figure out the easiest way to get that. Whether it was going to school or whether it’s changing the role to do something that pushes in a way that’s gonna teach you something and you can learn from it. It’s like, now that everything is about entrepreneurial and understanding how can brands move much faster? I’m going back to school as we speak to-…

Jodi Katz

You are?

Laszlo Moharita

Yeah. I’m doing an innovation entrepreneurship program out of Stanford online.

Jodi Katz

How interesting. What is the focus on that program?

Laszlo Moharita

It’s more around how brands are created. The finance aspect of it. How you can get teams to innovate across boundaries, across regions. I just learned about series A, B funding and all of these things in the most recent class. It teaches you the basics of what you need to do to be an entrepreneur. Or have what you need to understand entrepreneurial brands, entrepreneurial companies.

Jodi Katz

Do you think that you can bring those learnings into an organization as huge and regimented as J&J?

Laszlo Moharita

That’s definitely my hope. I think we’re in a task to doing that. I’m hoping … I’m an equal one in a packaging engineer role, but I think there is one that thinks that way and every other function, we can push that in that direction absolutely.

Jodi Katz

You have your job, you have the school of the moment, which is this one right now, right?

Laszlo Moharita

Yeah.

Jodi Katz

The other ones. But, you also have kids. You have a life beyond work. How do you structure your day as you’re doing all this?

Laszlo Moharita

I’m not sure. My wife helps quite a bit. My wife and I actually met in packaging. She’s also a packaging developer and she does work for a lot of entrepreneurial brands. Pretty much we juggle our time. We have three kids all going to school, eight, six and two. They’re really tough ages ’cause they all need you. Between both of us, we balance it out. The days that she’s out in New York, I get all the kids ready in the morning, take ’em to their schools, their daycare and off to work. Then, she leaves early to pick them up. I stay late at work and then, I come back, I make dinner, I set ’em up and we both work after they go to bed.

Jodi Katz

We figured out a system in my house ’cause my husband and I … It’s sort of similar. It just happens, knock on wood, I’ll find some wood, that the day I need to be somewhere early, is a day he doesn’t need to be somewhere early. We trade off on who does breakfast, who drives them to school or sometimes one of us is doing both. But, what’s helped us so much is having on our iPhone calendars, we have Yellow, which is a family calendar. Do you guys do this?

Laszlo Moharita

No. My wife does all the calendar. I gotta be honest, I’m not very good at it.

Jodi Katz

We both need to know when there’s a birthday party or whatever. We have our Yellow family calendar. David will add something to the calendar and it’ll automatically populates for me. I don’t ever have to guess, “Oh, he’s gonna leave early that day” or he doesn’t have to guess, “I’m gonna leave early that day”. It’s been really, really helpful. Instead of leaving notes in the kitchen or writing things on a manual calendar. Having the shared family calendar on our phones has been incredible.

Laszlo Moharita

We tried to get my wife to do that, but she’s a manual writer type of thing, so we’re all having these little-…

Jodi Katz

The problem with the manual writing book is only she has it and you don’t have it. This has really helped so much. We’re not stressed about, I have to remember to tell you something or I have to remember to add it. I recommend it and willing to give …

Laszlo Moharita

My wife should listen up.

Jodi Katz

Yes! I’m happy to put that on your phone. It’s been incredibly helpful for us.

The last thing I wanna talk about is leadership style. Obviously, you’re somebody … You invest in your knowledge or you’re investing in education. You’re making a huge effort personally to really get rid of the silos that are around you. Do you expect that from your team? What do you expect from them?

Laszlo Moharita

I expect that from the team as well. To not only understand their packaging portion, but also understand the constraints of the products people or the manufacturing people. I think everybody does a good job at it. Sometimes you find the barrier of the other person has to be receptive as well and it has to be willing to share. It’s really working with my team and the other team to bring them together and see, not all … Packaging is not the only thing, product is not the only thing. You gotta bring ’em together and that’s the way you get a product to market.

Obviously, in a big corporation like J&J, silos are always present, but we gotta be able to identify them and bring them together at the right time. No, I definitely … I’m not … I don’t like being a micromanager. I like to be close enough to call out, “Hey, maybe not that way, this way”. Far enough so people can learn as well.

Jodi Katz

Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us today. For our listeners, I hoped you enjoyed this interview with Laszlo. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes. For updates on 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.

 

 

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