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Accidental Entrepreneur

Podcast with "accidental entrepreneur" and founder of Headblade, Todd Greene

 
Todd Greene, founder and president of Headblade Todd Greene

"I rented this booth on Venice Beach... I had 500 Headblades, my ex-wife was there, we had a couple of friends, the girls in bikini's on their roller blades, so I thought 'okay, I'm going to sell my 500 Headblades here, this is where I'm going to do my worldwide introduction of Headblade'... At the end of the day, I looked at my ex-wife and said 'I don't know why I'm doing this... we sold 8 Headblades,' and she said, 'you have to look at the bright side of the story, you sold 5, more than everyone else combined.' And I looked at her and said, 'what am I going to do with that? I'm employee of the month?" Todd Greene.

Welcome to an Innovation Channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio with Peter Clayton reporting. Todd Greene is the inventor and founder of HeadBlade, based in Los Angeles, CA. Before starting his head care company, Todd worked for a variety of blue-chip companies, including the elite idea breeding ground of Disney Imagineering. His work history has included positions in fundraising new business development, web content production, product design and conceptualization. The HeadBlade razor is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; and now, the razor is available just about anywhere shaving products are sold.

Questions for Todd

  • Your background includes a stint at Disney Imagineering - why did you decide to leave corporate life and start your own business?
  • The "bald look" was not as popular 10 years ago as it is today. (Think about Andre Aggasi) How were you able to get funding?
  • What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your company?
  • How long did it take you to get to positive cash flow?
  • If you were to start Headblade today, what would you do differently, if anything?
  • Which brings us to this... Todd, there's been a lot of conversation regarding the need for small business loans to help get our economy - and jobs - back on track.. If you were going to start your company today - what do you think would be easier - and what would be harder?
  • Your razor looks like a roller skate with a razor attached. The HeadBlade in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City - how did you come about the design?
  • How has your product evolved?
  • Let's talk about marketing -- anyone who's ever been involved in packaged goods knows the battle for shelf space in retail. How have you been able to get your product in stores?
  • Do you use social networking sites -- Facebook, Twitter - to help build your brand and market your product?
  • How has your web site evolved, and how important is it today in your marketing?
  • Do you advertise in mainstream media?
  • You've travelled extensively all over the world. What was the motivation and has it changed your approach to leading a company?
  • What advice would you give someone dreaming about launching a new product and starting their own business?

Todd Greene Biography

Headbade Razor
Headblade Razor

Todd Greene describes himself as an "accidental entrepreneur" who places a strong emphasis on the experiential side of life. To that end, he has traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, a long way from his roots in the small town of Augusta, Maine where he was born and raised. For him, the pursuit of ideas and experience takes a higher precedence than a return on investment of life's best moments. But it has also given him a well-developed sense of the absurd and a sometimes acerbic temperament for people he would describe as those who "don't even try." In addition to being well-traveled, Todd makes it a point to follow and occasionally participate in a variety of action sports. In fact, these interests have permitted Todd to "discover" sports like mixed martial arts long before they've enjoyed mainstream acceptance. In fact his company was one of the very first sponsors of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, now a nearly billion dollar enterprise.

As a well-rounded business owner, Todd is interested in management wisdom in books such as The Alchemist and The Art of War. He follows the arts and music scenes in Southern California closely always looking for ideas and inspiration. He has been a featured lecturer at USC Pepperdine and the Pasadena Art Center of Design.

For a designer this explains his strong attraction to form but also to function. Todd really believes in better living through design.

And that would explain his most famous invention. The gestation period for the ergonomic head razor, from idea to prototype to production, was two years of constant testing and development. Todd brought his invention to the market and christened it "The HeadBlade" in 1999. The company just celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

The HeadBlade razor is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; it is a Time magazine "Best Invention of the Year" and now, the razor is available just about anywhere shaving products are sold. Multiple HeadBlade line extensions of men's grooming products are introduced each year so the design and R&D process never stops. Taken together, HeadBlade is the total headcare company with yearly revenues totaling nearly $10 million.

With the brand, Todd doesn't simply sell a "hairstyle", he sells a lifestyle to the men who shave their heads and the people who love them. One look at his website www.headblade.com and you'll see what he means. HeadBladers like Todd are proud and confident guys; they're neither passive about life nor the decisions that affect it. This could actually be a mantra of sorts for his life and business.

Todd now resides in Santa Monica and commutes to work to HeadBlade's headquarters in Los Angeles in a signature HeadBlade yellow and black Lotus. In his spare time, Todd travels to HeadBlade sponsored sporting event around the US and occasional visits to wine country. He blogs for Huffington Post. He holds a BA from Bowdoin College.

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.

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Interview Channels,
Innovation: Interviews with Visionaries