Local DC entrepreneur, Dal LaMagna, launches his book that chronicles his ups and downs in the industry where lessons learned lead to great success in founding Tweezerman.
By Sheila Mulhern
Washingtonians gathered at Comet Ping Pong to celebrate the launch of Dal LaMagna’s new book, Raising Eyebrows: A Failed Entrepreneur Finally Gets It Right (John Wiley & Sons). His story shares the risks, roadblocks and learning experiences he gained with each failure that lead to the success of his small business, Tweezerman. Below we ask him about some of the important lessons he learned.
WL: How did you come up with the concept for Tweezerman and how it could stand out as a leading brand in an already competitive industry?
Dal LaMagna: One day back in 1978 my butt was covered with splinters. (Read the book to find out how I got them). Looking between my legs into a mirror while holding a tweezers in one hand and a needle in the other I failed to be able to remove even one. Imagine trying to coordinate a two handed action through a mirror. I then thought if this tweezers were a needle I’d have no problem. That was the inspiration for the first product of Tweezerman, the Splinter Remover.
WL: At what point would you indicate that Tweezerman had conquered and secured itself as a successful brand and company?
DLM: It took almost 10 years before Tweezerman could officially be considered a leading brand and a viable company. The driver was the second product I developed which was an extremely precise stainless steel eyebrow tweezer we called La Pluck back then.
WL: What advice do you have for other business entrepreneurs, especially during a down economy?
DLM: American’s are pissed off with the people who are running the large corporations for themselves and their friends self-interest. We want to do business with our neighbors, if given a choice. We want to buy local. If you are not an organized person nor care to be, don’t start a business – you must be organized. Do something with the money you have or can easily get. Stay focused. Don’t try to become a millionaire overnight. Take care of you employees, customers, shareholders, vendors and your community and they will take care of you.
WL: What appeals to you about being in the DC area now as an entrepreneur?
DLM: DC is the most vibrant, social playground I’ve ever lived in. For me is it always about the people whom I get to spend time with. The members of our Congress might not be able to work and play together but the residents of this city – whatever their political ilk, are open, friendly and fun to be with.
WL: What is the biggest message you want to get across to readers for the book?
DLM: I wrote my book to inspire people to not be afraid to start their own businesses. The book is mostly a chronology of all the failures I suffered and the mistakes I made before finally getting it right with Tweezerman. If I could succeed anyone could is my message. So my advice is to just go do it.
WL: What projects are you working on now?
DLM: In general I am working as a small business, responsible capitalist and activist. The book is my platform for this work. Plus I am a major funder and Trustee for Bainbridge Graduate Institute which awards MBA’s in sustainable business. Finally I just became a co-managing partner in IceStone a company that makes counter tops in Brooklyn New York out of recycled glass and cement. I am also an active partner in Bennett & Company which produces lingerie for Victoria’s Secret, Fredericks of Hollywood and others.
To purchase LaMagna’s Raising Eyebrows: A Failed Entrepreneur Finally Gets it Right click here.