Name: Joshua Esnard
Profession: CEO & Inventor of The Cut Buddy
One Word That Describes You: Scrappy
What does being one of the BE Modern Man 100 Honorees mean to you?
It’s an honor but I don’t really see the recognition as being just for my work or accomplishments. I’d like to think of this as motivational. I want the younger generation to see me and say, “He did something great, I can do something even better.” I want to see more inventors and innovators who question the issues of the world around them and dare to solve them.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
Supporting black achievement, male or female, is a huge priority of mine and it is a point of emphasis in all aspects of my work. My invention, The Cut Buddy, was built as a tool to help people achieve their own “best selves” every day. For those who are short on cash, they can now look professionally groomed by themselves from home so that they can walk into that job interview looking great and feeling great. Unfortunately, we all know that the first things an interviewer notices are: color, hair, and dress. If my product can help increase a person’s odds of landing a job or just to feel better and more confident about themselves and the way that they look, then we have accomplished our mission. My company has also begun collaboration with Cross World Africa. This charity is building the first barber school in an area of Africa. If we can equip people with technical skills, we enable them to improve their lives and those around them. This also applies to our new program for at-risk youth and current inmates. Emotional decisions are made when you are short on cash. If you can use The Cut Buddy to give haircuts to people in your community, you can make some side income to lower the chance of making a bad emotional decision. We have a very bad recidivism problem amongst our brothers and money is usually a big root. Giving back to those who are less fortunate is very important to me. I also mentor a handful of inventors in the United States and in St. Lucia by offering them full services and all my strategies for free. I just want to see them do better than I do; I love celebrating the success of others.
Photo Credit: ABC’s Shark Tank
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
My product is the answer to this question. The Cut Buddy was created out of struggle. I had no barber within 30 miles of my house, no car in snowy upstate New York; well I couldn’t drive because I was 13 anyways. I just knew I was not going to let my father cut my hair anymore. So out of necessity, I created my tool. The struggle did not stop there, though. Many friends, family members, and pitch competitions often shot down my idea. I had to bootstrap with the last few pennies I had on my credit card just to fund the idea. I’m very grateful that I stuck up for what I believed in the face of struggle. My product went viral in the first three months, became a No. 1 Best Seller on Amazon, and I got multiple offers on Shark Tank. The ability to believe in yourself when up against obstacles is critical in the world of business and in life in general.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
I find people’s unmet needs and look to create and innovate to fulfill them. Every day I try to dig deep into the everyday problems that middle- and lower-income families face and I try to create a solution through simple products.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Grit. If you lack the technical or soft skills, I want to know that you are ready and willing to learn and to fight until you accomplish your goals. I honestly prefer team members who are numb to hearing “No” all the time. Those are the types of people who fight the hardest.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
My company, The Cut Buddy, just landed a deal with Andis Clipper Co. and we are looking to scale heavily into licensing. I’m very excited about that. I also have a few patents in the works and one technology project. I own the patent to multiple nipple baby bottles that will be a game changer. I will look to license that one pretty quickly as my primary role is to run The Cut Buddy.
What is the best advice you ever received?
“Improve by one percent every day.” If you use compound interest, you improve by over one thousand percent in a given year. Basically, incrementally try to learn new things. Don’t try to do too much change in one day, you will burn out.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
When you have a gem, share it with others. Stop squeezing poor and new entrepreneurs for your knowledge. If you are in a good place financially, spread the knowledge.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I mostly just listen to Dipset beats and keep myself occupied. If you try to cram or overly prepare, you will sound fake and not confident or genuine. You are at an event or meeting because of a value that you already know by heart. Believe in yourself. Stay occupied and it will prevent you from getting nervous.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
This is actually a tough question for me since it’s been so hard for me to take vacations while running this startup. I think it will be easier to unwind now that I have my son Phoenix. I will be heading to St. Lucia for the first time in many years soon. I think I will leave my phone behind.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Right here on my truffle farm in North Carolina, off the grid. I did this because I need to get back in touch with the elements. I do not feel like a man unless I can survive without luxuries. You haven’t experienced life until you are looking at the Pitons in St. Lucia or standing on top of Machu Picchu in Peru.
Anything else you’d like to say?
If you have a problem, write it down. This simple step could lead you to be the next big inventor. I want everyone to buy a composition notebook so they can remember to do that. I also want to thank Alfred Edmond Jr. for being a wonderful human.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.
Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the 2nd Annual Black Men XCEL, Aug. 29 – Sept. 2, 2018, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.