Live From Guts to Glory with WPD
Rocky Singh Kandola is the Founder and CEO of Hair Maiden India, a world-leading company in high-quality hair & dedicated customer service. Hair Maiden India connects business owners to the products they need to help their customers maintain and create new hairstyles. Rocky has connected with hundreds of beauticians and hair care companies that wish to push the barrier of using and styling human hair.
Rocky is a successful businessman, entrepreneur, and felon. He’s had near-death experiences, lived his youth in and out of facilities, and has been the victim of an attempted murder. Despite the odds stacked against him, he’s persevered and shares his story of incarceration, opportunity, business, and growth in his upcoming book. He loves to travel and speaks 4 different languages.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
Rocky Singh Kandola shares how his business has grown during the pandemic
Rocky recalls how he got started in the hair industry
The divide between being a “smart kid” growing up and becoming an entrepreneur as an adult
What can parents do with a disagreeable child?
What should you know before sending your child to a reform school?
Greg recalls his visit to India and his experience tumbling through traffic
Rocky shares how he created a marketing strategy for Hair Maiden India and why it matters
Where to learn more about Rocky Singh Kandola
In this episode… The human hair extensions and supply industry has experienced an incredible amount of growth recently, with forecasts of the industry increasing by USD 2.42 billion during 2020-2024. Rocky Singh Kandola, the Founder of Hair Maiden India, is no stranger to transformation, going from near-death experience after the other to successful entrepreneur. How, exactly did Rocky turn things around? In this week’s episode of Watching Paint Dry, Greg Owens and Katrina Stevenson are joined by Rocky Singh Kandola, the Founder of Hair Maiden India. Rocky shares his life story, why Hair Maiden India is special, and a message of hope for troubled kids and their parents. Rocky discusses what it means to have an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age, how to market your business, and the importance of facing challenges with an opportunistic mindset—and how it made all the difference. Resources Mentioned in this episode
Greg Owens on LinkedIn
McCarthy Painting Contact No.: 415-383-2640
McCarthy Painting Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rocky Singh Kandola on LinkedIn
Hair Maiden India
The Ultimate Hair Business Guide
Hair Maden India on Instagram
Sponsor for this episode… This episode is brought to you by McCarthy Painting, where we serve commercial and residential clients all around the San Francisco Bay area. We’ve been in business since 1969 and served companies such as Google, Autodesk, Abercrombie & Fitch, FICO, First Bank, SPIN, and many more. If you have commercial facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area and need dependable painters, visit us on the web at www.mccarthypainting.com or email email@example.com, and you can check out our line of services and schedule a free estimate by clicking here.
Episode Transcript Intro 0:03 Welcome to the Watching Paint Dry podcast where we feature today’s top facility managers, property managers and property owners talking about the challenges and opportunities of managing hundreds of 1000s of square feet of real estate and how to beautify and improve their properties. Now, let’s get started with the show. Greg Owens 0:31 Hello, everyone. This is another episode of Watching Paint Dry. And this is a podcast around building owners, facilities managers and the people that support those organizations. And we’ve been playing with the idea of reaching out to other types of entrepreneurs out there that know business are inspirational and come to us with new ideas. And so this podcast is sponsored by my company McCarthy Painting. We’ve been in business since 1969. It was started by my uncle Fred McCarthy, and that was back in 1969. And things have changed a lot. I’ve been working in this company since I was 16 years old. And that’s now the over 30 years of in the painting business. We paint all kinds of projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. We do a tremendous amount of both residential and commercial business. Some of the commercial clients we’ve worked for have been Autodesk, Ace, Google, we’ve done looked at things for Facebook, we haven’t worked with them yet. We’ve just did some projects for Chase Bank that we were really excited about H&M stores, Abercrombie and Fitch stores, and many, many others. To find out more you can go to info@McCarthyPainting.com. And on this call with us today is Katrina Stevenson, who works for McCarthy Painting, and she’s been she jumps in at time to time and ask some questions. And I’m really excited to introduce Rocky Singh Kandola and his company his Hair Maiden India and it’s everything hair, and we’re gonna find out what more what that means. Welcome to the podcast. Rocky, Rocky Singh Kandola 2:04 last. Thank you for having me, brother. Glad to be here. Greg Owens 2:06 Yeah. And so you were talking earlier, you’re in your business. Your company is in the LA in the LA area there, right? Rocky Singh Kandola 2:12 Yes, yes, we’re right here on the west side and beautiful la right. And this is like the end of January. Greg Owens 2:17 And I know here in the San Francisco Bay Area. We’re still super locked down with COVID-19 no eating in restaurants. No eating outside the restaurant, we can’t even get can even get your hair cut. Mine’s getting super long. There’s, you know, it’s still challenging times. How is it for you, your family and your business down there in LA? Rocky Singh Kandola 2:36 Yeah, you know, I mean, unfortunately, as far as La isn’t quite the same, things are pretty closed. You can’t really eat in anywhere to places that are kind of going against the grain kind of staying open a little bit as much as they can but not much at all compared to the My parents on the east coast in the south, you know, in Alabama, Louisiana, Florida. They’re they’re having butter life as usual. There’s not much not too much change there. bars, clubs, restaurants, bowling, you know, everything is open, right? Greg Owens 2:59 I’m seeing the same thing my friend, everybody, everybody, but us seems to be doing cool stuff out there and getting someone’s back to normal now. I mean, I think their numbers are bad too. But they seem to be turning a blind eye to it or something. I don’t know. Don’t worry, my paygrade I just follow the rules. We do it we’re set we’re told to do right. Katrina Stevenson 3:17 Hey, Greg Owens 3:17 and I want to get into some of your what makes you unique and special and those kinds of things. But tell us about like so Hair Maiden its Hair Maiden India and you said you were saying before that you get involved in all things related to hair. Tell us more about that. Rocky Singh Kandola 3:31 Exactly. So the main thing we do is we do hair extensions, bundles closures. frontals wigs are basically different types of accessories and hair pieces of women or even men use to style their hair in different ways add volumes add texture to create a new style you know whatever they want to do for us and Hair Maiden India specifically we’re more focused on the b2b side so whether it’s a salon owner or a distributor or just you know a girl living on her own you know, raising some kids looking to cut hair and style hair on the side that needs good products and raw materials to better allow her to do that server appliance that’s kind of who we cater to mostly retail that we do here in our showroom in Beverly Hills, you know, a lot of walk in and a little bit of retail mainly focused on empowering others to be able to do business better Greg Owens 4:10 too. And so you’re in your you have a retail store there in Beverly Hills and is that open right now? Is that something a place people can go to and that kind of thing? Are you guys having to stay closed? And because of COVID Rocky Singh Kandola 4:22 Oh yeah, you know, actually I’ve actually moved locations during COVID and I’ve been blessed to be allowed to stay open the whole time I just use a by appointment model only I’m in a lot of the girls were come to me they were working with lawns and different things a lot of that’s close now. So a lot of them you know, they can’t just never work and go home and girls still want their hair done you know, for whatever reasons whether it’s you know, just to feel better or to you know, because they’re actually working from home on a zoom call or something um, however a lot of those girls are not working from home and they have to come to me so I just I went by appointment only and you know, proud to say that, you know, even through it has happened. We’ve actually seen a great increase in sales and during COVID Greg Owens 4:54 so Wow, that’s great. You pivoted to appointments only and just let people give you a call set up an appointment. online and come in and get hair extensions. Rocky Singh Kandola 5:03 It was a big move, because I was working, I was running the showroom downtown myself for close to four years, open seven days a week from 8am to 10pm. And I was living behind and working in the front. So I was like, go go go all the time and you know, built the business. But I knew that that model wasn’t sustainable, long term. You know, I needed to find a model that work better, you know, for a long term kind of game plan. Greg Owens 5:22 But right, Katrina here has a question. Katrina Stevenson 5:24 Do I just want to interject? That sounds so amazing. As someone who loves hair who has here, do you actually install it install or the hair oil too. Rocky Singh Kandola 5:33 So previously, when we’re downtown, we actually had a salon chair in this lawn there and we’re doing some installs over time. It just kind of got to the point where to do a salon and to sell here two businesses became two different businesses. And I didn’t particularly like a guy right, I’m around to hear nobody Listen, I still don’t like like the beauty side that sit down and like talk to a retail client tell him pretty they are and then you do their eyes and hair and I don’t believe better view of it for me is more about logistics systems, you know, operations, accounting, making sure things running smoothly. Business owners have what they needed to do to operate, obviously moved to Beverly Hills, he kind of made the choice that you know, they’ll work with many, many great stylists around the area to do good installs and kind of referring our clients or to them, however, not even that done in store anymore. Greg Owens 6:14 Right. And I’m assuming you also have probably been online store and that kind of thing, too. Yeah, Rocky Singh Kandola 6:19 exactly. Exactly. We’ve been online since day one. But it’s taken me about five years to get online credibility and traffic where it is now. And we’re finally you know, doing enough sales online to actually actually more than we’re doing in store right now online. So very good. Greg Owens 6:33 It’s really it’s really fascinating. I need to now I need to know the origin story, right? Because I see you there. I see what you look like and you’re a good looking guy and you got a full head of hair and unlike me, which which I’m balding right, maybe we can talk after about fixing that the Yeah, so like, like our How did you get into this line of work in this kind of business? Because it is kind of different, right? Rocky Singh Kandola 6:56 Definitely. Definitely. And my friends would be the first to tell you like what is he like? What like he’s like laughing What’s going on? They’ve seen me from everything from a young age of all they’re very entrepreneurial. Um, I started I was a kid that would like to make a lemonade stand, I would cut grass my dad bought me a go kart and I would learn how to make the go kart into a buggy to carry all my yard equipment and get more yards I’ll sell baseball cards. And as I got older, that kind of turned into you know, selling Jordans and hats and perfumes and colognes and then illicit substances every every drug out there that you could possibly name or mention. Definitely. Greg Owens 7:26 What At what age was that making that transition from their bullets. Let’s Blitz You know, they’re both alter your chemical state are Rocky Singh Kandola 7:38 about 15 or 16. When my when I moved from Mississippi to private schools in Alabama, I made the realization that there is this green leafy substance that my friends in Mississippi could sell me for $5 and my friends in Alabama would pay $50 for it. So I started noticing that connection and I was going back and forth because we had a house in both locations for a while and that’s when I kind of started realizing I wasn’t even smoking at that point I started realizing what could be done with you know, different products are out there. And that kind of just developed until eventually when I got into college, you know, bills, cocaine, everything until I finally got arrested for distribution of narcotics in Alabama and spent two years in prison among you know, a year in jail and rehab and this and that and Alabama State Prison is actually where Hair Maiden India was born. With a snuck in cell phone we would call my bunkmates sister his cousin’s found out about stuff on the market I says what’s good, what’s bad, what kind of qualities we need and here was the only business we were interested in real estate and you know, clubs and restaurants and bars and talent agencies were writing business plans down because we had nothing with time right we’re sitting in prison No, we didn’t want to do you know war stories and do like heavy drugs or whatever everyone else is doing. So we try to kind of like you know, brainstorm business ideas together. Greg Owens 8:44 And here was one of them two years in a in a state penitentiary, then yeah, not Rocky Singh Kandola 8:49 jail, not like not little kitty jail, like actual prison, Greg Owens 8:52 actually an actual prison and Brittany is in Alabama or Mississippi that Alabama, Alabama, that’s gonna be a tough like a really tough prison. I mean, it’s gotten man, I Rocky Singh Kandola 9:02 mean, my childhood. I mean, since the age of 18, I was locked up in different facilities across the world everywhere from being kidnapped and sent to you know, boot camps in Mexico. Crazy, you know, they’re getting under fire right now by Paris Hilton’s documentary, she’s bringing a lot of light to the program that was sent to, you know, going to prison as an adult, I don’t wanna say I was prepared for it, but it was definitely basically a cakewalk compared to the, you know, places I went to a juvenile and I say that with also knowing and saying, at the same time, Alabama state prison cell, they are horrible, they’re dirty, they’re nasty. They’re gross. No one cares, what you go through those doors by like, nobody cares about you. No one can do anything for you. You know, you don’t get that good. It’s just horrible. You know, the conditions for that. And what’s wild is more than 80% of people are nonviolent offenders for small property crimes are mainly you know, small draw them out. So you know, but um, yeah, it’s definitely definitely show me a lot. I learned a lot from it. I definitely Greg Owens 9:53 had my entrepreneurial roots young also and also in different substances that at the time were illegal for sure. Right. And I think there’s a lot of a lot of us that got really lucky and didn’t get go down that path. Right and didn’t, didn’t get caught in that process. Right. I know, for me, I had been arrested a couple of times. But these are like juvenile delinquent kind of things, nothing really where they anything stuck, right? They kind of detain me and release me. But and it’s interesting that you bring that up, because it’s almost like if you’re a smart kid, and school is not like the traditional path of like having a day job working eight hours a day, and that kind of thing is not for you. And you start looking around entrepreneurially of like, How you going to make it your brain just goes like, into overdrive and a lot of ways and finds ways to like earn a living, right? Even if it means breaking the law in some way. Because you’re like you said, you saw a divide between these two, this product and you’re like, wow, I’m in both houses, I can just see you immediately started seeing that. And it was like, That was way easier than getting a job at Starbucks. And there’s nothing wrong with working at Starbucks, but I couldn’t work with coffee all day long, right? It would, I would, I would want to eat coffee at the end of the day, and I love coffee. And then too, it’s just really hard for me to do that all day long. In that same particular spot. Rocky Singh Kandola 11:11 I think that’s kind of like is common between many entrepreneurs. I know for me, I had a girl working have a girl working for me, I was a friend of mine who I had breakdown from the nine to five job thing and you know, kind of get into this lifestyle and like she’s had a lot of like, you know, problems along the way. And I’ve kind of be able to coach her and help her through it. Um, but I see very clearly how like the mindset, you know, which either side is right, there’s no right or wrong spirit decision, right. But the nine to five mindset is so much different than entrepreneur mindset. And a lot of times people that have nine to five is like just not 1000 don’t watch for life. Like it’s like we’re not really working and doing things like my father, it took me so long to tell him like, Hey, I work, I do things, you know, but the end of the day, like if you love to love what you’re doing, you’re having fun with it. Like for me, I had to check myself because I’ll work work work and I’m like, I haven’t done any work. Really I haven’t been working, then I really have and I have to balance myself out and kind of like okay, Rocky shut your mind down in the work and go go do something random placement tennis, though about your girl, you know, just something random. So Greg Owens 12:02 yeah, it’s interesting, because I I also I painted for 10 years and painting, you know, going to work every day and painting but I was a partner in within the company with my uncle. And so there was that entrepreneurial side of it. And I can look at what I do right now. Um, I have had similar conversations when my dad was alive, because he would look at what I did day to day, what I do now. And he’s like, you don’t really work, right. Which is, you know, it’s interesting, because it’s like, you know, it doesn’t matter seven days a week, my brain is always thinking about about work, right? And you know whether or not you’re actually and for me, too, it’s like compared to actually painting every day. A lot of what I do right now doesn’t always feel like work because that was hard labor, right? And that’s, you know, moving ladders around and getting getting a project done in that way. Or you’re doing construction and that kind of thing. And now sometimes, like you said, like, you know, you’re making a bunch of phone calls, you’re having lunches with people, and you’re meeting with people and you’re making strategy and you’re doing business ideas, and you’re enjoying the process. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like work. Yeah. And so that is such an inspiring story. And what age were you like these kinds of problems happening? I want to get some timeframes around this Rocky Singh Kandola 13:14 age of the wedding, I started getting sent around to different schools around the world. So from 11 to 17. I was, you know, between Mexico, Canada, India, all over the US and military school, boarding school, etc, etc. Is that because you guys were moving a lot now my family all stayed in Mississippi, Alabama, always I was just tough to deal with kid. I was I was a handful, you know, I was there after my parents. My dad was working. He’s a physician down south. So it was quite busy. My mom had, you know, had a brother and sister. They’re twins. She just had her dance school. And I was the one that was you know, outspoken, I didn’t pay attention in school because I had straight A’s I didn’t, I’m not saying I was all smarter than everybody. But I didn’t really need to study to get straight A’s not like to get the classes I was kind of like, had to do something all the time I was running around town hopping on my bicycle going away. So you know, they just started sending me and that talk that quite a bit. I was getting a lot of trouble at home. So they had to just keep sending me around and around and they didn’t a lot of the schools I went to like, you know, child abuse, trauma, rape, you know, kids kill themselves suicide, but none of that was like my parents knew what they were sending me. They’re just looking for options out there. And that’s why I’ve been so outspoken against, you know, schools like the world wide association, especially programs, the Provo canyon in Utah got a voice facility and many other ones that you know, like I said, Paris Hilton earlier also sheds light on now, because there’s still hope they’re still doing this, you know, to this day, so they want to see him eventually, you know, get shut down basically. Right, right. Greg Owens 14:28 And what do you and what do you think a better option, given your knowledge and how you’ve worked on this or dealing with disagreeable kid, right? Because I’m assuming you were like, that’s like a general statement around the child. That’s but you know, I was somewhat like that my I’m watching a nephew of mine being somewhat like that, right? He’s very disagreeable, right? Like, he just doesn’t, he goes, goes and gets on a zoom call with his class and he just interrupts the whole class, right? And he keeps getting in trouble that way, which that’s a whole nother problem is I would never be able to sit in front of these things in a classroom situation. At All right, can you imagine like all the other things you’d be doing at the same time? Rocky Singh Kandola 15:06 It’s hard to even focus and focus in Greg Owens 15:11 on ideas of what parents out there that they have a disagreeable kid that’s like, you know, between the ages of six and 1616, you can kick them out, right? Rocky Singh Kandola 15:20 Definitely. So we talked about this quite frequently in like our private groups, the other survivors of these schools to help parents. So first of all, like, you know, there’s only a smaller percentage of parents who had to like, you know, decide, hey, you know, whatever problem we have, we can’t do it. Again, when you send them away, you know, readily, sometimes the parents make that decision not to say it’s a bad decision from Jump Street, there might be a good place to send them. However, the most important thing with anything is doing your research on them. A lot of parents just kind of pick a school, the school has a say, and then send their kids there. Now we have internet, right. So all of us kids that have gotten together, we’ve actually compiled many, many reports on all these schools, like looks and look around on Facebook lon found these groups, you’ll go to see reviews of the schools and ones that are like kind of red flag lists on being careful to send your kids to so you know, sending a kid away to a school that would help and they might like, it’s not a bad thing. But these facilities where we’re speaking about are manipulating or lying or abusing are traumatizing, and are harming children on a daily basis at a very young age. And that has got to stop because that causes so many problems. And it’s not individual, we have to think of the size of the communities we live in, because that affects everybody in them. So my best piece of advice is obviously first listen talk and you know, understand, I can say this almost like without knowing because I don’t have a child. But I would assume that you are going to have issues when it comes to children. And you have to just know that going in. And do you ever get to a point when you’re looking to possibly get help from the outside? As far as sending them away? The biggest and first step is definitely definitely definitely research, talk to people, obviously, for my situation, my stance is always going to be don’t send them away. However, I’m very grateful that I got sent to India when I learned so much in the travels young kid, I’m very grateful for a couple of schools I went to there were not the boot camps, like the military schools and the boarding schools. But I got to meet so many people and have friends all over the world even now and learning how to march in the military, how to speak four languages. I know different cultures all across the world. And that was thanks to you know, being able to see the different schools and different you know, community. Right, right. Yeah, yeah, Greg Owens 17:08 that’s interesting, because it is a different world today where parents could do some research on the internet and do some Google searches and get a lot more information than when your parents exactly back then I think my dad had a newspaper and it said like, do you want to win your child back team in trouble so right in the back of the newspaper or back of like, you know, popular site, Katrina Stevenson 17:30 white pages or something, Greg Owens 17:32 you have a child that that doesn’t get along with you or you’re struggling to get along with your child. To us we make them pristine. Rocky Singh Kandola 17:40 And it’s just, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I actually ended up graduating from high school at 17 from another program where I was actually kidnapped from my bed at one o’clock in the morning and escorted by two six foot tall guys to a school where the fiscal I went to the second time was actually the one I went to as a kid but I got taken the one in Mexico where I basically face a lot of like physical and sexual abuse and the same person that actually kicked me down a hallway and tied me up facing the ground my hands my feet you know, behind my back was actually the facilitator of the new song so it was crazy crazy experience but when I graduated from there 17 I was the hardest pen kid like you couldn’t tell me anything. I was going to be a grown adult man and that’s when I dove into the drugs the partying the woman everything you know from 18 to 2122 I had caught my you know, big boy prison charge and you know, the next seven years My life was basically jails and prisons in and out in and out in and out until finally you know, paired everything up and kind of changed my life about six or seven years ago and started this business and everything. Greg Owens 18:34 Yeah, what was the Katrina Stevenson 18:35 crazy yeah, Greg Owens 18:36 you have a question? Katrina, Pages: Page 1, Page 2