Guest Paul Gainer is the CEO of OrangeTwist, and has experience leading start-up companies and overseeing multi-billion dollar businesses. Paul joins us for the final episode of Season 8 to share his journey to OrangeTwist, his emphasis on the reality of client and employee experience, and leading with optimism.
Listen to our episode with the founder of OrangeTwist, Clint Carnell at https://byrdadatto.com/podcast/legal-123s-with-byrdadatto-the-mindset-of-a-ceo-with-clint-carnell/.
Visit https://orangetwist.com/ to learn more about OrangeTwist.
Listen to the full episode using the player below, or by visiting one of the links below. Below is the episode’s transcript which has been edited for readability. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intro: [00:00:00] Welcome to Legal 123’s with ByrdAdatto. Legal issues simplified through real client stories and real world experiences. Creating simplicity in 3, 2, 1.
Brad: Welcome back to another episode of Legal 123’s with ByrdAdatto. I’m your host Brad Adatto with my cohost Michael Byrd.
Michael: Thanks Brad. As a business and healthcare law firm, we represent clients in multiple sectors and multiple specialties, especially healthcare. This season, we are searching for common ground for our diverse audience, and we are bringing in lots of guests to help us. This season’s theme is The Universal Language – Business.
Brad: Michael, I feel like there’s something, you have a smile on your face and something’s going on. I can’t figure out what’s going on with you right now. You look very suspicious.
Michael: I’m not thinking of a way to make fun of you.
Michael: Okay. No, seriously. I know you’re going to be excited about today’s guest [00:01:00] because I see a direct connection to several of your favorite things. Not the least of which is Star Wars.
Brad: Okay because this is about me so far, I’m very interested.
Michael: Of course. I know how to meet you where you are, Brad. Our guest today was previously an executive at the Walt Disney Company.
Brad: Oh, I bet you, he knows me. I’ve been owning stock in Disney since I was 10.
Michael: I’m sure I remember him mentioning that at some point.
Michael: The Walt Disney Company, as everyone knows, is a huge conglomerate and according to Siri, has four main segments to their business. They are studio entertainment, parks and resorts, third is media and networks, and fourth is consumer products and interactive media.
Brad: All right so that’s a lot to unpack. What do these different segments do?
Michael: Again, according to the internet as I’m just waiting for our guest to correct us later, [00:02:00] studio entertainment owns and manages all the Walt Disney studios, including Lucas film, Marvel, Pixar, Disney nature, Disney music group, and Walt Disney animation.
Brad: Yeah, I heard you say Marvel and Lucas films so I think that’s my favorite so far.
Michael: I don’t know. I don’t know Brad, because I know that you’re a little boy at heart. You’re still that 10 year old that bought your stock and Disney parks and resorts is responsible for the management of all the parks and resorts owned by Disney and I know you are a huge fan boy of going to Disney world.
Brad: I am. I think if you asked me the exact number of times I’ve been to Disney world, I don’t think I could get you the exact number. It’s somewhere between 8 and 10, although I’ve never been to Disneyland. I think you and I had this conversation a while back when you had never been to Disney world and you went as an adult and I just [00:03:00] said, release your inner child because if you don’t and you fight that you’re going to hate it and you’re going to be realizing how much money you’re spending while hating the time that you’re there.
Michael: I just can’t imagine you releasing your inner child.
Brad: I know, it was difficult. I finally came out.
Michael: You really had to stretch some new muscles.
Michael: Disney media networks has control over all the television networks, the cable channels, distribution and production companies, and the television stations.
Brad: What about the consumer products and interactive media?
Michael: This segment, supposedly, controls Disney digital network, the Disney store, and Disney publishing worldwide.
Brad: Yeah. I mean, it is overwhelming to think about how massive this company is, Michael.
Michael: Yeah. Again, according to this deep research I was doing, the company had an operating income of over 55 billion and net income of almost 9 billion in 2017. Can you guess [00:04:00] which segment was the most profitable?
Brad: The studio.
Michael: Believe it or not Brad, media networks is the most profitable segment of the Walt Disney Company.
Brad: I really think our guests is going to correct you on so many different levels, Michael.
Michael: I’m starting to sweat a little bit actually. Before we bring him on.
Michael: We had a little insight already that you’re basically a little boy still.
Michael: I think we need to dive a little deeper because I really want the spotlight to be on you a little longer.
Brad: I love it. Keep going.
Michael: I know you love it.
Michael: Say more, say more. I know. I have three questions to highlight just how much you love Disney.
Michael: First, what was your favorite Star Wars movie?
Brad: Empire Strikes Back. The original one, not the one that got remade, everybody knows that.
Michael: You sure about that?
Michael: Okay. What was your favorite Marvel movie?
Brad: Oh, that’s a tougher one because [00:05:00] there’s so many good ones, but if I’m going to break it down to one, it’d be Captain America: Winter Soldier, because that one is a superhero movie that’s more like a spy movie. That elevator scene, audience if you haven’t seen it just go find the elevator scene from that movie. It’s four minutes of one of the best scenes in all the movies.
Michael: I’ll take your word for it. What’s your favorite ride at Disney world?
Brad: Okay, eight year old Brad or whatever I was when I went the first time, obviously space mountain. Went back with the family recently, the avatar flight of the passage is amazing and the only reason why I haven’t brought up Star Wars yet is the last time I was there it was still under construction so I don’t have any comparison yet. I think we should probably bring on our guests and stop focusing on me, even though this is my favorite part of the show so far.
Michael: Yes. You look like you’re so uncomfortable that we’re talking about you so much. Okay. Let’s bring him on. Paul be lenient on us if [00:06:00] Siri messed things up. Our guest today is our friend and client Paul Gainer. Brief introduction, Paul is the president and these days he’s the president and CEO of Orange Twist. He spent 15 years at Disney, as we talked about. He oversaw their direct to consumer retail business, the Disney store and shop Disney. He was six years as executive vice president over global retail. He, if that’s not enough, he actually worked for a toy company as well. I’m sure that we’re just getting to the surface, but clearly he’s had a really fun story and now he’s doing things to Orange Twist. We can let him tell us about that, but welcome Paul to the show.
Paul: Thanks guys. Thanks for having me. So far, that’s been my favorite part of the show as well. [00:07:00]
Michael: Well, so glad you’re here. So, obviously you have quite a story with your background and part of the goal today is to learn from your story some of the common lessons learned. I’d love for you to kind of fill in the lines a little bit and tell us kind of your professional story.
Paul: Yeah, sure. Well, I’m sure you would have predicted this, but I went to college to be a sports broadcaster. That’s kind of what I thought I wanted to do when I was younger and went to major in speech communications to be a sports broadcaster and during that time, when I was in college, I had a part-time job at a local toy store. Making some money on the side as I’m going through college and really kind of without knowing it at that time, really found a passion and a love for retail. At an early age, [00:08:00] just had a real curiosity for the operations and merchandising and marketing from a retail perspective and right out of college, I had a chance to get hired as a first employee of a startup. It was a concept around toys and education. It was partly owned by public broadcasting and it was called Store of Knowledge.
Michael: I guess you were too young to know how risky it was to be a part of a startup.
Paul: Yeah. Well, just lessons over and over again on that one. The great thing about that opportunity is that I was there six years. We opened a couple hundred stores, made a ton of mistakes and learned a lot, had some great mentors at that stage and it really just kind of gave me really my passion of what I wanted to do in my career through those experiences. After that, I went to another startup when [00:09:00] it was the e-commerce craze. I went to a company called E toys and really kind of got a lot of experience on the e-commerce side and ended up going to another startup after that called Baby Style. So really most of my career at that point had both been in brick and mortar and e-commerce, but really around education, learning, and the toy industry, which really led nicely into my opportunity when I first started working with the Walt Disney Company. So, that’s kind of what led me into my experience at Disney and you mentioned one of the great things about that company is lots of opportunities to do lots of different things. I was really fortunate to be able to do a lot of things there in my 15 year career there at Disney before getting the opportunity to do something brand new again, and move to a new industry when I came over to join Orange Twist.
Michael: What was that like going [00:10:00] from startup mode for your first few jobs, to such an established company?
Brad: You mean Disney was not startup?
Michael: No, it was when you were born.
Paul: Well, thank you for being a shareholder. That really helped provide the capital for the company to grow.
Brad: Yes. You’re welcome.
Paul: Yeah, no, it was a completely different experience working with a large company that had, that kind of incredible infrastructure and one of the things that I really enjoyed about that and kind of a lesson learned in that was it really allowed you to focus in on what’s important in the business, right? You weren’t thinking about a lot of the other things that sometimes you think about in a startup and that’s one of the things that, that company does really well is really focusing on guest experience and really focusing from a consumer-facing perspective.
Brad: Well that I think leads perfectly to my next question. My next question for you then, here you are with these different startups that you [00:11:00] have, then you go to this giant whale of an organization, and then you leave to go to another startup and aesthetic space, so what are some of the commonalities you experience that you look for at these prior companies before actually joining, Orange Twist?
Paul: Yeah, well, its interesting Orange Twist, and I’ll just give a, kind of the brief story on it, but I actually came in as a client. I was a year away from turning 50 and I thought, wow, would love to learn some more about these aesthetic treatments and ended up seeing some of the Orange Twists marketing, went into one of our locations here in Orange County, California, and had this incredible experience. In fact at that time I thought, wow, things are very consistent with how Disney thinks about guest service and the things that I saw at Orange Twist from just the elevated in-store environment. I had some [00:12:00] interactions with some incredible employees and even thought at that point, wow, this is something different. Two days later I got a recruiter call that said, Hey, I know this is not an industry that you’ve been in, I know this is a little different, but let me tell you about this opportunity they’re looking for at Orange Twist. Then I met someone that we both know well, Clint Carnell, who’s a co-founder and chairman of Orange Twist and got to spend quite a bit of time with him through the interview process to really kind of get some insight into the industry and I saw the incredible opportunity, as you know, it’s very fragmented, and saw this incredible opportunity to really elevate and create a high quality brand in a high quality experience. Orange Twist already was a high quality brand so the opportunity to really build something new and create something new was extremely interesting.
Michael: I want to take a step back. I’m listening and I’m thinking [00:13:00] the audience is hearing toy stores and Disney. Tell the audience what Orange Twist does.
Brad: It’s not a toy store?
Michael: Well, I don’t know.
Paul: Well, yeah. Orange Twist is your treatment shop for body, face and skin. We do non-invasive aesthetic treatments, most of them in an hour or less in our center. Things like toxins, fillers, body shaping, facials, lasers, a variety of treatments that really support you in looking and feeling your very best. When you think about that and you think about being your treatment shop for body, face and skin, I really believe we’re creating a new category because I wouldn’t consider us a med spa. Certainly, customers around the world are seeing elevated experiences in how they think about and manage self-care. That’s what we do [00:14:00] at Orange Twist and always happy to help you out.
Brad: Yeah. Well, and for our audience, if you want to learn more about Clint, who he mentioned, we actually did a podcast with him. We’ll drop that in the notes if you want to go back and listen to the founder’s perspective but I love the fact that we have two different voices now coming from Orange Twist.
Michael: Yeah. Brad you’d asked a few minutes ago about kind of the commonalities of Paul’s journey and I liked the question a lot because the Orange Twist job on the surface jumps off as something completely different than your past experiences, but I know from talking to you Paul, in the past, that there actually is a lot of commonality and kind of how you view things with your retail lens.
Paul: Yeah, for sure. I think there’s some things that are consistent or kind of pillars in building a successful business that are the same, I think in lots of different categories. The other one that we haven’t touched [00:15:00] on is really just the importance of our team and talent, and that’s something we talk a lot about at Orange Twist. In fact, I’ve never been in a business in my career that has really seen team and talent be more important than it is at Orange Twist. I’m constantly, first of all, I’m really fortunate to work with an incredible group of people and am constantly inspired really by each of the teams across each of our centers. We have providers, estheticians, our center directors that oversee the locations, working in partnership with our incredible physicians and clinical team. There’s a lot to it behind the scenes and making these really incredible experiences for our clients and team and talent and culture, and leading those things, I think are important in every business, but especially in something that is so personal in what we [00:16:00] do at Orange Twist even makes it that much more important.
Michael: That’s awesome. Well, let’s shift a little bit, you’ve mentioned once or twice already that you have learned a few lessons along the way, which is part of all of our journey. I’d love for you to share a few lessons that you’ve learned along the way in your professional career that could be applicable to any business.
Paul: Yeah, well, I think I kind of touched on a little bit, I think the first one that I would share is just in any business that I’ve been in, making sure that we really know what the reality is of the business and what the client journey, the customer experience is that’s happening, especially when you run a multi-unit organization. You really want to be in touch with reality of what’s going on in each center because cultures are different. Our consumer base might be different in each center and so just really understanding what [00:17:00] that client facing journey is. I’ve learned good lessons, good and bad in the past and been part of teams that might’ve been a little bit out of touch in past companies with what the reality was and sometimes then strategy and decision-making that’s being made from the home office team might not align with what the reality is of what the client journey and what the employee experiences. I think that’s one big lesson. That’s definitely a lesson I learned from Disney, that was really important, was making great guest facing decisions.
Brad: How did you dive into that? I mean, for our audience that sounds awesome. What were some of the tricks you learned then to determine what do we believe the client experiences and what is the reality? Do y’all do secret shopping? What were the tools you all used?
Paul: Yeah, secret shopping is a good one to some extent, but I think spending time in centers and stores [00:18:00] and spending time listening to the teams that are in each center of what they see the experience being. I mean, and my team knows this and our leadership team spends a lot of time in centers, you learn something new every time you go into a center. Whether it’s about the client experience, whether it’s about how we’re communicating our marketing, or merchandising our product or whatever the things are that you might learn and listen from the team, that’s something that I think really applies in any business. The other thing that comes to mind is really the way you build a culture and the way you lead. I’ve worked with some great leaders in the past and been part of great cultures and I see that at Orange Twist. I think one of the key elements that are probably consistent through all of those experiences is really leading with a spirit of optimism. Sometimes that word, some might take it [00:19:00] the wrong way and optimism isn’t about ignoring the issues and just wanting to look at all the good things in the business. I’ve learned that it really is about being solution-oriented and we’re always going to have roadblocks and barriers and boy, the last two years, two and a half years, have been case in point, teams needing to show this grit to manage through problems that were out of their control. When I see teams that are leading with that optimism being solution-oriented, meeting problems head-on and quickly resolving them, I think that’s something that I’ve seen. I’ve seen it modeled and we’ve really tried to lead that way at Orange Twist. I think it makes a real difference.
Brad: Yeah, that makes sense. Obviously, besides being the optimist of the organization, let’s talk about maybe your proudest business strategy or accomplishment that you see that would be beneficial to any of our diverse audience. [00:20:00]
Paul: Well, I think I’ll share two. I’ll share one that I experienced at Disney and then one that we’ve experienced here at Orange Twist. I think at Disney, and this would be a great example of maybe being courageous in some of the decision-making and the strategies when you see a consumer moving in a direction, I remember, gosh, this is probably 15 to 18 years ago, I had just come into a role overseeing at the time at Disney, which was the catalog division. I think you guys might remember those things we used to get mail, you see it in your mail, right?
Brad: We would but there’s a person on the other side of this wall that probably would not have known what a catalog is.
Paul: Right, right. Okay. Right on. Exactly.
Brad: It’s a website, but it’s a paper website.
Michael: Paper website, way to go Brad.
Paul: Very descriptive. We were mailing tens of millions of catalogs a year. [00:21:00] Really not making money from that business unit perspective and it was really time to really pivot and shift that division. We made the decision to not only just scale back the catalog and try to transition into e-commerce or other lines of business. We actually eliminated the catalog and completely reorganized the entire team, bringing in expertise around e-commerce and digital marketing and really building out the e-commerce business and being pretty fearless and not worrying about the revenue that we were going to lose by eliminating again, tens of millions of catalogs, we were mailing a year, driving pretty good revenue and shifting that and doing something completely different. While there were bumps in the road through the whole thing, keeping the north star of where we were going was really important. I think looking back at [00:22:00] that, and obviously all of the benefits of that, it was a great lesson learned in where the consumer was going. Then fast forwarding to the last couple of years, I think that, and I’m sure there’s people that are listening, everybody’s got a story about how resiliency and grit got teams through COVID and 2020. Let’s hope that’s the most challenging year we all ever have to go through in a lot of areas of life, but specifically in the business side and really proud when I look back at the team that managed through those difficult times and made very difficult decisions. At Orange Twist, we didn’t stay stagnant and we didn’t sit around, as you both know, waiting for the other end or the light at the tunnel. We made some significant changes in our [00:23:00] organizational structure. We had areas of the business that were outsourced, marketing, finance, accounting, HR, the call center, we brought them all in house. We actually built a team through that time because we knew when we came out of this, that we were going to be in growth mode and we needed to have the right team and talent to be able to grow and I looked back at those things that we did in 2020 and 2021 and that team now is in place. We have 15 stores right now in five states and we’re looking to double that footprint by the end of next year and it’s because of a lot of the decisions that were made during that time.
Michael: What strikes me, for both of those things, there’s that element of being courageous, where there’s a jumping off point where you are leaving what’s comfortable and taking a step that you have a vision for what it’s going to lead to, but [00:24:00] there’s reasons and risks. It’s a risk for a reason because they could go wrong. That’s really cool.
Brad: Yeah and I can’t imagine going back to whatever it was 18, 19 years ago, as you said, when you went from sending out those giant mailers, how much pushback you must’ve received from those who designed the book, from those who shipped the book, from those who talked about, look how much revenue. I mean, that shift, that mentality of choosing to say, we’re going to send you something versus we’re going to make you interested in something and you’re going to come to us virtually. There must have been a lot of bumping of heads. I guess I keep thinking back to that timeframe because now of course, if you said that conversation, like we’re going to go digital and everybody would’ve been like, well, where have you been, right?
Paul: As you know as an avid Disney fan, there’s a lot of passionate fans that love the catalog as well. Right? So, not only were their internal challenges, [00:25:00] cause it kind of felt a little crazy, but then you’re also thinking about the guest facing experience and making sure that you’re doing the right thing from that perspective too. So, yeah. It’s been the same thing, you see that kind of time and time again, you get a little more, you can be a little more courageous if you really know where the consumer’s going. I think you can feel a little more comfortable and that’s why I think that’s so important.
Brad: I think you said something earlier that this is the ability to see, you said follow your north star, but also, everything that’s happening, you have a feel for what’s going on with your customer base and then being able to shift towards what they need. So that’s, I mean, taking different pieces of what you’ve said throughout the show, it’s an amazing story.
Michael: Well, believe it or not, we’ve blown through our time slot for today. I can’t believe it. I feel like we just got started.
Brad: I know. I want to go deeper into Disney. Is that a problem?
Michael: You want to talk about Disney or you want to talk about Brad?
Brad: I want to talk about Brad’s [00:26:00] experience at Disney.
Paul: Hey Brad, we can set up a touch base anytime.
Paul: I got no problem having a chat.
Brad: You know, I did have one follow-up question, when you were in college and you wanted to be in sports, was there a particular sport you were going to call?
Paul: Yeah, in my mind it was going to be baseball or basketball. That’s what I played in high school. I loved sports. I thought, man, what a cool job that would be. I hadn’t really thought it all through by the way, but what a cool job that would be to be traveling and be part of a team and do that. So that’s at least what was in my 20, 21 year old brain.
Michael: There you go. Fair enough.
Michael: Well, what we’ll do is we’ll say, bye here. We’re so grateful you came on, we’ll go into a commercial and then on the other side, Brad and I will do a little wrap up with any legal insights. Appreciate you coming on.
Paul: Sounds great.
Paul: Thanks you guys. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Paul: Alright, bye.
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Brad: Welcome back to the Legal 123’s with ByrdAdatto. I’m your host Brad Adatto with my cohost Michael Byrd. We’re still here. Throughout this entire season, Michael, we had been searching for one thing, that common ground of the universal language of business and wow, what a way to kind of end the season by bringing on Paul. Paul Gainer brought in so many insights of a career in multiple different startups, a big powerhouse like Disney and obviously [00:28:00] now in the aesthetic space with another startup, Orange Twist. What we learned today is that, I think we’ve heard this, taking risks and being bold is an important element to the entrepreneur side but you also need to make certain shifts no matter what happens and being able to predict that based on your customer experience. A couple of takeaways I hope our audience, heard him say, and I just want to point out from a legal perspective, I know we may get also get into the e-commerce piece in a second, one of the things he said is we don’t really consider ourselves a med spa. Right? We really consider ourselves a place where customers come for skincare and we’re more of a skincare company. I’ve heard this from other people, well, I’m not a med spa, I’m just an IV bar, or I’m not a med spa or an IV bar, I’m just a wellness center. The terminology is important for the branding [00:29:00] of who you are and how you want to present yourself to the public, but just remember, just because you say it so, I’m not a med spa or I’m not an IV bar, I’m just a wellness center, doesn’t mean that you still don’t have to comply with all the regulations of your state or FDA, FTC, wherever it is because the moment that you obviously are touching a patient or a consumer, and you affect them by giving a treatment plan or in about piercing their skin or affecting their deep penetration of some sort, all of that means you’re practicing medicine in almost every single state. Be careful, just full disclosure Orange Twist is a client, we know that this is not what they’re doing, but if you are going into this space, don’t think that you can just say I’m a skincare company, but I do IVs and I do laser and therefore I’m not practicing medicine. Be very careful, just being careful with the compliance piece. I think in the e-commerce piece there’s some other takeaways, [00:30:00] maybe you can give.
Michael: Yeah, well, and really it’s connecting the dots that when you do something like Paul mentioned and be bold and make a change for your business or you’re trying to meet the customer where they are, and you’re positioning yourself that you do need to look beneath the surface into the risk from a legal perspective. As you mentioned, the government regulates the practice of medicine and they don’t care what you call it.
Michael: Well, when you’re in a traditional business and you go from mailing catalogs to being an online business, there are rules that come into place with doing that from a legal perspective. All of us have seen these end-user license agreements that you have to click or terms and conditions and so there’s a [00:31:00] host of legal hurdles that come into play whenever you make a shift in your business. You want to make sure that you go in kind of eyes wide open and work through that because you certainly don’t want to take this massive risk, have success, and then get kind of a gut punch because you did something incorrectly.
Brad: Absolutely. Well, Michael believe it or not, this is the end of season eight. I know. Audience members, I know you’re crying. Don’t worry. Just wait. Follow us on social media and we’ll be announcing, guess what? Season nine coming soon. Thanks again for joining us today and remember if you liked this episode, please subscribe. Make sure to give us a five star rating and share with your friends.
Michael: You can also sign up for the ByrdAdatto newsletter by going to our website at byrdadatto.com.
Outro: ByrdAdatto is providing this podcast as a public service. This podcast is for educational [00:32:00] purposes only. This podcast does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by ByrdAdatto. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Please consult with an attorney on your legal issues.