When Anthony Sosnick was a real estate developer at the turn of the millennium, he took a little detour.
Sosnick was looking for skincare products and realized there was an unexplored niche in the cosmetics industry for men’s skincare. He jumped in by launching Anthony Logistics for Men in 2000 out of his home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
The business eventually morphed into Anthony Brands, which now has five skincare labels targeted at both men and women; Anthony, Shaveworks, Emily & Tony, Grandma Stelle’s and ACTION Solutions for Men.
Sosnick, 47, credits some of his earliest life lessons for the business successes he’s had. He shared those, and some other tips, with Reuters.
Q: What early lessons about money have stuck with you?
A: My grandfather had built a large business but unfortunately had some money problems. Essentially, he spent more than he saved.
My father, who is one of my biggest role models, always believed in the importance of saving. When he first started his business, he saved the majority of what he earned from his initial break out deal which led to him starting a company. I learned a lot by watching him manage and grow money.
Q: How did your first job shape or change your work ethic and life ambitions?
A: For my first job, I worked as a caddy at a golf club on the weekends. I used to wake up and ride my bike to the golf course at 4:30 a.m. I would always be one of the first caddies in line and was able to fit in two rounds of golf into the day, essentially doubling what I was able to make. It taught me dedication and self-discipline.
As a 12-year-old kid, waking up at the crack of dawn on the weekends wasn’t always exactly what I wanted to do, but I learned that if you want to be successful, you have to make sacrifices and work hard.
Q: As you became more established in your career, what did you learn about handling wealth?
A: I’ve lived through two recessions. During those times, you saw a lot of wealthy people losing millions of dollars and it’s devastating, not only to them but to their families as well. I think the best advice I can give is to enjoy the payoff from your hard work, but not at the expense of not having enough for a rainy day or a few rainy days.
I don’t want to give my kids an easy ride by any means, but I want to make sure that they are provided for and have money set aside for college.
Q: What has the skincare business taught you about finances?
A: The cosmetics industry can be extremely volatile and as fast as you make money, you can lose it. Timing is everything, in addition to product quality, of course. The skincare business has taught me to take strategic, calculated risks.
Q: How do you decide where to allocate your charitable money?
A: I only give to the charities that I feel passionate about. When I was starting Anthony Brands, my father passed away from cancer and a close friend of mine had suffered from Lymphoma. Because these two diseases hit so close to home, I decided to donate a portion of all Anthony and Shaveworks proceeds to research and awareness to prevent these cancers.
I am also very involved in Guitar Mash, which works to bring musicians of all ages and levels of expertise together to play with some of music’s key players.
Q: What money lessons do you pass down to your own kids?
A: I tell my children all the time: You can do whatever you want with your money, but after you spend it, it’s gone.
I think that laying the foundation for understanding the value of money early on helps establish a sense of financial responsibility. If my kids want to make money, I give them the opportunity to come into my office for a few hours after school or do chores around the house to earn money versus receiving it as gifts for holidays or birthdays. I’ve noticed that the harder they have to work to earn money, the more careful and cautious they are when spending it.