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Daniel Lubetzky Lost $1 Million Overnight But That Didn't Stop Him

Daniel Lubetzky

Business entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky lost $1 million overnight, but that did not stop him from starting over and creating one of the fastest growing brands, KIND Snacks. Daniel Lubetzky was born in Mexico City in 1968. His family moved to the United States when Daniel was a teenager. He learned the strengths of grit, perseverance and integrity from his parents. Daniel received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in economics and international studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and studied abroad in Israel and France. While in college, the young entrepreneur started his own business, Da'Leky Times, selling watches. He graduated from Stanford Law School in 1993.

While working as an attorney, Daniel was awarded thee Haas Koshland Fellowship to research and write about fostering joint ventures between Arabs and Israelis. As a Jewish man, Daniel Lubetzky felt strong about finding ways for the two factions to work together. As the result of his research, he founded PeaceWorks, Inc., a company whose aim is to unite businesses on opposing sides of political conflict. PeaceWorks pursued profit but also peace.

The first product marketed by PeaceWorks, Inc. was a sundried tomato paste. The product was produced in an Israeli factory and employed Palestinian workers. Unfortunately, PeaceWorks lost a major client with a contract worth $1 million overnight due to manufacturing changes. The same year of this major loss, Daniel Lubetzky's father died. The difficulties only strengthened Daniel's fortitude and led him to learn from his mistakes and found KIND Snacks, a company that sells healthy snacks that taste good. KIND Snacks has several policies that foster kindness and peace in the world.

What did Daniel Lubetsky learn from mistakes?

Rather than let the loss of $1 million cause Daniel Lubetsky to give up, he persevered turned his errors at PeaceWorks, Inc. into lessons to learn from and created the successful company. Here are the lessons that Daniel Lubetzky learned from the mistakes he made and how they remind him of how to create a successful company that adheres to his socially conscious beliefs.

Use personal pain to gain

Losing a major client worth $1 million was a painful blow to Daniel Lubetzky. He did not let that make him give up. He used his mistakes in earlier business ventures to create success in new ventures, and it has worked. For example, Daniel realized that he was too eager to market products for PeaceWorks. He was focused on getting products into stores and was often turned down or the product did not sell because it was not the right venue or clientele. With Kind Snacks, Daniel took time to plan where the products would sell best and marketing grew from that. He started with health food stores. Once that proved successful, he got the products into specialty food stores and grocery stores. Today, KIND Snacks are sold in over 50 different stores, and in the 10 years since its inception, the company has grown. KIND Snacks made $1 billion in sales in 2015. Lesson learned: Sell to the right stores and focus on core accounts and the business will grow.

Keep it simple

An important lesson that Daniel Lubetzky will never forget is to keep it simple. With PeaceWorks, Moshe & Ali was a popular brand of sundried tomato paste. The initial paste was simple and based on Mediterranean ingredients. It quickly became a popular product with a loyal customer base. However, Daniel thought by increasing the variety of the product, sales would grow. The idea backfired when Moshe & Ali had 16 different types of tomato paste. One was a Sweet & Spicy Asian Teriyaki Pepper Spread which was not based on Mediterranean ingredients and did not sell. It also was not of the quality that earlier pastes were made with. Lesson learned: Keep the product simple and it will not disappoint customers.

Use "and", not "either/or"

Products do not need to be based on "either/or". For example, KIND Snack bars are both nutritious and taste good. They are both healthy and easy to carry. KIND Snacks is a company that is economically sustainable and socially conscious. Lesson learned: You can harmonize opposing tensions and create a good product that provides the best of both worlds.

Find your purpose

If you have a purpose, it is easier to reach your business goals. That purpose does not just have to be profit. It should be more fulfilling and more inspiring. As an advocate of creating peace between political factions, Daniel Lebetzky believes in acts of kindness. Hence, the name of his company. Daniel realizes that "sparking kindness" in the world will only bring about positive things. He based his company on kindness to inspire others to pay kindness forward. For example, the company gives out "#kindawesome" cards to people engaged in acts of kindness. The cards are worth a free KIND bar and come with another "#kindawesome" card to give to someone else as an opportunity to "pay it forward". The company also has a policy called KIND Causes. This program awards people or companies $10,000 when they have an idea to improve the world. The award is given out once a month. Lesson learned: Have a deeper purpose that drives you.

The success of KIND Snacks

When Daniel Lebetzky started selling nutritious snack bars, he imported a healthy and good tasting bar from an Australian company to sell. The bars were made with fruit, nuts and yogurt. The bars were nutritious, tasted good and were easy to travel with as a quick and healthy snack. When the Australian company sold out to another company that added artificial ingredients, Daniel stayed true to his beliefs and stopped selling the bars. Instead, he created his own bars and founded KIND Snacks in 2004. KIND bars are made with natural ingredients including fruit and nuts. They provide a quick snack to eat on the go that is filling and nutritious. The KIND Snack mantra is "KIND to your body, your taste buds and your world. With many other brands of protein and snack bars on the market, KIND is one of a kind. The bars are healthy, easy to carry and taste good. The company has been very successful and is the fastest growing snack company in the United States.

Daniel Lebetzky has proven that mistakes can be made into positive learning experiences. He learned from the mistakes made with PeaceWorks and founded the successful company, KIND Snacks. One of the biggest reasons Daniel has been successful in business, he believes, is because of his drive and motivation to bring peace in the world. In addition to PeaceWorks and KIND Snacks, Daniel Lebetzky founded Maiyet in 2010. The luxury fashion venture focuses on creating partnerships with artisans in developing economies to promote self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship. He also founded the One Voice Movement, an international grassroots movement to empower Israelis and Palestinians to encourage elected leaders toward a 2 state nation and encourage negation and agreement. Daniel Lebetzky has written the New York Times best seller Do The KIND Thing. In 2015 President Obama and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker named Daniel Lebetzky the Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneuership.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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