Name: Calvin Quallis
Profession: Founder of SCOTCH PORTER
One Word That Describes You: Resilient
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
It’s a tremendous deal to be honored as one of the Men of Distinction. Black Enterprise’s work in shifting the typical narrative on men of color, by highlighting the successful and distinguished men in our communities, is laudable. I’m humbled to be featured among such deserving men.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
Perspective is everything and prior to the launch of SCOTCH PORTER, I was co-owner of a barbershop/salon. Neither my partners nor I had any experience running a shop. It was such a foreign world to us, but we had a cool idea to also use the barbershop as a cultural hub/meeting place for artists and musicians. The goal was to build a profitable business around community. Although we built a name for ourselves in the community, the business wasn’t very profitable, and we decided to close the doors.
However, while building the business, I spotted a problem that many of our customers had and created a line of grooming products to serve as a solution. The products were for sale in our shop and were becoming a hit with our customers. The products were gaining such popularity that people were driving in from neighboring states to purchase them. These initial products led to the inception of SCOTCH PORTER. This, and many other experiences like it, have taught me that there are no mistakes or real failures in life. Instead, it’s life’s way of correcting the course and placing us on the right path.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Being reliable and keeping your word. Solid business and personal relationships are built on trust and consistency. The most basic way to build trust is by doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s really important that I follow through on my promises to others and I come to expect the same.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Currently I am working on the launch of our skincare line. This summer we will launch our Charcoal & Licorice Restoring Face Wash, which cleans and rescues dry skin, controls oil, shine and breakouts. We’ll also introduce our Charcoal & Licorice Moisture Defend Face Lotion, for which the primary purpose is to soothe, moisturize, control shine and restore skin tone. There will be a full line of hair, body and facial skincare products from us in 2016 and 2017
What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever received was to always trust my gut instinct. I have avoided many potentially bad business decisions and personal relationships by thinking rationally, but ultimately following my gut instincts.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
The best advice that I can give is to start right where you are, with what you have, work hard and be passionate. The universe and God will help you to figure the rest out along the way.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
When prepping for an important meeting or event, I like to be as organized as possible, by doing research. In advance of the meeting, I like to come armed with as much information about the key people that I will be meeting with and have clearly identified what value they and I bring to each other.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
I have an affinity for the Caribbean. The warm sun, beautiful beaches and amazing food and drinks, wins me over all the time. My best vacations are always with a small group of friends and family, sitting pool or beach side with a great beer or cocktail and tons of laughs.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
My current travel fascination is the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. It’s a group of six breathtaking islands, near the main city of Vilankulo. The beaches, coral reefs and scenery are absolutely beautiful and the marine life is one-of-a-kind; it’s a real beauty. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for tranquility and time to do some soul- searching. God willing, my goal is to visit there before the end of 2017.
Anything else you’d like to say?
There’s a quote that I created some time ago that I read aloud to myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed or disheartened about my day or week. It’s gotten me through some rough times and keeps me moving forward. Hopefully it does the same for someone reading this: ‘The bigger the goal you’re trying to accomplish—the greater the impact you want to have—the more resistance and frustration you’re going to face. Keep going.’
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