Q. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. Scott L. Simon is the President of Papo Enterprises. In his role as President, Papo Enterprises has become a go to distributor, contract manufacturer, marketer, business solutions and product development provider for retailers, manufacturers, inventors and investors. Mr. Simon’s deep ties to buyers, representatives and business executives has allowed Papo to further expand in the world of food, apparel, fashion, consumer goods, retail and management consulting. Mr. Simon brings his dynamic relationships to Papo Enterprises which has enabled them to deliver customized solutions for clients to help them in all facets of their enterprises. Mr. Simon and his team make sure their products are brought to market in the most efficient, economical and responsible manner. Additionally, Mr. Simon and his team created the first mass market electronic bidet toilet seat and went on to commercial success with over 150,000 units sold. This single launch has spurred an entire category. Previously, Mr. Simon served as President of Platypus Communications. As president, Mr. Simon led Platypus to historic profits, while reducing expenditures by 60%. Previously, Mr. Simon served as Senior Vice President of Technology at MortgageIT, Inc. (MHL), a previously publicly traded REIT on the New York Stock Exchange. While at MortgageIT, Inc., Mr. Simon sat on the Executive Operating Committee and oversaw IT operations, software development, system architecture, project management and logistics. Mr. Simon successfully led a user base of 2500 employees in 50 locations. Mr. Simon holds a Black Belt certification in Six Sigma Methodology and is a certified Project Manager. Mr. Simon has been inducted into the International Who’s Who of Professionals, a member of the COO Operations Summit and a trusted source cited in numerous industry publications. Mr.Simon lives in New York with his wife and two sons.
Q. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A. Simply By Papo’s home office is located in Long Island, New York about 45 minutes east of New York City. We have distribution centers in Texas and California. Simply by Papo was born based on a simple idea. Build a brand that sells products that are ecologically friendly, people, pet safe and affordable. So many brands advertise that they are safe, all natural, and eco-friendly and they are not. We want to make shopping for all your home cleaning needs simple. Simply rely on the Simply by Papo label. We have cleaners for every purpose: wipes, sprays, hand washes, germ resistant silicone sponge/pot grabbers and pet products. All of our products are all-natural, 100% biodegradable, non-toxic, free of harsh chemicals, bleaches, ammonia, VOC, and are pH balanced and hypoallergenic.
Q. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
A. As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of all invention.” My wife and other members of her family suffer from severe allergies including cleaning products that leave a strong anti-septic odor. Through trial and error I created cleaning products that cleaned our home without triggering my wife’s allergies. As a result I inadvertently created a whole line of all natural, hypoallergenic, biodegradable products that effectively cleaned our entire house from kitchen to bathroom while making sure it was safe to use around our young kids and our pets as well. Out of this devotion for a better tomorrow, Simply By Papo products were born. We are so glad to be able to share these fantastic products with others. We recently launched Simply By Papo with Bed Bath and Beyond and it is very successful.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A. Find something you are passionate about and work at it until it is perfected. Do not compromise on quality. It is our goal to provide the most effective cleaners with quality ingredients that are affordable. Our mission is for everyone to replace their regular cleaners with harsh chemicals in them with our products. Also, always carry a pen and paper, you never know when you will have a great idea worth writing down!
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A. It never hurts if you are smart, willing to work hard and be the best prepared, but two other important skills are to be a good listener and be open to new ideas. I continually ask myself, what is it that I do not know? Trying to figure out what I do not know has kept me open to innovation.
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
A. This is a very difficult question to answer because my team and I pretty much work until the tasks are complete. I do try to carve out some me time though. Balancing work and life is still a work in progress.
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
A. Success is really about living your life in a satisfying way. Even before I embarked on this endeavor I had a happy home life with a supportive wife, happy and healthy children and a good set of friends. Professionally I stumbled on something that was important to my family that turns out is important to other families as well. Simply covers it. Simply make great products that families can rely on to keep their homes safe and clean.
Q. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A. We market our business through both traditional advertising and social media. But most importantly we rely on successful referrals from happy customers.
Q. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A. We have been lucky to have the support of family and some early success that allowed us to grow responsibly without sacrificing quality.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A. Keep your focus on customer satisfaction and always maintain your ethics and morals. Focus on the small details and the big details will take care of themselves.
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A. I hope for both myself and Simply By Papo we will continue to bring all natural, hypoallergenic, biodegradable products to the world in an ethical and moral manner at an affordable value. I want to continue to grow responsibly and maintain the quality of our products while expanding into other areas that make safe and happy homes.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. I really admire Amazon. What started out as an online bookstore has grown into a company that sells everything and anything you can think of at the best price without sacrificing customer satisfaction. In order to grow their business they invested heavily in their computer system and as they grew and they needed to store more data they got involved in cloud computing. Now they are an industry leader in it and sell that service to the public. Just last week they announced they are starting their own shipping company. Here are just two examples of innovations they put in place to help their business grow that wound up being big businesses in their own right.
Q. How important have good employees been to your success?
A. Good employees are the unbreakable links to our supply chain. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
Q. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A. Unfortunately this is less scientific. Usually a combination of gut and early reaction/traction. I have seen some great products die early on potentially because they are just launched a bit too early in the product life cycle and the public is just not ready to adapt.
Q. What motivates you?
A. Knowing that your products are helping those around the world by creating a clean and healthy home.
Q. What are your ideals?
A. Love, truth and pursuit of happiness. Do onto others as you would want done onto you by maintaining your ethics and morals.
Q. How do you generate new ideas?
A. By listening to others and figuring out what I don’t know.
Q. How do you define success?
A. Success for us is defined by helping as many people as we can as quickly as possible. Providing a clean and healthy home to families and their pets.
Q. How do you build a successful customer base?
A. By providing the highest quality all natural products at an affordable price.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A. Being able to move quickly and bring products to market at a fast pace
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A. We have had many, but I think when my grandmother who is close to 100 years old leaned over and whispered in my ear – thank you for bringing smiles to people all over the world without compromising your integrity.
Q. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
A. The gumption to become a pioneer. Without pioneers there would be NO settlements.
Q. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.