Is running a company in the cosmetics industry a shot in the arm?  Zbigniew Inglot – President of the popular cosmetics brand Inglot

Is running a company in the cosmetics industry a shot in the arm?  Zbigniew Inglot – President of the popular cosmetics brand Inglot

When was the idea to start a business born? Where did you get the resources necessary to launch and initially operate the business?

Inglot was founded in 1983 on the initiative of my brother, Wojciech Inglot, who was a chemist, specializing in experimental chemistry.

I don’t remember exactly where my brother got the funds to start the business, but I know that they didn’t have to be large at the time, as the cost of introducing the first products was not high.

How did you run a business at the time of the birth of Polish capitalism? What were the beginnings?

During the birth of Polish capitalism, I was involved in experimental nuclear physics, but I was always interested in my brother’s activities and the changes in the Polish economy. I would characterize them in two ways, of course in a gross simplification. On the one hand, it was natural that there were difficulties in buying packaging, while the availability of raw materials was not the worst. In these difficult times, it was also possible to see positive aspects of the business. For example, due to the low supply of various products, their sales potential grew.

How has Inglot collaboration with scientific research institutions contributed to the development of the brand, and what research projects within this collaboration have been most important?

Cooperation with scientific and research institutions constantly contributes to the development of our brand. We are constantly developing this cooperation, and we hope that the best projects are yet to come, taking into account the newly opened modern Research and Development Center of our company.

We cooperate with a number of institutions. Currently, we are conducting the most advanced work with the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow and the Departments of Chemistry and Physics at Jagiellonian University. One of the most interesting results of our cooperation with research institutions is the acquisition of a microscope photograph of “Breathing” O2M nail polish. The photograph shows the porous structure of the nail polish surface, which proves that this product is capable of permeating water and air.

What prompted Inglot to collaborate with Broadway musicals, and what benefits did the collaboration bring to the brand?

Inglot has become an ideal partner for the artists of Broadway musicals because of the high wearable quality of our color cosmetics. We were contacted by a representative of the Tony Award-winning musical Pippin, and so the projects began. From 2013 until the pandemic period, we worked with 17 musicals, including such titles as The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and those with the widest range of products in the Wicked collection, Chicago and Mamma Mia.

Musicals usually last from 2-3 hours, and unlike theater productions are more dynamic, so they require the long-lasting makeup and it is in our offer.

Collaborating with musicals also involved joint marketing efforts and raising awareness of both our brand and the shows. We created dedicated product collections for each title. Our brand appeared in the shows’ programs, and we promoted the collaboration on a billboard located above our store in the heart of Broadway, among other things.

What were the biggest challenges of Inglot projects in collaboration with Polish jazz musicians and the Blue Note Jazz Festival in New York?

From the moment the brand was established, we maintained good relations with world-class musicians, especially jazzmen. At the time, we focused on inviting artists to Przemyśl so that it would also provide added value for the city’s residents.  The person involved in these projects was Krzysztof Zawadzki of the Walk Away group. 

One day I got the idea to change the convention of this project and start organizing concerts in New York, where most of the musicians we worked with were already doing well on their own. A personal relationship helped us sign a contract with the iconic Blue Note Jazz Club, where the greatest jazzmen performed.

We also managed to organize a performance by the Polish group Walk Away, Wlodek Pawlik, and the last artist to perform just before the pandemic was Adam Makowicz. Unfortunately, it was because of the pandemic that we were not able to realize the planned project with Tomasz Stanko.

Who are the customers of your company? What are the main problems with them? Do you adhere to the principle of “customer is king”?

Our brand philosophy is to create products and services with everyone in mind – regardless of gender, skin color or background. We value the individuality of our customers and want to give them opportunities to express themselves in any way they want. We are a strongly customer-oriented brand and always strive to meet our customers’ expectations, providing the best possible experience in every sales channel.

How does the State make it easier or harder to become and be an entrepreneur?

We have subsidiaries and business partners in almost a hundred countries around the world, so we have a natural ability to compare. Based on my 15 years of experience in the company, I believe that in the Polish market all legal regulations and tax laws complicate doing business, mainly due to their instability and frequency of changes.

Can business be done anywhere, or only in capitalism?

From our company’s perspective, we see that business can also be done in countries where capitalism is not the leading form of the economic system.

Have you had any crisis situations because of which you wanted to give up your business and take care of something else?

Once in my life I made a drastic change in my career path. However, when it comes to activities at Inglot, I have no such plans yet. After I retire, I am considering working in the company’s laboratories, this time in the field of chemistry rather than physics.

What is the mission and what is your vision for the company’s further development? What is still left to achieve?

Compared to the largest players in the market, we are not a large company. We still have a lot of room to grow – both in terms of new products and markets.

If you could turn back time, what would you change about running your business?

I regret that I may not have had enough strength to diversify my product portfolio and enter a new sector.

What are the biggest failures you’ve had that have taught you the most? What is your approach to business failures?

Failures are part of running a business. I’ve had a lot of them, but all of them are more or less medium-sized. I try not to focus on the failures. I would always like to learn the best possible lessons from them for the future, but I don’t know if I have learned those lessons from all my failures.

What style of leading people do you prefer?  How do you feel about the fact that the fate of many people depends on you?

I try, as much as possible, to shorten the distance and be accessible to my employees. I think I treat my employees as partners. Being aware of and responsible for so many people sometimes keeps me up at night.

What entrepreneur should have abilities, personality traits, knowledge and skills to succeed in business? Which do you consider the most essential?

I think this is a very individual issue. People I know who, in my opinion, have been successful, generally represent different personality types. The greatest ones are certainly characterized by charisma, courage, the ability to take risks, and humility.

Is entrepreneurship a job, a calling or a kind of madness? Is business a win-win or a bloodthirsty race after all?

All of these statements mentioned are true in my opinion. I know examples of businesses that are constantly engaged in a bloodthirsty race. At the same time, I also know examples of huge competing corporations that respect each other and, above all, act ethically.

Does the status of an entrepreneur ennoble? When does an entrepreneur feel fulfilled?

For me, the status of an entrepreneur does not ennoble me and I do not feel fulfilled as an entrepreneur.

Should an entrepreneur be modest or the opposite? Or does it depend on the type of business one runs?

In my opinion, every person should be humble in some way and have a lot of humility. 

It is said that an entrepreneur works 24 hours a day? How much truth is there in this? Is a work – life balance possible? 

I agree with this thesis. I am one of the people who work in exactly this way, and this is my problem. Several entrepreneurs who successfully run large companies made me realize that it could be a bad work organization on my part. I think about business actually all the time.

Why did you accept the offer to participate in the new Jagiellonian University body, the University Council?

So far, I have had the opportunity to observe an institution such as a university from two perspectives, namely that of a student and that of a young experimental scientist. Since 2019, that is, since the establishment of the first University Council, I have been actively involved in the academic life of the university, and my presence on this body gives me the opportunity to view the university through the third wall of the prism. I make no secret of the fact that this activity gives me a great deal of satisfaction.

Albert Einstein said “Try not to become a man of success. Rather, become a man of values.” What are your values in life and business?

In life and business, I am guided first and foremost by integrity – to myself, as well as to the people I work with. In business, values such as responsibility, passion, commitment, creativity, cooperation and openness are important to me. Also extremely important to me is inclusiveness, which defines the organizational culture of our company.

Do you get involved in charitable activities, helping those less fortunate in life? What specific actions have you taken?

Yes, definitely, however, I don’t want to talk about it. It is not my style to share such information publicly. These are things I do because I want to, not for publicity.

What was your motivation for writing the book “Physics Everywhere”?

The main motivation was travel and visits to various corners of the world, where I could observe interesting physical phenomena. The photo album became an excellent opportunity to describe these phenomena in a way that is accessible to all audiences, mainly people who are not professionally involved in physics on a daily basis. I must point out here that although I am the initiator of this project, I would not have been able to realize it without a group of my closest collaborators and, above all, Professor Krzysztof Królas, who during his many years of scientific career was Vice-Rector and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Jagiellonian University.

Are you a happy person? What raises your happiness level the most now that you’ve accomplished so much?

Yes, sometimes I feel like a happy person. Especially when I spend my free time in good company with a glass of good wine or whiskey.

Zbigniew Inglot, PhD

Zbigniew Inglot was born in 1960 in Przemysl, Poland. In 1984 he graduated from the Jagiellonian University, Faculty of Nuclear Physics. The next step was entering doctoral degree studies, as a result of which, he received his PhD in Nuclear Physics from the Jagiellonian University in 1989. He continued his academic and research career working as an assistant at the Jagiellonian University and a research worker at Georg-August University of Göttingen. In his works he focused on microscopic research of oxidation processes (iron & cobalt oxides) by means of nuclear technology PAC (perturbed γ-γ angular correlation). His portfolio includes 12 scientific publications.

He is a member of American Physical Society (APS), Deloitte Family Advisory Board and Jagiellonian University Board (since 2019). He is also involved in Advisory Board for Development in Institute of Physics, Jagiellonian University.

Zbigniew Inglot started his career in INGLOT in 2000. Now he is the President of the company, being in charge of international cooperation as well as finance and investment field. Moreover, he supervises collaboration between INGLOT R&D Centre and universities.

 In 2018 he launched a book „Physics Everywhere” together with Professor Krzysztof Królas under Jagiellonian University Press.

Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Anastazja Lach