In November 2006, Maly was invited to New York City to meet with L’Oréal executives. The company laid out its plans to acquire its own distribution network throughout the United States, and executives wanted to start with Beauty Alliance in the South and Midwest as well as Maly’s West, according to Maly.
Initially, the Maly family was opposed to selling, he says. It was a part of the fabric of the family. Each of the family members were co-owners, and were very satisfied with the business.
But soon thereafter, the family began to realize that if L’Oréal decided to go into the West without buying its business, taking the rights to exclusive lines such as Redken, Matrix, L’Oréal Professionnel and Pureology, Maly’s West would be in trouble, notes Maly.
So in July 2007, Maly’s sold its West Coast operation, then doing $200 million a year in business, to L’Oréal. Maly stayed around for a few months. However, for him, it wasn’t the same working at the company without owning it.
For the next six months, Maly became the interim youth pastor at his church, went on a mission trip to Cambodia and played a lot of tennis. “I have always been an athlete,” he relates. “I feel that is one of the keys to my success in business, my competitive spirit.” He loves tennis, basketball and running.
At some point Maly says he was reminded of a parable that Jesus teaches in the Bible about talents (an amount of money). In the parable, a master gave out five, two and one talents to three servants to take care of while he went away. Upon returning, the master was upset that the servant with one talent had buried it in the ground—the other servants had doubled their totals. Maly says he felt that the talent that God had given him was making money.
So back to work he went. He hired a financial person to help him use his money to begin a private-equity firm called The People Fund (thepeoplefund.net). The name is derived from Maly’s strong belief that people are the difference at any organization. During the past four years, the fund has looked at 900 different distributorships outside the salon industry and acquired three.
In addition, Maly owns Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Co., which has locations in Valencia and Calabasas, California (in the Los Angeles metropolitan area).
Recently, he also acquired SportsWorx, a Web-based business that helps high-school athletes get noticed by college coaches.
As with his faith, family has always been a top priority to Maly. He and Judy, his wife of 24 years, have raised three boys: Andrew, age 21; Austin, 18; and Luke, 15. And he has coached many of their sports teams as they grew up.
[Image: Courtesy of Mirabella Beauty Products]