We had the good fortune of connecting with David Schoenfeld and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
Treat people well. It sounds incredibly simple but, at its core, business is the composition of countless interpersonal interactions. I’ve now spent time in B2B, B2C, and the Deal business which amplified the fact that customers, investors, vendors, accountants, etc. are all people at the end of the day. Treat people well and people will want to work with you, invest in you, partner with you. Even in this era of DMs and automation there is nothing better than inbound business or a warm intro. Of course there are counter examples, but the reality is that most of us will work for 50+ years and your reputation will heavily impact the direction your career takes. I’m fortunate to have learned this philosophy at a young age in particular from my grandfathers. Both of whom epitomize the American Dream and worked into their 80s all while showing gratitude and respect to everyone around them. To be uber current, look at the way the English Monarchy allegedly treated Meghan and Harry. Such treatment is clearly very bad for business. There’s no prerequisite qualification to build meaningful relationships. We’re so trained to seek instant gratification but in the long run this pays off. It’s very gratifying to see my previous interactions lead to tangible benefits for RING BEAR.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I truly get excited about great product and great design. The thought process around meeting a customer’s needs when developing physical goods transcends all industries. It’s been incredibly rewarding at RING BEAR to transition from consumer goods more broadly into Men’s Wedding Bands; providing couples with products they’ll cherish for life. The time I spent learning from industrial designers and merchants at leading brands like Apple has influenced my approach to product development. When developing the line at RING BEAR, especially our range of men’s wedding bands made of ethically sourced recycled gold, I channeled the meticulous process I had previously observed to ensure an incredibly comfortable fit. Seeing people wear RING BEAR wedding bands or getting feedback how much their purchase captured the excitement of getting married confirms the careful design work was worth it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a really fun question, having grown up in LA my answer is a reflection of both nostalgia and the current landscape. Since VoyageLA is sponsoring this week we’d be driving around top down in a rental convertible listening to 93.5 KDAY. At its simplest to me LA is driving around with good music, sunshine and a cool breeze. Taking that one step further there is no better drive than PCH without traffic. To give the full experience we’d take the convertible up to Reel Inn by Topanga for some incredible fresh fish, mediocre sides and a cold pitcher of Longboard to be enjoyed outside on a picnic table. From there we’d continue up to Escondido beach or do the hike where you jump in the waterfalls. On our way home we’d stop for a burger at Big Deans. I have a soft spot for old heritage places so would definitely go to some combo of Phillipe’s, El Coyote, Apple Pan, or Canters. Much of LA is constantly evolving, so I enjoy how these places stick to their roots. One time I had a friend in town and we went to El Coyote for dinner then checked out an Atiba Jefferson exhibit at HVW8 Gallery and finished the night at a house party featuring performances by up and coming stand up comics. Given the last year of the pandemic I’m out of the loop on what’s happening right now but I’m excited for the equivalency of those things to re-emerge. In general I try to take advantage of the amazing entertainment talent that floods LA and enjoy the discovery of acts which are new to me. The unknown of who might be a surprise performance adds a layer to shows you don’t get in other cities. I’m really excited for live shows to return and would say the Palladium is one of my favorite venues that is still around. Years ago I went to a show called Common & Friends at the Palladium and for $30 we got to see De La Soul, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, Kanye, MF Doom, Common and a few others — pinnacle LA. For me LA is synonymous with Apparel and would require a day around Fairfax, Melrose, La Brea. Pending traffic we’d go downtown and stop by the showrooms of some of my favorite LA menswear brands Yony and Bristol Studio. Once in DTLA would stop by the Hollywood Curling Club and then grab tacos at Guerilla Tacos. It’s not a summary of LA without naming your favorite taco spots and we’d likely check out Cactus and Tacos Por Favor over the course of the week, I love that any random place in LA is going to have good tacos.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m fortunate to have an extensive support system who wants me to succeed and is willing to share their time, resources, and knowledge. Self belief is so important and the confidence instilled in me from those I’m close with has enabled me to get to where I am and where I strive to go. From a young age my parents put an emphasis on education through both traditional academia and real world exposure. I’m grateful that they introduced me to business concepts by frequently sharing examples from their careers and encouraged me to gain work experience starting at the age of 14. Most recently I have my siblings to thank who lent their expertise to help bring RING BEAR to life! It’s been really fun collaborating with them in this capacity. I’d also like to shoutout my former bosses who went out of their way to include me in discussions outside the scope of my responsibility, helping me grow immensely. There’s a lot of intangible learnings I gained from the time they invested in me.