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Serial entrepreneur Craig Dubitsky shares journey of success

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Craig Dubitsky drinking hello toothpaste
Craig Dubitsky drank some hello toothpaste, telling the audience not to try that trick at home.

When Craig Dubitsky speaks, people not only listen but they often nod in agreement.

That’s what happened Jan. 26 when Dubitsky came to Montclair State as the keynote speaker for an event hosted by the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship and co-sponsored by Residence Life.

Dubitsky is the founder and CEO of Montclair-based hello products, a line of natural dental care products. He was also a co-founder of eos products, famous for its now ubiquitous spherical lip balm, and was a founding board member of Method Products, the green-cleaning company that’s a mainstay at Target.

“I’m a kid from New Jersey. I pinch myself,” said Dubitsky about the success he’s had so far in his career.

At one point, Dubitsky drank some hello toothpaste, because he said it is free of fluoride and sls, plus tastes good. He told the audience not to try that trick at home, especially with fluoride toothpaste.

One of Dubitsky’s talent is looking at everyday things, and seeing them in a different light. For example, in one part of his presentation that drew many laughs from the audience, Dubitsky questioned why “Exit” signs are red, noting their red color wouldn’t show up well amid red flames and also noting that green is the universal color meaning “go,” which is certainly what people would want to do if they were trying to exit a burning room.

Dubitsky talked about his college years at the University of Rochester — “I had four years of money-making” — when he was running various businesses ranging from hawking pizza bagels to reselling airline tickets. Then he moved into his post-college successes, emphasizing the importance of design and simplicity in all his endeavors.

What’s noteworthy about Dubitsky is he hasn’t followed the path of the typical small startup with hello products and his other companies. Normally, a small startup would struggle to get shelf space in a small store, sell well there and then leverage that success to get shelf space in a few more stores, repeating the process as the startup slowly scales up. Dubitsky immediately goes for the big orders with the likes of Target and Walmart, using his reputation–and, no doubt, charisma–to land those orders. Dubitsky is no stranger to taking risks.

“If you don’t try, you’ve already failed,” Dubitsky said.

Despite the large amount of product his hello company sells, Dubitsky still does many things himself.

“You don’t outsource soul,” he said.

The event also featured a 5-minute pitch by Karuda, a company created by students in the Feliciano Center’s Certificate for Entrepreneurship courses. Dubitsky provided feedback to the Karuda students, Christi Himiob and Larissa Elvers (the third student, Sacha Vincent, was in class), as well as the audience asking questions.

And in a first for a Feliciano Center event, Mark Annett sang a karaoke version of “Hello, Dolly” during the event’s networking portion that featured a music list of songs with the title “Hello.”

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