Meet the Brush King: Alan Sporn

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Spornette Porcupine Rounding Brush ($16)

I was 15 years old when I was first introduced to Spornette brushes. I was working as a salon receptionist  in my hometown.  The way the stylists would expertly maneuver the Spornette round brush through their clients hair would leave me in awe.

Fast forward 6 years later and I am working at a salon in Beverly Hills, CA using Spornette round brushes on Beverly Hills housewives (BHH).

Truth be told, I was never really good at blow-outs, but Spornette brushes saved me from hair catastrophes. Trust me, you don’t want to piss off a BHH with a bad blow-out. The quality of the Spornette brush is unparalleled.  It’s no wonder why they’ve been an industry leader for more than 60 years.

When Alan Sporn and I first connected on Facebook, I was like, who is this guy  on a boat with a bottle of booze (profile pic)? I dug a little deeper and discovered he’s the owner of the Spornette empire. It was exciting to meet the man who has created the tools that I’ve used personally and professionally for the last 22 years.

I had the privilege to interview Alan, and since it’s his birthday today, I thought it would be a good day to publish it.

Happy Birthday Alan! Thank you so much for all that you’ve done for our industry!

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Mr. Alan Sporn

Q + A with Mr. Alan Sporn

Q. 60+ years in business, that’s a long time. What do you attribute your long running success to?

A. My father, Walter Sporn, started the company in the early 1950s. After meeting an engineer who was making eye liner and lip brushes for a large cosmetic company, my father convinced the engineer that if he could implant plastic handles with nylon bristles, then making professional hair brushes should be easy. The engineer took his suggestion and several months later, The Walter Sporn Company launched 2 items – the no-name 5 row and 7 row nylon bristle, plastic-handled brushes – to the professional beauty supply/distributor industry. 

Our family has always been very dedicated to our customers. Our customers will ask, do you have xyz brush? And if we don’t, we find a way to make it for them.

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A photo of Fern, Alan and Walter working their Spornette booth (circa the 70’s?)

Q.Tell me why you’ve liked working your family.

A. Who can you trust beside your family? It’s a pleasure to see them and work with them. We’re building a future together.

Q. When have you been most satisfied in your life?

A. Different stages in life rings change, I’ve been to 58 countries, I’ve met people from all over the world.

I can’t change history,  it has happened,  and I have made peace with it. 

Only worry about the things you can affect.

Q. Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

A. Hard to say, certain brushes, when they are well received is very gratifying. Recognizing what’s leading edge before another competitor is satisfying.

Q. If Spornette didn’t exist, what do you think you would have done instead?

A. I would have been a business management consultant for small companies –   or doctor – no peds or geriatrics-a research doctor.

Q. What advice do you have for an aspiring entrepreneur?

A. Practice flexibility-not everything is going to go your way. If a door is shut, don’t be discouraged, don’t give up. Very few things are Earth- shattering that can’t be overcome.

Q. What positives do you think social media, like Twitter has on a company’s success?

A. It’s changing the industry- I connect with customers and vendors from Israel, Ireland, Korea— you couldn’t do that in the old days. The Internet provides more exposure and more opportunity.

Q. What do you think about the latest craze of blow dry bars? Here to stay or passing fad?

A. They have a few more years. It’s a function of location. They have to be near populated areas or shopping areas.

Q. What’s your favorite brush and why?

A. The Italian Collection. I value my relationship with the people in Italy who make them. I designed the brushes and the Italians make them with care and precision. They are top-of-the-line.

Q. I get so many beauty questions about tangled hair, whats the best brush for it?

A. The Feel Good Detangler and the Air Motion brushes.

Q. Tell me about Marche makeup brushes. What makes them different than others?

A. They are 100% sable and have a great price point. It has given us an opportunity to expand our brand.

Q. Favorite vacation spot?

A. Lahaina, Maui. I love London, I love driving around the UK. Sydney, Australia.

Spornette hair brushes and makeup brushes can be found at Sally Beauty Supply and Ulta or online at www.spornette.com . Spornette’s Deville 100% Boar Rounder brush ($21) was recently featured in People StyleWatch magazine paired with one of my favorite Thickening Creams by Living Proof ($26 at Sephora).

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