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Jack Black Authentic and Original

Emily Dalton & Matt Karpas

by Joseph Montebello

Men are funny about grooming products. They either follow what their fathers used or they sneak in and swipe their wife or girlfriend’s moisturizer. That is, until they discover Jack Black Authentic and Original products for men.

In 2000 Emily Dalton and husband and wife Curran and Jeff Dandurand created the brand that is changing the way men think about grooming.

“Curran and I had met when we were both at Mary Kay Cosmetics,” Dalton said. “We would have these discussions about what was missing in the men’s body care market. While the women’s industry was thriving, nobody was doing anything great for men. But we knew it was tricky. A guy cares about his skin, wants to look great, but isn’t going to do a five-step skincare regimen. He’s looking for great products and simplicity.”

Dalton grew up in Texas and while she started college intending to study medicine, but instead she followed her passion for art and graphics.

“I always loved the whole idea of visual presentation and packaging,” Dalton explained. “So, when I had the opportunity to assist a graphics professor, I jumped at the chance.” Dalton went on to pursue advertising and marketing.

She earned an MBA in marketing and got her first job at Johnson & Johnson. She moved on to L’Oreal where she was brand manager for Preference by L’Oreal, one of the largest brands they had at the time. She learned everything about what makes a product a success: the packaging on the shelf, promotions, how to identify the customer, how to create a personality for the brand.

“The image of the product is crucial,” said Dalton, “understanding who the customer is and meeting those needs. In larger brands, of course, the celebrity factor plays a big role.”

Jack Black takes a different approach: it doesn’t have a specific celebrity to represent its products.

“We have Team Jack Black – a group of professional athletes that represent the brand, people who are skilled in their sport and who would be aspirational for our customer.”

The name plays an important role in any successful product and Dalton and her partners thought long and hard before choosing Jack Black.

“We had been conducting focus groups and talking to men about names,” Dalton said. “The name Jack kept coming up over and over. It’s iconic - Jack Kennedy, Jack Nicholson; American, cool - someone you might know, have a beer with, your buddy Jack. Curran came up with Black - it had great alliteration, indicated strength and prowess, the championship level in sports. This was all before the popularity of the actor Jack Black,” Dalton added.

From the original nine products that launched Jack Black, there are now some 80 products from which to choose, including two fragrances. In addition to its presence in this country, the line is available in twenty-five international markets.

While the company is based in Texas, Dalton operates out of an office in Litchfield, the town in which she lives with her husband Matt Karpas and their two daughters, Ana and Olivia. Karpas runs Karpas Strategies, an investment firm that manages portfolios for high-net worth individuals, families, foundations and trusts.

Karpas was there at the onset when Dalton was first developing Jack Black and has been a staunch supporter ever since – to the point of testing products for her.

“I have seen Jack Black grow from its infancy and I’m so proud of what Emily and her partners have done. I use their products every day, not because I have to but because they work. I think I was Guinea Pig #1 for years, but since the company has grown so much, my input has been diluted by those a lot cooler and younger than me.” Karpas said.

In addition to running two successful businesses, Dalton and Karpas spend as much time as possible with their two children.

It’s definitely challenging,” said Karpas. “We trade off as much as we can in running day-to-day activities and drop-offs for our daughters, but the conversation about achieving balance in our lives is never-ending. At the same time, I think it’s essential for Ana and Olivia to see how important it is to persevere and be successful, but also to be part of the wonderful community in which we live.”