Daniel Baumwald loves building massive brands and impacting lives.
Daniel Baumwald is passionate about building brands. He has spent most of his career in the consumer product industry, growing brands from start-ups with little venture capital to some of the world’s most recognizable companies.
“I love building companies and making a difference in people’s lives,” says Baumwald, 39, who lives in western Howard County and is vice president of North America Retail & eCommerce at Performance Health. “I’m passionate about the ability to impact the lives of people I come in contact with, as well as help consumers overcome obstacles to get back to what they love to do.”
As a child, Baumwald says he thought he would be the next “Jerry McGuire.”
“I didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur and build massive brands,” says Baumwald, who received his bachelor of science in sports management and events planning from Shepherd University in West Virginia. “I grew up wanting to be successful and make a name for myself. To me, it’s about personality with a purpose. The work has to be fulfilling and satisfying, and I have to have fun with what I am doing.”
Baumwald started his career with the Washington Redskins, where he oversaw marketing and events planning. In 2003, he was coaching basketball for the Special Olympics when one of his players mentioned a job opportunity — a sales manager position for a new beverage company.
The company turned out to be the creators of Vitamin Water, and Baumwald helped grow his territory from $1 million in revenue to more than $100 million in just six years. Eventually, the company was sold to Coca-Cola, where Baumwald worked until he was approached with a new business venture called TheraPearl, the creators of a hot-and-cold therapy sports pack.
“I took the sports pack to the food court at the Columbia Mall and asked people if they would buy it,” says Baumwald, who has three sons. “I wanted to know if people would buy it based on how it looked. Everyone said they would because it was cool and fun to play with. That’s when I knew we had a massive consumer item and just needed to figure out how to make it work in retail.”
Baumwald took a “calculated risk” and left Coca-Cola to work at TheraPearl, where he didn’t get paid for the first six months.
“I decided if TheraPearl failed in the first year or two, I would have learned more failing than if I stayed in the Coke system,” Baumwald says. “For me, it was OK to possibly fail, but not OK to give up.”
”Under Baumwald’s leadership, TheraPearl grew to be the premier hot-and-cold pack in North America. Baumwald also created licensing deals with some of the world’s largest companies including Lansinoh, Bausch and Lomb and the NFL Players Association.
“This is a stable and steady category because someone will always be getting injured or need to reduce swelling or bruising,” Baumwald says. “I saw an opportunity to create a brand in a category that was dominated by private labels.”
In 2014, TheraPearl, named by Forbes magazine as one of America’s most promising companies, was sold to Performance Health, a leader in consumer health products, where Baumwald now works while continuing to invest in beverage, food and health and wellness companies. He says those who want to start a business need to do all their research before taking that leap of faith.
“I tell 90 percent of the people who come to me about wanting to start a new business not to because there isn’t a differentiating factor in what they want to do” says Baumwald. “An entrepreneur has to take an existing category or product and make it better, or have new products that are blue oceans. For those who really want to start a company, you have to make sure you do all your risk assessments, surround yourself with smart people who have been there before and don’t give away your company just because you need to raise a dollar.”
Aliza Friedlander is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.