Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Founders Series: Douglas J. Von Allmen

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Douglas J. Von Allmen, founder of Beauty Alliance, was included in the Founders Series interviews, a Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame project. Von Allmen’s generous gift to Dean Richard W. Furst, UK Gatton College of Business and Economics, in 2002 enabled the establishment of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship. The Von Allmen Center is now part of the UK Office for Commercialization & Economic Development. Awesome Inc., a business incubator in downtown Lexington, Ky., created the Founder's Series of video interviews.

Douglas J. Von Allmen biosketch

Starting Out
Douglas J. Von Allmen explained how he began buying companies. Von Allmen graduated from UK in 1965 with a degree in accounting. He later gave back to the university, making a generous contribution for the Von Allmen School of Accountancy and the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship.

Mistakes & Makings
Von Allmen talks about selling his company, Beauty Alliance, to L'oréal, his upbringing and striving to be successful.

Why Did You Succeed?
Von Allmen explains how he became successful. He talks about living below his earning level, studying how to buy a business and managing his time.

Von Allmen talks about executing ideas and being the driving force behind your vision. He said, "If you’re 70 percent sure, act, because you will never be 100 percent sure. If you wait and try to get all the nods you need to be 100 percent sure, you’ll never get anything done."

Giving Back
Von Allmen gave back to the University of Kentucky through a generous donation, which helped establish the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship. He describes how he was helped financially while attending UK and his desire to see business development in Kentucky.

Douglas J. Von Allmen grew up in Louisville, Ky., except for two years his family lived in Miami, Fla. He graduated from Atherton High School upon returning to Louisville after his father's death. After high school graduation, Von Allmen worked in a blue-collar job at a cardboard box factory. He came to the University of Kentucky in 1962 to study accounting and earned his way working as a counselor in the dormitories, helping keep books for small businesses and working in the university's credit union. A member of Delta Tau Delta social fraternity, he graduated with highest honors with a B.S. in accounting in 1965.

Upon graduation, Von Allmen became a public accountant with KPMG Peat Marwick in St. Louis, Mo. He has made leveraged acquisitions of businesses for himself and his partners since 1977. In recent years, he sold some of these holdings, including a chain of 350 sunglass stores that was merged with the Sunglass Hut International. He focused his time on Beauty Alliance, Inc., a company that is comprised of fourteen professional beauty supply distributors.

Von Allmen and his wife, Linda, reside in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He and Linda have four children, Dean Kretschmor, Laura Kretschmor, Julie Skurer, and David Von Allmen. The Von Allmen's gave the university a very generous gift and in recognition of this gift, the School of Accountancy and the Center for Entrepreneurship have been named in their honor.





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