"It's a little strange -- I'm going from hip hop to kosher food," says Ruby Azrak, the sole investor behind
Azrak has a talent for starting and investing in all sorts of businesses, which was quite apparent as I recently waited for him in his Manhattan office, surrounded by piles of rhinestone-studded sweatshirts from
While Azrak certainly wears the role of entrepreneur well, it's clear that his passion is for starting a business itself, not necessarily a specific type of business. Does this distinction play any role in a small-business owner's success?
For the Love of the Game
Since the early '90s, Azrak has been involved in a number of other ventures, from jewelry to men's underwear to partnering with Russell Simmons in the clothing line Phat Farm, which they built into a $700 million retail business then sold to Kellwood Company (KWD). Azrak has also created an apparel brand for rapper Nelly, which he sold last June. In addition to House of Dereon, he's now focusing on Hot Nosh 24/6.As for how Azrak embarked into the food realm, he explains that about five months ago he was approached by a mutual friend who knew Alan Cohnen and Doron Fetman, New York-based creators of the novel kosher-vending-machine concept, who were seeking a business partner. No matter what type of business it is, "I'm into