The Business Of Brows: 5 Minutes With Anastasia Soare of Anastasia Beverly Hills
The advocate of the 'Golden Ratio' approach to brows shares her business secrets
I have a confession to make: I’d never heard of the term ‘golden ratio’ until I learned about it from brow queen Anastasia Soare.
This proves two things: first, I’m terrible at maths, and second, I’m a total beauty buff.
Her theory on using this formula to shape eyebrows saw a then-38-year-old Anastasia start her own business in one of the world’s most image-conscious cities — Los Angeles.
Fast-forward 22 years and countless celebrity clients later, the CEO and founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills has created a global brow and beauty empire valued over $1 billion. Her products are now sold in more than 25 countries, including in New Zealand from Mecca.
Here, Anastasia shares the good, the bad and the beautiful about the business of brows.
Were you nervous about starting up a business? What barriers did you have to overcome to be successful?
When I moved to the United States from Romania, I knew no one and I didn’t know the language. There are certain challenges you encounter while navigating a new country that only other immigrants can truly understand. I was constantly on a mission — to convince the bank to give me a credit card, to convince the landlord to rent me the salon space, to convince detractors that eyebrows could be big business. I believed in my vision, and that is what kept me going.
You started out as a team of one, how quickly did your business grow? How many people do you have working for Anastasia Beverly Hills now?
When we began, it was just me renting out a room in a salon. Then, when I opened the ABH flagship, I hired and trained everyone who worked there, and I still personally train every aesthetician. Demand for brow services skyrocketed, and after we launched the product line in 2000, the company grew exponentially. Today, we have about 300 employees worldwide, and we’re still growing.
Is the work culture or environment at ABH different to other beauty businesses?
We are still a founder-owned business. This means that Norvina [Anastasia’s daughter] and I personally test and perfect every single formula and product. We make sure to never launch anything that we are not completely in love with ourselves. If we wouldn’t use it daily or recommend it to our closest of friends, it doesn’t roll out. And every time we do have a new product, the entire company gets to try it for themselves. We’re proud of what we’ve created, and we want everyone in the office to experience the line.
Social media has been an integral part of your business growth. What advice can you offer entrepreneurs who wish to market their brand via Instagram?
It’s amazing how close-knit of a community 19 million people can feel like, but it does! We love our community; we love showcasing and encouraging new talent. Every time we repost someone’s work, it’s like we’re cheering them on, and I think our fans recognise this genuine connection. As a brand founder, I believe our followers and fans can feel the love that we put into our products when they use them. They have come to expect quality, which is my biggest piece of advice. Creating something of quality should be a cornerstone of any business.
It’s been five years since you launched your colour collection on Instagram. What motivated you to expand your line to include makeup?
We create new products when we see a need for them in the market. While I was shaping clients, I got tired of making do with products for eyes and face already in existence, and so I created my own. This is exactly how the colour line also came to be. We saw an opportunity to create something different for the market, and knew we could do it very well. As far as skincare, nothing is ever out of the question. Follow along on Instagram to see what we’ll launch next!
Your website explains your business MO is to create prestige cosmetics for passionate ‘prosumers’. Who is the ABH prosumer?
The ABH prosumer is someone who expects and deserves professional level products, even if they’re not in the beauty profession.
What are some of the challenges your business faces today?
Staying in tune with the fluctuation of the beauty industry. It’s important to remain relevant. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a challenge, but just another part of the business — to stay connected to your customer and consistently meet their needs.
What’s the biggest mistake people continue to make with their brows?
I still see a lot of over-tweezing, and sometimes I see product application that is a bit too heavy handed. Brows should be filled in an ombré style, meaning that they’re lighter towards the centre. Start by filling your brows at the arch, work your way towards the tail, and with the remaining bit of product on your brush, lightly do the inner portion of your brows.
What are your current makeup and brow trend predictions?
I think Instagram has helped transform makeup into a work of art, therefore trends became obsolete. Everybody is doing their own thing and creativity is so abundant that it really comes down to expressing your own style and individuality through fashion and makeup, now more than ever. I expect this mind-set to not only continue, but to flourish.
Talk me through your morning makeup and skincare routine?
I use the La Mer [skincare] line, and I love to layer. I have dry skin and it really helps keep the moisture locked in. Right now, I’m also in love with Barbara Sturm’s entire line of products. They utilise telomerase activation, which is the next frontier in skincare. My makeup look varies widely depending on what I have on that day, but I’ll always focus on brows (of course), lips, and lashes. I like to keep things soft and neutral.
What continues to be your best-selling ABH product?
Brow Wiz, $38, is consistently our #1 in brow, and it’s the product I never leave home without. Other best-sellers include our Soft Glam Palette, $86; Dip Brow, $37; Brow Definer, $55; and our Glow Kits, $84.
Who are your favourite beauty influencers to work with and why?
I love seeing the creativity coming out of young people on Instagram, it’s such an inspiration. Choosing new talent to support and place on ‘The List’ is always a pleasure. We’ve also collaborated over the years with some of the most incredible artists, including Mario Dedivanovic, Amrezy, Nicole Guerriero. I can’t wait to show you who we’re working with next.
THE LAST WORD:
Last beauty buy?
I stopped in a beauty shop on 3rd Street and restocked on some much-needed hair tools, curlers, blow dry brushes, plus my staple sponges and Aveeno makeup remover sheets.
Last meal you ate?
Grilled chicken with grilled vegetables.
Last country you visited?
Qatar for Fashion Trust Arabia.
Last text you sent?
About a photo-shoot to Norvina.
Last outfit you wore?
All Comme des Garcons with Balenciaga boots and a Tom Ford Scorpio pin and ring.
Last spa treatment you had?
I have a massage at my house every week.
• Anastasia Beverly Hills is available in Mecca Cosmetica and Mecca Maxima stores, as well as online at Meccabeauty.co.nz.