Today she’s all about her all- natural, plant-based beauty and skincare product line, Beauty Kitchen, which delivers a luxurious at-home spa experience with simple ingredients at an affordable price. We figured it was time for a chat.
Growing up in California I had an innate awareness of healthy living that translated itself into a passion for beauty and skincare. My grandmother who raised me encouraged my creativity and at a young age, I was already blending homemade face masks. In 2011, after relocating to Las Vegas I became a marketing consultant for a food and beverage company. But as successful as I was in the position, I quickly realized that corporate work was not for me. Because I had helped a lot of friends with skin concerns with my natural recipes, they all encouraged me to produce my own skincare.
At that point, I realized I had been spending a fortune for years and all that time, I didn’t even really know about these chemical ingredients that I was putting on my skin. I began to seriously look into all-natural alternatives. In 2012, I launched my YouTube series where I demonstrated how to concoct beauty treatments using everyday ingredients anyone can find in their own kitchens. In a few short months, my channel was drawing millions of views. I also began gifting close friends with some of my blends and everyone just loved them. I knew I wasn’t the only one who wanted all-natural beauty, and in 2013 I finally launched my own company, Beauty Kitchen by Heather Marianna.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
That’s a difficult question to answer because success can mean a lot of different things to different people. Many equate success to popularity like maybe celebrities using our brand or how many followers you have on Instagram. For example, some of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills used our eye gels in their last couple of episodes, but that doesn’t necessarily translate as success. I do think I feel most successful when I see my products being used and our customers appreciate what they do for them.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My grandmother has always served as my most enduring inspiration because she has always supported my ambitions and encouraged me to be brave and go for my dreams. But I literally couldn’t do all of this alone. I remain grateful to all the people who helped me along the way to the people I work with day in and day out. Even those who have nothing to do with my work, friends and other personal relationships contribute to what I do. For instance, I’ll hear a friend complain about some kind of skin concern and I immediately start thinking of a solution and a new product. And of course, there are the loyal customers as well as beauty industry reporters and others who have supported us and spread the word about the brand. I’m very blessed to have all of them.
The global beauty industry today has grown to more than half a trillion-dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
At the core of my brand is the use of natural ingredients. Much of our innovation lies in creating new and effective blends of ingredients that can provide the same, if not better, results than those expensive products loaded with chemicals and synthetics. But beyond that, we do find other relevant ways of making our customers’ lives easier. During the quarantine, for example, we introduced an online scanning tool that allows people to customize their skincare from the comfort of home. Now that people are coming back to brick-and-mortar stores and wanting to get out and about, however, it hasn’t been used as much. But we never stop trying to come up with new ideas and new products. One product we’re excited about is our new body masks as I want our customers to get more into skin tightening all over the body instead of focusing simply on the face.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
- More and more people understand the importance of using natural, sustainable, cruelty-free products.
Fewer people are equating price with quality. Not everyone can afford a $400 jar of face cream. Just because it’s tingling doesn’t necessarily mean it’s working!
- That there’s more work to be done to bring inclusivity into the industry – from within and in addressing customers. We are finally recognizing that people have different skin concerns and can and should have solutions that work for them.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you could implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
- It would make a difference to have better oversight on ingredients and labelling. Better disclosures educate the industry and the customers.
- There’s also this thing in the business where companies charge brands fake certifications that can mislead people into thinking those were gained by merit. And there doesn’t seem to be any oversight on those.
- It comes down to how there are entities that can basically peddle products that are passed off as being effective when really they’re just snake oil.
You are a beauty expert. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
Unfortunately, whether by choice or circumstance, many of us still fail to understand how our well-being is tied to beauty. It all starts there. Taking care of yourself is how you bring out your best beauty. Personally, one thing that I need to start doing is taking my own advice. Because lately, I realize I really need to get more sleep and drink more water. And yes, I do drink a lot of water but the sleep thing has been crazy for me lately as I haven’t been sleeping much. I also feel that affirmations and telling yourself that you’re worth it and you deserve it makes such a big difference as well. It works to feel beautiful from within and have it manifested outwardly.
Can you share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”? Please share a story or an example, for each.
- You have to truly embody what your brand stands for – In beauty (like in fashion), you can’t just clock into work and then leave it all behind when it’s time to go home. It’s a way of life that should permeate your every day. You need to believe in what you’re doing and have an understanding of what the brand means to you because that’s the only way you can effectively communicate that message to your customers. Don’t just believe your own hype. Use your own products! Get to know their strengths and weaknesses so you’re in the best position to sell them or make any kind of changes that might be necessary and ultimately for the better.
- You need to possess a strong sense of determination – To succeed in the modern beauty industry I believe you need to be able to weather a lot of ups and downs. You need to realize that working with other people doesn’t mean they’re all going to be the nicest people in the world who want to work with you. And that’s okay. We all have our own agendas and priorities so with whatever triumphs you experience be just as gracious in accepting defeats. The key is not to give up and keep soldiering on.
- Stay attuned with the entire industry – Keep your ear to the ground and be constantly up-to-date with trends, changes, and innovations. Just because something isn’t there one day doesn’t mean it can’t be the next big rage the next day. You don’t live in a bubble where you think your work is the only thing that matters. Sometimes, you can get inspiration or ideas from something that’s happening around you. And the industry itself is populated by creative individuals whose contributions may indirectly prompt you into new directions.
Be transparent – Any business has its share of unsavoury people who are only in it to make a quick buck and they can often resort to all sorts of shady things to get what they want. If you want to maintain a consistent trajectory toward success, it is in your best interest to maintain a sense of honesty and integrity about what you are offering because those are the seeds that will reap the biggest rewards.
Keep your eye on the big picture – Working day to day, it’s very easy to get lost in the details of the moment. Sure, you can spend days or weeks trying to solve a problem or create a product. But now and then you need to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and why you decided to do all this in the first place. Certainly, it’s great to think that maybe someday the endgame is to have a major company buy you out so you can move to Africa and volunteer full time. But I also try to remember that I started this because I had bad skin and that in making my own facemasks, I came to understand how chemicals are often used as quick fixes that don’t necessarily deal with the real problem. And if I can make a difference in someone else’s life who’s had to deal with these kinds of problems then that’s good enough a reason for me.
Ultimately, making it in this business is far more complicated than most people realize – from conceiving proprietary formulas to sourcing and finding the right manufacturing facility. And that’s why I’ve started a Brand Incubator and Accelerator Program to help others who want to launch their own brands but don’t know where to begin. I’m including full turnkey coaching, retail-ready manufacturing, and making it affordable. I have nearly ten years of experience and I can help anyone in the program get onto wholesale sites, retailers, and so much more.
How can our readers follow you online?
On Instagram: @heathermarianna, @beautykitchenboutique, @beautykitchenjunkie, @askheathermariannablog, @mariannanaturals
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.