Heather Marianna of Beauty Kitchen: “Be transparent”

Be transparent — Any business has it’s shares of unsavory 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 […]

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Be transparent — Any business has it’s shares of unsavory 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.

As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Heather Marianna, CEO and Founder of Beauty Kitchen and co-Founder of Marianna Naturals.

Heather Marianna is a highly regarded entrepreneur who gained prominence from her YouTube channel where she shared easy, do-it-yourself beauty solutions using common household ingredients. Her naturally vivacious and engaging on-camera personality led to being invited to host television beauty segments making appearances in over a hundred regional and national shows. Following meticulous research, development, and personal hand crafting, Heather launched her own plant-based skincare lines: Beauty Kitchen and Marianna Naturals in 2013 — based entirely on her commitment to natural and healthy beauty regimens and lifestyles.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

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 home-made 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.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

A career in beauty can be full of adventures — from having to face creative challenges at work to interacting with your customers out there in the world. And it becomes even more interesting when you really put yourself out there to participate in celebrity events. Believe me, there have been several stories, it’s so hard to nail one down. But I would have to say one recent incident that sticks to mind is my calling a celebrity by the wrong name! That is probably among the finest. Honestly since the inception of my company, we have had a lot of celeb supporters and influencers that just navigating that world can be very interesting. Some of them are really cool while others can be very difficult. Just recently, we participated in an event for the Emmy awards and I was introducing my line Beauty Kitchen to various celebrities. I innocently asked this actress if she was related to this athlete because they had the same last name. That didn’t go over well and our chat went downhill fast! There’s no telling how sensitive celebrities can be about your knowing who they are. If you happen to make the same mistake all I can say is just be as respectful as you can and move on.

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 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. Of course, we don’t often get that direct feedback from the public so often we rely on sales to show us that we’re doing a great job. And at the end of the day, you have a business to run and I think you have to keep pushing yourself to drive your sales because that’s what’s going to keep the lights on and pay your employees.

Back in the day I actually had one of the first beauty subscription boxes in the business. And we had several thousand people on that promotion and then of course everyone else followed and the market is now saturated with all kinds of subscription boxes. So we tried something a little different, we introduced a 20 dollars a month club, which is freaking fantastic! It’s basically like a subscription box for smaller sized or 1 to 2 full-size products that allows people to give our products a try at very accessible prices.

None of us are able to 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.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a 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 skin care from the comfort of home. Now that people are coming back to brick-and-mortar stores and really 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 really excited about is our new body masks as I want our customer 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

*Less people are equating price with quality. Not everyone can afford a 400 dollars 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 had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?

*It would really make a difference to have better oversight on ingredients and labeling. 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 really comes down to how there are entities that are able to basically peddle products that are passed off as being effective when really they’re just snake oil.

You are an expert about beauty. 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 wellbeing is tied into 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 really works to feel beautiful from within and have it manifested outwardly.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please 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 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 really 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 — In order to succeed in the modern beauty industry I believe you really 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 inspirations 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 it’s shares of unsavory 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 every 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 some day 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 actually 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 turn key 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, in retailers, and so much more.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’m actually hoping my brand is already part of the movement for all of us to understand how our decisions can affect the rest of the planet. If the message people can take away from using my products is simply the understanding of how making simple, better choices can change their lives — then that would be the kind of movement I want to inspire. Make choices that respect nature and lead a more sustainable lifestyle and stop using plastic water bottles please. The world would be so much better if we all did our part.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world” — John Muir. This is at the very foundation of Beauty Kitchen

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.

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