Protect your ideas. When I started shaping brows, the salon was so busy that I was working twelve-hour days, seeing client after client with hardly a break in-between. Each moment that passed was precious, and I noticed that even the seconds it took to switch my tools were wasting valuable time. So, I worked with a manufacturer to develop a double ended tool: a brush on one side, and a spoolie on the other. It was the first of its kind. At the time, I didn’t know that these sorts of things could be patented, and now those brushes are everywhere. Years later, while working with a trademark lawyer, I received an incredible piece of advice. He told me that the best thing I could do for the brand was to make Anastasia synonymous with brows. So that’s what I did, and I’ve never let an opportunity like that go by again.
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 Anastasia Soare.
Known by many as the Brow Queen, Anastasia Soare is a beauty industry icon and the Founder/CEO of Anastasia Beverly Hills, who’s fierce determination and entrepreneurial spirit, led her to create one of the most highly respected brands in beauty.
Born in Romania, Soare immigrated to Los Angeles in 1989 and got a job in a beauty salon. She quickly noticed that women weren’t grooming their eyebrows, a common practice in her home country. Determined to change the way women cared for their brows, Soare studied Leonardo da Vinci’s work with the golden ratio and developed a specific technique for shaping brows according to bone structure and natural brow shape. She eventually rented a small room in another salon and opened the doors to her first brow studio. Within six months word of “Hollywood’s best kept secret” spread, and Soare had celebrity clients like supermodels Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Stephanie Seymour, and a line of people clamoring for an appointment with her. Several years later in 2000, Soare launched her first brow-centric product, again filling a void, as eyebrows were an almost nonexistent category in the beauty business. Today, the brand offers an extensive and inclusive collection of brow solutions and makeup that focus on proportion.
For the past two decades, Soare has pushed boundaries and set industry standards, not only for brows, a category which she single handedly revolutionized, but in all aspects of the beauty and cosmetic industries. Anastasia Beverly Hills has developed a cult following, and Soare maintains a client list of iconic women, including: Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and Oprah Winfrey.
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?
I knew I wanted to be significant, to do something that I loved that would be important. I always had an interest in beauty, but I got a job as an esthetician out of necessity. I was an immigrant, and it was work I could do without needing to speak the language. While working, I noticed a glaring gap in the market — no one was paying attention to their eyebrows! I had this stroke of inspiration that maybe the same Golden Ratio I learned about in art school could be applied to shaping brows, bringing balance and proportion to my clients’ faces. The concept took off, and I went from renting a room in a salon to opening my own flagship salon. And when later I realized that products for brows didn’t exist, either, I was excited to fill that niche as well.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
A surreal moment was when Oprah brought me onto the Oprah Winfrey Show to do her brows on live national television. I still remember what it was like to get that phone call. Oprah wants me to do her eyebrows? The Oprah? It felt like winning an Oscar. After the episode aired, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing at the salon for months. She is still a client of mine, and also a dear friend.
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?
Opening my own salon was an uphill battle. I actually had to convince the landlord to rent me the space — he didn’t believe that I could pay the rent on eyebrows alone. When we opened our doors, there was a line around the block — a line he could see from his office. That was the best ‘I told you so’ I could imagine. It reinforced the lesson to never take no for an answer.
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?
I am so grateful for my mother. She is my greatest source of inspiration. In Romania, she supported our family, working tirelessly on clients at our family’s tailoring business. And they all loved her! I remember asking, ‘Aren’t you tired? Don’t you want to rest?’ And she would smile and say, ‘I love what I do.’ Years later, when I opened my own salon, I remembered and emulated the way she treated her customers. I put customer service first. And even while working twelve-hour days, when my own daughter would ask, Aren’t you tired? Don’t you want to rest?’ I would reply honestly ‘I love what I do.’
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?
When I first launched products for brows, there weren’t any existing brow products on the market. The first ABH line carved out a new category in beauty, and now styled brows are ubiquitous. When it comes to shaping, the foundation of the brand has always been brows personalized and tailored to your unique bone structure, thanks to the three steps of the Golden Ratio Shaping Method. By celebrating and encouraging this individuality, we hope it encourages the celebration of everyone’s uniqueness. Beauty is multi-faceted. No one thing should be the only thing considered beautiful.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
- Young people, especially on social media, who are so creative and making beauty their own.
- Seeing the way makeup has the transformative power to truly affect someone’s life. When we launch products, our customers are essentially inviting us into their homes, their routines, the way they choose to present themselves to the world. It’s a very intimate experience, and I’m so proud that ABH gets to be a part of that for so many people.
- The sense of community that has emerged. I love how skills, tips, and knowledge is so freely exchanged.
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?
- Inclusivity can always be improved upon. It’s been important for our brand since our inception, and we’ve tried to honor inclusivity through our extensive shade range in brow products and foundation. When we wanted to launch with 50 shades of Luminous Foundation, we actually had to fight for all shades to be carried in store. There’s always room for improvement, for any brand, to do more and keep inclusivity top of mind.
- Overall, the beauty community is very supportive and kind to differences. Each generation moves us further and further towards accepting individuality, but sometimes people are still hurtful on social media. I hope that everyone remembers that we all have diverse tastes and interests, and to never tear someone down for being different.
- As a consumer, the market can feel saturated in product, but I see this as an opportunity for a positive. There are options for everyone. If you feel overwhelmed by choice, seek out reviews from people you trust. Once you know what you love, focus on those products and formulas.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
I believe that what makes you feel powerful is also what makes you beautiful. Running a business, seeing people around the world use my products, hearing from others that I am their inspiration on their own road as an immigrant, as an artist, or as an entrepreneur — that’s what makes me feel beautiful. For others, I recommend leaning into whatever makes you feel as though you are thriving. That will always make you feel beautiful.
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 need to be able to stay in tune with the fluctuation of the industry. It’s important to remain relevant. Sometimes the timing isn’t going to be right, and you have to pay attention to that possibility. I tried launching a pomade for brows in the late 90s, but no one was ready for it, to dive into bold, structured arches. Brows were barely gaining traction, and it was too big of a step. But then, in 2014, I released it again and it’s since become a cult classic.
- Try to find an empty niche and fill it. When I started, no one was creating products for brows and a kit for contouring hadn’t been assembled. Look at what the community may need, and work to give them something new and innovative.
- Protect your ideas. When I started shaping brows, the salon was so busy that I was working twelve-hour days, seeing client after client with hardly a break in-between. Each moment that passed was precious, and I noticed that even the seconds it took to switch my tools were wasting valuable time. So, I worked with a manufacturer to develop a double ended tool: a brush on one side, and a spoolie on the other. It was the first of its kind. At the time, I didn’t know that these sorts of things could be patented, and now those brushes are everywhere. Years later, while working with a trademark lawyer, I received an incredible piece of advice. He told me that the best thing I could do for the brand was to make Anastasia synonymous with brows. So that’s what I did, and I’ve never let an opportunity like that go by again.
- Stay committed to quality, and never launch anything you’re not in love with yourself. People remember how you treat them, the quality of what you’ve recommended and created. Put your consumer first and make sure they know that you have their best interests in mind. Give them something they need and love from the beginning, because you never get the opportunity for a second first impression. I still personally test every new batch of brow product to ensure that the formula remains consistent with what our community has come to expect.
- If I had tried to model my path after someone else, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. I worked hard and I did my own thing. Everyone is different, and everyone will have a different journey. We all want to succeed and overcome our fears. So never, ever give up. Understand that the road is difficult and different for everyone, and then keep going.
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. 🙂
When I was getting started in the beauty industry, I was in a position where I relied on other women’s support. It was my clients who stood by me, spreading my business through word of mouth, and I cherish those relationships — some of them decades long. I owe everything to the strong, vibrant community of women I met along the way, and I realized that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life — support other incredible women in return. I think most of us have an awareness of the special power a community of support can radiate, so if I could inspire any sort of movement, it would be to be champions of your friend’s endeavors. Be their biggest fan, the foundation that lifts those you care about towards their greatest success.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I love this Mahatma Gandhi quote, ‘Every night when I go to sleep, I die. And then the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.’ I sacrificed so much when I left Romania, but I knew that I wanted to create something for myself that would give me purpose each and every day. During my hardest times, the long hours on the road to opening the salon, remembering this quote helped me keep going.
How can our readers follow you online?
They can follow along on our main Instagram account @anastasiabeverlyhills or my personal account @anastasiasoare.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.