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Anastasia Soare, founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills, is arguably one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the beauty industry. With an estimated net worth of over $1 billion, Soare has built an incredible brand over the last 24 years which was founded on creating the perfect brow under her ‘Golden Ratio’ technique.
However, it’s been quite a journey for Romanian-born Soare to get to where she is today. Having grown up during the communist era in Romania, there was much unrest in the country at the time which led to Soare leaving in 1989 with her daughter to go to the USA and join her then-husband. “I left behind the only life I ever knew,” she tells Emirates Woman. “I left my family and the country I grew up in. Then I arrived in a place where I knew no one and couldn’t even speak the language.” Despite all of the setbacks, Soare had an “unshakeable belief” she was destined for greatness and was going to be able to cultivate an incredible life for herself.
She managed to get a job as an esthetician in Beverly Hills where she was responsible for facial and body waxing but noticed no one ever paid attention to the brows. Recalling the Golden Ratio she had learned about in art school, Soare thought the same could be applied to eyebrows. She started including the treatment as an add-on to the facial treatments for her clients. At the time, the salon she was working in wasn’t convinced about the Gold Ratio Shaping Method as a standalone treatment, which led her to rent her own room in another salon. From there, her client list grew and grew.
This eventually led Soare to open her very own salon in Beverly Hills in 1997, with the brand launching its first product line in 2000. And now, as they say, the rest is history.
Emirates Woman sat down with Soare to learn more about her story as a beauty entrepreneur, how she is paving the way in the industry and what truly is at the core of Anastasia Beverly Hills.
Can you talk us through your career?
Anastasia Beverly Hills was founded upon the application of the Golden Ratio in creating balance and harmony. I was inspired by the ancient principle of Divine Proportion and developed a patented three-step Golden Ratio Eyebrow Shaping Method to enhance and accentuate each individual’s unique facial features. At the time, it was revolutionary; no one else was bothering to shape eyebrows. I launched a Beverly Hills flagship salon in 1997 and the first-of-its-kind product line devoted to brows in 2000, which carved out an entirely new category in cosmetics.
You arrived in the USA in 1989 after leaving your home country Romania – tell us about this?
At once exciting and completely nerve-wracking. I left behind the only life I ever knew. I left my family and the country I grew up in. Then I arrived in a place where I knew no one and couldn’t even speak the language. But at the same time, I had this unshakable belief that I had also arrived in the place of boundless opportunity, and it was going to be up to me to make the most of it.
How did you find your way into the beauty space?
By chance and by necessity. I always had an interest in beauty, but I got a job as an esthetician because I was an immigrant, and it was work you could do without needing to speak the language. I was responsible for facial and body waxing when I noticed a glaring gap in the market – no one was paying attention to their eyebrows. I wondered if the same Golden Ratio I had learned about in art school growing up could be applied to brows, bringing a sense of balance and harmony to my clients’ faces. I started to shape brows as an add-on at the end of facials, testing out what would become the Golden Ratio Shaping Method. The salon I was working at wasn’t convinced that brows were worth offering as a separate service – that there wouldn’t be enough interest – so I put in my notice and rented a room in another salon. I was booked solid, and my client list just kept growing. Eventually, I realized I was ready for the big leap of faith in my career: that it was now or never to open my very own salon.
You built everything yourself from the outset. What did this teach you?
That if you believe in your vision with absolute conviction and never take no for an answer it will happen. 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. I learned to never give up, to never take no for an answer. Skills you can learn, the experience you can gain, but determination and passion will be your guiding lights.
How did you develop your signature brow technique?
Our eyes are intrinsically trained to spot divine proportion and immediately associate it with beauty and harmony. It is a mathematical ratio in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, occurring in the natural world, identified by thinkers and mathematicians, and utilized by artists and architects for centuries. I worked over months to identify the three measurements that would universally transform clients’ faces in the most flattering way for their unique bone structure. You can now discover your own perfect brow shape with the Golden Ratio Shaping Technique: brows should begin directly above the middle of your nostrils, brows should end where the corner of the nostril connects with the outer corner of the eye, and the highest point of the arch should connect the middle of the tip of the nose with the middle of the iris.
What inspired you to start your own brand?
The Golden Ratio Shaping Technique brings balance and proportion to each unique face, and I realized makeup had the capability to do that as well. When my clients would come in, I’d fill in their brows with my own homemade mix of eyeshadow, aloe, and Vaseline. There were no products for brows on the market at the time, and when I saw there was an interest, I set out to be the first. People could use these products at home to achieve the balance and proportion I was creating in the salon, bringing harmony to their entire face.
What was the process of starting your own brand like?
I had to start completely from scratch. This was a completely new category in beauty, so there were months of travelling abroad and going back and forth on the development of the formula, to ensure that it performed at the quality I needed it to. When the line first launched in 2000, this was before social media, so I spent all my free time travelling to different Nordstrom stores to show customers one-on-one exactly how to use the product. I’m still incredibly hands-on with the process. Sometimes, the raw pigments used to create the colour change, and maybe the new pigments have a slightly different hue or undertone and need to be adjusted accordingly. This is why, to this day, I test every single batch of brow product before it’s approved.
You launched your brand in 1997, how have things evolved since then?
As a brand, we’ve grown exponentially. We’re available in over 30 countries and Anastasia Beverly Hills consists of a large team behind the scenes working to make things happen – such a change from the one-woman operation it was originally! Culturally, I’ve loved the flush of individuality that has infiltrated the beauty market. Beauty doesn’t have a single definition, and I’ve loved seeing the way people make it their own.
Your products are staples in many beauty routines the globe over. How does this feel?
It’s truly unbelievable how far around the world Anastasia Beverly Hills products have travelled. I truly believe that makeup has the transformative power to truly affect someone’s life. 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.
What is at the core of the brand’s DNA?
Our ethos is that beauty is about balance and proportion – not perfection. This started with the development of the Golden Ratio Technique. Now, ever product launch is inspired by makeup’s unique ability to create the illusion of facial balance, symmetry, and proportion. We are committed to representation, believing that beauty knows no age, gender, or race. Put simply, beauty is for everyone, and we set out with the goal to create products for every customer and the myriad of ways they may wish to express themselves. Last, we are committed to professional-grade quality. Not a single product rolls out that we haven’t personally tested and loved. If we wouldn’t recommend it to our closest of family and friends, then it doesn’t launch.
To you, what are your brand’s three hero products?
Brow Wiz – Brow Wiz handles both shading and fine, hair-like detail, can fill areas of sparseness and creates a brow with extremely soft and natural dimensions. This product has a cult following, and I believe its enduring popularity is because it truly works for everyone. Whether someone wants one product that does it all, uses Brow Wiz as their detail in a multi-step routine, or struggles with patches of sparseness from periods of over-plucking, this is the brow pencil that delivers.
Clear Brow Gel – This clear gel sets colour and holds brow hairs in place for a polished look that lasts. Use it on its own to lend your brows definition without a stiff feel or white cast or use it as a finishing step after filling brows to make colour last all day. Clear Brow Gel is also a lifesaver if you’re in-between brow appointments, as it can easily sweep unruly brow hairs cleanly into place.
Luminous Foundation – For coverage that doesn’t feel weighed down, try out the ABH Luminous Foundation, applying it first to the areas of my face that need the most coverage, and then blending it out with the A30 Pro Brush. It blurs imperfections, but it’s so lightweight that it feels like a second skin. The luminous finish gives a lit-from-within glow without enhancing face texture or settling into fine lines.
What have been the hurdles you’ve experienced throughout your career?
In the beginning, it was so hard. The hours were long, and I wasn’t sure if it would even pay off. I can’t tell you the number of evenings I went home ready to give up, not sure I could continue one more day. And then I would wake up in the morning and start it all again. 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. I tried to look at each hurdle as a lesson. With lessons come learning, so you never need to make the same mistake twice.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, what have been the key milestones?
In 1998, a surreal moment and major turning point were when Oprah brought me onto the Oprah Winfrey Show to do her brows on live national television. After it aired, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing at the salon for months. She is still a client of mine, and also a dear friend.
Watching my daughter’s creativity blossom. She has been instrumental in the development of the brand in the development of our colour category and as acting President. Working so closely with my daughter has been incredible, and it brings me such joy that she is so completely in love with what she does.
Experiencing the tremendous growth of our community, especially on social media. It’s amazing how close-knit of a community 20 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 recognize this genuine connection. A couple of years ago, I travelled back to Romania for the launch of Anastasia Beverly Hills in my home country. As I came full circle, I realized that I had reached a special point in my life that was almost perfectly divided by time lived in Romania and time living in the United States. It was a surreal moment to come full circle. my Romanian origins gave me — heritage, endurance, and resilience, and I am living my American dream because of my Romanian roots.
This is ‘The Beauty Issue’ – how do you define beauty?
Whatever it is that makes you feel powerful – that is also what makes you beautiful.
June’s – ‘The Beauty Issue’ – Download Now
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