Oprah Winfrey has proclaimed Anastasia Soare, who emigrated from Romania in 1989, the embodiment of the American dream. “You took eyebrows, something you’re so passionate about, and you turned it into this amazing business,” said Soare, relaying the words of her superstar client.
Soare singlehandedly put eyebrows on the beauty industry map with her brand Anastasia Beverly Hills, but it took persistence and overcoming missteps to get them there. Few believed eyebrows could be a standalone service when she started doing them in the Nineties, and even the landlord at the Beverly Hills location, which she still occupies, then wondered if she’d be able to pay the rent by shaping brows.
“I’m a fighter. Have you seen the movie ‘300?’ You know when Gerard Butler takes his sword and goes to war everyday? That’s me,” said Soare. “But I don’t go after other companies. I go after my consumer.”
Soare has fought through setbacks. In 2000, she released a full makeup line without enough money to provide the infrastructure to support it. She retrenched to services and brow products before launching a makeup line again in 2014, which has scored huge hits with contour kits and liquid lipsticks.
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“I came here. I was a single mom. I raised my daughter by myself, and I worked really hard. I did so many mistakes, but I learned from those much more than my successes,” said Soare. Today, Anastasia Beverly Hills’ retail network has reached 2,500 doors globally at a variety of retailers, including Ulta, Nordstrom, Sephora, Dillard’s and Macy’s.
Soare’s daughter Claudia, president of Anastasia Beverly Hills, has been crucial to pushing the brand to new heights. In 2012, Claudia convinced her mother to try Instagram. “I wasn’t a big fan of Facebook, but Instagram looked very attractive. I realized after a few months that this is the best platform for my company,” said Soare.
By the end of this month, Soare expects her brand to crack 10 million followers on Instagram. She posts every two to three hours on the platform, and changes her outfit four times a day to fuel content. She views social media as a vehicle to showcase her products and educate consumers about them, and offer behind-the-scenes peeks into her life and career.
“Social media changed absolutely everything about us. I knew that I had the best products. I knew that I had the best technique. They [social media followers] helped me to propel everywhere,” said Soare. “I mean, I would post a picture and a woman in Pakistan will answer me. This is unbelievable. I used to go to Nordstrom and touch — how many? — 100 people a day. I put a post, and I will get 100,000 comments.”
With Anastasia Beverly Hills registering impressive growth, private equity investors, investment bankers and strategic buyers have been circling it. Soare suggested they should stand down because she’s not planning to sell her brand. She said, “I own 100 percent of the company, if you are curious about that. I don’t have any investment, and I’m not planning to get any [any] time soon.”
As women continue to embrace makeup, Soare sees bright days ahead for Anastasia Beverly Hills. “When I arrived here, women used to do makeup for Oscar events or a wedding or some special event. Right now, every woman has to apply makeup everyday, especially your eyebrows,” she said, elaborating that brows are the “one element in your face that will change everything. It’s one feature on your face that will bring balance and proportion of it is shaped correctly.”