Anastasia Beverly Hills celebrates 25 years in beauty this week. The Founder and CEO of the famed brow brand, Anastasia Soare immigrated to the U.S. in 1989 from Romania with her young daughter, Claudia Norvina Soare. Without knowing the language, she found work as a salon esthetician and began the origin story of a brow empire in the making. After spotting an untapped niche in the market, Anastasia started offering eyebrow services to clients, a revolutionary new concept at the time. In 1997, she opened the Anastasia Beverly Hills Flagship Salon in Beverly Hills, which quickly garnered celebrity clientele, including Naomi Campbell, Michelle Pfeiffer, Faye Dunaway, and Cindy Crawford—and it’s still open today. Oprah eventually reached out, making Anastasia Beverly Hills become a beauty hotspot. In 2000, the brand launched its first-ever collection of products dedicated to brows, with Anastasia visiting retailers to help educate consumers on how to find their distinct beauty code based on her patented “Golden Ratio” shaping method. In 2012, Anastasia Beverly Hills became an early adopter of influencer marketing on Instagram. And in 2014, the brand debuted its new color makeup line, on Instagram, cultivating a relationship with a community of customers focused on product education and artistry.
Today, Anastasia and Claudia have created a billion-dollar empire rooted in community and education. Here, CEW Beauty News caught up with Anastasia to learn more about her beauty journey, the most pivotal points in her career, one big regret, and more.
Beauty News: Over the past 25 years, what would you say was the most pivotal points in the company?
Anastasia Soare: 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. When I started, no one was creating products specifically for brows. When I launched the ABH line in 2000, they were the first of their kind on the market, and it carved out a new category in beauty. ABH has channeled the application of the Golden Ratio to every product, even as we’ve expanded beyond brows. Every single face, lip or eye product is designed to support our philosophy that beauty is not one-size-fits-all and must be customized from face to face.
BN: Talk about the important partnerships (retail and beyond) that helped bring the brand to its current level of success?
AS: There are so many components that contributed to the success of ABH: the loyal network of customers that believed in the salon from its inception and spread knowledge through word of mouth. Oprah, for bringing me onto her talk show, which kept the phone at the salon ringing nonstop for months. The retailers who first carried our products and took a chance on brows. The collaborators who have worked with us on some of our most beloved products. Finally, our community. We were among the first to showcase the creative work of beauty lovers using our products, and this created a real kinship online. The brand is where it is today thanks to our community.
BN: Which team members have been most crucial to the brand’s success?
AS: Claudia originally worked time at the salon and came along on promotional trips. Over time, she grew to take on increasing responsibility at Anastasia Beverly Hills. She’s now our President and Creative Director, and absolutely brilliant with product development. It was Claudia who insisted we set up an Instagram account, seeing it as an opportunity for the brand to expand through social media and build a special relationship with users. She also took the theory of the Golden Ratio and expanded it into the creation of the color line, which led to the creation of such products as our cult-favorite Contour Kit. Claudia has now launched the Norvina Collection: the line is elevated, professional creative makeup that is refined for the masses, making it both the tool of choice for professionals and the reliable entry point for those who are dipping into color for the first time. It may not be necessary for every company, but for us, working together was essential. 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. Of course, we disagree about things, but when you have that passion, it really makes you feel like you don’t work a day. It’s our life.
BN: Who has served as your mentors along the way and what was some of their best advice?
AS: My mother has been my greatest source of inspiration. She single-handedly ran the family tailoring business after my father passed away, becoming the sole provider and the handler of our finances. She was so strong, so resilient, and she never seemed to tire. I remember watching how her clients adored her. She treated every single one like a friend, and always pushed to accept one more person, one more order. I would ask my mother, “don’t you want to rest? You work so hard, it never stops.” And she’d smile and tell me, “I love what I do.” Years later, when I opened the salon, I emulated the way my mother had treated her own clients. I prioritized the customer. And through the long days and endless appointments, I didn’t even want to stop because I realized I love what I do.
BN: What’s the biggest difference in how a consumer shops today?
AS: Consumers are craving ease, convenience, and accuracy. They want to order something from their phone, from the comfort of their home, and preferably without the need for the tiresome back and forth of returns. We had this in mind when designing our Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow App, which brings the experience of our salon and Golden Ratio Shaping Method into the hands of people around the world. Tutorials and literature are out there, but augmented reality takes it a step further, guiding individuals through the motions and showing them a projected result individualized to their proportions and facial structure. The app delivers recommendations personalized to your unique features and then ensures you have the tools to get the most out of your products.
BN: How has the beauty industry changed since you entered?
AS: I started creating products for brows because there were none on the market. At the salon, I was making my own homemade mixture with things like eyeshadow and Vaseline. I thought, there has to be something better, something women can take home and use daily. Anastasia Beverly Hills brow products catapulted the brow category, which today feels indispensable. Plus, beauty has seen tremendous growth for the individual as time goes on. I think today the definition of beauty carries with it a breath of fresh air, a fluidity, and most importantly, an individuality. The exponential growth in the market ensures that whatever your personal style, there is something for you.
BN: If you were to start all over today and enter beauty today, what’s the first thing you would do?
AS: I would start with the same guiding principle: create something of quality, something I would recommend to my closest family and friends.
BN: Talk about a regret or a mistake you’ve made and what you learned from it.
AS: When I started shaping brows, the salon was so busy that I was working 12-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.
BN: What is something crucial to succeeding in your role that no one told you about that you learned along the way?
AS: I learned to never give up, to never take no for an answer. Skills you can learn, experience you can gain, but determination and passion will be your guiding lights.
BN: What’s next for the brand?
AS: We have recently extended the Anastasia Beverly Hills app to include even more products for the face. So often, beauty lovers have a moment where they love the look of something they’ve seen, but when they try to recreate the look, it’s not quite right. Each unique face and individualized bone structure needs a tailored approach, and the Brow App expansion will help achieve the ah-ha moment of making a look your own.