In high school, Claudia Soare worked the front desk at her mother’s brow salon, partly in an effort to spend time with the busy brow guru-turned-beauty executive.
“Claudia was the best person on the front desk that we ever had,” said Anastasia Soare, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Anastasia Beverly Hills [ABH]. “She was so good at handling the customers and multitasking. Slowly, we moved her to the corporate office.” Claudia took on the role of President in 2013. She now oversees business operations, product development and marketing for the brand’s products.
“She has an incredible sense of understanding the customer. She’s always striving for perfection, and she has a vision. She makes the trend. She is highly creative, and works hard,” Anastasia continued.
Together, the mother-daughter team has transformed ABH from brow services to brow products to one of the fastest-growing cosmetics ranges in the industry—which they said is reaping annual growth of about 100 percent since diving into the realm several years ago.
When asked what drew her to her mother’s business, which began in the early Nineties, Claudia jokingly said, “I am Romanian. I don’t have a choice.”
But don’t be fooled by her dry sense of humor. Claudia and her mother are intensely committed to the company’s vision. Some of the brand’s biggest accomplishments include its 2014 Contour Kit, which is largely credited with “opening the door” for the brand’s expansion. The launch of Liquid Lipstick wedged it open even wider, and Glow Kit has established its legitimacy. The pair is eyeing additional product innovation milestones.
“It’s a life philosophy. My mother came here from a Communist country. We’re competitive,” said Claudia. In fact, when Anastasia left Romania for the U.S. she began shaping brows — inspired by an art teacher who spoke of the importance of brows on the face — to pay her rent. “I wanted to be the best,” recalled Anastasia.
“I wanted to create a technique that was based on science, then introduce products.”
Anastasia — and many industry watchers — credit Claudia as ABH’s social media wunderkind.
“Social media has played a tremendous part [in our success]. It has provided us a voice outside of advertising. It helped us launch color cosmetics,” said Claudia.
She added that retailers begin paying attention to a launch after it’s proved its worth on social media.
“We are well-rounded category wise, and we have strong categories that continue to grow, such as Glow Kit,” said Claudia. “I think there will be a strong return to basic lipsticks.”
The company’s growth and social media prowess is attracting a lot of attention from competitors. But Anastasia has publicly she’s not interested in selling [the company], adding that she owns 100 percent of the company.
The company is focused on “maxing out” the U.S. market. This year it will expand to 100 new Ulta Beauty doors and add color to 100 doors that currently only retail brow products. It will also be sold in about 600 Sephora Inside JCPenney doors.
Online sales currently account for 10 percent of the business.
Internationally, the brand is sold in France, Romania, the Middle East, Australia, Mexico and Canada.
When asked if Anastasia and Claudia crave time apart, they both shrug off the notion of rest.
“This is my life,” said Anastasia, who likens brow shaping to her idea of “yoga time.’
Claudia added, “I don’t know how to be idle. I would be tremendously bored.” As for her mother’s strengths, Claudia said, “She has a wonderful capacity to be a teacher.”