Sona Gasparian

As a makeup artist, Sona Gasparian grew frustrated at the amount of time she was spending mixing and matching eyeshadows to build palettes that enhanced the beauty of her client’s brown eyes. She later learned that between 70 percent and 80 percent of the global population have this common eye color, which sparked the idea for a curated high-quality, neutral palette. In 2016, Sonia turned her idea into a makeup line with the launch of Persona Cosmetics, which she co-founded with her husband, Kasra. The brand debuted with one SKU, Identity Pallet ($42), featuring 12 buildable mattes and shimmers designed for brown eyes. Since then, the color cosmetics line has expanded to include a variety of clean eye, lip and face products, all of which feature responsibly-sourced ingredients and recyclable materials. Part of the brand’s success can be attributed to the dedicated fan base Sona built as part of her thriving influencer career. She currently boasts more than 750K subscribers on Youtube and more than 240K followers on Instagram. Originally from Armenia, Sona now resides in Los Angeles where she oversees her growing brand, which has experienced 300 percent year over year revenue growth in the past 12 months. Persona is currently available on and Here, CEW Beauty News spoke to Sona to learn more about the brand, how she connects with consumers and her advice for fellow entrepreneurs.

Beauty News: Who is your target audience?
Sona Gasparian: Our target audience is anyone who wants to simplify their makeup routine. This specifically skews towards the consumer who wants to look polished and put together but doesn’t necessarily have the time to spend hours watching YouTube videos on how to use the products.

BN: How are you raising your brand’s awareness?
SG: We were born on social media by millennial founders, which means we’re digitally native by nature. We use our social platforms to build awareness, nurture our community and gain their trust by providing valuable content that’s most relatable to them. We believe that if we share our authentic stories our target audience will find and connect with us. We’ve built out a robust influencer program which allows us to efficiently scale working with influencers that authentically resonate with the brand and thus increase our EMV. In 2020, we carefully took time to clearly define our brand’s purpose and value proposition and found that communicating this with our audience and potential new customers has lifted conversion rates.

BN: How has your business managed over the past year?
SG: When the pandemic started it was all about how we can keep the team safe, adjust our communications to be there for the community during uncertain times, and finally, how to help as a brand and give back. We pulled back on some big projects (retail expansion) and doubled down on others that ultimately helped the brand grow nearly three times its previous sales. More specifically, we doubled down on influencer marketing, new product categories (nails, makeup brushes) and paid advertising when Cost Per Action advertsing had dropped dramatically.

BN: What are you most proud of so far?
SG: Our small team of dedicated employees and the tight knit community we’ve built along the way, neither of which came easy. But as first-time entrepreneurs being patient, consistent, and trusting the process to build a foundationally solid brand, is the most rewarding.

BN: Who is funding the brand?
SG: To date, we are proud to say we’re a self-funded, independent brand that has been built sustainably and profitable. We aren’t actively seeking investors but always welcome likeminded partners who have the same vision to help continue to grow the brand.

BN: What advice do you have for someone starting a brand?
SG: Don’t think of the long road ahead because that can be discouraging and can slow you down. Work on making progress every day and live up to the challenges because once you get through it (you always do) it’ll be that much more rewarding.