A true American success story, Anastasia Soare – a Romanian immigrant – has built an empire over the last 20 years “one eyebrow at a time", she tells us.
Her clients we might know of? Since we’re in London, (Soare is here to celebrate the brand’s launch into Selfridges), she starts with the British ones. “Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell, Amal Clooney,” the entrepreneur counts – and then of course there’s “Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Kendall Jenner, all the Kardashians” in the States. Yeah, we’ve heard of them.
Her namesake brand all began with a Beverly Hills salon in 1997, an area she decided to focus on because she identified that “nobody in Hollywood did eyebrows in the ‘90s”. There were no brow-specific make-up products, either. Hard to imagine now.
“I realised I should go back to the library and look into that,” she recalls. “I remember my art teacher at school saying that when you’re drawing a portrait, if you want to change the subject’s emotion you change their eyebrows. Angry, surprised, happy – just draw different eyebrows.” After art school Soare studied construction architecture for five years. “You had to train your eyes to see in 3D,” she explains of the schooling. All of which fed into her (now patented) Golden Ratio Eyebrow Shaping Method, inspired by a theory documented by the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci and Albert Einstein that claims to hold the key to finding balance and symmetry.
This geometry is applied to her brow shaping in salons, and to all the cosmetic products within the Anastasia Beverly Hills brand, from the company’s first product line launched in 2000 to the ever-expanding colour cosmetics collection born in 2014.
Soare’s brow advice
So, what can we – and J-Lo, Amal et al – learn from Soare’s aesthetic principles?
“Brows should begin directly above the middle of your nostrils. The highest point of the arch should connect the tip of the nose with the middle of the iris. Brows should end where the corner of the nostril connects with the outer corner of the eye,” she says.
This means your brows will look like no one else’s. “Of course, because we all look different! What works on me doesn’t work on you and the other way around.” It’s about proportions. “We all have different brow bones, and different amounts of space between the eyebrow and the lashes; the space on the upper lid is bigger or smaller, the space on the bridge of the nose or between the eyes is wider or narrower. Everyone is different.”
So when it comes to shaping your eyebrows to their full potential, a professionally trained eye should not be overlooked.
Naturally, Soare says that the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow products are “the gateway” to her kingdom. “If eyebrows are important to you, start here: a Brow Wiz pencil, £22, [the brand’s forever best-seller], a Clear Brow Gel, £23, and a Brow Highlighter, £24.” Consider that your kit for the ABH polished brow look.
Billionaire business tips
As for her business principles, Soare’s passion is infectious.
“Every single piece of this brand is a part of me. I still approve every batch of every product for eyebrows and my daughter [the brand’s president] does everything for the make-up. Everything we do needs to be exceptional - if it’s not exceptional we don’t put it out there, because the biggest high for us is when we read comments from our customers saying that they can’t live without them.”
Set your ego aside, she says. “Don’t worry about being famous or making money; the most important thing is being the best. You have to become a master of your craft, and everything else will come.” Like a net worth of $1 billion (as Forbes estimates) and the 17.8 million Instagram followers. Hopefully.
“If I was able to do it – without speaking English, being in a new country with a kid – then anyone can do it.”
But the beauty world is a different place currently, with indie brands storming and the brow market booming (the latter arguably thanks to her). Is the competition a challenge?
“Years ago there were 50 brands, now there are 500 brands. Quality sets them apart and the brands that are authentic have something unique to offer. People in the beauty community don’t like copycats, so I think it’s important to stay true to who you are and people will stay your customer.”
Forget social media ‘strategies’
Speaking of authenticity, Soare does something unheard of for a brand of Anastasia Beverly Hills’ size and, together with her daughter, manages the Instagram account herself.
“It’s a full time job!” she laughs. Especially considering that the account is the number two beauty brand on Instagram, second only to MAC (and ahead of Kylie Cosmetics).
“There’s no strategy, it’s just what we like - me and my daughter. Because we work in the salon and meet clients we understand them and we take it to Instagram.”
A natural early adopter, Soare explains that they were the first to do collaborations with influencers, starting in 2013 – which, obviously, is big business and commonplace now – but that they create Instagram content with influencers organically. “We don’t pay people to talk about our products, we send them to them and if they want they can use it and talk about it. And they need to fit our look and have the same values if they want to collaborate with us. Authenticity is the most important thing.” And savviness-aside, Soare has that in spades.
Anastasia Beverly Hills is available at Selfridges London and Selfridges Manchester Trafford and at selfridges.com
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