Building a Sustainable Beauty Brand with Reality TV Star Heather Marianna 

@HeatherMarianna skyrocketed in popularity with the launch of her Beauty Kitchen YouTube series in 2012 where she showcased simple, do-it-yourself beauty recipes made with common kitchen household ingredients. The bubbly social media personality translated her passion for looking and feeling her absolute best into the development of her all-natural beauty and skincare product line, Beauty Kitchen.

Heather Marianna starred on Bravo’s luxury-travel series, “Tour Group” in 2015 and was featured on Oxygen’s “My Super Shopping Addiction” in addition to appearing on several episodes of MTV’s “Teen Mom OG.” The DIY guru has also appeared on countless news segments across the country as a beauty expert, showcasing her own simple tricks and tips.

Beauty Kitchen® was born from our belief that the world deserves 100% natural skincare and cosmetics without the use of chemical preservatives.

“our products are hand-made fresh at our facilities in the USA, and are always Cruelty-Free, Paraben-Free, and Sulfate-Free. Our mission is to provide an all-encompassing, luxurious at-home spa experience for the modern day glamor girl at an affordable price.” – CEO, Heather Marianna.

Tell us how you got started on building a beauty empire?

I’m the CEO of BeautyKitchen which is the US division of my company, and the chairwoman of Marianna Naturals which is the Canadian division, in partnership with Montreal Entrepreneur, Joel DeBellefeuille.. I started making skin care products because I had really bad skin. And when I was in high school, I actually used to make face masks all the time, and I would travel with my friends and would always carry essential oils. When I started my business, Beauty Kitchen I went off the fact that my friends would say I would be crazy to think I couldn’t make a business out of this – I was fixing their skins for so many years. I remember one time I was traveling to Kenya, Africa with some friends and they had bad breakouts and I would just think, don’t worry I’ll just go to the kitchen and make homemade face scrubs that really cleared up their acne. I’ve always been naturally drawn to skin care, and it just felt like the right brand to launch.

When did it transition to making it in your kitchen for friends and family to turning into this conglomerate brand?

So when I moved to Las Vegas I was working a corporate job and I ended up quitting because it just wasn’t for me. It was a lot of travel and at the time had three dogs so I just felt bad always having a sitter at the house. I was lucky to have some money saved, I was just asking all my friends what should I do?! I had run some businesses before running boutiques so I definitely knew that running a business for myself would be a lot of work. They were all like “you need to do this skincare stuff!” And if you go back to 2012, natural skin care was in the marketplace but it was nothing like it is now.

I really feel like I was at the forefront of natural skin so I started a YouTube channel to test the waters. I would get 500K views on some of my videos. I always keep all my videos from the beginning to inspire other women to say “she started here and now she has two brands with one about to go public with the stock exchange.” That’s pretty huge.

I just started testing the waters with YouTube, and when I noticed I started getting traction I started my first product which is still one of our top sellers, which is an anti cellulite coffee scrub. I’ve been using it for years and know it works better than other brands out there.

Our key element is using natural products that work and essential oils. I started sending them out to celebrities, who would re port and share it on Twitter. Then I got invited to put my products in the gift bags at the Oscars and the Emmys. I did that for a few years until I decided now this is the time to go full force on this.

In 2012, I started my packaging and launched the sugar scrubs which is absolutely our best seller. And then I got my first office, which is part of a building and now I have the entire building. I just did an LOI on another warehouse. We’re in about 7,000 sqft now. I started taking over the building as we just stated to grow and grow.

You have to really live the brand, which I believe is a key element for a business owner. I don’t buy anything that’s not natural, I eat very well and you just have to be passionate about what you sell. It has to be about more than just the money – you have to have an end goal.

What does your product line look like now? How has it evolved over time?

When I first started, I didn’t realize that you had to be very detail oriented just about how you close the jars for example – so for example the sugar jars would leak – but now we have really amazing packaging and our labeling is great. I used to print my own labels and then we started to outsource them now I have these giant printers the same ones you see at FedEx which makes things much easier for production.

Our packaging is ever evolving. The next thing I want to do with our brand is to get completely sustainable packaging. We want to implement that by this summer so that by 2024 we are a completely sustainable brand. We already use a lot of glass instead of plastic so we do use top quality stuff right now but I want it to be 100% recyclable.

What is your long term vision with the brand? Where do you see it in the next five years? 

I would love to see our brand in some of the biggest retailers such as Sephora and Ulta and start doing bigger brand partnerships. I see it with very high end gyms, and for our anti cellulite product doing collaborations with high end vitamin companies and meal companies.

We are definitely focusing heavily on beauty brand coaching and turn key private label for a few women right now. Teaching them how to get in front of retailers and how to wholesale. I think it’s important to help other people reach their goals and bring their vision to life. That’s really what drives me as well.

When you go to Sephora or Ulta you’ll see fifteen different rose waters and there’s hardly any difference in any of these products. To me it doesn’t really matter if people are selling the same stuff I feel like there’s really room for everyone to grow – you just have to stand out and have a purpose behind your brand. Skincare is a billion dollar market, there’s truly a piece for everyone. If I can help build someone else’s brand and manufacture their products and we’re both making money it doesn’t really matter what the logos says.

What is something you want to Manifest into reality in the future of your brand? 

I want this brand to be SO big on a global scale that a company or investment group comes and buys it for one billion dollars. Hi L’Oréal, I’m right here when you need be! 

What has been one of the biggest challenges you have had to surmount in your business? 

Supply issue is crazy right now and just getting things delivered on time and sourcing is very difficult. It’s not what it was just a few years ago. Everything is fluctuating all the time from prices to delivery. It’s just something we need to pass on to our customers so we are always having to do promotional deals for our customers so that they feel taken care of and that they are getting great value. That is part of our success formula to over deliver as much as we can.

People are doing self care like crazy and when people were staying at home more, we had our highest sales year in the history of the brand. So I feel like now people are caring more and more about that and we are here to facilitate it.

Where can people find your brand today?

We ship worldwide on our website, we are in over 3,000 stores right now all over North America. We are launching in Israel, Mumbai, and Hong Kong this year. I have to credit my CEO Joel who made that deal happen. I’m so grateful to have such a wonderful team who believe in our products and in the global brand.

What does success represent to you?

I define success as being able to do what you love, and it’s not always about the money. Most people don’t know this about me but I love to volunteer and I hold causes in Africa dear to my heart. My goal when this business is said and done, I would absolutely love to move to Kenya for a year and pursue more of my philanthropic endeavours and giving back. That is success to me. Being able to wake up everyday and contribute to the world while making your heart happy. I get to do that right now with my brand, I get to employ people and we get to expand which has been really gratifying so I’m just excited for what the future will hold.

What advice would you give other women about launching a business?

You should always do something that you’re interested in. When I talk to girls who want to start their brand in skincare or strip lashes, which is another part of my business, I always say : if you’re not into makeup, don’t do this. You have to be passionate about it. So if you’re really into fitness but want to do a skincare brand, then you should only focus on the fitness stuff like anti cellulite or rollers, things that work in your niche. You have to be passionate about it and just think about how you can expand on what you are already doing. If you’re yoga teacher, come out with a  yoga mat. If you look in your life, you will see in your daily practices things that you already like. So ask yourself : what am I really into? For example, I walk every day – great. How do you expand on that? Stuff like that because that’s where the magic is. Do things that really work for you don’t model it from someone else’s perspective or brand as it becomes inauthentic and people can feel that.

What drives you to keep growing? 

What really motivates me is my childhood story. I was raised by my grandmother and had to motivate myself growing up. When I got to College I realized that I didn’t want to be living in a situation like I did growing up. I wanted financial freedom, I wanted to be fulfilled and happy and give back to the world. I just really pushed myself, I went to college and grad school. I started my own business in grad school. I always worked and was never satisfied until I would reach and surmount my goals. I knew I was made for more in life and didn’t stop until I got what I wanted. I’ve always been very driven and motivated internally.

I channeled all the pain from my childhood into becoming successful. I know that my past doesn’t define me, what defines me is how I treat other people and the quality of the work that I do today to make a difference in the world. My love for dogs, for volunteering is what keeps me heart-centred.

“I didn’t have anybody cheering me on and so I had to learn how to be my own cheerleader and believe in myself.”

How do you keep your balance and inner peace today? 

Self love is really important, as well as self care. Recognizing that you don’t have to work on your business 24/7 as they say. You need to take time for yourself to rest and re charge. You cannot lead your employees and your business if you’re tired or unwell. You have to realize that you are driving a train and you cannot drive a train drunk or hungover. Drunk meaning tired or angry or not well rested.

I don’t take myself too seriously and I don’t try to portray this fake imagine that I am perfect. I wear sweats and no make up on my instagram stories because that os the real me and people want to see that way more than a curated “perfect” page. Growing organically and at your own pace is so important. 

I still work on the weekends on other projects – but I avoid working on the operation of my business on weekends. I’m also really big on fitness and training is very important on a regular basis for me. I travel often so I always have something to look forward to and resting is very important for me as well. I do a lot of skincare obviously 😉 

Photo Credits to @LightsCameraGlow

Shop @BeautyKitchen latest sheet masks and all their self-love products.

Follow @MariannaNaturals and @BeautyKitchenJunkie for all information on new stores opening in 2022 and NEW curated boxed!

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