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“Grow Slow And Steady, Don’t Overdo It And Get Into Debt” 5 Startup Lessons with Heather Marianna

I had the pleasure of interviewing Heather Marianna. Heather is a popular TV personality who’s sassy DIY beauty YouTube tutorials (battling beauty blunders using common household ingredients) has been viewed by over 3 million fans in conjunction with her all-natural pampering skincare line, Beauty Kitchen. Beauty Kitchen has been featured in Forbes, US Weekly, E! Online, NY Post, OK Magazine and much more. Beauty Kitchen’s celebrity fans include Vanessa Simmons, Christina Milian, Lisa Vanderpump, Viola Davis and Dascha Polanco.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I’m a California native and obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in English and Marketing and later my M.B.A from the University of Indianapolis. I worked a variety of jobs while in school — everything from staffing to retail until I eventually landed a job as a marketing director for a business consulting firm in Las Vegas. Fast forward a few years, I realized that corporate life was not fulfilling for me and I began really honing in on my passion — beauty and skincare. I started thoroughly researching the various benefits of all-natural products like honey, fruit and essential oils and began creating DIY beauty concoction videos using common kitchen household ingredients. I posted the videos on my YouTube channel and gained a huge following really fast — with a lot of my videos exceeding over 3,000,000 views within just a few weeks. I realized there was a huge demand for DIY beauty and thus I created Beauty Kitchen — my all-natural product line offering a whimsical selection of at-home spa products.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company

I never get star struck, but this is a little funny. I was at an Oscars gifting suite with Beauty Kitchen several years ago and we were pushing our ice-cream scented ABC 123 kids soap children’s set (encompassing a bathtub learning experience) and actor, Daniel Franzese, who played Damien in “Mean Girls” (one of my favorite movies) walked in. I spelled “Orange Out,” an iconic line in the movie, with the soaps, and he couldn’t stop laughing! We developed a friendship from that day forward and he’s always been an amazing supporter of the brand! Most of our funny moments happen when we least expect it, I embrace every minute of it too!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I believe Beauty Kitchen’s products stand out because we use pure and simple ingredients. There is a million-dollar movement towards all-natural skincare as people want alternatives for products filled with chemicals, parabens, synthetic colors and phthalates. I am proud to offer my customers a safer, cleaner and better solution for their skincare and spa concerns. I have many clients who have visited my retail location searching desperately for a remedy for whatever skincare condition they’ve had for years with no avail. I’ve healed clients with eczema, scalp issues, rosacea, cystic acne and more. It’s the best feeling in the world being able to help people! It’s why I started Beauty Kitchen.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There are a lot of people. The one that always stands out to me is Caroline Cornejo of Innovative Packaging Solutions. I met her several years ago, early on in my business venture, on a fluke as she happened to be at our mutual friend’s house while I was dropping off a bunch of sugar scrub. My business was booming but I still had a few things to fine tune — the main thing being my packaging as I knew I wanted better than what I was using at the time. Caroline and I hit it off right away and it meant so much to me that she believed so much in my brand that she wanted to be a part of it — even flying to Vegas on her own dollar to help me develop the ultimate packaging for Beauty Kitchen. An important part of business is networking, you never know who you will meet who will inspire and help you along the way!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world

Spreading good isn’t just about being charitable (which we are heavily active in charities) it’s about being humble, never forgetting where you come from and helping others along the way. I’m all about women supporting women and female empowerment. I absolutely love to see people succeed and have helped give advice and provided many valuable connections to many aspiring business owners.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my Start-Up” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. You can’t do it all on your own. I am just now learning to not be a crazy micro-manager thanks to finally finding my amazing business manager, Michelle. You are only as strong as your team! I now have more time to work externally on other deals and grow the business. This quote always stuck with me, “if you want to grow, work on your business, not in your business!” The right team is essential to business success!

2. Take care of your employees and create loyalty. Cheap help doesn’t go far and it comes with constant turnover. Pay your people well and bonus them. It will absolutely make all the difference in the world.

3. Grow slow and steady, don’t overdo it and get into debt. I started in my kitchen and then moved into one warehouse, now we have two larger warehouses, a retail store and show room. It took me a few years to get my first office and another year to get the second warehouse. You don’t need fancy offices with high overhead to be successful. Functionality is key.

4. Networking is key. Listen and be smart enough to know you’re not always the smartest person in the room. You need allies. The woman who knows everything, knows nothing. I’m constantly learning new things from the people I keep around me.

5. Work ethic is everything! If you want to go into business for yourself — know that it is a 24/7 job and it’s very important to educate yourself and learn all facets of your business — accounting, customer service, web, social media, etc. I’ve learned along the way that you always need to know and possess an understanding to what is going on in your business or you will get taken advantage of!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

I would love to sit down with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon or Kris Jenner. Both are true masters and moguls of business and marketing. I’m truly fascinated, inspired and in awe of their success.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!