No other entrepreneur was so singularly focused on eyebrows – much less made millions of dollars from them – before Anastasia Soare started out on her American dream.
The native of Romania came to Los Angeles in 1989, and later set up a small beauty parlor dedicated to eyebrows on Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills – the start of what would become a global cosmetic line. How big has Anastasia Beverly Hills gotten? Big enough to spark reports that San Francisco-based investment titan TPG Capital is seeking to acquire a stake in a deal that would value the company at $3 billion.
Beverly Hills and Los Angeles are a lot different from when you started in 1992. What’s behind the changes?
Hollywood and celebrities. Because of that, everybody is moving from Silicon Valley to Venice. At the end of the day, everything revolves around Hollywood; and the rest of Los Angeles. Before, I didn’t know the power of Hollywood and how to take advantage of it.
Your business’s Instagram has millions of followers. Is your current business even recognizable from its pre-social media iteration?
I was doing good with traditional, in-store selling. Instagram took everything and made it times 20, times 100. We just launched yesterday a glow kit, and posted on Instagram. We have 121,000 likes (on the video), and we reached 1.97 million people.
Was that impossible to envision 20 years ago?
Not 20 years ago, seven years ago. The iPhone and Instagram changed everything.
Were you immediately responsive to the new technology?
We used to travel every weekend to let people know about our products. My daughter hated travel and she was like, if we were able to do these as tutorials, we could reach a lot more people.
Your business is reportedly worth $3 billion – how did it reach that valuation?
I work really hard, and I give credit to my math teacher in Romania, a woman who used to give us so much homework for math. Math is the base for music and everything – I run the business on my own, and I’ve never had a CFO, believe it or not. My niece, she went to accounting school at the university, and she started working for me, because I trusted her.
Is the $3 billion valuation accurate?
People are speculating, but I feel honored (by the valuation). I am privileged for the people who I employ; people who have helped build this, and who are passionate about what we do. So everything I do, every decision I make, affects the people I work with.
How many people work for you?
About 350 people, maybe more. What is important is that I care for them.
Would you be ready for TPG Capital or another investor to acquire your business at this point?
I don’t know. Nobody is going to acquire 100 percent. Maybe I would take a partner, (because) from an operational point of view it’s very hard to open offices in Europe and Asia.
It’s not about the capital. It’s about the help in the operations. So, if you open up an office in Europe you need to hire the people, the HR.
[For example], we just opened a warehouse in Pico Riviera. I don’t want to give the name of the location, because we had so many break-ins. Our brand is so hot – people are risking their freedom to get our products. It’s crazy.
Are you in talks with TPG Capital now?
I’m in talks with many people. I’ve been in this industry for so many years that I know everybody. I don’t need somebody to take me and introduce me to somebody, but I need to pay attention and make sure the company that I’m going to partner with is going to be the right fit for my company.
Where do you see your company in five years?
In a perfect world, I want to be a global brand in every single country. I want a complete makeup line because we are not a complete makeup line. In five years, I hope we will go public, or we will be ready for an IPO.
But I don’t know. You have to be adaptable in business, you have to be alert. It’s a road that you cannot predict.