Rodial’s Maria Hatzistefanis

Getting results.

In the world of beauty, it can be hard to stand out. Trends and gimmicks are the easy way, but they rarely stand the test of time. With the advent of social media, the game has become increasingly difficult thanks to a sea of “essentials” hashtags and the beauty “obsessed”. Pairing snappy names like Bee Venom and Dragon’s Blood with result-driven ingredients, Rodial is a successful blend of hype and delivery.

Founded in 1999 by Maria Hatzistefanis, the original high-end line Rodial is joined by sub-offerings Nip + Fab and Nip + Man (each serving up micro-targeted treatments and products), setting it apart from baseline brands. Hatzistefanis got her start in the publishing world, where she identified her aptitude for skin care as an intern at Seventeen. “When I was there, over 15 years ago, there wasn’t that much available that was basic, and I thought, ‘There must be something much more interesting, much more targeted,’ and that was where I first came up with the idea of a product line,” Hatzistefanis says over the phone. She put her beauty ambitions on hold to receive an MBA from Columbia University and briefly work in finance before eventually pursuing her calling.

With a legion of celebrity users from Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz to Ellie Goulding and Kylie Jenner, Rodial sports cult credibility with mainstream appeal. Bee Venom, which combines real bee venom and plant stem cells, has been a bestseller from the get-go and is emblematic of Hatzistefanis’s targeted, specific approach to skin care. “The lab, they understood exactly what I needed,” Hatzistefanis says. “It was very much about me briefing the end results, and then I would read about the formulas and try the samples.” Innovations that have come from Rodial’s lab include its Syn®-Ake dipeptide, which acts like the venom of the temple viper and smooths out fine lines with a freezing, numbing effect. With a handful of wildly popular and effective products, Hatzistefanis has gained confidence in directing not only what she needs, but how to get it. “Over the years, I learned a lot about active ingredients and how they work together,” she says. “I mean, I still couldn’t put together a product by myself to save my life, but it has been a learning experience, and in a few years I felt a lot more comfortable in not just briefing the end result but also in recommending the ingredients.”

Hatzistefanis’s more affordable Nip + Fab is aimed at a younger audience eager to share looks and results on social media—a tool Hatzistefanis has warmly embraced. “It’s not just a way to engage with a customer, it’s also a way to get ideas for new products,” Hatzistefanis explains. “It’s become a great way to connect and have an open relationship with our customers.” Hatzistefanis’s business skills came clearly into play when Nip + Fab brought the cosmetics-loving princess of Instagram, Kylie Jenner, on board as the face of the brand. “The way we connected with Kylie was she came across our palette from a photo shoot, and she used it and then put it on Instagram, and we saw a crazy surge in comments and positive reception,” says Hatzistefanis. “We thought, ‘You know what? This is someone who really resonates with the Nip + Fab customer, so let’s see if we could connect.’”

Hatzistefanis recently took her business skills to an appearance on Project Runway: Fashion Startup, an entrepreneurial branch of the popular design contest. In the beauty industry, Hatzistefanis recognizes the exceptional challenges in breaking through the competition; and for those beginning to wade into those waters, she imparts a bit of guidance: “First of all, for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur, it is not a get-rich-quick scheme,” she assures. “The other thing that is really important is to always have a plan B, and really focus on what you do. Sometimes we get stuck and think, ‘If X, Y, Z didn’t happen, that’s the end of it,’ but there are other ways of achieving your goal. You have to be flexible all the time.” In other words, you don’t always have to know your ingredients—just so long as you know what results you want.

Look your best: read more Beauty stories.


Post Date:

November 9, 2016