Anastasia Soare (of Anastasia Beverly Hills) Told Us The Secrets to Her Brand’s Massive Success

"If you lose the trust of your social media followers, you'll lose them forever."

Earlier this year, Forbes listed Anastasia Soare, founder of makeup brand Anastasia Beverly Hills, as the 21st richest self-made women in the U.S. In the 1980s, Soare fled communist Romania after studying math, art, architecture and design. “I looked at beauty from a different angle than everyone else,” says Soare. “I saw so many opportunities in the U.S. because I knew that I could make a living doing things I could never do in Romania.”

Soare was in Toronto last week, where we caught up with her to talk about the secrets to her insanely successful brand and why she says she changed the world of eyebrows forever.

How has social media changed how you run a brand?

Before Instagram, I used to travel every weekend, doing events at stores, teaching women why they even have to shade in their eyebrows. Now, I post one tutorial and women across the globe instantly know how to do it. Look at photos of eyebrows in 2012 and look at right now. Women are smart; they learned. They have access to the tools now. They have social media and it empowers them. If you ask me, I think knowledge is power and and being able to do your own makeup, or someone else’s makeup, is power in itself.

Do you think pencil-thin eyebrows will ever come back?

No, it’ll never come back. Once you tweeze them, they never grow back. People didn’t know that before.

Do you feel your consumers know who you are as a brand owner?

We’re very transparent. My daughter and I are still handling our Instagram account, we answer the questions, we read the comments. I want to know what our followers know, what they don’t know, what they want to know.

Do you think you’ll ever give up social media control?

I feel like a smoker sometimes. The reason why many people can’t quit smoking is because they don’t know what they’d do with their hands. The first thing I do when I wake up is reach over and reach the comments. It’s so normal to me.

What advice do you have for founders of new, up and coming brands?

You need to make money, of course. You can’t survive if you don’t make money. But as far as I’m concerned, we never, ever make a product with the idea that we’d make a lot of money. We make products because we’re inspired by the idea that people will love it. Everything else just comes. If you’re passionate about what you do, it will always pay off. But if you do something only for money, it’ll never be the same. You cannot fool people. There’s an energy we put in our products that people feel when they put it on. So you can’t fake it. So I’d say do it with your heart and soul; don’t lose your integrity. And if you lose the trust of your social media followers, you’ll lose them forever.

How did you get involved with RuPaul’s Drag Race?

I looooove RuPaul. I came up in the ’90s they helped me get where I am because I’d shape [drag queens’] brows and send them to a makeup artist and everyone realized it was so much easier to do makeup when brows were shaped. We were also the first brand on Instagram to post guys wearing makeup. We got a lot of hate at the beginning, but it didn’t matter to us. We’ll post and encourage people of all ages, genders, whatever.