Career advice from beauty entrepreneur Maria Hatzistefanis

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Maria Hatzistefanis is the pioneering entrepreneur of the Rodial brand, which she launched in 1999. The skin care label quickly became a cult favorite, with products with witty names like Dragon blood and Snake Serum.

Hatzistefanis began her career as a beauty writer before receiving an MBA from Columbia Business School and briefly working in corporate finance at Salomon Brothers, first in New York and then in London. She brought this business acumen to Rodial and quickly expanded the product line to become the burgeoning beauty empire it is today. with a makeup collection and an exclusive bar and sculpture counter at Harvey Nichols in London, as well as a results-driven sub-brand offering skin and body care: Nip + Fab.

Here she shares the leadership lessons she learned along the way.

The three most important qualities for a good leader are …

“You have to be flexible, agile and able to adapt. With a staff of almost 100, no one taught me how to run a home business during a pandemic – I had to learn new ways of doing things. It was uncomfortable, but we made it. The second is that you have to have compassion. Being in business isn’t always about looking at the numbers, looking at our goals and all that. Treat every situation with a little compassion and understand the other person’s point of view.The point of view is very important. Third, clarity is incredibly vital for a leader. You have to be able to communicate effectively with your team and for them to fully understand what is going on. “

My personal strength as a leader is …

“My gut. I feel like I made a lot of my decisions based on my gut feelings and they have served me really well.”

The top priority for my business right now is …

“Bringing the team together and supporting each of them towards the new way of working. A lot of people have been working from their living room for over a year and it’s not easy to make that transition. ‘benefits and opportunities, especially with younger team members, to learn by seeing others working in the office. What I do is take each one on a case-by-case basis and work Support in whatever they feel most comfortable with. “

The economic outlook may be uncertain, but I am mitigating the risks by …

“By not taking any! I think now is not the time to take a lot of risks. Now is the time to analyze what we have done well over the past 18 months and do more. . I think all businesses have to be on the conservative side right now. “

I keep my team motivated by …

“We do a lot of office events like pancake mornings, drinks and pizza Thursdays. In fact, I also made my delivered launch event at the office so that we can celebrate as a team. I try to make it a happy place where we can all connect as a team. It’s not just about coming in and sitting down at your desk. “

The hardest decision I had to make as a leader was …

“Do not accept foreign investments. We’ve been approached so many times, and that would’ve given us so much capital, which is incredibly hard to turn down, but when it’s something so personal for you, you want to stay in control and make sure you can. always stay true to the original spirit of the brand. “

Worst mistake I have ever made as a leader (and the lessons I learned from it)

“Rushing to launch a product when I knew it was going against my instincts. I have learned to never ignore my instincts.

An effective leader will always be …

“I believe that an effective leader should keep his cool, whatever the situations that may arise internally and in your personal life.”

An effective leader will never be …

“… go against their instincts.”

My leadership model is …

“I have always been fascinated by women who founded their own beauty brands. When I started out, I read all Biographies of Estée Lauder and follow it Bobbi Brown career, which is amazing. For me, it’s about looking at successful women in the creative industries and seeing how they approach their careers. “

The only advice I would give to a new leader is …

“We all make mistakes, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been a leader for a day or years. Mistaking is a way to move forward and learn. Tomorrow is another day, you can start from scratch.”

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