MY LIGHT BULB MOMENT
Skincare guru Maria Hatzistefanis
Maria Hatzistefanis, 47, is founder and Ceo of luxury beauty brand rodial, which she launched from home in 1999. the company is now worth $100 million. Maria lives in London with her husband Stratis, and two sons aris, 14 and aki 12.
MY LIGHT BULB moment actually has its roots in failure — it only happened because I was sacked from my banking job in the City.
Luckily, it shook me up and I thought: ‘So now what?’
Before I went in to banking I worked as a beauty writer, I was fascinated by the industry and I dreamed of owning my own brand.
Now I didn’t have a job, I began to focus on my dream and, one day, I realised there was a gap in the market. Everything was about skin type as opposed to skin issues. So it was cleanse, tone, moisturise for dry, oily or combination skin. That was it. I wanted to target specific problems that women were trying to fix with cosmetic surgery — such as sagging neck skin or a drooping bust.
I also realised that having a great product was not enough. I launched an anti-ageing serum in white packaging and nobody cared. But when I renamed it Snake Serum, people started noticing it.
I made tons of mistakes in the early years. Once I couldn’t afford a design team to do a brochure so I made one at Vistaprint. It was only when I got them onto the shop floor that a customer pointed out a spelling error. I was mortified!
I didn’t really feel I’d ‘arrived’ until two years ago when I walked into Harvey Nichols and saw Rodial next to Tom Ford and Chanel. At that point, you know you must have done something right.
People ask how I maintain a work/ life balance. The honest answer is I’m either working or with my family. I have sacrificed friendships and socialising to follow my dream. Do I think it’s been worth it? I do!
How to Be an overnight Success by Maria Hatzistefanis(Virgin Books, £12.99).