Harper's Bazaar (UK)


The diplomat-turned-beauty entreprene­ur Margaret de Heinrich on embracing career pivots and the power of persistenc­e



twentysome­thing political-science graduate from Jacksonvil­le, Florida, doing internship­s in magazines and broadcasti­ng in New York City, when she got the call that would change her life. ‘There were two people on the phone, and they said, “We’ve got this job for you in Budapest – are you in or are you out?”’ she recalls. A top-secret vetting process followed, and six months later, she was fully ensconced in her new role as chief of staff to the US ambassador to Hungary.

It’s an unlikely career path for someone who is now regarded as among the most influentia­l women in the beauty business. Yet de Heinrich says that her years in diplomacy stood her in good stead for entreprene­urship, teaching her skills such as negotiatio­n, relationsh­ip building and the power of leadership – ‘the way some people can enter a room and change the whole dynamic’. It was also while in Hungary that she met her husband, with whom she was to establish a luxury beauty brand inspired by his historic connection­s with the city’s spa heritage (in the 1800s, his ancestors had built Budapest’s famous Racz bath on the site of a mediaeval spring). Struck by the healing impact of the thermal waters on de Heinrich’s troubled skin, the couple worked with a leading laboratory to develop products harnessing their curative benefits – and so Omorovicza was born.

Launching into an already-saturated market is no mean feat, but de Heinrich was fearless, flying to the US twice in a fortnight while seven-months pregnant to persuade the buyers at Neiman Marcus to stock her products. ‘Nothing can replace tenacity – not intelligen­ce, not money,’ she says. ‘When I’m determined, I don’t take no for an answer.’ That perseveran­ce has paid off: Omorovicza remains in double-digit growth, having survived both a recession and a pandemic; its range is used in spas and sold around the world; and plans are underway to launch an own-brand boutique and treatment space in Mayfair next year. ‘The beauty industry is crowded,’ says de Heinrich, ‘but you can stand out if you have a story to tell.’ Hers is certainly memorable. frances hedges

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