In Conversation with Manna Kadar of Manna Kadar Beauty
Describe Manna Kadar Beauty in a few words?
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I was raised by a strong single mom and grandmother. Growing up in a tough neighborhood, I witnessed first-hand the everyday battle to survive, viewing education and enterprise as a way out of the struggle. At age 16, I purchased my first cosmetics store at the local mall. At age 18, I became one of a handful of students accepted into college and studied Finance and Distribution Management at USC. A natural-born entrepreneur, I used what I learned in the classroom to grow my mall-based cosmetics chain to 7 stores in 6 years.
After college, I sold my beauty business to enter the world of corporate banking. Over the next 6 years I excelled in banking, but I missed the fulfillment and purpose that entrepreneurship provided. In 2007, I exited the finance world, taking everything I had learned and applied it to a new venture: developing a chain of tanning salons that would one day lead to the Manna Kadar Beauty empire.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, it’s in my DNA.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I used word of mouth marketing. I enlisted many of my friends and family members to spread the word. I also had a great deal of subscription box deals in the beginning which helped get the products into consumers hands.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I was heading from a Trade Show (Cosmoprof Vegas), where MKB was exhibiting, and then flying straight from Vegas to do live TV Shopping. I always say that you need to look like a consummate professional for whatever industry you are in, even if you are taking a red eye flight. My luggage was lost and I had to borrow the network’s clothes and shoes, but at least my makeup and hair were camera ready. Lesson learned, always be camera ready.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Being able to juggle a business, a family and giving back to the community all at the same time!
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
What do you know about Manna Kadar Beauty. If they haven’t taken the time to even look at our website and can’t tell me a little about the brand it’s really hard for me to continue the interview. You should always go with your gut feeling on a candidate. I have tried to overlook things that were a red flag to me in the beginning. Red flags should never be ignored.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Since MKB’s main distribution is retail, we have been severely impacted. Cistomer PO’s were cancelled, payment terms were extended, shipments have been delayed. It definitely has kept us on our toes.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We continue to expand our beauty and bath categories. Decorating and designing has always been my passion, there could be home accessories in the future.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Expect the unexpected. When you think things can’t get any crazier, they will, and they do.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
It’s not going to be easy. You have to work hard to be successful. We have a saying at the office, “Look we aren’t just sitting around here swatching lipsticks all day”.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
My team keeps me grounded. We remind each other every day that this too shall pass.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Work life balance is so important. I didn’t realize how important until Covid allowed me to slow down, take a look at what I have going on, and make sure I make time for my family. Date nights are a must. Put your phone down and be present.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I love to cook, and I make some pretty amazing dishes that I always bring to share with the office.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Use a day planner.
- Schedule time to do things, actually put it in a calendar.
- Put your cell phone away.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
The woman who can do it all with style and class.