Meet Manna Kadar: Beauty Brand Founder
Manna Kadar is the founder and CEO of her namesake cosmetics brand which focuses on multifunctional, luxury quality beauty products without the luxury price tag. Kadar discusses how she built her multi-brand empire in just 10 years.
How did you get started in the beauty industry?
I actually got started when I was 16 years old and had the opportunity to open a retail cosmetics location in a local mall here in California. That [retail location] got everything going. Um, I was able to start with at one store and then expanded to seven stores in six years while going to college full-time.
What was it like being a business owner at 16?
It was great actually, it was a time in the economy where I had the liberty to get started with little resources. I feel like, because I was so young also, it was kind of an ignorance is bliss. Like I didn’t recognize the risks that I was taking. And so fortunately it was successful right off the bat that I was able to grow pretty quickly as a result.
I saw on your website, you had a lot of multi-functional makeup products. What does versatility mean to you as a brand owner?
Our mantra is to keep beauty simplified. What I learned in all the years that I had retail cosmetic locations is that women and men loved to look good and feel good, but I always heard about the time constraint. So, my focus and goal became giving people with less time three products that are feasible. It doesn’t have to be formal glam on a daily basis. So, it really was important for me create products that a person who doesn’t have a lot of experience in makeup can use easily and then all the way to professionals, where they understand the quality and the functionality of the product as well.
So we’re currently in Asian American Pacific Islander heritage month. What does Asian representation in the beauty industry mean to you?
You know, it’s really interesting. Although I feel like I haven’t had a lot of discrimination in my life and actually now that I’m saying it, I’m just recognizing certain points in my life that perhaps it was discrimination. But it wasn’t a big deal cause you just kind of overcome it. There was a point in time where I was being pitched to a TV shopping network and there was another Asian American brand. They said, well, we already have such and such, there’s no room for another Asian American brand.
That was just so ridiculous. We have tons of other brands with multiple faces to the brands that have other ethnicities involved. It just didn’t make any sense to me. So, for me, I have always looked at it like it’s an obstacle, but you overcome it. You overcome it by results.
What’s next for Manna Kadar Cosmetics?
Over the past 10 years, we’ve been working at six brands under an umbrella, and I think we’re poised for creating a lifestyle brand. We have haircare that’s forthcoming, we have foot care that’s forthcoming. My pet project is holding a home line and I have a really interesting spin on it. So, that’s in the future.
I really hope like to keep that simplified model where people can have attainable lifestyle products, beauty products, et cetera, at a really affordable price point. Where everyone, from a minimum wage worker to a high-level executive can enjoy having beautiful products around them that are functional at a great price point and have that aesthetic continue throughout their lives.