We had the chance to meet Maria over acai bowls at a corner cafe in her charming South Pointe neighborhood. She tells us about her amazing trajectory in the beauty industry and her love for Miami Beach.
What was your first beauty related job and how did that experience transform
I left my position as Director of Operations at a major NYC Law Firm to move to Germany with my husband and our young daughter --the bank he worked for as a foreign exchange trader transferred him to their Frankfurt HQ. While there, I discovered the most amazing beauty brands ---the Germans adore makeup! And they view proper skin care and natural ingredients as an absolutely essential part of their daily life. I was so fortunate to experience so many true German spas -- the saunas were were incredible for detoxing the skin and the facials available at every spa were wonderful. And the prices were within reach of just about everyone. I can truly say that Germany changed my outlook on skin care and also led me to a philosophy of beauty that stresses minimalism - healthy glowing skin and makeup that enhances your natural glow. A far cry from my early approach of "more is more and better". As soon as we returned to NYC I started work on launching my first brand using the ideas and concepts I had discovered in Germany. Never looked back.
You moved from NYC to Miami. What do you miss the most about NYC? And what do you love about Miami?
In 2012 I had the opportunity to take on a consulting project developing new product concepts for a skin care manufacturer in South Florida. My husband is a trader who can literally work from anywhere, so we thought "why not". We simply packed up and moved - and when the project ended we decided to stay. My business partner is in NYC so we've been able to expand our reach. It's great! I love Miami Beach - I live and work in South Pointe literally two blocks from the beach. It's a vibrant neighborhood with lots of families, restaurants, a gorgeous park -- and the warm weather is an amazing seductress. What do I miss about NYC? It's my heart and it's irreplaceable. For me all great cities have a pulse - and Miami Beach has an amazing pulse. It's intensely vibrant, crazily chic and effortlessly laid back at the exact same moment. And that's what keeps me here.
What would be the best advice you’ll give to someone that wants to make it in any industry?
Learn everything possible and do every task thoroughly. Speak up. If you don't give voice to your ideas, you don't move the process. As Director of Operations at the NYC law firm, I hired all the non attorney staff. When I hired entry level paralegals, in addition to the required college degree, I looked for any experience as a server/bus person -- you had to work hard and leave the attitude at the door. Entering any profession is exactly the same.
Best beauty secret?
My number one philosophy: Never underestimate your own natural beauty and...
1. Wash your face at night. If you do nothing else -wash your face. Add a drop or two of facial oil /serum to work overnight to revive your skin.
2. Lipstick is everything. I mean this. Radiant skin + Lipstick. I personally adore red but a great nude shade can be astonishing.
After having a dream life, how would you define happiness?
My husband and daughter. The beach. Loving my work.