Sonia Kashuk, Sonia Kashuk Beauty
Share your career path!
My career path was definitely unconventional, full of twists and turns. In short, I started out in styling but got into makeup accidentally when a makeup artist on a video shoot I was working canceled last minute. I absolutely loved it — all of my friends were hairdressers, so it was a comfortable world to be in. And I thought, if I'm going to do this I had to be in the heart of the business. So I moved from Minneapolis to New York. I had the extraordinary opportunity of meeting and working with Arthur Elgort, and he decidedly changed my career path, introducing me to the who's who of the editorial advertising world, and that really opened the door for me. A big mantra in my life has always been that people can open doors for you, but you need to know how to walk through them!
I was always interested in both the art and commerce aspects of the business. Working as a makeup artist, I got to excel in the art aspect, but when the Aveda corporation (a fellow Minneapolis company) asked me to consult for them, I got a taste of the commerce side. I really enjoyed developing and creating products. I found it immensely rewarding and creative. And a couple years later when I was on a book tour with Cindy Crawford, I came up with the concept for my brand while roaming the makeup aisles in mass retailers. So I reached out to Target, and it's crazy to think that was almost two decades ago!
What product have you developed that you are most proud of and why?
I've created so many products I love over the years, but I think what makes me so proud is all of my firsts. If you want to talk big picture, I was the first makeup artist brand to bring luxury products to mass market, effectively blurring the line and creating this category of "masstige," which was revolutionary. But throughout the life of the brand, there have been a few notable firsts we achieved, like bringing the first affordable makeup brush to market or being the first to pair a no-feather lip pencil with a gloss. We were also the first to put an eyelash comb on a mascara component and the first to introduce palettes to the mass market. I have always tried to be ahead of the curve, and I think that's where a lot of our success comes from. My intention was never to be a "me too" brand.