Making Luxury Affordable: An Interview with Co-Founder of Milani Cosmetics Laurie Minc

When I was younger, I feared to make mistakes but later in life learned that if you do not, you cannot get better at what you do.

By STYLEGUIDE

August 26 2019

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Milani Cosmetics is a market leader in the cosmetics industry, best known for its products for women of all skin tones and beauty goals. Founded by Laurie Minc to make quality beauty products affordable and accessible to everyone, the company has since grown from strength to strength. STYLEGUIDE speaks to Laurie about her inspirations and what makes Milani Cosmetics stand out from the crowd:

Tell us more about yourself!

I have always loved the arts. Before Milani, I was an Elementary School Art Teacher and taught art in the inner city of Los Angeles. It was a natural transition and a way in which I could apply my appreciation for colour and detail.  

How did Milani develop from a home-grown brand to the establishment it is today?

We built this brand step by step as a family business. My brother, Ralph, was also key to building the business. It was one step at a time and always with an extreme focus on quality. People organically started to notice our high-quality product, and this led to more and more interest and growth in the brand.

How did the decision to expand Milani to Asia come about? And why begin from Singapore?

We always dreamed Milani would be a global and “borderless” brand that appeals to people everywhere, including Asia. Singapore is the perfect launch into Asia because it is a melting pot of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Western cultures. Therefore it was the ideal spot in Asia to launch a “borderless” brand. My brother and I learned from our Father how important it was to make products for our brand that were all-inclusive and resonated all over the world.

In creating and developing Milani as a brand, how did you handle the challenges and hurdles you faced along the way?

Not giving up when things go wrong! It’s just true what they say that the path to success is never smooth. We’ve had difficult times, but I just always truly believed in the mission of the brand to deliver high-quality products to all. Always loving what I did and having fun doing it regardless of the hurdles you encounter on a daily basis!

A top-selling brand across the States, Milani is considered very successful in the beauty and cosmetics industry despite its humble beginnings. What is the secret recipe to the company's success?

Never compromising on quality and staying close to trends and the agility to turn quickly on those trends! Building relationships, always being honest and transparent with suppliers, retailers, distributors, and all customers. Our culture has always been treating our employees like family. Our family always enjoyed laughing even when times were tough but having a good sense of humour helped us through some of those rough spots.  

 

Name one person who inspires you and tell us why and how he/she inspires you!  

My father and mentor in Business. My first profession after graduating from college was teaching and school administrator. I never had formal training in business, but the opportunities to learn "everything about this business" was taught by my father who was an owner of retail stores and a wholesale and international distribution of colognes, lotions, and colour cosmetics.  My experiences learned were invaluable and have stuck with me until today.

If you could change one thing about how things are done in the beauty and cosmetics industry, based on your years of experience handling Milani, what would it be and why?

Educating the consumer about everything from ingredients, safe products, how to shop, benefit and use cosmetics to enhance consumer's lives. By educating the consumer correctly to minimize the false and misleading information that leads to actions taken by some of the activists that disrupt the business and curtail the creative and innovative progress in this industry.   

What is the biggest lesson you have yielded since the founding of Milani?

Risks are worth taking. If you do not make mistakes, you cannot learn how to grow the business. When I was younger, I feared to make mistakes but later in life learned that if you do not, you cannot get better at what you do. The key was to teach our employees not to make these errors twice but to ask ourselves, "How can we learn from them?" I also found that our best innovations came from some of our highest-risk products created.  

What is one advice you would give to your younger self?

Do not ignore the power of the internet and social media scene; we jumped on this bandwagon a lot later than our competitors but we are catching up! Therefore, do not be afraid of the unknown and of failing.  

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