Exclusive: Inside Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Brand-New HQ

The iconic brand celebrates 20 years, and new mid-century-inspired digs.

By: Katie Becker
Photography: Tristan Kallas

With 14.5 million Instagram followers, Anastasia Beverly Hills is considered at the top of its class in beauty brand social media. Marketing technology company Tribe Dynamics ranks the brand #1 in social media value, and in 2016 the brand’s online sales skyrocketed by 150%. But there’s another number on founder Anastasia Soare’s mind that may carry a little more weight right now for the Romania-born entrepreneur: 20. This month, the brand celebrates its 20th anniversary since Soare first opened her Beverly Hills studio doors in 1997.

“I came [to the US] and no one was paying attention to eyebrows; I couldn’t believe it—this is Hollywood!” says Soare, who became famous in the ’90s for grooming the arches of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour, Gail Eliott, and Michelle Pfeiffer, among other icons. “I decided to open the salon in 1997. But nobody believed eyebrows were important. Even the landlord didn’t want to rent me the space because he was like, ‘Get out of here! This is Beverly Hills! You can’t pay rent here doing eyebrows.’ Once I did open I could only release my schedule six months at a time because it would get booked up immediately. People would wait for hours just to take any no-show appointments.”

Safe to assume rent was made.

Now, to mark the double-decade occasion, Soare’s team, including her daughter and ABH president Claudia Soare (who is often credited for making the company’s Instagram the gold standard), designed a special 20th Anniversary book-style box set. In it, every single brow product in every single shade, adding up to more than 70 pencils, powders, stencils, tints, brushes, etc. (We’ve got pics.) The epic limited-edition set was sent to top clients and influencers, plus some lucky giveaway entrants. Of course, fans essentially lost their minds when the box was revealed last week. The announcement post on Instagram has received more than 250k likes, 24k comments, and 150k reshares. In case we haven’t underscored it: Anastasia Beverly Hills basically owns beauty on social.

Another cause for celebration? The opening of the brand’s new headquarters. As the paint just finished drying, Coveteur was invited to capture a first look at the new space, including Soare’s golden feng-shui-meets-mid-century office. Fun fact: The same feng shui expert who designed Anastasia’s first studio has helped her bring fortuity to every property of hers since, including the latest digs. Clearly, something is working.

“I encourage people to follow their dreams because it’s not easy. It’s a bumpy road. People need to understand that. I have many people who are like, ‘Oh, I want to be like you!’ Absolutely you can be like me. Do it! But remember this is not an easy path. You don’t take the elevator. You take the stairs.”

Jacket, Tom Ford; Pants, Altuzarra

"If you think about makeup, you are creating an illusion. This is what makeup is used to do. You create that perfect balance and proportion within your face and you feel beautiful. I think that’s really important to allow people to do this and to teach them to do that perfectly."

“I love this picture because if you look closely, it shows you that even Audrey Hepburn used makeup for her iconic eyebrows.”

On getting started on Instagram:

“My daughter introduced me to this app. I was never a big fan of Facebook because I’m busy. I felt like it wasn’t the platform that would get me excited. But Claudia said, ‘No, this is different.’ So we gave it a try. I used to travel to so many locations to show people my products, how to use them, and I realized by just posting one picture on Instagram somebody from Pakistan or, I don’t know, Nigeria would text me, ‘Oh my God, I love your products!’ I felt this is incredible satisfaction. You can reach people that you could never be able to reach. So we really created this community and we believed we could help each other.”

Above: Anastasia Beverly Hills 20th Anniversary Commemorative Brow Book.

“[I first started to care about eyebrows when I] studied art and my art teacher always made such a big impression on me when he said, ‘If you want to change a portrait, just change the eyebrows.’ We did so many studies on Leonardo da Vinci's golden ratio concept. I patented the golden ratio for brows: how to shape eyebrows according to your bone structure and your natural eyebrow shape.”

Above: Anastasia Beverly Hills 20th Anniversary Commemorative Brow Book.

“[In the beginning] we launched a brow pomade in 2000 and a few artists loved it, but people barely believed they needed to put powder on their brows let alone pomade.”

“[Going to Beautycon] was a wake-up call to see 11-, 12-, 13-, 14-, and 15-year-old girls and boys so in love with the makeup and saying they own everything. I was telling their mothers, ‘You are so lucky your son or daughter is into makeup because it keeps them busy and it’s an art form.’ All women are beautiful, but you use the makeup to express. For young kids there is so much pressure to be accepted and if the makeup helps, you go ahead. It’s a tool. They have to have fun.”

On the company beginnings:

“We worked seven days a week. But I had to spend every single penny we had to keep it up. And Claudia was the one that could help me. She was so good with service. She was very polite. But she was constantly multitasking. She will answer the phone. She will talk with you. She will run the credit card while she replied. Now, she has four people at the front.”

“I grew up in Romania with a conservative regime. My family was so conservative. My mother didn’t want me to wear eyeliner. She said, ‘What will the community think?’ And I said, ‘This is what I like.’ I felt different, but I didn’t care. I said, ‘I’m going to wear it—it doesn’t harm anybody.’”

“I work nonstop. My dream retirement plan is to work from 9-6 and have a vacation once a year.”

Anastasia’s desk chair with a red tassel attached beneath for good feng shui energy:

“Before we rent we bring a feng shui expert to tell us if it’s a good place for us or not. We were looking for a long time. When we moved into this space, she said my office should be in this location because I have a Western pattern.”

“My amethyst crystals give off really great energy. I’m not hardcore, but I have to say all my homes and offices have good energy.”

“Doing eyebrows is something like a painting. It’s an art form that you create proportion and balance on somebody’s face just doing eyebrows. If your eyebrow is shaped correctly, it changes completely the face. It gives me such a pleasure and so much joy just to create that piece.”

Pants, Dries van Noten; Blouse, Yves Saint Laurent; Shoes, Gianvito Rossi; Belt, Prada

Above: Some of the first Anastasia Beverly Hills products

“There were no products for eyebrows and that’s why I launched the product line in 1999. In 2000 we launched in Nordstrom. Nobody wanted to give me makeup to sell at the salon. I contacted MAC, they didn’t want it. I contacted Stila I think it was at the time. Nobody wanted.”

Hermes Birkin, Tom Ford sunglasses, and Fendi purse charm.

“It’s not like one day you wake up and you decide ‘I want to be famous on Instagram.’ It doesn’t work like that. We work so much and even right now the first thing I do when I wake up is I check my Instagram. After we decide what we want, other people on our team help create the images, but only me and my daughter will actually do the Instagram, nobody else.”

Suit, Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford

“My feng shui expert said I needed to use gold in this space, so I have these good luck charms in different spots around my desk.”

What she learned over the last 20 years:

“I think you need to be true to yourself. I think you, whatever you want to do, not to do it for fame and for money. I mean of course everybody needs to be comfortable, but you need to really love what you do.”

“I have floss everywhere. I’m obsessed with flossing my teeth.”

A collage in the office that helped inspire the new Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette.

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