Powerhouse businesswoman Manna Kadar is a self-made and self-funded beauty influencer with a brand of her own! Proving anyone can do it, the Manna Kadar Cosmetics founder opened up about the business aspect of the beauty industry in a tell-all interview with me.
A self-proclaimed mom-preneur, Manna Kadar is the founder and CEO of the Manna Kadar Beauty Umbrella. Her success serves to prove that even in spaces as daunting as the beauty industry, dreams can come true with a bit of perseverance.
Manna Kadar Beauty is a “family of lifestyle brands” with six brands under the Umbrella, including two cosmetic brands: Mason Man, named after her four-year-old son. The company also has a pet brand, a bath and body brand, a maternity brand, and a home brand that is currently in the works.
With lots of fun and exciting things happening at the company, it’s worth remembering where it all started. Kadar kicked off her journey into the beauty industry with the need to simplify daily makeup applications. She created the now award-winning “7-minute face” and earned a spot on the “Top 40 Under 40 Beauty CEO’s” list.
The 2018’s USC Alumni Member of the Year also saw her brand listed in Inc. Magazine’s 2020 “Top 5,000” list and named amongst the fastest-growing enterprises in the LA Business Journal.
Work undeniably plays a huge role in her daily life, but it is very apparent that Manna is far more than just a businesswoman. The proud mum of two also hosts Amazon Live sessions, works with charities, and has a hands-on approach to raising her children.
“And in my free time, when I’m not at work, I do have a husband, a daughter who is almost five, a son who is almost four, and a dog named Dougie The Doodle, who is six. He’s our first baby. So between work, being a mom, extracurricular, maintaining friendships, and being involved with different organizations, it keeps me very busy,” jokes Manna playfully as she described her daily tasks.
My only response to her description was a stunned expression while I spluttered out an indignant, “but how do you juggle all of that?” to which she giggled and calmly responded.
“I don’t. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to think, ‘oh, she has everything together,’ but the reality is that I don’t have it all together a lot of the time. It is very hectic. So I let my calendar dictates what will be prioritized during the day. Some days the focus is marketing others it’s business, and on the days my kids are off early from school, I opt to be mum that day, and that’s my focus.”
Thus, when asked what she would say to other parents looking up to her, she explains that she approaches every day differently. Kadar went on to add:
“So my advice to staying on top of everything is to stay as organized as possible. Say yes to the things that matter and no to a lot of things that you know you can’t fit in. You can’t accept every invitation because you would drive yourself insane.”
When it comes to business, Kadar has a very similar approach. So while many women going into the business world expect to face the proverbial glass ceiling, Manna revealed that she has a “different perspective.” She explains what she means by saying,
“I never felt that there was any ceiling at all. I say that, not with any disrespect for people that have experienced that, only because I chose to create my own company, so I was pretty much at one point the only person there, so I was in control. So the success was my own, and if I failed at anything, I had to determine if I made a bad decision and how to avoid it in the future.”
And while she never experienced it within her own business, Kadar worked in the corporate world before starting her company. So she understands feeling forced to make difficult choices to succeed.
“I had worked in corporate environments before where it was very different from opening my own company, and from that perspective, I would approach it as I will be the best I can. My performance dictated where I could go and the opportunities I had. So I always looked at it from that perspective,”added Kadar.
Kadar explains that she approached any times she felt limited as an opportunity to find a solution she was happy with. She went on to add:
“I think the answer is different for each person depending on their situation. It’s up to you to contemplate whatever the situation is and ask how do you overcome that? Is it through results, or is it through looking for different opportunities that don’t have the same glass ceiling, etc.?”
This appears to be a recurring theme in her approach to life and overcoming challenges in her life. Kadar explained that she grew up in a space that would have allowed her to end up on the wrong path quickly, but her need to achieve her dreams kept her focused.
“I grew up in a low-income community where there were things like drive-by shootings, home invasion, robbery, and many people who did not have my best interests at heart. So it was very easy for me to have gone down the wrong path. But my mum had always insisted I focus on education to get out of that scenario and create the opportunities that I wanted to have. So I realized early on that tenacity and a lot of hard work create a solid foundation, and my dream helped me stay focused.”
Similarly, when Kadar decided to leave the corporate world and start her own business, it was not a whimsical decision. She explains that she took her time to prepare and plan adequately. Her advice to anyone planning to do the same is to be ready for the unexpected.
“If you’ve ever had a contractor to build something, you’ll know that it always takes a lot longer and costs more to do what you want to do than you expect initially. With something like a new business, you can make all the projections you want, but you can’t tell the future. The pandemic is a good example of something you can’t prepare for, and many businesses were forced to make hard decisions. So be prepared for the unexpected.”
Mistakes happen, and instead of falling apart over them, Kadar advises individuals to reflect on why they happened and how to avoid them in the future. She opened up about her mistakes, saying:
“I wish I understood the value of hiring very experienced individuals from the beginning. With a limited budget, I opted for younger, less experienced individuals because they cost a lot less money but unfortunately, they were unable to perform.”
“A lot of the mistakes we made, in the beginning, could have been avoided with more experience. It’s not anyone’s fault. They were given a task they were not equipped to handle, and the consequences were given. So it was a huge turning point for the company when I invested in the right people.“
Kadar explains that she now focuses on surrounding herself with “people that know more than me.” She realized hiring people to fill in the blanks in her knowledge allowed her to succeed without spending tons of money and added that “I paid more via trial and error trying to learn everything myself.”
To wrap up our interview, Manna Kadar concluded with a few words of advice she wishes she could tell her younger self, saying:
“It’s all going to be okay. There is so much concern about starting a new company because you’re investing so much money, time, and your future on it. So you worry if you are going to be successful. And there certainly have been a lot of challenges over the last ten years, but it is just fine at the end of the day. So take all the worry away and focus on the work at hand; it’ll save a lot of time and anguish and mental energy that’s expended worrying.”