Beauty industry entrepreneur Maria Hatzistefanis Lunchtime Masterclass joined Stylist online recently for our weekly Lunchtime Masterclass web chat, which can be viewed at the bottom of this page.
After graduating from the University of Athens, Maria worked briefly as a beauty editor at Seventeen magazine in Greece before moving to New York, where she got an MBA at Columbia University. She worked at Salomon Brothers for three years before moving to London in 1997. She started her skincare business Rodial in a tiny home office in 1999.
In just 11 short years, it has become a worldwide phenomenon and cornered an impressive 2 percent of the ferociously-competitive £800 million luxury skincare market in the UK, thanks to high-performance beauty products that are heralded as a natural alternative to cosmetic surgery.
Rodial products are now sold in over 1,000 luxury stores, with legions of A-List celebrity fans (including Angelina Jolie, Penelope Cruz and Demi Moore), helping to ensure that new products are sold out within days of hitting the shelves.
Maria launched a second global beauty brand, Nip + Fab, just six months ago, this time aimed at the mass market. It is already a best-seller and retails in 1,500 stores worldwide, including Boots in the UK.
Maria and her team launch new products every six to eight weeks, and are continuously expanding into new markets. With no advertising, she has built up the brand via word of mouth, becoming the face of Rodial herself.
Rodial, and Nip + Fab, remain privately owned by Maria and her husband Stratis, an investment banker in the City of London. They live in Chelsea with their two young sons.
For advice on breaking into the beauty business to how to build up your own multi-million pound company from scratch, read all of the questions and Maria's answers from the web chat below.