Vogue Education Presents: Maria Hatzistefanis – Entrepreneur, Author, and Founder of the Rodial Group

Maria Rodial Group

Vogue Education Presents was delighted to host entrepreneur and founder of Rodial Group, Maria Hatzistefanis, MA Luxury Brand Management student, Iman Zahid Hafeez, reports…

 

About Maria Hatzistefanis

Maria Hatzistefanis is a London-based entrepreneur, bestselling author, and the founder of the Rodial Group. Starting her career as a beauty editor, Maria launched her business in 1999 after identifying a gap in the market for targeted skincare solutions that provide instant and long-lasting benefits. Since then, Rodial has transformed into a global brand which is available in 35 countries and various luxury department stores such as Selfridges, Harrods, Neiman Marcus, and Space NK.

 

Maria’s entrepreneurial talents extend beyond skincare. In 2017, she debuted as an author with her first book, ‘How to Be An Overnight Success’, where she shares her journey about overcoming challenges to achieve success. She continued to inspire with two more books, ‘How to Make it Happen’ and ‘How to Live Your Best Life’, establishing Maria as not only a business entrepreneur but also an inspirational force.

 

In 2022, Maria expanded her influence by becoming a judge on ‘Dragons’ Den Greece’, where she shares her extensive experience with aspiring entrepreneurs. Leveraging her 18 years of business experience of growing her company, she seeks out promising innovators prepared to overcome challenges and leave their mark in the business world. Her role in the show’s second season highlights her dedication to nurturing talent and encouraging entrepreneurial development.

 

In addition to her business endeavours, Maria is a passionate supporter of the fashion and beauty industries, serving on the board of the British Fashion and Beauty Council. Through her diverse contributions, she continues to inspire and empower individuals to pursue their dreams, embodying the essence of success.

 

 

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A post shared by Rodial (@rodialbeauty)

Journey to Success

When Maria began her journey into the beauty industry 25 years ago, it was far less crowded than it is today. At that time, products generally catered to all skin types with a one-size-fits-all approach. Maria aimed to disrupt this norm by introducing products that targeted specific skin concerns, utilising innovative and revolutionary ingredients.

 

Maria’s breakthrough came when she attended a trade show in Italy, which provided her with the necessary resources and research to establish her business. This opportunity allowed her to assemble a dedicated team, including a laboratory, manufacturers, and a packaging designer.

 

Maria set ambitious goals early on with the aim to have her products featured in luxury department stores. She took proactive steps by sending beautifully packaged boxes of products to these stores. Her efforts paid off when she received a call from Fenwick, which led to a pivotal meeting with their buyer. The store offered to give her brand a single shelf space and invited her to personally sell her products over the weekends. This experience proved to be both humbling and invaluable. Direct interactions with customers on the shop floor offered Maria with insights into product development and customer service, which became her most significant learning tools.

 

Maria reflected on the current perception of founders, noting, “Today, there is this idea of a glamorous founder involved in launch parties and photoshoots. However, that only represents about five percent of what it truly involves. However, the reality is vastly different, comprising 95 percent hard work behind the scenes”.

 

Maria Hatzifanis speaking at Vogue Education Presents in London

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Future of the Beauty Industry

Looking ahead, Maria emphasised the importance of confidence and excellence over following trends. In terms of sustainability, she advocates for a thoughtful approach to product launches. Instead of further saturating the market with frequent new products, her team carefully analyses what is genuinely needed, and only launches thoughtfully developed products each year. This approach not only sets Rodial apart but also contributes positively to the industry by not overwhelming consumers with unnecessary products.

 

Maria Hatzistefanis Advice to Condé Nast Students

To the students, Maria emphasised the importance of resilience, describing that discipline outweighs motivation. She advised reflecting on your core reasons for seeking success and what you aim to accomplish. While motivation can fluctuate, with some days feeling more inspiring than others, Maria highlights the necessity of consistent effort. She stated a Chinese proverb, “A journey of 10,000 miles begins with one step”, which she used to highlight the significance of initiating action, especially on days when motivation is absent. According to her, taking that initial step and committing to the work is crucial for progress.

 

By Iman Zahid Hafeez – MA Luxury Brand Management student