The television and entertainment business seems an unlikely place to lead to a career in skincare products, but it suited Allison McNamara, Founder of Mara, just fine.

“My background as a television host taught me the skill of not getting nervous,” Allison says. “I also think there’s beauty in ignorance – I had no idea how hard it would be. If you are shown how difficult something is, maybe you wouldn’t go through it. So because I had that kind of shield from the beginning, I never hesitated towards launching a brand.”

Allison said it was interviewing the Ulta Beauty executives at a trade convention that first got the idea of a skincare line into her head. Her hometown – the coastal town of Palos Verdes – provided the ocean angle and inspiration for turning to algae as the “clean” ingredient in the skincare formula.

“I say that in air quotes because everyone’s got a different definition of clean,” she says. “But I wanted to do something that felt very transparent and authentic but also had good-for-you ingredients.”

Mara began work on five products, ultimately launched with a single one. The strategy was to have the other ideas ready to go when the time was right.

“The big thing that I took away from being on the other side, on the media side, is that you always want newness to talk about,” she says. “We focus on two launches a year, and to do that, I wanted to ensure I had the formulas lined up to launch.”

Rather than researching the market for the right initial product, Allison says she decided she was the “target customer” and went with the product she wanted to use – Universal Face Oil.

“I have this storytelling kind of side to me – I knew that there was going to be a compelling way to share this with our customers,” she says. “Luckily, people love the concept too.”

In Part 1, Allison talks about:

* Gratitude to a friend who introduced her to a huge buyer.
* An overview of the Mara brand.
* Her background in journalism and entertainment and how she transitioned into the beauty space.
* The connection between the ocean and the skincare formula.
* Her launch strategy.

Join Ramon Vela and Allison McNamara as they break down the inside story on The Story of a Brand.

For more on Mara, visit:

This episode is brought to you by Yotpo.

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