Getting to Know you: Maria Hatzistefanis

What do you currently do?
I am the founder and president of Rodial Skincare, a targeted skin and bodycare range which offers an effective alternative to surgery. Our offices are in Chelsea and I’m mainly based here but often travel around to meet with our worldwide distributors and PR agencies.
I started the business 12 years ago with Rodial Skincare and added a diffusion range called NIP+FAB  a year ago. With our two brands, we currently have a distribution network of more than 6000 stores and 35 countries worldwide and an expected turnover for 2012 of £15m.
What is your inspiration in business?
I always wanted to create a household brand out of nothing.  I was inspired by creators such as Estee Lauder, Helena Rubinstein and Coco Chanel for creating their beauty and fashion empires. 
On a beauty level, I want to create products that change your life, I only want to create memorable and hero products that will become cult, mediocrity doesn’t interest me. My biggest inspiration is for Rodial to become the go-to beauty range for every woman, as we offer such innovative and different results to other brands.
Who do you admire?
I admire strong business women who have the drive and ambition to start up in male dominated industries.
Women such as Net-A-Porter founder Natalie Massenet are such an inspiration, she found a niche in the market and has developed her business to grow with the changing pace of the industry and this is something that I strive for with my business.
I am always inspired by business people who started from nothing and created a well-known brand and successful business.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
I would have invested in key people sooner. It took me 5 years to hire my first Sales Manager who brought different skills that I didn’t have in the business.
If I brought on a stronger team earlier, I would have grown faster. Having said that, it’s really important to make these types of mistakes in the early stages so you can learn from them and grow.
In business, you need to make mistakes and you always learn from them. Neither success nor failure is final so you learn and keep on going.
What defines your way of doing business?
Make it Happen is my motto and this is my way of doing business, to always strive for bigger and better and surround myself with people that share my goals.
I’m a go-getter in life and in business and it’s this zest for success that really drives me. I have a strong work ethic, I am usually one of the first to arrive in the office and last to leave, I don’t see the need for middle management and I like to be surrounded by people with great energy and fresh ideas.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
I would say keep focused and never give up, be prepared to put in the hard work and you will reap the rewards.
Also, if you have any spare budget, invest in PR as this is a great platform to get your business out there.
Make sure that you hire people that have the same work ethic and share your vision, a great team is that AtoZ to start and grow a business.