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“My pain was my greatest strength”, says Mari Maria about childhood bullying

“My brand was born from pain, from my deepest pain, from showing who I really was”, he says Mari Maria moved, in the conversation she had with the CNN during the Web Summit , this week, in Rio de Janeiro. The 7-year-old girl, who wanted to hide her freckles because she was being bullied, is now the CEO of her brand, Mari Maria Makeup and one of the biggest beauty influencers in the country, with 75 million followers on her networks.

Using a pain as a business opportunity was a natural path. She started with videos in 2014, when she was 20 years old, with makeup tutorials that also showed her personal life. “At the beginning of the videos, it wasn't easy because I was in pain about showing my freckles. But then I started to show it. That’s where I found my purpose, because I saw that many people identified with me and also found in makeup a way to feel part of it,” she says.

And the question came from those watching: how do you hide your freckles? Foundations, makeup tips, different brushes… All of this later became products for these consumers and, in 2017, she created her own brand. “As I identified with people, they also helped me with my self-esteem, with me accepting myself more,” she says.

It's easier to show your natural side and, at the same time, what the transformation process is like with makeup. “My followers see something in me that makes sense to them. Because I was very young, I felt pain and my pain made me stronger. My greatest vulnerability was my greatest strength,” she says.

300% growth

Mari Maria and her husband, Rudy Loures, who is also her partner, created the brand together. There was the entire process of searching for suppliers and developing products. The result is a 300% growth of the brand in one year. “It was a record year for us, today we are in more than 5 thousand points of sale and we have a significant brand in the Brazilian market”, she says. She also has other projects, such as the co-creation of shoes, one of them in the shape of a triangular brush, one of her main brands in makeup.

Another strategy in creating content on networks, such as YouTube, was to make videos that talked about all the brands, doing tests and giving opinions. “As an influencer brand, we can’t hold back. Because the obvious thing is to just show my brand, but I have to have competitors that I study, that I improve myself.”

Mari Maria is also an influence for this new generation of girls. Many want to be entrepreneurs, have their brand, their store. “My life, as I put it on Instagram, shows girls that it is possible. They think 'when I'm a CEO, when I'm a businesswoman, this is how I want to be'. Inspire and show that it is real”, she says, making it clear that she also has to show the challenges, all the work with research and development of a product until a result is achieved.

And another important issue is empowerment. The strategy is to work with other women. “This is our moment, for us to work together, for one woman to encourage another. Saying: 'you can do it, you have to do it'”, she says. And she ends, emotionally: “I feel like we are shining together, that's where I really shine, is working with other women. We're here, right? Now it’s time for us to stand our ground and show that we’re here to make a difference in the market.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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