While growing up in Russia, Lev Glazman sensed the happiness that a fragrance brought his mother, and the thought of bringing that joy to others was one that would linger for many years. After emigrating to the U.S. to follow his dream, he met design-savvy Alina Roytberg and together they turned it into reality.
"For us the effective part is that we weren't doing the same things in the company. Lev was the nose and I was the eyes," Roytberg says.
With $10,000 borrowed from their parents, the husband-and-wife team opened their first store, Nuts About Beauty, in 1991. They then changed the name to Fresh and launched a line of artisanal soaps. Today, Fresh beauty products have expanded to include skincare, haircare, bodycare, makeup and fragrances sold around the world through Fresh stores and other high-end retailers. In 2000, the couple partnered with French luxury goods giant LVMH Group, which is now majority owner. The pair remains as co-presidents.
With their products sold through 15 Fresh stores and 400 retail distribution outlets, the global brand continues to hold cache in the beauty industry after more than two decades.
For this 'Trep Talk interview, I sat down with Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg at their home in Brookline, Mass. They share the challenges and rewards of going into business with a spouse, why having too many ideas is not always a good thing, and the most important element you need to start a business.