Picture Perfect: After Finding Success, This Founder Shares Why She Splurged on an Iconic Photo of Faye Dunaway
Like many entrepreneurs, Maria Hatzistefanis began her journey when she got fired from a good job she couldn’t stand. The Greek-born Hatzistefanis had studied business at Columbia University and, after graduation, taken a job in banking. It went well until it didn’t -- “My passion wasn’t there,” she says. She soon found herself out of work.
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“I was devastated, but it was actually the best thing that ever happened to me,” Hatzistefanis says, “because it made me think harder about what I wanted to become.”
Hatzistefanis had previously worked as a beauty writer for Seventeen magazine. Looking back, she realized that was closer to her real passion. So she set out to launch her own beauty brand, Rodial. Investors weren’t interested, so she bootstrapped it. “I put all my savings into the business and started it from a bathroom at home, doing everything from going to the manufacturers to coming up with the product to selling my products to stores,” she says. “I was a one-woman show from the beginning.”
In those days, Hatzistefanis held her meetings in a coffee shop by her apartment in London. On the way there every day, she’d walk by a small gallery’s window display of Terry O’Neil’s iconic photo of actress Faye Dunaway, taken the morning after she won an Oscar for Network in 1977. Hatzistefanis loved it.