Evonna S. Kuehner always knew she was destined for more than the harried and hectic environments of the start ups she worked at prior to founding her clean skincare line, Anové. Like many budding entrepreneurs, she envisioned something that did not exist and took the initiative to make it herself.
Anové was born as a clean, small batch skincare brand that effectively treats all skin tones and types. Her hero product - the Perfecting Oil - lives up to its lofty name. The power ingredient packed product contains Goji berry, sea buckthorn and squalane to liven up tired skin and waken up the senses.
Here, the busy mom of about to be 3, talks about starting her line and uplifting more beauty founders of color.
Get to Know – Evonna S Kuehner
What was the impetus to start your brand?
Primarily, it was feeling like I was laboring in vain in various “real jobs.” I had experienced a lot of undesirable things working for corporate companies and startups, I didn’t love what I was doing and I felt like I wasn’t achieving my full potential. I felt demoralized in position after position and eventually I was just over it - I didn’t want to wait to happen upon something that I loved so I just decided to shift my focus to my something I was passionate about, Skincare! I also felt at the time that there needed to be more diversity in beauty with regard to who products are made for AND who is behind the products. I used to wish I’d started/launched sooner but now I recognize the journey for what it was - the bright side is that I was fortunate enough to be able to self fund my business to get to a point where the business is able to generate revenue.
Do you have a beauty philosophy? What is it?
I do think beauty should fit into however you live your life. Beauty should always feel good and add to your quality of life.
Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
I’m originally from eastern North Carolina and now I live in Los Angeles, CA.
What were some of your first memories of beauty growing up? What are some early beauty influences? (family/relatives, culture, era, location)
My earliest beauty memories are the smell of Luster’s Pink Hair Lotion and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lotion! Just thinking about it now I can vividly remember both of those products! Some of my early beauty experiences were the women in my family - most of them rarely wore any makeup at all but I always remember their skin glistening which allowed me to realize the importance of staying hydrated and moisturized.
What does self-care look like in your life?
Alone time! As a mother of a 2.5 year old, an 8 month old and 1 on the way any quiet time I can have to myself is self care.
What inspires you most about the beauty landscape and industry today?
There are so many interesting brands and the industry at large seems to be recognizing a need for diversity. This is long overdue but inspiring nonetheless!
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?
Self funding was pretty scary at first but in hindsight it meant that I was mentally “all in” and made every move and decision with conviction.
What has been the biggest win thus far?
I’m not the best at celebrating my wins but I still say launching and being able to generate revenue is by far the biggest win. Having developed the first version of what would become The Perfecting Oil™ (our hero product) back in 2012 it took me years to decide to officially launch and bring ANOVÉ to fruition. There was a lot to overcome in those years but being here now makes me even more grateful for the journey.
What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity?
I’d love to see more inclusivity with founders of color behind luxury beauty brands. As consumers we shop at a wide variety of price points so it would be great to see us as creators at all those price points as well.