“My first memories of beauty definitely come from my mother’s perfume,” Minori Beauty founder Anastasia Bezrukova tells Thirteen Lune. “It was Opium by YSL, which she managed to purchase when still living in Kazakhstan. I remember that scent to this day.”
Born in Kazakhstan — of the former Soviet Union — to a Greek mother and Russian father, Bezrukova moved to Montreal, Canada at five years old, where she resided until leaving for university and traveling as a young adult.
“My background had a tremendous influence on me,” Bezrukova explains. “I grew up in what I like to call the ‘aspiring’ middle class. I watched my parents build a new life from scratch in a new country and work minimum wage jobs to put me through school.”
Bezrukova remembers overcompensating for her insecurities about not being able to afford what she calls “nice things” by consuming fast fashion as a young adult. “Today, my work with Minori focuses on embracing minimalism and conscious consumption, because I learned the hard way that you can’t buy your way into happiness and balance.”
And in a beauty culture where consumers are regularly inundated with new, glossy products at every turn, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by choice and buyer’s remorse. That’s why Minori is founded on the concept of minimal looks and classic, elevated simplicity.
With a product range that is wearable for all skin tones and formulated with sustainability at the forefront, Minori is also considered an ally brand at thirteen lune. “Inclusivity was part of the brand’s DNA from inception,” Bezrukova explains.
After working in the industry for over six years as a beauty buyer and for the biggest beauty subscription company in the world, Bezrukova was “baffled” to find that most beauty products were not inclusive.
“Brands with giant assortments would have only a fraction of makeup that would work well on darker skin tones.”
“This frustrated me so much that when I started developing Minori, I wanted to figure out how to launch a brand where every single product works for every single skin tone,” she says. To do this, Bezrukova tested products on dozens of women and assembled a program with over 30 makeup artists of different ethnicities to help with all future product development.
“I would love to see more BIPOC women in positions of leadership and decision making in the beauty industry,” Bezrukova says.
To her, it is not enough to hire BIPOC models for photoshoot campaigns or to work with BIPOC social creators. “True inclusion and diversity goes beyond what people look like and beyond self-interest,” she says, such as ensuring that people of all backgrounds hold positions and influential roles at every level of an organization.
“Diversity needs to be the norm within all teams, not an aspiration.”
GET TO KNOW – ANASTASIA BEZRUKOVA
What does allyship mean to you?
Allyship is a lifetime act of unlearning and commitment to end systems held in place that maintain inequalities, hatred, oppression, and marginality. To me, it’s uniting our skills, privileges, and positions to enable those at the front of systemic injustices an equal standing to thrive, share success, and claim space with the right tools. It's about taking action for lasting change, rather than a statement.
What excites and inspires you about the beauty industry today?
I’m inspired by all the young, independent and female founded brands. The beauty industry is one of the most exciting spaces to be an entrepreneur. I love seeing how people of completely different backgrounds enter this space with an idea, a dream, or an unmet need, and put their creativity and hustle to work to create something meaningful. There will obviously always be the big celebrity or influencer brands launching and making big waves, but it’s all the smaller independently owned brands that I want to support and grow alongside with.
I am also very excited to work on changing and elevating the sustainability standards. The indie beauty community both from the founder and customer side is pushing so hard to make better decisions and prioritize the environment.
Do you have a beauty philosophy? What is it?
My beauty philosophy is to show the world my true, beautiful, confident self and not hide behind layers of makeup. I believe in the power of elegant, timeless beauty achieved with carefully and intentionally selected products. My beauty philosophy is also centered around practicing mindfulness and intentionality. It’s taking the time for yourself, your mental health, your body, and your soul. It’s a holistic approach to beauty that helps us feel beautiful inside and out.
What were some of your first memories of beauty growing up? What are some early beauty influences?
As a little girl, I always admired how graceful my mom looked with her long manicured nails, which was the one beauty luxury she always afforded herself. My mom also has a very fuss free beauty routine.
What does self-care look like in your life?
In Russian we have this saying “The slower you go, the farther you get.” That is the intention I start my day with. I practice self-care in the form of a daily slow morning routine. I read, meditate and workout every morning before getting ready. My mindful mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. If my mind is calm and composed, I am productive and grounded when I start working.
What has been the biggest challenge in your role?
We’re a very small scrappy team with big goals. It’s often a challenge to accept that it takes a lot of time, money, and simply building up experience before you can grow into a brand that can do everything it sets out to do. We want to not only create amazing products but turn Minori into a platform that inspires people to be more mindful consumers. We need to first learn how to make an impact on a small scale and focus on getting the traction and momentum needed to amplify our efforts.
What has been the biggest win thus far?
Our biggest win has been to create a truly amazing product and get such wonderful feedback from everyone who has tried it. Everything else followed: the retail partnerships, the good press, the sales, the angel investor support. I think that our brand mission of inspiring people to buy fewer, better things really resonates with our customers, and our products speak to that.