By Constantinos Vouzakis/TNH Staff Writer NEW YORK – Nikos Mouyiaris is a name well-respected in the beauty industry. In 1975, he founded Mana Products, Inc., which has since become a leading cosmetic-manufacturing company.
Over the years, Mouyiaris has achieved success in a number of ventures, both in and out of the beauty industry, earning awards and recognition for both his skills as a leader and his countless efforts to give back.
Mouyiaris turned to a new project, the We See Beauty Foundation a nonprofit that benefits women’s cooperatives—businesses owned, managed, and used collectively by the people who work there. Why cooperatives? From firsthand experience, Mouyiaris observed this same system prosper in his hometown of Athienou, Cyprus, under the leadership of his great-uncle. “The villagers collected money and started an agricultural cooperative and a cooperative bank. That was in 1920. These institutions still exist today, and they are still thriving,” he explains.
We See’s pilot cooperative in Brooklyn, is called Do Good Be Beautiful. As a part of Do Good Be Beautiful, workers both sell and distribute their own healthy cleaning and personal-care products, such as laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaners, and handsoap.
The Foundation has partnered with the Center for Family Life (a social-service organization for women and families) in Sunset Park, to help recruit the women who would like to be a part of this project, then will train them so that they can learn to run their own businesses and expand – a concept very reminiscent of the pay-it-forward mindset.
“Economies across the globe are failing or in decline,” explains Mouyiaris’ daughter, Ariana, who is We See’s Creative Director. “Particularly in an American context, people are starting to seek new solutions and approaches to reigniting the economy,” she says. “Cooperation, co-commerce, and the merging of new technology are helping to propel the next-generation business ideas and allow for smaller players and individuals to shift the status quo of doing business.”
Mouyiaris also created Make, a cosmetics line with an array of products ranging from skin care to color, which will be sold on the We See Beauty website, with a third of the proceeds donated directly to the Foundation. In addition to its permanent collection, Make will feature limited-edition concept collections created through partnerships with modern artists, ranging from talents in design and music to art and gaming and all in between.
“Make lives up to the core qualities of We See Beauty: to be open, artful, collaborative, and contemporary and visionary,” says Ariana. “The products themselves are superior-quality, offering high pigmentation with a core strength in special effects and skin care But it is really the collaborations, the platform for contributing artists, and philanthropic efforts that will enable Make to stand apart from other beauty brands.”
The website combines all the different facets into one comprehensive platform. Visitors can explore different looks (with full explanations), learn about the artists currently featured, and, of course, purchase Make beauty products.
There are plans to create other brands beyond Make, hair care and maybe fragrance, as well as an endless number of collaborations. “Our collective goal is to empower local
The company also makes cosmetics for men. Specifically, due to the fact that there is constantly creation of chemical substances, there is possibility for the development of new products. There are color changes that are in fashion and the company is always monitoring the changes and keeps up with the color and formulation changes.
There is a special team involved in monitoring fashion trends by traveling all over the world from Tokyo to Paris and London observing and engaged in the products development.
Everything is done with a view to maintain being a step ahead in the beauty industry.
Competition is quite big from Europe and recently, in the last fifteen years Korea entered the beauty industry dynamically through state planning that the country conducted in order to develop toward that direction.
China is not a competitor, rather a consumer.
Korea essentially is demonstrating the way the leadership of a country should operate and program the industry they want to develop, and through planning and state intervention the industry gets developed.
An example is the electronics giant LG that has entered the cosmetics spectrum.
Nikos Mouyiaris earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry at St. John’s and Rutgers Universities, respectively. He has two children, Alexis and Ariana.
He told TNH about the time that “an employee of mine happened to see a lady using this process and she was being thankful for the opportunity that we gave her and she built a business by which she managed to put her children through college and become a businesswoman. In this sector, we have about four to five thousand clients. We have also major companies which we provide with a wide range of cosmetics, products for skin care, beauty care, makeup, hair care and other similar products related with beauty.”