In many ways, the Twin Cities is known as a bit of a hotbed for entrepreneurial ingenuity. Just in the beauty industry, I can rattle off a few notable companies with their roots here, including Intelligent Nutrients, Aveda, and Regis Salons.
Minnesotans take a lot of pride in what we bring to the table, and the spirit of developing good ideas and bringing value and a quality product to the marketplace is found not just in the Twin Cities, but throughout the state. This week’s post is particularly exciting because it features an inspiring, passionate entrepreneur in the beauty industry whose determination is taking her business from the kitchen stove to a global enterprise.
Meet Antonina Kuznetsov, a 15-year-old from Fosston, MN, whose beauty-product line Antonina Naturals is about to expand into international territory. Kuznetsov has been running her business since she was 12, when she read the back of her body-wash bottle in the shower and realized it was time to take a stand.
“I couldn’t understand any of the ingredients on there! A couple days later, out of curiosity and boredom, I Googled one of these ingredients. That’s when I got freaked out when I found out what [chemicals] I was using in my beauty routine.”
After months of research followed by sourcing what she found to be high-quality, safe ingredients, such as Shea butter, coconut oil, and vitamin E oil, Kuznetsov took her inspiration and ideas to her family’s kitchen, where she began formulating her first lip balm. It turned out to be a big hit among family and friends. She added lotions to her product line and took to the stores, looking for shops to partner with her.
“I know that my products are good quality because I monitor what is going in them. People need quality beauty products at a fair price. After getting into a few store chains and hearing positive feedback, I knew I needed to share them with the world.”
And that she has—Kuznetsov and her products have been featured in various local publications and a news spot on WDAZ Channel 8. You can now find Antonia Naturals in 25 stores and counting in Minnesota and North Dakota, as well as online. She plans to personally fill every order with her locally manufactured products.
On the horizon for spring is a handful of new goodies including bath bombs made with essential oils, Epsom salts, and other skin-nurturing ingredients, as well body soap hand-made by her mom. It’s a great time of year to give new products a shot—as skin begins the tough transition from dry winter air to humidity, slicking on lotions and lip balms is more important than ever (plus, they’d be perfect to pop in an Easter basket).
Despite her success, Kuznetsov is refreshingly down-to-earth—she credits her parents for their help with managerial and packaging aspects, and she still gets out and has fun with her friends, does her homework, and finds time to give back to her community. She’s not only inspired by those who work to make the world a better place, she wants to be one of those people—and with her good-for-you products now available to the masses, she’s well on her way.