A few weeks back I was invited to visit the Art of Beauty headquarters located right here in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Art of Beauty is the manufacturer of Zoya, Qtica and Nocti nail, hand and body care products. As I’m sure you all know, I am a big fan of Zoya & Nocti lacquers so getting to meet the Art of Beauty team and tour the plant was like a dream come true.
Ok so first a little back story.
From the Art of Beauty Australia site:
Art of Beauty was founded in 1986 by Zoya and Michael Reyzis. They had a shared vision, which evolved from a small nail salon in Cleveland, Ohio into a spa focusing on natural nails, skin care and alternative European herbal treatments. Today, the company has grown to become a manufacturer of the most innovative professional beauty products ever created.
Zoya, originally a classical pianist in Russia, earned her Cosmetology license in 1979 when she and her husband Michael immigrated to the United States. While pianists’ jobs were limited, the world of Cosmetology offered a new profession and a means by which to build a new career. Through Zoya’s hard work, and a demand for quality and healthy, natural ingredients for her clients, it became evident that there was a need for the perfect products.
Responding to his wife’s requests, Michael, an advanced chemist, developed and patented unique products such as anti-wrinkle treatments and shampoo and conditioning treatments for the salon and spa. He also created the first working fast drying top coat and the longest wearing nail polish, revolutionizing the nail industry.
Now back to my visit. The Art of Beauty HQ is very unassuming. Tucked away in an industrial strip, you’d never guess all those amazing colors come from within. Stepping inside the front door I was greeted by the charming and friendly Leo Reyzis, VP of Marketing, and a giant wall display containing every Zoya, Qtica and Nocti product made. It was hard to contain my excitement and desire to run right over to drool. I didn’t want to come across as a total freak.
The AOB offices are open and accessible giving a very collaborative feel. Regardless of AOB’s worldwide reach, this is still very much a family run down-to-earth company. The walls are covered with art by a talented Russian artist, the conference room is supplied with the finest Vodkas (I didn’t partake, it was still morning after all) and I was in heaven.
I had the privilege of meeting president and founder Michael Reyzis and oh my goodness, he has the softest hands. Though being surrounded by all those fab body products, I guess it would be wrong if they were rough. He came over to thank me for being a fan and to tell me about how the high society of Cleveland were talking about me and my article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
I finally got to meet Erin (from marketing), with whom I’ve had the pleasure of exchanging many great email conversations but never met in person. She joined Leo and I on the plant tour. And afterwards I got to see her office and it’s a nail junkie’s dream. She has a giant armoire filled with products and polishes to play with. Lucky gal!
Stepping into the production and warehouse area of Art of Beauty was overwhelming. Imagine rows and rows of shelving filled with boxes and boxes of product reaching at least 20 feet above the ground. Beyond that are the filling machines and packaging area. My eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw the shelves filled with pigment jars. Talk about sensory overload. As you can see in the picture below, the Candy and Smitten pigments are on the lower right shelf.
The day I was there they were doing a test run on the Uptown collection just prior to it’s official release. I felt very Laverne and Shirley watching the bottles run through the production line. If only I’d had a head scarf and pair of work gloves on me. You know what was really fun? Getting to put my hand in and play with the mixing balls. Yes, I’m really a 3 year old trapped in a…. um not so 3 year-old body.
I have to say that I was most impressed by learning that Michael Reyzis personally creates every formulation; the lacquer, body wash, lotion, scrub, lip balm, nail treatments etc. He has a lab in his basement, where AOB started, and borrows lab space from the local universities so he can dream up new and better products for us. He personally overseas production to ensure that his high standards are met.
It’s that kind of personal involvement in the business that touches my heart. Growing up a child of a self made woman who started her own business from scratch with nothing but a desk and a phone, I can’t help but be drawn to and affected by the independent spirit that is alive and well at Art of Beauty.