Village People: About Face

THE FACE OF THE VILLAGEAbout Face Marianna w

Founder and Director of About Face, Marianna Glucina has a striking presence. She’s caring, strong and really switched on – the kind of person that would make a great dinner party guest. After sharing a pot of peppermint tea with her at 415 Mt Eden Rd, I can see why she has successfully created a beauty empire in Auckland that all subscribe to her own standards of excellence and aroha.

Q. How did About Face start?
A. I started About Face at the fresh age of 22 in Henderson. Fast forward 34 years and now I own the business with my brother, and we have 7 clinics Auckland wide. It’s very much a family business. When Paul came on board the Henderson salon was really successful, I was running it with my eyes closed. I needed another project, so we decided together to jointly open a clinic in Mt Albert which then eventually transferred into St Lukes and it just kept growing. Eventually he ditched his corporate job and together we make this really strong yin/yang partnership.

Q. What was the idea behind the business?
A. I’m passionate about bringing beauty to everyone. We don’t get enough touch in our lives, particularly back then, 34 years ago, it was very hidden. There’s nothing that beats the confidence you see in women when you nurture them. Our customers are people who want to feel good about themselves and aren’t necessarily afraid of aging, embracing who they are. The lines on my face tell the story of my life, I don’t want to erase them completely. Look as good as you can for as long as you can with what you’ve got.

Q. Where was Mt Eden in your business journey?
A. About half way. We’ve been here 12 years. I’m a Mt Eden local and I feel proud to be in the village, because I love Mt Eden. The people are real, they’re authentic and that’s who the About Face woman is. We’ve just employed a local as our General Manager. Paul and I are both stepping away a little from day to day, but we’re still very involved with our team. I’ve worked hard to get the business to this stage, so to take a little bit of a back seat and take some pressure off will be really nice. In my spare time I’ll study more French. I also love doing yoga and Pilates, walks on the beach. Now I have more time I’d also like to mentor women.

Q. Did you ever think about doing anything else?
A. Yes! It was weird how I fell into beauty therapy. I was going to do law and I did ok at school, but I ended up taking a cadetship in travel. After a couple of years, I found it wasn’t fulfilling me, so I thought maybe I’ll go and do that law degree. But I felt too old to go to uni – how ridiculous, I was probably all of 20. A friend was going to have a wax and said ‘why don’t you just come with me’ so I went with her to the beauty therapist and there was a prospectus there for the Joyce Blok Beauty School. I thought ‘oh my god this is everything’ it had biology, physics and business management. It was much bigger than I ever thought. I signed up and from day one I loved it. There’s so much knowledge and science in skin.

Q. What other shops do you frequent in the Village?
A. My hands down favourite is Circus Circus. I’m there every single morning at 6.30AM when they open, and they’ve always got my coffee waiting for me. I love Pasta & Cuore – one of the best Italian restaurants in Auckland. Love Time Out. One of my favourite books I’ve read recently is Lost in the Spanish Quarter – a bit of travel and romance. I like to switch off when I’m not working, or not reading business books.

Q. Any beauty tips?
A. Sunscreen! I can’t stress that enough. In Australia and New Zealand we have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and most ageing comes back to too much sun exposure. Sunblock, sunblock, sunblock is number one for everything. Choose the right sunblock and put it on 365 days a year.

During and after the interview Marianna’s staff hover close by checking we have everything we need. You can tell from their manner and the positive vibes that they love their boss and are happy workers. I can see why – Marianna is exceptional. I wonder if she has a job going….?

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