Introducing Stephanie Schalken the female founder of MAARKS ,a lipstick brand that celebrates individuality, feminine beauty & empowerment.
Who better to interview for our MOTHER MUSE Start Up Series!
Words of wisdom below!
Tell us about MAARKS and the catalyst behind starting it?
I’ve been in the beauty industry for 20 years and from a very young age, I discovered how a simple lipstick shifted the way I would feel and look on any given day. I’m now never without my lipstick, I love fashion, architecture, beauty and art. With these passions combined, I wanted to create a minimalistic but essential lipstick range of my own. This is how MAARKS was born. FUN FACT: The MAARKS name includes mine, my husbands, my son & my daughters initials. For anyone that knows me knows that I’m never seen without my Rouge or ME lipstick on.
What has been your biggest hurdle so far?
It’s without a doubt the impact of the pandemic. Mask wearing definitely diminished the desire to wear lipstick, but we’re seeing the back of those days now.
Is there anything that you feel like is not talked about enough when it comes to starting your own business? Or you wish you knew sooner?
I guess with my business experience and not just limited to MAARKS, but also my beauty salon’s is both the ‘’reality’’ of having your own business and self-doubt. By reality I mean; the long hours, roles, staffing, innovation, marketing, financial planning, laws and regulations and the overall multifaceted nature of running your own business.
Initially I was simply fulfilling my own desire to design, create and formulate a range of unique lipsticks but there’s a lot more to it than just that. The other element I think is self-doubt, the pressure, questioning and scrutinising that you can put yourself through is quite enormous. At the end of each day, you really need to remember why you started, trust that inner passion you have for what you’re doing and back yourself the whole way. You’ll get many no’s, can’t do that, that’s not possible and so on along the way. In order to succeed you need to find a way to remain focused, believe in yourself, block out all the noise, positively respond to rejection (let it fuel you!) and somewhat stick within your lane.
What does a typical day of operations look like for you at MAARKS?
Every day (other than the weekends) I start with a 5:30am gym session, probiotic & coffee! Once the school run is done, I personally pick and pack all MAARKS orders and ship them off for the day. I also work as an aesthetician and cosmetic artist within my salon, Le Beaute Salon. As a working mum, I juggle my schedule to cater for the needs of both of my businesses but not without the help & support of my talented team.
Do you have any must have rituals to help set your day up for success?
Absolutely! Early morning rises that kick off with exercise and good music. We always play music in our home.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business and on the flipside, the one thing you dislike the most about running your own business?
It would totally be the freedom to create and bring your visions to life. The part that bores me the most is the administration involved with it all. The creative part far outweighs it though, so it's really not that bad. As I’ve gotten older and now that I’m a mum of two beautiful children, I’m really enjoying the flexible working hours. It helps so much when you’re trying to run a household with many different schedules.
Can you recommend any good apps/podcasts/books/resources etc that have helped you grow MAARKS? - Can be on a business front or a personal development front.
I have always leaned toward’s podcasts that promote positive mindset and self-belief. One of my favourites is the 5am club by Robin Sharma, a must read and I love biography books too! I’m currently reading Anna by Amy Odell. The other recommendation I have based from my own experiences is to simply surround yourself with like-minded, positive people this helps you grow, feel encouraged and supported.
Your favourite colour lippy from MAARKS is …
I love them all but it would have to be Rouge. I’m all about confidently making your MAARK in this world.