This profile is part of the Glossy Pop Guide to Influencer-Founded Brands, covering the fashion, beauty and wellness companies started by people who built their careers on social media. More from the series →
Allison McNamara started out as a journalist, producer and TV host for PopSugar and “Entertainment Tonight.” Since then, she’s added another title to her resume: skin-care brand owner. Her brand, Mara, created in 2018, takes inspiration from her Gaelic roots. “Mara” is Gaelic for “sea,” and all of Mara’s formulas are algae-infused. The work of her father, a beauty executive, inspired her to pursue a career in skin care. Growing up, she would accompany him to test out new products or shoot beauty commercials. In addition to natural products, sustainability is at the center of Mara’s mission. The brand often partners with recycling and donation programs.
Who: Allison McNamara (Mara)
What are you known for & how did you get your start?
I was a fashion, beauty and entertainment reporter at the time when digital media platforms like PopSugar were starting to flourish. I was known for backstage interviews at fashion week, styling videos and my show ‘We Spy Style,’ where I had notable influencers and celebrities on as guests.
What’s the brand: Skin care
Find it: Credo Beauty, Bluemercury, Revolve, Free People, Anthropologie, The Detox Market, Cult Beauty
Why did you decide to bring a brand into this crowded marketplace?
I have been passionate about simple, effective skin care my entire life. A brand was always in the cards for me, it was just a matter of when. I started formulating Mara in 2015, and at the time, the face oil market wasn’t nearly as saturated as it is today. Many of the options available were not ‘clean’ and used a mix of the same ingredients — I hadn’t found an active face oil that truly worked for my skin. When we landed on our oil-based proprietary algae blend and saw the synergy it had with superfoods like moringa and baobab – both virtually untouched in the face oil market — I knew we were onto something special. I have had many jobs and career paths spanning almost two decades, and none of them have been as fulfilling as dreaming up and creating products.
Fun fact: The artwork on the top of our cartons is custom created by different female artists. So our boxes are literally one-of-a-kind works of art.
Best seller: Universal Face Oil
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