Business is not driven by products. It is driven by purpose.
Maria McCool is the CEO of Calista, a brand that makes hair products and tools for quick, effective hair transformations that bring out the best in all of their uniquely beautiful customers. She is an entrepreneur, on-air presenter, professional hairstylist, and a huge believer in self-love.
You’ve seen plenty of advice about loving yourself and accepting yourself as you are, but here’s the harsh truth: it’s easier said than done. Maria has coined the term BeautyBrave because of her deep belief in how an external change (even a really small one) can make the hard work that comes along with the phrase “love yourself” just a little bit easier.
In her words “Embracing your beauty isn’t simple or cute. It’s brave – because it’s really, really hard!” Turns out, it’s not just brave. It’s BeautyBrave.
You’re about to find out:
- The purpose that drives Maria McCool and her company, Calista.
- A peek into her daily routine that keeps her highly productive and enthusiastic as she leads multiple teams.
Challenges she had to overcome to build a million-dollar business
- Her words of wisdom and advice for female entrepreneurs wanting to take control of their lives and build business empires.
More About Calista
Calista means “most beautiful” and the brand seeks to help women discover and embrace their own most beautiful selves. Through Calista, Maria aspires to empower women with confidence and bravery.
Calista started out as a salon and spa in West Chester, PA servicing around 1000 clients a week. While clients loved their experience, Maria found that many of them were frustrated when they couldn’t repeat the same style at home. The tools available on the market were difficult, time consuming, and frustrating for the average person. That’s why Maria decided to create her own. Calista grew into a brand and started creating affordable tools that were easier to use, higher quality, and gave clients the salon experience at home.
She says, “There are thousands and thousands of hair salons and beauty brands out there. You have to give clients the right combination of honesty and personalization to really make sure they’re getting the results they’re paying for.”
What Influenced Her Decision to Write a Book?
In addition to being an entrepreneur, Maria is the author of the book, “Becoming BeautyBrave: The Bold Makeover That Will Change Your Life.” Jacques Anquetil writes, “This book is so much more than a “beauty book”. It focuses on beauty, self-esteem, and empowerment. It gives so many pearls of wisdom.”
Maria also wanted a way to tell her story and inspire others to follow their dreams. She says, “It was important to me to get the message across that if I, a hairstylist who didn’t go to college, can build a multi-million-dollar beauty business, anyone can!”
Pivoting the Business Towards Greater Goals
When you’re trying to grow your business, it’s going to get challenging. As Calista’s customer base continued to grow, Maria found that a lot more people wanted a piece of her. She says, “When you’re committed to providing exceptional service to everyone you work with, whether it was a client, a brand customer, or an employee, that can be quite taxing. I had to take a moment to learn how to better manage my time and my energy.”
This experience taught her the importance of prioritizing her own mental health so that she could be present, excited, and alert for whichever part of the business needed her most on a given day.
The Recipe That Helped Maria Reach Her Goals
Through all of her success, Maria has always followed her parents’ advice “You should be with people you respect, admire, and aspire to be like”. Maria says she was lucky to have incredible family, amazing friends, and a great team that helped her grow personally and professionally. She is thankful to her supporters for helping to make Calista what it is today and what it will continue to grow into.
She says, “Every person associated with the brand is responsible for its triumph. And of course, we wouldn’t be where we are today without our loyal clients and customers!”
Maria’s Aspirations for Calista
Right now, Maria is excited about continuing to grow Calista into a household name. Through the brand’s time on QVC and connecting with so many of their ecommerce customers, Maria feels that Calista has shown that they have a proven product.
She says, “Our hair tools and styling products really help others feel brave about their beauty in a tangible way. I’m most excited about continuing to grow at our retailers and on our own website to be able to reach more people with the BeautyBrave message!”
Maria McCool’s Daily Routine That Helps Her Stay Productive, Enthusiastic, and Excited
Maria’s window faces the sun and it helps her wake up ready for the day. She starts her day with a hike by her home or a yoga routine followed by meditation.
However, Maria’s favorite part of her morning routine is bringing the BeautyBrave message to life. She loves the immediate confidence boost she gets from styling her hair, doing her makeup, and selecting her outfit for the day.
Maria’s day can be filled with a wide range of exciting projects. Whether she’s doing an on-air appearance for QVC, meeting with her team, styling clients at the salon, or developing new products, designs, patterns, and packaging, a day in the life of an entrepreneur is never boring.
No matter what the day holds for Maria, she says, “I’ve found that consistency is key. It’s important to me that, whether I’m styling a client’s hair in the salon or developing products for the brand, the experience exceeds our customer’s expectations every single time.”
Maria McCool’s Favorite Quote & Favorite Book
Maria’s favorite quote is “So please ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.” – Sheryl Sandberg. With a firm belief that fear blocks our potential, Maria says “When it comes to taking chances or speaking my mind, I try to ask myself “What’s the worst that can happen?” My fear is always so much worse than anything that could actually go wrong.”
Her current favorite book is “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Alan Singer, a motivational book about harnessing inner energy and untying yourself from ego. She says, “It will help you have a better relationship with yourself.”
Maria’s Advice for Other Companies in the Industry
Diversity in the workplace has been Maria’s philosophy since day one. She has always believed that there is a unique creativity that comes with different personalities working together. Maria says, “Bringing together people from different backgrounds is the best way not just to promote growth and originality in our workplaces, but also in our industry.”
Words of Wisdom for Women Aspiring to Start Their Entrepreneurial Journey
Maria believes that when you get very good at something, there is no way to avoid success. She says, “No matter how I’ve expanded our company, it all comes back to the things that I know I’m great at – styling hair and making others feel great about themselves! Leaning on your greatest strength will never let you down.”
Maria also believes that going through the uncomfortable is always when the great things show up. She encourages others to stay positive and remember that temporary setbacks are a sign that your breakthrough is right around the corner.
Awards Won by Calista
A range of Calista’s products have been winners of the QVC Customer Choice Beauty Awards. In 2021, one of their most unique hair styling tools, The Perfecter, won the Preferred Hair Tool Award for the 7th time.