Kitchen Sink Beauty Naturally Feeding You from Within
At the start of puberty, aside from all the warring emotions, growth spurts, and rising familiarity with your sex drive, I think it’s safe to say that the worst part is the acne. Your body stops feeling like it belongs to you as red, sore-looking bumps arise on what used to be the clean slate of your face.
Thus enters the season of skin care regimen trial-and-error, sometimes feeling like there is way more error than actual flawless wins.
Bronx native, Annya Santana, can relate to the breakout-woes. Never really finding products that worked for her, she navigated away from the long aisles in the drug store and turned to her Dominican roots. “I had acne and that kind of desperation brought me to trying natural skin care, so I formulated my own,” she said while hanging out at Starbucks.
Dermatologists encouraged Annya to “simplify” her skincare routine. What she found worked best was moving away from the products listing items she could barely pronounce to formulating her own product featuring items like Shea and Mango butters.
Menos Mas became – and still is – a personal journey for Annya. Following her own life pursuits and desires, her company first launched in Paris.
“I moved to Paris and launched in a foreign country, which is really difficult,” she explained. “I don’t know the language but got through it and established my base there. However, I felt kind’ve lost in the process of finding my voice.”
Like many entrepreneurs, the journey to launching is personal rooted in layers upon layers of purpose. Whatever the mission, it is easy to feel sucked into the vacuum of being just any other brand.
In recognizing this, Annya returned to New York last year and had what she describes as her, “come to Jesus moment.”
“I really just was honest with myself: what am I doing here? What is it that I want this to be? What makes me happy? I had this honest conversation with myself, who do I want to represent and speak to,” Annya said.
In revitalizing her purpose Annya determined that this brand is for the kids who look like her and are not represented on the mainstream. “I wanted to touch my community, that ultimately that was always the key,” she said.
Re-launching again is scary but the restart gave Menos Mas a fresh face rooted in the who and the what to forge her momentum forward.
Still, as a team of one, Annya works daily to find that balance of creating and connecting while not being intimidated or distracted by the other Instagram machines of brands. As organic skin care appears to be the more popular fad of the time, Annya works to ensure her brand communicates and connects with her audience with quality – ignoring the idea that quantity matters.
“It’s a struggle to be honest,” she said. “There are machines that are much larger than I that really push out really great content too. I take the time to find, create, or re-gram images that reflect who we are and what we’re trying to aim for as a brand. Less is more. Quality over quantity.”
The heart of the brand is everything and all things minimal. As the business grows the focus is on connection and consistency in building a lifestyle beyond skincare.
Menos Mas is not a hobby, rather, it is a lifestyle. With this in mind, Annya keeps her audience at the forefront of everything she does allowing her to take her time – hand selecting the right products, images, quotes, and more to feed her community the richness it deserves to lead healthier lives.
“As an entrepreneur you want to grow, in anything in life to move forward and move up, to be better, you always have to be consistent. As you grow, your audience grows with you and they appreciate that. I keep that in my mind a lot. It’s not what you want all the time its about being consistent,” she said.
Currently splitting her time between the chic streets of France and griminess of New York, Annya is at a pivotal moment in determining whether she will return to New York 100% of the time as Menos Mas begins to move full speed ahead here. On a personal level, though, she is not yet ready to leave her home in heart of Paris.
Despite the personal struggle, this young entrepreneur is certain that living by way of her brand she can encourage others to better for themselves without abandoning who they are.
“I am a manifestation of the brand, of what living the holistic lifestyle is,” she said towards the end of our phone conversation. “You don’t have to sacrifice who you are, where you come from, your culture, to be better for yourself. I haven’t had to stop being who I am, it just means that I’m bettering myself as a person and ultimately that’s what Menos Mas is.”
Educating her community, cooking up food for your skin in her kitchen, Annya’s Menos Mas is a brand rooted in responsibility for men and women of all walks of life to love the skin they’re in.