We had the good fortune of connecting with Allison McNamara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allison, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I have always been a self starter. After working for a larger media company for six years, I went off and started my own little business AMcNamara Inc, which I still to this day run all of my work as an influencer, content creator, host and writer through. This gave me my first taste of working for myself and operating my own business on my own. I’ve always wanted to own a beauty line, and after identifying a white space in the market, took the plunge and launched MARA. My line is full of clean, efficacious, algae-infused skincare and we’re now sold domestically at Credo Beauty, The Detox Market and Blue Mercury and globally at Cult Beauty. We formulate and launch products at a slow pace, “slow beauty” so we’ve dubbed it–we put so much energy and thought into each product and aim to simplify your routine, not make it more complicated. At the core of the brand I always ask myself, does this help our customer #SeatheGlow? And if not, then it’s not a fit for us.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always been creative – my first love has always been performing for people, which is why being a television host early on was a natural career choice. I love talking to people, asking questions and helping people tell their stories. For nearly a decade I created digital and linear video content for POPSUGAR, Who What Wear, Refinery 29 and ABC. I did everything from co-hosting the Oscars red carpet pre-show to co-hosting a daily entertainment show on TV Guide Network. However at one point, I decided I wanted to create and share my own narrative, instead of amplifying others, and so MARA was born. MARA is not only the last four letters of my last name, McNamara, the brand was dreamed up on the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul Turkey and means “sea” in Gaelic, which pays homage to my Irish heritage.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The day would start with an iced oat milk latte at either Alfred or Coffee Commissary followed by a workout of some kind – ideally with my private pilates instructor Pilates by Amanda at her gorgeous, private home studio. Juicing is basically considered a food group here so we’d head to Erewhon or Beverly Hills Juice Co for a post workout smoothie (the Green Goddess at Erewhon is a fave). For food, it’s so hard to choose – I always love heading to the water for brunch at Soho Malibu to enjoy the ocean. If we’re doing a west side moment cocktails at the Santa Monica Proper followed by dinner would be a nice end to the night. If we’re staying in WeHo, lunch at Zinque followed by shopping on Melrose Place. A massage at The Now would be a nice way to relax in the afternoon. And for dinner, perhaps Dan Tanas for Italian, Sushi Park or Sushi Fumi if we’re craving asian food, or Mercado for mexican.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My dad! I’m lucky to have a parent who has decades of beauty experience as my sounding board to bounce ideas off of and of course, argue with. At the end of the day, I do know he has mine and the brand’s best interests in mind which is something not every founder has.