In moderation, the benefits of red wine are said to be good for the heart and cholesterol. But what about your skin? This is something that Atlanta native Lydia Mondavi never considered until she became more involved in the world of wine herself.
For over 15 years, Mondavi has been helping women look and feel their best. She got her start in the skin care business with Ralph Lauren’s cosmetics division, Cosmair, as a Marketing Coordinator. It was there that she found her true passion.
Since marrying Robert Mondavi (of the iconic wine family, Mondavi) her life, both personal and professional, has never been the same. Drawing inspiration from the vineyards in her Napa Valley home, she created 29 Cosmetics, a special line of all-natural products that employ the benefits of grape seed extract, offering free-radical fighting agents and anti-oxidants.
“We also looked to the 'old school' style and history of the cosmetics and beauty packaging from the early 1900s,” Mondavi explains. “My mother and business partner, Anita Wilbanks, has an interior design background and has been instrumental in the design and creation of the logo, packaging and look and feel of the brand. We both wanted it to be classic, timeless and represent beauty.”
The line first launched in Neiman Marcus in San Francisco and quickly became a national campaign throughout the U.S. “Today, a little over four years later, we are nationally and internationally distributed,” Mondavi says. The line includes eye shadows, lipsticks, blushes, powders and foundations, soaps, candles and more.
As her business continued to grow, another opportunity came about with The Mansion on Peachtree. “I have been designing and developing spas for many years and we were asked by the owners to create a luxury spa experience for their (then) new hotel in Atlanta,” Mondavi says. “Being a fifth generation Atlantan, this was of great interest to me, and to be a part of such a beautiful property was perfect for the first 29 Spa.”
The 29 Spa incorporates all of the line’s Grape Seed Age Protecting™ formulas into each treatment and product. Here, Mondavi explains, clients can experience the line and its benefits first-hand. “We wanted to create a complete luxury experience of our vine to bottle process for Age Protecting™ utilizing every aspect of the grape for protection against free radicals and environmental toxins.”
Mondavi believes a spa experience should not only be relaxing, but rejuvenating as well. “I feel that each person has individual needs and expectations and it is our job to uncover what the client’s needs and expectations are and it is our goal to meet and exceed them.” However, meeting the beauty needs of clients is not the only thing that Mondavi focuses on. She recently hosted an event at 29 Spa that benefitted Drop Dead Gorgeous, an Atlanta social justice organization that was founded to help stop the commercial sexual trafficking of children, and Georgia Eye Bank, an organization providing corneas for transplant and other refractive surgeries.
From November 1 through January 1, 2012, 29 Cosmetics will contribute five percent of sales from all eye products to Georgia Eye Bank’s Gift of Sight give back program. This program is a tribute to Mondavi’s paternal grandfather, Y. T. Abernathy, a driving force behind Georgia Eye Bank’s maturation.
Mondavi credits her grandfather for giving her the best piece of advice: “Vision, vitality and victory, as my grandfather would say. He was my hero in life. He would say, ‘when times get tough you have to roll with the punches. If it were easy everyone would do it.’”
More from Mondavi:
What are you passionate about?
I believe Knowledge is Beautiful™ and I am constantly looking to learn and enjoy life to the fullest whether in business or personally.
When you are in Atlanta, what are your must-see places?
I love southern food so anywhere that offers up yummy southern cuisine, and sweet tea is a must! I also love antique shopping and Atlanta has some great spots.
The cosmetic and spa industries are always changing. How do you stay on top of the trends?
We are continuously educating ourselves through industry events. We spend a lot of time communicating with our clients on their specific requests and needs which at the end of the day is the most important-our clients!
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to open their own business?
Keep pushing, stay focused on your goal and stay true to your brand concept.
Last book you read?
"Feeding Baby Green." I have a seven month old baby boy, Robert Mondavi, III, and I am growing all of his vegetables and fruits in the garden and feeding him organic and green so I have been reading and learning more about this process.
Favorite way to spend a day off?
In the garden and the vineyards.
There are so many, where should I start! Enjoying a fabulous bottle of my husband’s wine, having dessert for dinner, spending the day at the 29 Spa.
Favorite spa treatment?
I love our Perfect Pairing Massage. My mind, skin and body feel completely rejuvenated afterward.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Having wonderful friends and a loving supportive family.