When you first meet Patricia Ivancich Dassios, the founder of La Mienne, it’s easy to think that she might have a beauty startup. With bright blue eyes and a cascade of dark hair, the San Francisco native is stunning—that’s why it’s a shock to learn that she has no background in beauty whats so ever. Before she started La Mienne, which is a year and a half old, Ivancich Dassios was in charge of the California Academy of Sciences fundraising campaign and rebranding. On a recent sunny morning she told Haute Living that she oversaw a team who “raised 80% of the funds for the $780 million campaign for the California Academy of Sciences, so before I started my startup I felt like I’ve always had a startup because I would come into these organizations even if they were 150 years old, and basically had to start anew. Brand-new team, brand-new marketing, brand-new logo, brand-new branding, just everything.” She also helped the San Francisco Parks Trust raise $35 million. So how did she come up with the idea for the Bay’s most in-demand on-call beauty service?
Photo Credit: Drew Altizer
First, Ivancich Dassios realized that she wasn’t enjoying the beauty services she was paying for. “I go to the blowout bar, I wait 20, 30 minutes before they even see me. Then I have to pay for a babysitter while I’m there and I have to rearrange my schedule. It’s just very stressful and hectic when it’s supposed to be very pleasurable. It’s making you look good, right? As a client I feel like I’m not being serviced the way that I want to be serviced.” Unhappy with the current system, Ivancich Dassios, who has a degree in academic research, started to examine the beauty industry. She spent two and a half years researching the beauty sector and saw that while there was a huge number of licensed beauty artists (1.7 million) in the United States, there wasn’t much opportunity for these artists to monetize their talents. She spent a lot of time doing focus groups to see what her wealthy friends wanted in terms of service. Then she talked with the artists to learn what sort of platform they would be interested in. Thus, La Mienne was born.
La Mienne, which comes from the French adjective mienne, for ‘belonging to me’ and the English word mien, which refers to a person’s appearance “speaks to our mission,” Ivancich Dassios says, “making the beauty experience as personal as possible, so you can look as amazing as you feel.” Book a La Mienne artist and have your hair, makeup, and nails done in the comfort of your own home. She’s also partnered with some of the city’s most luxe hotels to offer on-demand beauty services to guests who are visiting San Francisco. A corporate component where tech companies can offer hair and makeup appointments to their female employees as a perk is also in the works. Earlier this month, La Mienne launched a four-color lipgloss line with Poshmark. “About a year ago they launched more of a retail side. I think they have about 350 boutiques and it’s all fashion. We’re going to be their first retail beauty line,” Ivancich Dassios says. “It’s a lot of like-minded individuals on the Poshmark team. They understand the value of bringing beauty and technology together, so they thought it was a great fit to represent their brand, so that’s exciting for us.”
Photo Credit: Richard Van
Presenting a quality service is just as important to Ivancich Dassios as empowering the female makeup artists. “We provide ongoing educational workshops because these artists come out of school and they barely have money to pay back their tuition, and then they’re not making very much,” she explains. “We provide them networking, mentoring, and then obviously jobs. Paid jobs. Then we do a 70-30 split with them. They receive 70% of the service offering plus they get 20% gratuity.” The artists are vetted for hair, makeup, and nail skills then are sent on assignment based on their location. If a client has a wonderful experience, they can easily book the same artist again. Ivancich Dassios wants to see her La Mienne employees succeed and thrive. “For me it is really about empowering, inspiring, and educating women through beauty, that’s kind of our underlying mission, and so everything we do evolves around that.” A mission every self-image obsessed San Franciscan can gladly support.