BeautyView: Marti Morenings, Founder and Chairman, Universal Companies

I don’t get star-struck in the typical way. Seeing or meeting Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, or even Angelina Jolie won’t faze me. However, having a burger next to President Obama makes me grin from ear to ear (some of you might remember that picture). And meeting successful entrepreneurs gives me butterflies in my stomach. Of the successful entrepreneurs I have had the good fortune of getting to know, Marti Morenings, Founder and Chairman of Universal Companies, is one of my favorites. She started Universal Companies with her father, grew the company, sold it, and then bought it back from the purchasers to grow it even further. She lives wellness through and through; she is a woman entrepreneur; she is a single mom; as a serial entrepreneur, she is now involved in the alternative energy sector; and she wears Jicky by Guerlain (Guerlain’s first fragrance, and the only perfume I have ever worn)! What is there not to love?

AP: What city were you born in? MM: I was born in Belem’, Brazil.

AP: What city to do you live in? MM: I now live in Bristol, VA.

AP: What is your middle name?  MM: I don’t have one.

AP: What is your astrological sign? MM: Leo.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? MM: My favorite thing is the spa and wellness component, and the idea that we can have an impact on the beauty that comes from within.

AP: Least favorite thing? MM: My least favorite thing is when beauty becomes all about the external image and less about what’s inside.

AP: What is your most prized possession? MM: My health.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? MM: I have two very energetic Jack Russell Terriers – Spud and Mia.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? MM: Yes, a Cartier wristwatch.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? MM: Diamonds.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? MM: I would have loved to have met Steve Jobs and shared a meal with him. I’m reading his bio now, and I think it would have been fascinating to have known him – he was the consummate entrepreneur.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? MM: Make time for yourself – it is the best thing you can do for your children, your family and your career, not to mention your health. I am hooked on doing yoga every morning, and I try to do it at sunrise and outside on my back deck if the weather is good. It is an incredible way to start the day!

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? MM: 1. Pack light by picking one color scheme and including items that can be dressed up or down.  2. Drink lots of water. 3. Pack almonds or other protein foods to snack on.

AP: What is your favorite book? MM: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? MM: Scotch and soda.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? MM: Moisturizer and getting enough sleep.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? MM: Jicky by Gurlain.

AP: Botox or not? MM: Not.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? MM: Not.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. MM: Looking for Answers – Susan Tedeschi, Melt My Heart to Stone – Adele,  Songbird – Eva Cassidy.

AP: Quote to live by. MM: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

AP: Who is your mentor? MM: My mom – she was the ultimate multi-tasker!

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. MM: Don’t listen when someone tells you that you can’t do it. Think in terms of partnerships with employees, vendors and colleagues, and look for ways to make them more successful. It always comes back to you tenfold.