February 15, 2011
Eli Frenkel never imagined he’d know this much about makeup. A former building engineer, the 33-year-old Israeli is the brains behind Micabella, a mineral makeup and skincare line sold in over 150 retail locations throughout the United States and overseas. He was first introduced to mineral makeup as the owner and operator of several carts selling Dead Sea products in malls throughout Southern California.
“The potential was there, and nobody else was doing it,” he said. “Everyone back then was starting to talk about organic and minerals, but it was just the beginning — today, it’s the hottest thing.”
Along with partners Roni Paz and Jovany Mamo — a former sales associate who first identified the products’ potential — Frenkel launched Micabella Cosmetics, headquartered in Chatsworth, in 2005. What began as a handful of makeup carts has transitioned into a full-blown wholesale cosmetics company, with locations in 16 countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
It’s a far cry from Frenkel’s humble ambitions when he moved to America from Israel in 2001, a move his family and friends assumed would be temporary — something he needed to “get out of my system,” as he recalls.
“My intention was to come here, make some money, and stay if I liked it. If not, I was going to take the money and do a big trip to South America, then go back to Israel,” he said.
Instead, he grew to love the cart business, and after a series of mildly successful and not-so-successful ventures in the field, he founded Micabella — his most lucrative business to date.
“Every year, we made almost double the sales as the year before, so we just kept on growing and growing,” he said. Even the recession didn’t slow them down.
“Makeup is a product that women use every day,” added Paz, his business partner of seven years. “It is the one product that women will always spend money on and want the highest quality of.”
Quality is paramount to the company’s success, Frenkel said. Micabella’s cosmetics — eye shadows, foundations, blushes, bronzers and other products — are made of pure mica, a mineral known for its shimmery and lightweight appearance.
For Frenkel, who aspires to propel Micabella to MAC Cosmetics’ proportions, there’s always room for improvement.
“We are learning to go from an OK company to a big corporate company … to get to that point you need to have a good team, good people working for you and good logistics.”
With multiple projects on the horizon and a rapidly growing customer base worldwide, Frenkel’s long-term goals include further expanding the company’s reach and streamlining the kiosks’ appearance. In the meantime, he’s focusing on his upcoming September wedding and his personal ambitions — health and happiness.
“I’m not doing this so I can drive a Ferrari or something; I don’t care about those things,” he said. “I’m doing it because I love it.”
Check out Micabella at micabeauty.com.