#BeautyBoss: Thomas Barkå, CEO North America of Maria Nila
This week’s #BeautyBoss is Thomas Barkå, CEO North America of Maria Nila—an innovative line of 100 percent vegan and certified cruelty-free haircare products from Sweden. Since launching in the United States, the brand has quickly become a favorite among celebrities and stylists. Maria Nila’s Care & Style line features six haircare ranges designed for a variety of hair types, while their Colour Refresh line comes in an array of fun shades that can either intensify or change hair color, and last between 4 and 10 washes.
All Maria Nila products are developed by a team of chemists with carefully chosen ingredients that make a difference for clients, salons, animals, and the environment. The brand’s factory, which is headquartered in Helsingborg, Sweden, is designed to produce sustainable beauty on a new level with features that include a solar panel roof, recycling system for the productions’s water supply, and circular air condensation equipment, which allows for the residual heat to be transferred back into the production process. Maria Nila also conducts routine safety and quality checks during every step of the production chain in order to ensure that all products have the highest possible quality in every single unit.
We chatted with Barkå, who offered beauty and wellness advice, success secrets, favorite ways to relax, and more.
When was Maria Nila founded?
It was founded in the south of Sweden in 1999.
What inspired the creation of the brand?
The founders Ann and Ulf Wikström wanted to bring Swedish-produced professional haircare products to the market. Maria Nila was the great-great-grandmother of our founder, Ann. Maria was a Sami woman—the native population of Sweden. She lived close to nature and was the perfect inspiration for the brand.
Does Maria Nila have a hero product?
Our vegan Care & Stye line gave us global spread and recognition. Looking at one single product, our Colour Refresh Pearl Silver is a bestseller, removing golden and yellow tones while nourishing hair at the same time.
What’s your favorite product by Maria Nila?
I love the True Soft Masque. It has Argan oil in it for hydration and shine. You can really feel the difference when using it once a week.
Where are Maria Nila products sold?
You can find Maria Nila in professional salons all over the United States and Canada. The products are also available on marianila.com.
Who inspires you?
The people working at Maria Nila are always giving that little extra! Without them we would not have been able to bring an innovative Swedish brand to the United States, which we did successfully. Now we are going head-to-head against the big industry leaders on the market.
Secret to success?
You need to work extremely hard, believe in your vision, and never give up. Success takes a lot more time than you think.
Definitely use a weekly masque for your hair—not just shampoo and conditioner.
A 60-minute walk or run two times per week. Try to think about what you eat six days a week and go crazy on the seventh.
Take care of your body—that will give you the mental strength to achieve your personal goals.
Favorite way to relax?
I take a bath as often as I can, usually every day. It helps me relax and focus on the important things. I solve most of my problems while doing it!
[Images courtesy of Maria Nila]
Kamala Kirk is a University of Southern California graduate and has been an editor/writer for more than a decade. She has written for E! Online, Total Beauty, TravelAge West, Malibu Times Magazine, and many more. She resides in Los Angeles and is a proud pug mom. Follow her on Instagram: @kamalakirk