Meet the owners of MRK Beauty
Frank and Mikal
People always ask us, “How did you meet and how did you end up owning a business together? ”
Our journey together started in Spokane, Washington as salon consultants working for two different professional salon product distributors. I (Mikal) worked for a manufacturer / distributor based in Redding, California. I represented one brand and my territory encompassed half the state of Washington — talk about a road warrior!
Frank worked for an independent distributor based in Boise ID representing several large national brands. Not only was he my competition, he was darn good at his job and a worthy adversary.
Though we were competitors, we respected each other because we both had the same way of approaching our customers. We both wanted to help hairdressers and salons grow their business, and help them build solid relationships with their customers that would stand the test of time, regardless of the brands they used in the salon. With the best interest of hairdressers and salon owners at the forefront of the way we did business, our accounts became our friends and like family.
While Frank continued to grow his account base, I took a new job with a different distributor that had many brands to offer my market, including large as well as boutique exclusive brands that ran the gamut of hair care, styling hair color, cosmetics, and skin care. This is where my knowledge of the beauty industry was really solidified, including how to build wider and deeper relations and be more of a business consultant than a “sales rep.” I loved pioneering and building brands to the point of being widely recognized, accepted, and requested in the salons and spas in my territory.
I took on a manager role within the company and stretched myself to learn more of the business and analytical side of the business, as well as how to motivate and inspire a team. Meanwhile Frank’s distributorship was acquired by a large beauty conglomerate, and he went thru many changes and challenges of working for a corporate giant.
On the personal side… we got married 💑💍 but in our work life we were still competitors. It was sometimes a challenging position to be in; we always said if it ever felt like our work was compromising our relationship we would choose each other. I did choose Frank, and moved on!
I’d never seriously thought about becoming a business owner and professional salon distributor until I was introduced to z.one concept. Frank’s reaction was “Oh heck no!” – even though we had always talked about the fact that if others had done it, so could we. And now that a door was open to look at new opportunities and options, it was time to choose one and take a chance.
So seven years ago I received a box from z.one concept with the hero products, color, and treatments needed for us to do our due diligence in assessing whether this was the right opportunity. I shared products with stylists, friends and family who I could trust to provide honest feedback about product performance, packaging, fragrance, and whether, ultimately, they thought this young Italian brand could be embraced by stylists and salons here in the Pacific Northwest.
Amazingly, it was a resounding “YES!” from all. For Frank and I, the most important thing about z.one concept was who the face behind the brand, what were the ethics behind the company, what did they stand for, and what support would we have taking this brand to market?
To find out, we flew to Italy to meet Ivano, the owner of z.one concept. We got the answers we needed about the brand and we were hooked! On the flight back we chose a name MRK Beauty (Mikal Rae Kubu – because what could be more of an all-in buy-in than putting your name on your brand!) and designed a logo. Three weeks later, two pallets of products showed up at our garage. I put product in the back of Franks’s SUV and off I went, selling milk_shake out of the back of the vehicle every day.
Three years later Frank was able to join the company full time, and we moved into a warehouse with a storefront and a classroom. Passing the 7 year mark in 2020, today we represent more than a dozen brands in four states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana,) we have a strong core team serving our customers at our facility and in the field, and we are growing!
MRK Beauty’s guiding principles are the same now as they were seven years ago:
- Carry out service with joy and dedication
- Build beautiful relationships with our team, stylists, and manufacturers
- Choose brands that align with our ethics, vision, and actions
- Choose products that are healthy for our planet, stylists, and consumers
- Choose manufacturers that use innovative technology to differentiate their products
- Seek out the exclusive, boutique, bespoke position in our brands that have a unique point of difference
- Actively promote the growth and well-being of our team and our customers, every day
The rest of the story is still to be written.
Frank and Mikal
Team MRK Beauty