Catching up with the founder of Éminence Organic Skin Care
At only four years old, Boldijarre Koronczay, the Hungarian-born CEO and personality behind Éminence Organic Skin Care, was diagnosed with leukemia, and given a 0.1% chance of survival. His parents’ solution? Natural remedies. “They turned to holistic medicine, feeding me only organic and biodynamic food—you didn’t know it was called that then, you just knew it was good for you and came straight from the farm,” the now-healthy Koronczay recalls. “I truly believe that saved my life.”
Koronczay continued to champion the merits of an organic lifestyle when he became an esthetician and, in the 1990s, set up shop in über-healthy Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where he became known for his use of fresh, homemade products and dedication to educating clients on using natural ingredients. In 1998, Koronczay officially launched Éminence.
Creating products that were kind to the environment was central to his mission from the beginning—Éminence harvests its plants from all over the world (including Hungary!) using sustainable farming methods such as wind power. At the office, too, the company focuses on being as carbon-neutral as possible, operating in a facility with skylights and solar panels, where packing chips are composted and bamboo abounds.
DAYSPA was fortunate to catch up with the effervescent Koronczay (who was at the time en route to an overseas training) for a revealing tête-a-tête, just in time for Earth Month. —Katie O’Reilly
1. How do you advise estheticians who wish to set themselves apart?
When people remark, ‘This is the best facial of my life!’, ask them, ‘Do you mind writing that down?’ After a while, you’ll get hundreds of comments in a guest book. Leave that out in your waiting room for guests to flip through. Any time you get publicity, frame and put it up! And always maintain the image of being busy—make people feel like they have to fight to get in with you.
2. Your comical trade-show seminars and demonstrations have become legendary. Who inspired you?
I think Robin Williams is one of the funniest, most brilliant people in the whole world. I still prepare and practice for every seminar like it’s a stage performance. I’ve done about 2,000 trade show classes—that’s equivalent to several runs of Cats on Broadway—and I still get nervous every time!
3. There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the “organic” label on skincare products. How should we sort it out?
Certainly, each country has different regulations. Éminence is Demeter certified. That means we’re biodynamic, which is considered ‘organic beyond organic:’ Our products are made, harvested and planted according to the moon cycles. It’s not superstitious or spiritual; it’s just plain physics! If the moon is on your side of the earth, there’s a higher tide, and if you plant during high tides, you have denser soil, which results in better crops. And if you harvest while the moon is full, the resulting produce has a higher vitamin, nutrition and juice content. That’s why we farm all over the world, to follow these strict biodynamic regulations.
4. What’s your biggest guilty indulgence?
Watching Dancing With the Stars. It’s a really fun show! I was a professional ballroom dancer in Hungary—I even won a couple of competitions! I don’t compete anymore, but I still love dance.
5. If you hadn’t become a skincare leader, what would you be doing in life?
As a kid, I wanted to be an Air Force pilot. I still love being in the air—in the summer I love going hang-gliding. My mom and grandma were estheticians, though, and my dad was a civil engineer, so I underwent extensive esthetics training in Hungary, and my brother [Attila Koronczay, general manager of Éminence] studied engineering. His skills are put to great use running the logistical end of our business. And I’m traveling the world, teaching people all about my passion. I’m living the dream, every single day!