Welcome to Office Hours, where members of the Argent community share personal career stories and, in the process, dispense invaluable advice, rare insight, and inspiration through lived experiences.
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Hairstylist & Founder of Rōz
Mara Roszak's work often finds itself on the biggest stages in the world. The Met Gala red carpet, blockbuster movie premieres, and several Academy Awards ceremonies are among her credits. But Roszak is not a member of Hollywood royalty, but rather the hairstylist behind the crowns of the biggest names in entertainment today, including Zoe Saldana, Emma Stone, Olivia Wilde, and the recent history-making Oscar winner, Michelle Yeoh.
Starting from her teen years, Roszak’s built a multi-decade career as a celebrity hairstylist. In 2016, she also became one of three owners of Mare Salon in Los Angeles. But, most recently, she’s stepped into an entirely new role: founder of Rōz, a haircare product line. Launched in 2021 with a duo of styling oils and treatment oils, Rōz brings to fruition the idea that Roszak has always dreamed of.
Of course, creating a sleek red-carpet look and running a consumer brand doesn’t necessarily require the same skills. Ahead, Roszak tells us more about how she’s navigating this new career chapter, creating products she wholeheartedly believes in, and defining what balance really means (or if it exists) in her personal and professional life.
WHAT FIRST BROUGHT YOU TO WORK IN THE ART WORLD?
“I was a very creative child but unfortunately wasn't really in a creative arts school environment. I always felt a little bit like an outcast in my school and, luckily, around the age of 13 or 14, I started doing my friends’ hair. First, I taught myself how to do my own hair. I was really determined to have it sleek and smooth. It was the ‘90s and Jennifer Aniston's straight hair was the height of the late ‘90s. Once I perfected it, I then started to do that on my friends’ hair. And something really clicked.
“We were going to a lot of bar and bat mitzvahs at the time, and just starting to care about beauty and hair. We'd do those little twists with the butterfly clips. Everybody gathered around me and came to my mom's apartment. It was an exciting time because I felt like I found something that was my own, that I was good at.
“My mom chatted with a hairstylist who worked in a salon at the mall next door to her work and asked, ‘How young is too young to let my daughter go to beauty school?’ And he said, ‘Get her in as early as you can.’ I was enrolled in beauty school when I was 17. Shortly after I graduated I got a job assisting Neil Weinberg at Chris McMillan’s salon. And—full circle—he was the stylist who did Jennifer Aniston’s hair. About a year or so into that, Chris offered me a chair at the salon and I worked there for seven years, while simultaneously building my celebrity clientele.”
HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT DOING THAT?
“When I was 18, I met a publicist, not actually knowing what she did. She ended up loving my blowouts and asked if I would be available for a client of hers: Sarah Michelle Gellar! And so I did and she loved me. I ended up traveling the world with her. It was shortly after that I became known in the PR company and they would hire me for their clients to do hair. It was a really exciting time.”
WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU POSSESS THAT YOU ATTRIBUTE TO THE SUCCESS YOU'VE BUILT IN YOUR CAREER?
“Early on I was quiet, which served me well. I was very young in an industry with people that were way more established than I was and working with top talent.
“I think I had a natural ability, for sure, but I was a really good listener and wanted to make people feel good. There is a nurturing element to what I do. And I think people can feel that I really enjoy that.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE OPENING YOUR OWN SALON, MARE? WHAT CHALLENGES DID THEY FACE IN THE PROCESS?
“It's all about the team and, in a salon environment, that’s very clear. The energy in a salon, you can feel it when you walk in, right? It's palpable. We wanted to make sure that we hired people who shared similar values and wanted the same kind of outcome: clients to feel good, the environment to feel good. We've had our fair share of drama. Artists/hairstylists are magical and amazing, often with large personalities, and when you have 20 of them working in one room, it can be energetically intense.
“We've had some challenges with people but the wrong energy often ends up working its way out. And for the last few years, we've been in such an amazing zone. Mare feels like one big family”
"I wake up every day excited to do the work. By the end of the day, I'm not always in the place I started off, but every day I really feel excited to get it going. I feel like I'm living my purpose and my dream, and so it makes it all worth it."
NOW, RŌZ IS YOUR LATEST BUSINESS VENTURE. HOW DID YOU COME TO CREATE PRODUCTS AND BUILD A BRAND?
“Rōz has been the thing I've wanted to do the most in my entire career. I really feel in this moment I'm living my dream, the thing I've been meant to do. It's challenged me already in more ways than I could have ever imagined and has been the most rewarding career thing I've done.
“I am a product expert in terms of how product works on hair. Some days I’ll touch 10 heads in a day in the salon and everybody's got such a different texture. So it's been such incredible knowledge that I've gained over the course of my 20-year career in hair and product.
“In terms of building a brand, that was a very different skill set—one I had absolutely no experience in. I've been incredibly fortunate to meet people who are experts in what they do, learning from them at a very rapid speed.”
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT ADDRESSING QUESTIONS YOU DON'T KNOW THE ANSWERS TO WHEN YOU’RE NAVIGATING A NEW TERRITORY LIKE THIS?
“It's been vulnerable to feel like I don't know the answers. I've talked to Sali [Christeson of Argent] about this—she's been an incredible mentor—and she’ll just say that nobody does. Nobody knows what they're doing until they figure it out. So, when I don’t have an answer, I've asked a lot of people that have brands, and it's always eye-opening that the answer is way more simple than I think. There have been so many incredible women who have been super supportive and have said, ‘Call me anytime.’”
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE FOLLOWED THROUGHOUT THIS PROCESS?
“I think staying focused on the product which, for me, is the most important piece. There are, on any given day, so many things to focus on—a timeline is shifting, we have to decide on X, Y, and Z—and I think it can occasionally feel overwhelming. And the truth is the product is the most important piece. It’s not about making sacrifices on the product or meeting some arbitrary timeline. Stay focused on the product, and the other things will work into place. I almost only care about the product and how it's helping people and if it’s really working.
“Another piece of advice is around this idea of balance. A lot of the women I work with either have families or are newer moms, and balance is maybe not the thing to strive for because I'm not sure there's such a thing as feeling balanced all the time. I'm still trying to figure out what that is for me, but I am trying to do something that feels inspiring at least one time a week. Something that can feed the soul. We all live such busy lives and it's very easy to get further and further away from what those things are. It can be taking a walk in the park. It can be taking a bubble bath. For me, I love going to the Korean spa and getting a scrub and then laying in the salt room, even if it's just for half an hour. I'm saying this also while trying to remind myself to do it because I used to have more time for those things and I don't want to totally lose that.”
WHAT'S EXCITING ABOUT THIS CHAPTER OF YOUR CAREER, AND WHAT IS THE EXISTING CHALLENGE THAT YOU'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO FACING?
“I wake up every day excited to do the work. By the end of the day, I'm not always in the place I started off, but every day I really feel excited to get it going. I feel like I'm living my purpose and my dream, and so it makes it all worth it.
“The challenge is that I feel I need to do everything all the time. I need to get back to an urgent email, or it's hard for me to put my phone down and take time for myself. But the truth is there is time to take and I'm just learning to navigate how and when to prioritize it.”