The bond behind the Oklahoma-based bath and beauty brand.
Almost a decade ago, Margo Gianos and her mother Irene launched Honestly Margo, which has become the biggest bath and beauty brand from Oklahoma. Their products are in thousands of stores throughout Oklahoma and the country, from local boutiques to large chains like Buc-ee’s. The brand is known for being all-natural and cruelty-free, with a mission of standing for “a strong women sisterhood, celebrating women’s ability to be empowered, to have confidence in themselves, to dream big, take chances and know that anything is possible,” according to its website. We caught up with these co-CEOs to talk about where they’ve come from and where they plan to go. This conversation has been edited for clarity and space.
Your website says that you started your business in the kitchen. Did you literally start in the kitchen?
Margo: “I started making lip balms in the kitchen and selling them to my friends at school. They loved them, and I sold a ton. One day, my mom and I were out shopping for labels, and she asked me if I wanted to try to make it a real business. I never thought it would become that big, but now, years later, we have a ton of products. We have a Unicorn line for the younger girls, a Goddess line where luxury fragrance meets everyday bath and body — we’ve tried to make something for everyone.”
Irene: “Margo always was interested in starting some sort of business from a young age. The next thing I know, she had ordered empty lip balm tubes and the ingredients. She literally emptied a can of green beans, washed it and made her own double boiler, pouring the contents into the tubes. The house smelled amazing, and this adventure was born.”
What’s it like being in business with each other?
Margo: “My mom and I run Honestly Margo together and pretty closely. We’re co-CEOs, so we share similar roles. We’ve learned how to communicate and work on our relationship, and our personal relationship comes before the business. We work together on making new products and try to think logically about what our customers want. My mom and I are the target customers, so we’re pretty sure if we love something, our customers will love it, too.”
Irene: “Being mother/daughter business partners has been an incredible experience. We divide and conquer, and as crazy as it seems, we think totally alike yet at the same time are opposites in the perfect ways. We are able to feed into each other’s strengths to maximize what we do and how we do it, and grow in so many ways by doing so.”
Margo, you’re graduating from OU next year with a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and marketing. What’s the plan after graduation?
Margo: “I love OU, and I think it’s prepared me enough to continue working on Honestly Margo. I’m planning to work full-time, and I see the brand growing and being huge. I want to keep growing our community, too. There are people who really love our products, and I see how they make a difference in their lives, which is really rewarding.”
When you’re not being a co-CEO, what else are you doing with your time?
Margo: “I love to hang out with my friends. I met my three best friends at OU. I’ve started to paint, and I just changed my Instagram bio last week to say that I’m an artist now. I’m trying to build up a portfolio and eventually have a gallery showing.”
Irene: “Family is very important to me, so I am very busy being there for my mom and savoring my time with my son, as he’s recently graduated high school and will be attending OU as well. I love to cook. I used to have a lifestyle blog, ‘The OP Life,’ which may come back to life. We shall see. Right now though, my focus is Honestly Margo.”