Natural beauty: 19-year-old entrepreneur thriving

December 2018 Posted in Business, Community, Your Health
Antonina Kuznetsov with her dog Ava-Jade.       Submitted Photo

Antonina Kuznetsov with her dog Ava-Jade. Submitted Photo

By Nancy Jennings

In 2014, Antonina Kuznetsov was a 15-year-old living in the small city of Fosston, Minnesota, on a mission – to become an entrepreneur. After taking the necessary steps, she secured a business license and made her dream come true – all before getting her driver’s license.

Now 19, the Monitor resident and founder of “Antonina’s Naturals,” an all-natural skin care line, values authenticity above all else. She recalled the incident that propelled her launch into the skin care business.

“I was 12 and read my mom’s body lotion labels and saw they were full of chemicals. Out of curiosity, I Googled one of the ingredients, and I told my mom, ‘our skin care products are killing us.’ We could work out, eat healthy, but if we’re putting garbage into our skin (all of these toxins), 60 percent of that is going into our bloodstream. I told my mom to throw out everything.”

Her mom resisted at first, but Antonina remained firm. She promised she would make homemade products that would be better and healthier.

“It all started in the kitchen with my KitchenAid,” she said with a grin. She made her first product, lip balm, in 2014. She now offers body butter, hand salve, a coffee body scrub, bath bombs and an exfoliating mask.

The second oldest of six children, Antonina was raised witnessing a strong work ethic in her parents and grandmother. Her parents encouraged her to follow her passion from the beginning.

“My parents always supported me, no matter what. My mom always drove me around to my events. They believed in me,” she said.

Her father suggested she find a proper manufacturer to formulate her products. “It was all trial and error.” She reached out to nearly 100 manufacturers and couldn’t find one to agree to her terms. But she persisted and eventually found the perfect match.

“I source my ingredients from my manufacturer in St. Helens, Oregon. I made it my mission to meet the founder. She is now a great friend of mine. It’s been an amazing journey just having people that you can trust and knowing that they care, love their job – and are only going to bring the best to you,” she said.

“I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur because I just love the lifestyle. I have time to enjoy my life, not having the nine-to-five job. I love taking risks – and I can do that when I’m in control of my own life. I now sell my products in about 25 locations, including the Midwest. I’m hoping to get into the local shops and boutiques. When you’re supporting a small business, you’re supporting somebody’s dream and hard work.”

Her advice to others is simple – hearing the word ‘no,’ doesn’t always mean it can’t turn into a ‘yes’ later.

“You have to have confidence, handle stress and be able to believe in yourself. You must be persistent. Owning my own business has made me believe in myself and be an inspiration to other women in my age and peer group.”

Away from her business, she loves everything outdoors, including nature hikes, kayaking, and romping on the beach with Ava-Jade, her rambunctious Silver Labrador puppy. She admits to an addiction of “any caramel latte drink.” Giving back is important to her. She supports the “Adopt a Child” charities.

Antonina will be attending aesthetician school in January, with hopes of eventually opening a local full-service day spa. She envisions offering customers tea or champagne while they wait in white robes for facials.

Her online store is at www.antoninanaturals.com.

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