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Flourishing Cosmetics Line and Spa are a Family Affair

Posted in INSPIRATION by msceonet on May 30, 2010
Like mother, like daughter
 This family duo takes their bond to the bank


 By Nina Hemphill-Reeder for Ms. CEO 


Going into business together was sort of inevitable for Atlanta native Lydia Mondavi and her mother Anita Wilbanks. Both have a background in cosmetics, and both were already small business owners; Wilbanks, the mother, ran an interior design firm while Mondavi designed spas and started developing spa products. Insert daughter Lydia’s husband, Rob Mondavi, Jr. of the famous American wine empire, and the idea for their business was as intuitive as an Oprah “aha” moment: Use the antioxidant benefits of grape seed extract in cosmetics and sell them!  

 Now, Mondavi, 37, and Wilbanks, 57, run their acclaimed luxury beauty and skin care line, 29 Cosmetics and 29 Spa, at The Mansion on Peachtree in Atlanta. And the two say the family business couldn’t be better.   “There is such fabulous emotional support and connection and a respect for each other that goes far beyond anything I think you could ever have outside of a family,” Mondavi says. 

“It’s been a really great feeling to know that everyday I go to work, I have my mom as my support—not just as a mother—but I have her completely side by side with me [as a business partner also].” 

Even as their company grows—they sell their line on their Web site and in Neiman Marcus stores—Mondavi maintains that it’s still a mother daughter business at heart. 

“There is me and my mom,” she says. “The both of us are involved in each and every decision every day. I handle more of the operational side of the company. My mom has been such a driving force on the creative side of the company. It makes such a great complementary relationship for us.” 

Wilbanks agrees, adding “I certainly would not have even attempted to start this business without Lydia. Because she definitely has the driving force that I don’t possess. But what’s really interesting is we have totally different skills and it is really nice how we can rely on one another; where I’m lacking in one, she certainly can pick up and move beyond that.” 

And with their resources combined, the two say they manage everything from marketing strategies to the development of new products. Because of this, they admit that their close involvement in these hands-on operations have not only brought them astounding levels of success but it has brought them closer together, for which they are immensely grateful. 

“My mom and I obviously are really good friends first,” says Mondavi. “I never thought that I could be any closer to my mother. It’s an amazing thing to not only have a respect for her as a mother and as a friend, but to have such a respect and admire her on a work level because I certainly couldn’t do this business without her.” 




Anita Wilbanks and Lydia Mondavi






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