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Family Members at War in Family-Owned Beauty Businesses: From HEAR ME RAW to HEAR ME WAR!

Family Members at War in Family-Owned Beauty Businesses: From HEAR ME RAW to HEAR ME WAR!

Sometimes the beauty business is simply not that beautiful. The environment in some of these companies can be downright caustic. However, for the first time, we’re seeing these problems at family owned and managed beauty businesses. In November of last year, The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about the rifts and in-fighting amongst family members at Estee Lauder. Now, there’s word of similar family issues at HEAR ME RAW, the indie, plant-based, refillable skincare company co-founded by the father-daughter team of Mike and Emma Indursky.

Their idea was that by developing “skincare that’s best for people and planet”, they would cultivate a newfound love and respect for each other, eradicating a lifetime of bad parenting. Is it working? Sadly, many at the company said that if you flipped over The Magic 8-ball, it might just say, “All signs point to ‘No’”.


In some ways the families couldn’t be more similar. Both are household names. The name Lauder conjures up images of beauty and sophistication, gala balls and penthouse luxury. The name Indursky conjures up “troublemaker” and “who?” Both families are well-dressed, polished and professional. Mike is said to own some jeans that don’t have holes and Emma has been known to wear both workout clothes and athleisure. Both families are philanthropic. Encouraged by Seinfeld, Mike and Emma started The Human Fund with the slogan, “Money for People”. More recently they started the George Santos Botox Fund. Another similarity is their vast art collection. Some experts have estimated that Mike’s vast rock photo collection, and Emma’s New Orleans outside art collection together can fetch well into the hundreds of dollars.


One would think that Mike and Emma would be floating on cloud nine these days. In the last nine months alone, the brand launched its breakthrough collaboration with Fred Segal, its incredible quadruple-mushroom Good Clean Fungi gentle scrubbing cleansing balm, and its collaboration with top gamer Quarterjade. They also won Glosswire’s global pitch competition and were a finalist in BeautyMatter’s Next awards for Best content activation with the Mike on the Mic beauty street interviews. But all that glitters is not gold. Just last week, a screaming match erupted between Mike and Emma during a zoom meeting. The result was thousands of employees they never had quitting on the spot, leaving only the real handful that actually work there. The argument, “Is the plural of octopus, octopi or octopuses”, left the two unable to speak to each other for several seconds.



It’s apparent that the image they portray on their site and in social of this loving father/daughter relationship is nothing more than a front, covering up a hatred that’s manifested over a lifetime of having lived in a twisted family. Emma never forgave Mike for not giving her his tall genes. “Sorry, Em, you’re taking mom’s”, Mike was purported to say at the time. This left the 5’ 1” Emma with a lifetime of resentment towards her strapping 6’ 1” father. Then there was the cilantro incident. When Mike took Emma grocery shopping as a kid, Mike would always find a way to take a wet bunch of cilantro and shove it into her face. Since then, Emma has spent two decades in cilantro therapy to no avail. “Thanks to him, I’ve never been able to eat cilantro. It tastes like soap. Bastard!”


Many argue that despite Mike being the parent, Emma bears as much of the responsibility. Being the smarter, more mature one, Emma could have handled the emotionally fragile Mike much better. As a child, they kept a running total of wins in the board game Trouble that they’d play every night. Emma’s totals began surpassing Mike’s to the point that he lost all hope. “She didn’t have to take two of my yellows on the same turn. I mean, one was about to get home. Couldn’t she just take one. It’s just ruthless.” Once, at age 8, playing the Simpson’s Trivia game, Mike asked Emma the impossible question, “How do you spell Apu’s last name?” And Emma correctly answered, letter by letter “N-a-h-a-s-a-p-e-e-m-a-p-e-t-i-l-o-n”. Sadly, they never played again.


Three years ago, seeing they were headed for a fall, Mike trekked three hours to rural Berlin, CT where Emma lives with her husband, Marco Alfandary, a producer at ESPN. It was a show of goodwill. The plan was to reconcile and start over. Mike was to confess all his mistakes and acknowledge all his shortcomings, but they didn’t nearly have all those days available to do that. Still, everything seemed fine until Emma’s 90-pound, adopted stray black lab, Nola viciously lunged at Mike. “It was a madhouse”, Mike recalled. Emma came to her senses and pulled Nola back just in time. Mike was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for several minutes for what looked like it could possibly be a scratch or something on his ankle. “That was a close one”, said Mike as he ran off shrieking in fear. Nola was given a treat. “Good girl, Nola. Good girl. Who’s a good girl? Who’s a good girl?


“The competition between them is unbearable”, said one employee who spoke to us under the condition of anonymity. (However, with so few employees, Mike and Emma figured out who it was and now the person is an ex-employee.) A launch meeting for Good Clean Fungi in October of last year, the culmination of years developing this incredible cleansing balm, should have been a beautiful moment of reconciliation between the two, but hopes for that were dashed in minutes. The event was led by dear friend, yoga and wellness superstar Tara Stiles at Sui Yoga in SOHO, New York. Right after Tara’s “cleansing yoga” class, Emma walked up to her foot-taller father and lifted him and held like a baby for almost a minute. “There was simply no need for that”, said Mike as he whimpered away in embarrassment. “No need at all.”


The future is questionable. Emma is competing in a bodybuilding competition in Connecticut and Mike has been told to have chocolate chip cookies ready after the event. Mike has started boxing again after a 6-year absence but there’s no doubt who’s the stronger of the two. Physically and emotionally, it’s Emma all the way. In fact, going down the list of attributes, it is only until you get down to “who has the better cholesterol” does Mike have an edge. Oh, and then there’s that April Fools thing.


1 comment

Paula Cymerman

Very funny ! I go for Emma!

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