Do you work alone or with a team?
Monday, December 31, 2012
Do you work alone or with a team?
I had brief bouts of enthusiasm in my teens and 20s, but they'd last a few years and not amount to much. Then in 2007 I bought my first BE loose-powder eyeshadow and liked it, and began looking for lower-costing alternatives and a better color payoff and shade range. I may fall "out of love" with beauty again in my lifetime, but this latest bout has lasted six years so I think this one my stick! Beauty blogs have been a great resource to seeing other looks and techniques discussed, without the hard-sell surroundings that are often found in magazines. (Yay ad-blockers! I'm often a bit shocked if I happen to browse to one of my regular reads while using a browser where I don't have ad-blocking turned on, and I actually see all the adverts they have all over their site!)
2. What prompted me to start Sparklecrack Central.
I'm a list-maker. I write about things, I compare things. And I needed a quick way to organize my growing collection, and share my findings with others - especially indie- and boutique-eyecolors compared to BE shadows, even sometimes indie-vs-indie comparisons. I've been blogging since the late 1990s, so I knew how to set up a blog and I had my own webspace. I just hadn't had the need to put up a beauty blog before.
3. How long as SPC been around.
I launched the site on January 9, 2009 - so it's just finishing its fourth year of life.
4. What do I expect from other bloggers who post on my site.
Basic civility toward myself and toward the other commenters (and viewers), no hard-sell self-promotion, an enthusiasm for what they're talking about. Constructive critique is welcomed (truly constructive critique, like "That color seems a bit golden-toned, one that's a bit cooler might work better with the overall look you've built (or would accent your eyes so well)" rather than backhanded comments like "I could never wear such a bright color I'd feel like a cheap prostitute, but it looks great on you!!" There's a very fine line between sincere constructive criticism and insult-liments.)
5. How SPC came to be.
...wow. Tall order :) It started out because I like listing and comparing things, I like writing, and I like constructing web sites (and I also use them to test out and expand my web development skills and usability techniques.) Like lots of other sites, it's a constant work in progress. This is only the second design-theme that I've had, but I've added to and rearranged the sidebar quite a lot. I've got some other ideas in mind that I want to add next year - ways to reward peoples' participation - but I have to figure out how to make them work.
6. What can we expect from SPC in 2013.
I keep meaning to start a video channel, because I'd like to learn how to edit videos and add that skill to my portfolio; but Real Life keeps getting in the way! Site-wise, I have a few ideas, but they're still in the formative stages. Mostly it will be more of the same: more color- and product-reviews, hopefully more looks this year than in 2012. I also want to try a few more participation-events like the Alphabet Nail Challenge that I did last year. And even though my own last week of posts was a bit spotty (illness! blah!!) I do enjoy putting together the Beauty Blog Advent Calendar.
There are no other contributors to the site. I do all the writing, the coding, the photography, the graphics. I haven't posted any guest posts on SPC, and don't know if I will - if I do, it will probably be invite-only rather than "sign up to do a guest post" because I don't want the extra work of reading through guest posts or proposals to sift out the spammy posts and "free advertising" kind of thing. I tried a mutual-interview program a few years ago, and that started out nicely but fell on its face as more people signed up but elected not to participate if their assigned partners weren't high-traffic enough, or popular enough, or what-have-you.
Thank you for doing this LiAnn, 2013 will be a great year for you and SPC.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
This is something that I just had to share with you all because its the first time I have ever seen this. Since all my brushes are literally broken I was pleasantly surprised to get this set from Bling Spirit. This morning was my first time using the brushes. They worked great, but....what I have to share is this pic that Im going to post now. Isn't that cool ! The brushes pop up in a fan formation ! I was so excited to see this and that is the best part of this brush set. Thank you Bling Spirit :-)
Saturday, December 29, 2012
I have not had the pleasure of trying products from Pretty Little Things but I hope that Aimee will give me the opportunity to soon. Thank you so much for your time Aimee, it was truly an honor doing this interview, your company may be starting out but it looks like 2013 is going to be your year.
Friday, December 28, 2012
My first question is, how long have you been in the beauty business?
I think that I've always been in the entertainment and beauty business! I was very much into singing jazz and opera, dancing and acting as I was growing up.
I started modeling in the 90s. Nothing major or fantastic. I've always had one foot firmly in the underground and one foot firmly in the mainstream.
I've been in the beauty business since about 2002... when I started doing makeup for photography.
I could talk a lot about my professional career... but, I think that my early influences and journey are maybe more inspiring to other girls out there in internet land who aren't sure where to start out! This interview is more for them, anyway, really. So, if you think I am getting totally off topic... please let me know and I will re-write my response.
My passion for cosmetics started when I was probably about 4 years old. I got into dancing because I got to wear fancy little costumes and wear jewelry and makeup. A lot of people think that little girls are growing up too fast because of wearing jewelry and makeup at a young age (and that it's “too sexy”). But, really, I think that a lot of little girls want to feel beautiful and special.
I was always one of the weird little girls who loved to hang out with very old ladies who had fancy vanities and beautiful things to show me, because they'd teach me about glamor. Art was my second language, growing up. So, I spent a lot of my childhood sitting in my room playing with various old makeup sets. My Aunt would get a huge Estee Lauder vanity set every year for Christmas, and I would be THRILLED to see what colors she got, because I knew that the brightest and boldest would be left over for me the next year. My Aunt wore neutrals. So, I grew up playing in the sparkly, shiny, bright, bold and gaudy stuff.
I think that influenced me the most as an artist and as a person.
I would also do my siblings' makeup and take photos of them, growing up. I once even paid my brother $5 to let me dress him in drag and do his hair and makeup (I put him into a prom dress I got at the thrift store). It was the best $5 I've ever paid a model! He WORKED it, too. :)
2. What prompted you to start Mon Ennui Cosmetics?
Back in 2006 I started getting really passionate about building my own huge kit. I had a friend who purchased MAC whenever she was sad... so, she exposed me to the high end brands. I started buying MAC online back in 2002, but I think that her passion for the brand really set me off like a rocket. For about an entire year I lived at the Sephora and Nordstrom in downtown Seattle. If anyone released a new product... I was there to schmooze the makeup artists so I could learn about it first. I was getting a front row seat to the evolution of the beauty world.
By late 2007, my eyes were swelling shut pretty frequently. By, mid 2008... we figured out that I was allergic to about 80% of my kit. And, I have to admit to you... that was the most depressing day of my entire life! Thousands of dollars worth of happiness was suddenly tainted. I already knew that I had severe food allergies. It wasn't until that time that I found out that a lot of major smoothing agents are synthesized from various plants and foods.
That was when I started getting more involved in the back-end of the beauty world... How It's Made.
I learned about what makes MAC pigments so awesome, compared to other PRO artist pigments on the market. If I didn't know something, I researched it or I found someone who did know so I could ask them about it.
By 2009 I was already very busy with photography, still doing makeup professionally, working on making a lot of costuming and accessories and props on a regular basis... and getting deeply into Burlesque. Burlesque also really changed my perspective on makeup! The Modern Pinup and Burlesque movements intrigued me for a lot of years. Cosmetic glitter and special effects glue. I had done makeup for stage, before... but, never like THAT. This style of makeup needed to be seen from the back row... but, also had to be flawless enough to look at up close. The dichotomy of bold and refined was intriguing to me. I also learned from a lot of performers that the makeup they used wasn't always standing up to what they needed it to do. A lot of them also had bad skin breakouts from using harsher thicker theater makeup night after night.
Between my own allergies to big brand cosmetics and my fellow performers complaints about their own sensitivities... I started thinking “Someday when I have my own beauty brand...”
I actually remember sitting back stage here in LA... getting ready for a show... and talking about how I'd want to develop a brand that didn't just have my name on it... but, also DID something great for skin... that would be long lasting and gorgeous at the same time.
I actually thought that I'd have to be very rich to start my own brand.
Then, I read the history of lipstick... and I read that during World War II one organic chemist, Hazel Bishop, reinvented the entire lipstick industry in her KITCHEN. Her product became so popular that she almost went broke trying to keep up with the demand for her amazing new product.
That's when it occurred to me “I can start this... myself!”
3. How long has the company been around?
I officially started Mon Ennui Cosmetics back in late Summer of 2011. As a working actress, Burlesque performer, Photographer, Show co-producer, Costume designer and Makeup artist... I was putting all of the money I was making from jobs and shows back into making everything bigger and better. I didn't have the money to start my own business.
On a whim... I decided that I wanted to try to recreate some of my favorite high end pigments and products (but without the ingredients that I am allergic to). I had great success with that! My first real success was Perfect 10 (an exact replica of MAC's Rose pigment).
I mean... I probably shouldn't even be telling you that I can recreate stuff! I think that it makes people kinda nervous to sell me makeup, now... lol. But, that was really the heart of what I wanted to do! I wanted the same awesome products I've been using for years... but, without all of the stuff that didn't need to be in there.
I started Mon Ennui with a $100 investment. I couldn't afford that, at the time. It was a lot of money! I felt kinda sick about the idea of it, actually. I thought that it might actually be the stupidest thing I've ever done in my entire life.
I launched on Facebook in November of 2011. I used every talent I had to make Mon Ennui's presence look the way I wanted it to look. And, word of mouth started spreading pretty quickly!!!
By February... I had abandoned Etsy and moved on to Storenvy.
The wonderful people at Storenvy have been really supportive of my rapid success, as well.
I remember when they wanted to talk to me on the phone and ask me about my company.
That was the first time I talked to anyone about what I was doing... and I felt SO nervous about it!
Here I was... talking to people who were pretty much working for ME... and I felt like I didn't know what to say to them because I was just so thankful to have a customizable location for my growing business.
Now, in November of 2012... I am the best selling makeup brand on Storenvy and in the top 50 best selling stores on their entire site (out of over 20,000 merchants)! They've been around since 2009. So, that is just crazy to me how fast we've grown together in one year!
I bring in a lot of business... so, I think that Storenvy has had to evolve a bit to support the demand and interest in my products, as well.
I've had a lot of support from people who deal with major drugstore and department store brands. I think that I wouldn't have Mon Ennui where it is, right now, without the help of people who know more than I do... giving me the confidence and support to believe in my brand and what we're doing.
Having people who know the industry tell me "You need to charge more! Your products are some of the highest quality out there!" is incredible. At this point I still want to make sure that our products are affordable, because we are so new. But, I cannot compete with any of the very small brands who are constantly losing money and closing down.
A lot of online customers get the wrong impression from small brands who don't charge what their products are worth. It devalues the entire industry!
Of course, with all things... you really do get what you pay for.
Some customers want to buy $2 eyeshadow and tell us that our prices are too high. We don't have that available for them. That might mean that our brand isn't for "everyone". But, with the amount of demand we have at this point... I don't think I could keep up with the work load if I tried to make my brand available to that customer base!
It's choices like this that have actually helped us grow dramatically, instead of face failure and going broke trying to keep up with demand.
We also have a pretty firm "No Product in Exchange for Reviews" policy, right now.
I think we're the only brand who has that policy, too!
I understand that blogging is an important tool for sharing your brand with the internet. I just sort of feel like giving a blogger product in exchange for a review... is a bit of a bribe. We're so new that I really want my happiest customers to spread the word (and they are doing that very well), because I feel that new customers can really tell the difference when a blogger is blogging about something they honestly care about... or blogging to promote something because they got some free product to talk about. When you pay for something... you have very different expectations of it compared to when you get something for free.
Right now, I really want to focus on honesty.
If bloggers want to blog about our products... they are welcome to buy them, of course!
We don't hate bloggers. We just prefer this policy, for now, as we grow and evolve.
Maybe in 5 years that policy will change. But, by then... most of the major beauty bloggers won't be as big as they are now, anyway... and I think that the whole system will change over time.
I honestly wish that more small companies would deal more honestly with their brand, when they are starting out. You might be able to find a lot of drama online about a brand... but, when you find really good really honest reviews, it totally overrides that negativity immediately. :) If all you find online is stunningly positive reviews by powerhouse bloggers and lots of random swatches... then, it doesn't really show you that people want that product on their face or in their day-to-day makeup routine. Yanno?
No matter what the age or skill level of my customers... I value seeing happy faces of happy customers proudly wearing their Mon Ennui.
4. What inspires color choices for eyeshadows and other cosmetics?
I want to give women jewelry for their face.
Our main customers are women in their mid twenties to late thirties. I try to make those customers some very luxurious products that are long wearing and gentle. I also formulate our pigments so they will not expire (as long as they are handled and used properly and do not get contaminated).
Our biggest supporters are medical professionals, performers and mothers (sometimes all three!).
There are plenty of playful brands out there that cater to the child in all of us. I want to develop a brand that speaks to the woman within us. It's the difference between plastic bracelets and diamond earrings. At a certain age, you focus on the investment of a few pieces of jewelry that you can wear for the rest of your life... the type that capture timeless beauty and elegance that will never go out of style. That's the sort of makeup I want to create. Products that you can wear with jeans or a cocktail dress, and always feel powerful and womanly. Colors you can wear this season and next season... and always feel “in style”.
Women know themselves. They know what they want when they see it and they get it. They don't feel that they have to ask for permission. Women are beautiful for the self-satisfaction of it. Women are confident because they've earned it... and they don't need to prove anything to you because they know who they are.
There is a Beauty Renaissance happening, now! Women have earned the right to be what they want to be and present themselves the way they want to be seen. Our most sparkly products are as dazzling as gemstones! Even women who normally don't want shimmer or glitter or shine fall in love with our unique blend of texture. Even when we go over-the-top with sparkle... we try to make sure that there is substance, depth and texture.
5. What is your most popular selling item?
Our three best selling products are:
Oil Slick: It's our first and most popular color shifting pigment! Our Extreme Color Shifting pigments are really unique and very special. Oil Slick is a muted shifter that changes from Teal to Green to Blue to Violet to Purple... depending on the lighting you are in and the angle it is viewed from. We have a growing collection of color shifting pigments. But, Oil Slick is still the most popular.
I think that our color shifters are also hard for a lot of beginners to use, as well. There is a huge focus on “blend blend blend blend”... and they end up with the base color and no shift!
To get the real beauty of these shifting products, you have to pack them over our Prime Time Primer (by patting instead of sweeping or blending).
Another way to apply them is by wetting a brush with our Pigment Potion for Eyes.
Actually... that's another of our best selling products!
Pigment Potion for Eyes was my super gentle mixing medium idea! It is water based, but it has a lot of awesome ingredients in it that make it great for your skin. You can apply eyeshadows and pigments with a brush you wet with pigment potion (the key is to wet it, blot it on a paper towel, pick up a bit of pigment and then apply like paint. A little goes a long way!). I also recommend it for people who hate having a “cakey” mess with their foundation! You can sponge Pigment Potion for Eyes on your whole face before applying your foundation, and it will make it apply more evenly and you won't need as much product to get a flawless complexion.
Unfortunately, this is ALSO the product that I sell out of the fastest!!!
We try our hardest to keep up the with demand... but, it's not easy. It's great stuff.
And, our best selling lip product is Type O Negative lip stain! Thanks to awesome bloggers and word of mouth... our test tube of bloody red lip tint has gotten a lot of love. It's the product that a lot of people have purchased alone (and introduced them to our brand). It's the sort of red that any woman can wear, because it leans toward berry on the first application... but, it can be built up and layered to make a more dramatic look, as well. It's also a wonderful base product for red lipstick (like our Norma Jean mineral lipstick... which is also quite popular) because it adds some depth and drama. I also personally love that we created labels that look like lab stickers for the test tube! It's really the sort of awesome product that you'd want to pull out of your purse to show off to your friends.
Thank you again for the interview and opportunity to share my story with you!
We're still SO very new.
I think that my favorite parts of working in this industry are meeting talented new people! I've had the extreme pleasure of working with some undiscovered talent (like Michelle Orozco (of Meeshabelle Makeup)... who I had work with me as a makeup artist on an intense day of promotional photography. I even got her to model for me, as well. She's a beautiful and wonderful person, inside and out... and I am glad that Facebook brought us together to collaborate!
I've also had some very talented people create stunning looks using our products! We've been working with the wonderful MrsElegantBeauty, who creates great inspirational looks using our products (from neutral to imaginative and wild).
I really can't wait to see what happens with Mon Ennui in 2013! I have some big things in the works.. and high hopes for the brand in general. :)
I want to give a special thanks to Mon Ennui, she was wonderful to interview and such a pleasure to work with.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
Basically, tell me the story of how Dollipop came to be. Our grandmother Helen actually inspired my sis and me to start Dollipop Cosmetics. She raised us from the time we were little babies and she always taught us that we could do anything we set our minds to. She passed away in 2008 from breast cancer, but in her last year of life she made her family promise to follow our dreams and live our lives to the fullest and Dollipop Cosmetics is the result of us keeping our promise to her.
Tell me a little about yourself and if others work with you about them also. My name is Jennifer and I am a stay-at-home mom of two beautiful little girls. I enjoy cooking, crafting, and creating new products! My business partner is my twin sister Liz. She works full-time in a medical office and helps out with the business every single weekend. We hand make everything we sell in small batches and typically it is just the two of us working although during busy seasons we have friends and family that step in and help us package and label.
Find us online https://www.facebook.com/dollipopcosmetics, http://pinterest.com/dollipopshop/, https://dollipopcosmetics.wordpress.com/
Thursday, December 20, 2012
In 2005 I started grad school to pursue my Master of Art in Printmaking. Because that occupied the majority of my time, I had to leave my position at Clinique. And thus, my interest in makeup dwindled to the bare necessities. I finished both of my masters degrees, and my focus shifted to my career. But still, makeup was a love I'd placed on the back-burner.
It wasn't until the summer of 2011, when my bestie, Megara, showed me a tutorial for an XSparkage rainbow eye look, that the makeup flame was reignited. Leesha used Beauty From The Earth pigments in the video, and because I wanted to recreate the look exactly, I decided to order a sample tin. From that point on, I re-connected with my passion in makeup.
In my working life, I teach college level Design, Digital Art and Art History, and I'm freelance graphic designer, too. Needless to say, there is no shortage of demands on my creativity. But I guess I'm a glutton for punishment, because in my spare time, I focus on creating art for The Daily Glamour. Admittedly I probably spend way too much time and money on this hobby to think of it as a mere pastime, but for now, that's what it has to be. All I know is creativity. It runs through my veins now as it always has, and probably always will. I know it sounds strange, but creating looks for The Daily Glamour is kind of my creative release. It is light-hearted and fun and a break from the serious tasks of my everyday life.
I would be remiss in not taking a moment to honor the beautiful and talented Crystal Lampe over at BFTE Cosmetics. Her phone call to me last summer inspired me to create my Facebook page. Since then, we've laughed and talked and created so many things together. The products she brings to this makeup world inspire me in so many ways.
Thank you to my community of fellow makeup lovers. You push me to keep being glamourous :)".
I asked Autumn to submit her favorite look that she has done, and she chose the pic above Blue Christmas. "Favorite look? Holiday Party Series: Blue Christmas (picture attached). Why? Because it was one of those moments when the look you created is even better than you imagined! It was an expected and new color for me to use, and while I wasn't sure it would work, it turned out wonderfully! I also think it's great because it shows that bright, punchy color can be elegant!"
Thank you Autumn for giving me the opportunity to do this feature, I am truly honored.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Jessica, thank you for giving me this opportunity to feature you, it was truly a pleasure :)
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
KMS Cosmetics Lipsticks are NOW AVAILABLE! There are currently three shades (more will be coming): Polar Bear Kisses (Limited Edition for the Holidays), Bailey and Megan.
Each full size Lipstick comes in a chubby lip pencil with at least 5g net weight of product. Samples are also available in 5g jars with at least .5g net weight. There is a small ingredient label on the bottom as well as a label on the cap. Labels are strategically placed to allow the entire pencil to be sharpened as needed! Don't forget to add a Dual Sharpener to your cart if you don't have one already : ) I haven't tried the lipsticks yet so I took this from the KMS Newsletter.
The pic posted above is one of Jennifer's favorites and I can see why, it's beautiful. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this feature on you Jennifer. You can grace my Beauty Bytes page anytime :)
Friday, December 14, 2012
I have heard some great things about Meow Cosmetics so I wanted to try it out myself. I had my pick of samples from Meow that I could try out but since Im a fan of browns I saw these two shades and had to try. Sand dune is a lighter shade of brown while cloven skies looks like metallic gold. I put sand dune on my bottom lid while cloven skies went in the crease and mixed a little with the sand dune to give it a golden tone. So far every shadow that Ive tried has stayed on all day which is great. I like Meow Cosmetics because their colors are so vibrant and metallic looking. I have many more samples of colors that I need to try so you'll have another review soon.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
This product is something new that I tried today. Wet n Wild is one of my favorite brands of cosmetics so I was excited to try this. I will be the first to admit that I am not very good at applying eyeshadow so the look I'm going post is something I smudged together. I loved the colors in the palette so my after effect was not a bad one. My big thing when it comes to eyeshadow is will it stay on all day. I am happy to report that it does wear all day. I'm not a big fan of dark shades but I think I made it work. Wet n Wild has changed so much since they first started, they have become one of the top selling brands in the world. I wear products and wear them proudly.
Thank you Lisa for entering my contest, I really think you have a talent, keep up the good work !
Monday, December 10, 2012
Friday, December 7, 2012
I am having a blast reviewing beautiful eyeshadows from all these great companies, hoping to get to do more in the near future. What can I say about Just Fab Cosmetics ? They are simply fabulous :). I couldn't wait to try the samples, I even got up extra early this morning so I could try them out. The colors are just beautiful, the shimmer is great, the powder is smooth and applied to my eye flawlessly. I could not have been more pleased with the product. Like the rest, it stayed on all day and was smudge proof not like some of the store brand where after all day wear there is a noticeable build up in the crease of your eye. Thank you Just Fab Cosmetics for giving me the opportunity to review your product, hope to work with you again reviewing more colors. The colors I used are pictured below. My favorite was Topaz.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Dollipop Cosmetics is one brand that I have never heard of until I started my Beauty page. This company for one is amazing, for two, the two sisters that run it are so nice and genuinely want us beauties to look stylish. The best part about Dollipop Cosmetics is that they are based in Chandler and I live in Tucson so I'm about a 2 hour drive away from them. This morning was the first time I had ever wore their brand of cosmetics. I absoulutely loved the eyeshadow ! The colors are so vibrant and sparkley, just amazing stuff. It wears all day and is smudge proof, for me and my skin type thats a plus. All you beauties out there, if you have never tried Dollipop Cosmetics I highly recommend that you do. The colors are just amazing. http://m.facebook.com/dollipopcosmetics?id=304417942961466&_rdr
The pic posted below was my look using snow, ultra violet and lust :)