Five Stacks on the Make Up Bag

Every so often, I like to spotlight someone’s work. Their gift or specialty. Whether I know her or him personally, I just like to share their journey and let others know about their specific crafts. You know, to help them and their businesses grow and stuff.

Today I’m sharing the story of a young makeup professional named Sierra who never dreamed she’d be where she is today. I find her to be quite inspirational and very talented. She’s proof that dreams will come true and goals can be accomplished if you put in the time and dedication. The end of her testimony is what tells me that Sierra is doing exactly what she’s supposed to be doing, answering her calling, and being her authentic self. 

Check her out:

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I was an active teen so I just had no interest in makeup whatsoever. I think the first time I wore a full face of makeup was my winter dance in 9th grade. My mom did it and I was surprised at how many people complimented the way I looked. So I began to apply light makeup (liner, gloss and light eyeshadow) for special events. I went off to college and wore makeup on a more consistent basis and on occasion would do my roommate’s makeup but I didn’t really count on it going anywhere.

I ended up in Virginia in 2012 and that’s where the idea of being an MUA was first introduced. I have the best support system in my better half and in my ear. All she said every day was “You can do it. Put yourself out there.”

“Keep practicing and watch what happens.”

I listened and planned my first makeup party. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I thought I was doing something then. I went to my local beauty supply store and then to the dollar store and, in total, purchased about $60 worth of makeup. I threw the party and had about ten friends come and get their makeup done. I was so excited because everyone loved their makeup so I was reassured that I could do this! I began watching YouTube videos and practicing daily. I would do my new roommate’s makeup occasionally, but other than that, I still only did mine.

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I moved to Georgia in March of 2013 and began my business Makeup By Cee. I began posting my makeup that I would do on myself on Instagram and Facebook. I was getting no real attention but my love for makeup and my supporters compelled me to continue. I received my first “official” client in July and that will forever go down as one of the best days of my life. She was so happy with the way she looked and left an amazing review on my website. I felt so motivated! I began looking into all the behind the scenes things, not the surface part like “how-to’s,” but digging deeeep -like how many shades lighter is appropriate for a highlight color and why? How do you determine where to properly place an arch for the brows? How do you properly apply makeup for the acne-proned? Learning the basics of makeup strengthened me as an artist and I began to see great improvement in my skill. I started advertising my services on a daily basis around late July 2013 and got little response and no clients so it was extremely discouraging.

It was so hard to just keep talking to people and talking and talking and everyone is telling you that you’re good and clients tell you they’re coming and then…

….nobody comes.

I had no clients since that one woman in July and 2013 was coming to an end and I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. I realized in order to be taken serious, I was going to have to get serious. I had no tact, no professionalism, no website, no prices…nothing.

My next steps were to purchase business cards and create my website, so I did that. Shortly after, I began leaving cards in the cosmetic sections of stores and passing them out in public when I was complimented on my makeup. I still had no real clientele but I did have a few occasional appointments and I was pretty excited about those. That excitement is what kept me going. I kept posting, kept passing out cards, kept talking to people and kept revamping my site to appropriately match how I progressed through my phases. At first, my response was coming from only people that I knew but it still made me feel good to have others love what I did.

So I kept going.

Consistency has been key in my journey.

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It has gotten really hard at times to keep going, especially after promoting daily and not having clients for months. Ultimately, I saw the biggest change as I began to revamp my marketing techniques at the suggestion of my better half. I watched my Facebook likes go from the teens into the hundreds. I remember the day my Instagram followers hit 1000. Yes I cried lol. It may seem like nothing to some of you but my struggle was long and hard so I celebrated every success along the way. Now Makeup By Cee is in full swing! I have both a loyal clientele and following and an ever growing prospects. I still pass out cards everywhere I go and, consequently, pick up a lot of clients while I’m out and about. I love what I do so much. On a consistent basis, I have multiple clients weekly still giving amazing reviews. Even though it happens often, I’m still shocked when someone shares my one of my makeup photos. It’s so crazy because I remember the days when no one knew what I did. Now I’m watching my name spread and my talent and passion is in front of people who I don’t even know. That makes me feel like a million bucks.

All I have wanted to do since I started this was show the WORLD what I do ..and it’s happening. Even if I was never paid a dime, it’s the look on her face when she sees what I’ve done in the mirror. That makes everything I’ve gone through worth it. I’m certainly nowhere near finished yet. I have a long way to go but I am grateful for the long way I’ve come.

www.MakeupByCee.com

Instagram: @MakeuIsMyDope

www.Facebook.com/MakeupByCeeCee

MakeupIsMyDope.WordPress.Com

this is her too!

This is her!! [also pictured in the featured image] Skills!

This testimony was self-written by Sierra, her true life story- told by her! [A gray suede first!] Be sure to peep her social media pages, blog and website. And look her up and book her if you’re ever in GA. [P.S. she also does hair!]

Thank you for sharing, Sierra! Best of luck to you!

xo

Warm It Up, Chris

The weather has been playing with my emotions, giving me mid-spring warmth, mild winter cool and official cold weather blues all within a few weeks. I can’t take it. So what’s a better pick-me-up than looking at beautiful clothing? It for sure warms my heart.

My spotlight is on Duro Olowu again, who we all know is the man! He specializes in womenswear and jewelry, making it special with colorful prints and vibrant colors. Let’s see what he has in store for this spring:

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Once again, Mr. Olowu keeps the silhouettes simple, letting the bright colors and prints take center stage. This collection screams sophisticated, airy, dramatic resort wear. It makes me wanna take a nice long vacation, or at least be gone until the warmth returns for good. Love it! love him!

Stay warm, friends. Maybe get some cocoa and power walk through the mall.

Until next time.. xo

sweater weather

Forever 21’s (sweater) sale = gifts to self 😀

What I bought and will rock:

Chartreuse is such a lovely bright and is a great alternative to the commonplace grays and black worn in the winter. (It looks great paired with a black or gray bottom though!)

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electric geo open-knit sweater

Y’all know gray is my favorite! Not only a perfect neutral, this tunic sweatshirt has awesome detail and is the ideal length for all the leggings and jeggings I like to wear. This needs to come in 20 colors!!

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longline pullover

 

I love the deep, rich red and print of this sweater. It’s also very thick and cozy, awesome for chilling outside.

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wool blend west bound sweater

 

It reminds me of Star Trek but I love love love! The color blocking and high neck make it special.

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tri-color high neck sweater

 

Just a simple striped sweater that you can rock to work or wherever-easily pairs with jeans, slacks, shorts or a skirt. 

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striped buttoned shoulder sweater

If you wanna be my twin, you can find all of these lovely looks on forever21.com or in store in the sale section. xo

 

 

Bold & Beautiful: Duro Olowu for JCP

So I’m a tiny bit late posting on this genius of a designer, even though I read about his new collection back around the fall fashion show season! I’m mad at myself for that, but I’m even more excited that he’s heeeeeeerrrrree!! And I am a little obsessed..and definitely in love.

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Duro is a Nigerian-born, London-based designer with an amazing eye for women’s fashions. I happened by J.C. Penney looking for a bikini when, ah-ha! I spy his impressive, beautiful collection with a floor of its own staring right at me. I love the Africa-inspired fabrics, the colors, the accessories-EVERYTHING! Although the silhouettes and designs of his pieces are pretty simple, the patterns and vibrancy of the clothing is what makes them so special.

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With the very affordable to moderately-priced collection-along with it being sold online and in JCP stores– D.O. has something ideal for every woman at any age with any budget.

preview Duro-Olowu-Fall-Winter-2012-2013-12-600x899preview-15Just as the weather starts to warm up, birds are chirping and flowers begin to bloom, Duro Olowu delivers something of his own to make your own just in time for spring. And I love that he has great accessories for the home as well as bold jewelry, purses and shoes to complete an array of ensembles.

ruffle-blouse_300Duro-Olowu-5preview0I suggest you get this J.C. Penney collection while it’s still new because chances are it won’t last. Since JCP gave its stores and merchandise 180 degree makeovers, Olowu’s collection fits in perfectly. With items ranging from $10-100, there’s really no excuse!

Gem Class: Anike Jewels

I’ve had the pleasure of encountering and having beautiful artists in my life. This time, I got insight from a designer/model/entrepreneur colleague of mine. Bunmi is a great inspiration as well as fantastic designer and businesswoman. Read on to learn more about her and the light behind Anike Jewels:

How did you get started?

Anike Jewels started with me purchasing jewelry supplies and sending them to my mother in Nigeria (she makes jewelry also…sadly I never picked up interest while I was around her to learn from her). I began to notice some tools I could use to repair my store-bought jewelry which had broken. After making some repairs, I figured, if I can repair a necklace, I can make a whole necklace and did. This was perfect because now I can make jewelry for me exactly as I desired (in my preferred color combinations, lengths and quality materials).

What inspired you to go down the route of accessories?

Being the type of person who believes the simplest outfit can be transformed into glamorous with the proper accessories, my specific interest in jewelry was quite inherent. My mother signed me up for sewing lessons while in junior high but I didn’t have interest in it at the time. I wish I did now. (Sorry for wasting you money,  Mom.)

Do you plan to expand? How?

I currently do not plan to expand as I prefer to keep the notion of personalized jewelry, knowing your designer personally hand-crafted an item specifically for you. I’m not interested in mass-producing.

In any case, you never know what the future may bring.

Who is Anike’s target market?

Anike Jewels’ target market is all races, it is the man and woman who understands and wants quality. The ones who understand it’s a far better deal to purchase a jewelry piece made with genuine materials which will hold its value and can be passed down to future generations.

What obstacles, if any, did you encounter during the production process?

The initial obstacles I encountered in the beginning phase is learning to makes sturdy pieces being that the materials being used are are genuine gemstones, they were heavy (not heavy as to cause discomfort but compared to jewelry made or plastic, resin, etc) so I had to learn through trial and error (thanks to patient and understanding friends and customers, especially a rock musician with whom I got a deal of practice with) to develop skills and discover better materials to make sure they held up, especially those for men who were not dainty with items as more women are. I later purchased books and did some more self-teaching to improve my skills.

What advice would you give aspiring designers and small business owners?

Always keep learning for ways to improve your skills/better your business. Do your best with everything..mediocrity is not acceptable because anything worth doing at all is worth doing well.
Anything you want to do, do it now because there will never be a perfect time or condition, only more time passed that you haven’t done what you wanted. Do what you can with what you have. Take advantage of now… no better time than now.

What’s next for Anike Jewels?

I’m currently enrolled in advanced jewelry making classes with the goal of acquiring better skills to enhance my designs and bring more unique designs to customers.

Thanks to Bunmi for sharing the history of Anike Jewels.  Support a small, Black and female-owned business and look fly at the same time! Sounds good to me 😉

All of the jewelry featured in the post can be viewed and purchased on anikejewels.net

And catch up on the latest from Bunmi on facebook.com/AnikeJewels.net

Chic Da’Chic

Da’Chic is a new small accessories business based out of my hometown of Los Angeles that was created and inspired by two friends of mine, sisters Joy and Felicia Masha. I am so proud of them for making their vision reality. Their line is chic[duh], beautiful, and affordable, and will make great gifts to give or gifts to self. So I’m spotlighting their brand today with a short interview. I hope you fall in love with it like I did. I think we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more from the ladies behind Da’chic, so take heed!

How did you get started? Da’Chic Designs by Sister Hands was founded on inspiration, culture, and faith. Sisters, Felicia Masha and Joy Masha have always found themselves in the world of fashion as models and fashion students. Soon, they both found themselves incorporating their style into chic-designed accessories and clothing. Focusing on accessories and ear candy, these designers have created another style to chic an outfit. “Get ready with Da’Chic Designs.”

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What obstacles did you encounter during the production process? With any new adventure obstacles are a given, it’s how you handle those obstacles that brings about the success Da’Chic Designs has seen these past few months since its founding. One obstacle we faced was making enough product to meet demands. It’s easy to underestimate your business in the early stages as you are determining whether or not your potential clientele is interested in coming back for more. Never underestimate your vision. You have to have a plan and work hard at it, even you it seems like the odds are against you. We missed out on opportunities that could have added to our clientele because we limited our product production. We later corrected our limitation, not only in product but also in our thinking.

What inspired you to go down the avenue of accessories? We were inspired to go down the avenue of accessories having made a few skirts and shirts and had extra fabric left over. We didn’t want it to go to waste so we thought about accessories that would match our designs. After we made our first pair of earrings the idea followed, what if we made chic accessories to chic-out any outfit. After that moment, Da’Chic Designs was born.

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Who is Da’Chic? Who do you see rockin your pieces? Da’Chic is the professional woman who was to add style to her work clothes without looking unprofessional, she is the teen who wants to set her style apart from the rest, she is also the everyday girl who loves fashion and knows she can chic-out any outfit with the right accessories.

Do you plan to expand to a clothing collection or any other categories? Da’Chic Designs, while focusing on accessories, also sells designed Dashikis and Africa inspired T-shirts. In the future we hope to launch our interior decor line. We believe fashion should not stop at the door, when it could be shown throughout one’s house.

What advice would you give to aspiring designers and other small business owners? Write your vision down, create your designs, and find strong team, and promote, promote, promote, promote whenever you get the chance. The more people know about your designs and see other people in them, the more your clientele builds. It’s going to get hard, you’ll have successes and challenges, but no matter what, if you believe in your designs you have to trust that God will open doors

What’s next for Da’Chic? We speak into existence our million dollar accessory, clothing, and interior decor Da’Chic stores around the country, oh yes! Da’Chic Designs will be everywhere. Until next time, check us out at dachicdesigns.com or facebook.com/dachicdesigns. “Chic your outfit today”

Website www.dachicdesigns.com Da’Chic Accessories & Interior Decor was establish January 2012 by two sisters, Joy and Felicia Masha. A Los Angeles-based business, this young dynamic duo seeks to enhance fashion and room decor with centric pieces and designs. Da’Chic provides its customers with auth…

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Spotlight on Inglewood: Sa’brak Boutique

Sa’brak is one of my favorite boutiques in Inglewood, CA. It’s not too well known, which means it’s usually not crowded, and offers many beautiful, unique finds. I suggest popping in if you have a moderate budget and like to stand out in the shoe, apparel and jewelry departments. And great news: Sa’brak will soon have online shopping! So go get your small business support on! Happy shopping!

 

http://www.sabrakboutique.com/