This whole thing was a bit of an accident. I didn’t set out to be a Makeup Artist or Beauty Editor, I graduated from the University of Colorado in 2000 and set out into the world of broadcasting. This lasted only until my first contract was presented and I learned that I’d be making $21,000 for 3 years. With thoughts of living under a bridge eating soda crackers fresh in my mind, I marched over to a Nordstrom job fair straight from a day at the pool with a girlfriend. I wasn’t looking for a job, she was and I was just there to keep her company but I somehow found myself sitting in an interview with semi-wet hair talking about my love for all things cosmetics and how I worked through college part time at an Estée Lauder counter. I was hired on the spot to manage their Stila counter while my friend walked away without a job. Go figure.
Those very detailed trainings I received from Lauder about the science of skin, and the makeup application techniques Stila taught, combined with the customer service standard Nordstrom held us to taught me what I needed to know years later when I was laid off from a sales position with a cosmetics company. What a blessing that was even though I was so devastated I cried for two days. Weeks later I started a blog by just Googling around and finding Blogger. I found someone to design it and off I went, staying up every night until 3 or 4:00 teaching myself the ins and outs of blogging. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was inspired by friends’ encouragement knowing that I was their go-to person whenever they were at a store trying to decide what they should buy. THIS was my very first post on November 8, 2007 followed the same day by THIS one for Revalé, a company I’ll never forget because they reached out to thank me for the nice review and sent me literally everything in their line. Crazy since I had this mostly empty site with just 2 posts that was averaging like 3 views a day (thanks family!) but that little gesture set the tone for my motivation and I made the commitment to just keep writing.
In the meantime I was working on my other goal to be a full time Makeup Artist for weddings since that was the makeup I liked doing most. I used to joke with a friend that I was bored to tears at the thought of turning someone into a dragon, that special effects stuff isn’t for me. I kept a spreadsheet (which I still have!) detailing people I called; photographers, wedding planners, hotels, reception sites, even officiants, asking all of them to please refer me to their clients. I did so much makeup for free in the begining because I vowed to say yes to whatever came my way. I did makeup for shoots that lasted all day and I’d never be fed, thanked, or received any photos for my site after. I made up girls who worked at hotels in the hotel restroom while people came in and out doing their business without ever being put on their vendor lists. Then a new reception site (new in 2004) Stonebrook Manor told me that I could set up a little booth for their monthly tastings which hosted 100 people every time. I made a little scrapbook with different makeup looks from bridal magazines since I had no photos of my own work, and stood there nervously sweating through my shirt while most people totally avoided me. But some didn’t and so I slowly started booking weddings and Carissa Beauty was born. From those weddings I’d meet the photographers, planners, florists, and people behind the scenes who I had been trying to contact for so long. I became the only makeup artist at industry events and soon I was so busy I started turning brides down. Now I work with the most exclusive group of wedding and event professionals by referral only and I’ve been lucky enough to travel for weddings, and be a part of buzz-worthy celebrity weddings. I’ve covered New York Fashion Week backstage, I was Walmart’s Beauty Expert for 4 years where I ran an exclusive blog within their site, and I also had a beauty segment for 4 years on a Colorado TV station, along with a bunch of really cool things like being in People StyleWatch 3 times in the past 6 months.
When I think about it all I could just cry because I didn’t expect any of this, I just wanted my friends to have a resource before buying a new cleanser and maybe work a wedding or two here and there.