She's in Simons is a blog series produced in collaboration with Canadian fashion brand, Simons. We're profiling inspiring Alberta creatives who celebrate style through their work and wardrobes. This instalment was photographed by Nicole Ashley at the Blushed Beaute Studio.
A powerhouse in a pink tulle dress? A humanities major with a minor in philosophy becomes an in-demand makeup artist? When you speak with Blushed Beaute Founder, Elizabeth Bernardin, on the business of beauty you're hit with the musings of a thoughtful, logical and savvy young entrepreneur – and the recipe of her character begins to makes sense.
Bernardin has been working as a professional artist for eight years. Her medium? Lipsticks, liners and powders. Her canvas? Hundreds of fresh faces. Her talent? Accenting one's best features, hiding the not so great. With the sweep of a brush she can give you cheekbones or hide a blemish.
Just over one year ago, with not enough hours in the day and an ever growing client list of brides, professionals and socialites seeking smokey eyes and perfect pouts, Elizabeth launched Blushed Beaute. In her first year of business Elizabeth and her team brushed dewy complexions onto more than 90 brides, did makeup for Edmonton's high-profile fashion shows, collaborated with numerous publications for fashion and beauty features and launched a series of makeup tutorials on YouTube.
The Blushed Beaute Studio is a bright, luxurious and feminine space – the kind of place where a glass of prosecco feels appropriate at any time of the day (and it is). The Blushed team boasts some of Alberta's best hair and makeup artists including Senior Artist Nickol Walkemeyer, well known in the fashion community for her impressive editorial work found in the pages of Vogue India, Harpers Bazaar Arabia and FASHION Magazine. The stylists and artists are also entirely mobile, meaning they can come to you – an attractive benefit for brides and socialites who are prepping for a big day, or big night out.
As an entrepreneur, Bernardin knows what she wants and emits an admirable determination to get it. She is bursting with energy, ideas and reflections – a perfectly complexioned factory of constant thought, strategy and goals. We love her business savvy and look forward to seeing her impact on Alberta's beauty industry in 2016.
Elizabeth is wearing head to toe Simons.
When did you know a career in beauty was your calling?
There was never really a moment where it was that clear. I was passionate about what beauty could do and how it could make you feel and I loved being a part of the transformation. The idea it could be a career was something that just slowly seeped into my consciousness as an opportunity that could combine my love of adventure and change – that's the business side – and my passion for making people look their best. Business gives me the opportunity to be as creative as I want and beauty is so diverse and always changing. Finding out that they didn’t just have to be jobs, like when I worked at MAC Makeup, but it could be a lifestyle, was when I started to think of it as a career.
How did Blushed Beaute come to be?
I had been working as Makeup By Elizabeth for three years and I had outgrown the name. I was starting to look for a name that could encompass all the plans I had for my business. I was in the middle of setting it up to launch when I had a conversation with Nickol Walkemeyer, who’s now our team Manager and Master Artist, who recommended an artist management approach. This was a month before launch and we brainstormed how it would look and when we launched it was with two members on the team and an entirely different set of goals. It’s developed a lot since then as we started to realized the potential to really make a difference in our industry.
What do you love about working in the beauty industry?
I love that everyone is an artist and passionate about what they do. I used to work for the railroad and I rarely heard people happy about their job and now I get to spend time with a ton of people who are so incredibly talented and committed to their work. We are all small businesses and all so focused on our clients and our work that I am constantly being inspired as well as supported! We work together a lot and are always collaborating and it’s really exciting and fun! Plus there’s usually celebratory drinks after, and wine and snacks while we work which really helps. Its become hard to differentiate between work and lifestyle now as so many people in the industry have become friends and work really blends into fun.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming an entrepreneur?
Where to start? First I’m a workaholic. I love working and am way more ambitious and driven then I thought before; I have a hard time saying no because I always see an opportunity, even when I’m exhausted. I have always been passionate but I never had anywhere to funnel my interest before now. I’m very good at business on this small level, planning and organizing are things I enjoy, especially planning, having the ability to actually pursue success for my ideas is really empowering. I’ve learnt I think really differently from other people, I didn’t realize it before but I think from a solution or goal backwards to realize the steps I need to accomplish something, I didn’t know that was different until I started talking to other people about how to address problems. I find it makes things really clear.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I don’t really have a “typical day” ever (she laughs). Every day is often so different, but my usual tasks include emails – I receive about 400 a month minimum not including junk, which I get about 350 per week to sift through, confirming clients, social media posts when I have a photo I want to share or an event people might want to attend. Most days I have a client in the studio or on location somewhere like a studio or home. This is usually my favourite part of the day, meeting someone new and hearing their story or seeing a returning client and getting to catch up! I usually try to fit meetings in there somewhere as I really enjoy hanging out or networking with people in my industry. Finally, more emails and time on my computer. Some days are more hectic than others travelling to different locations to accommodate clients, other days are amazing like when we get to do events like PARKSHOW and spend time creating then go out and watch the show and see your work live! My favourite dates are when I get to do a creative photo shoot and spend time with my team. In between all that I like to try to spend some time catching up with my husband or hang out with my new niece! Family is really important, so I try to make that a priority, but it’s definitely gotten harder as we grow.
How important is personal style in your line of work?
It’s hard to say! Many people hire an artist because they like what they project and part of that is your makeup style and part of that is your personal style, but it also depends on just who they have access to. Most people might not realize there are so many options out there and our personal preference and skill dictates the end result a lot! I personally love a smoky eye and nude lip so that’s where I usually end up if they give me a choice. On the other hand if you have a friend you trust you’ll ask them before going to a stranger and of course referrals are really important because people want to know they can trust you! So in the end it’s also about your network and client loyalty.
What's the biggest makeup mistake you see that drives you crazy?
(Laughing) Ooh scary question! When you can see that they tried to contour and didn’t blend and you can see the line. I just want to buff it out with my fingers.
What sets Blushed Beaute apart from other makeup and hair studios?
We are a really experienced team with really diverse styles. When I brought my artists on I wasn’t looking for people whose work was so similar to mine you couldn’t tell the difference. I wanted really strong artists who are customer service focused who also have their own style. Nickol is amazing at really soft dewy looks and Emily is a pro with colour! Lydia is so talented at Asian Eye makeup and Brenna nails every girls liner dreams. We also have a new team member Calvin and his technique is out of this world! My own go-to is a natural looking glamour. I’m not here to present a “blushed look” which works for other teams. I want clients to come to us because each artist offers something amazing that suits the client. Like shopping for a makeup artist at one location where the quality and service is guaranteed and it’s really professional from start to finish... we answer e-mails really fast!
What's your dream for your business?
To be able to travel around the world learning from other artists and bring that back here to Edmonton. I love learning and travel, and to combine that to help grow Blushed would be a dream come true.
What are you most proud of?Failing but not quitting. I have had many ideas that didn’t work, that cost money, that wasted time. I am not even close to perfect at any of the jobs I have to do as a business owner. It’s sometimes really overwhelming and scary, especially with all the financial risks I take. But I keep doing it, even on hard days. I have a core group of friends, family and team members who help support me and encourage me even when they are worried I work too much and am overwhelmed or trying too hard. But I’ve never had anyone tell me I can’t or shouldn’t which is amazing. I’m just proud that I stayed focused and kept at it even when it seemed like nothing was happening. I think that’s one of the core reasons I’ve achieved what I have. We have nine people on the Blushed team now: six makeup artists, one hairstylist, one spa tech and a lash technician! That growth has happened so fast and it’s intimidating but exciting.