Makeup tells stories: an interview with Amelia, makeup artist in NYC
How can diversity in the beauty industry be expanded? How does late retail shipping affect the customer’s attitude? We interviewed Amelia, a successful makeup artist in NYC.
She has assisted with commercial shoots for Nike, Reebok, adidas, Harper’s Bazaar, Samsung, Facebook and more. She says, “I love creating flawless natural skin, colorful editorial looks and I am always interested in new collaborations.”
Check out her hopes for the industry’s future, her makeup unboxing experiences, and her ideas of how to more effectively ship makeup.
When did you first get into makeup and why?
I think it started when I was in kindergarten. I used to draw on my lips with a ballpoint pen to look like lipstick. I convinced my stepdad to buy my mom this little kid’s makeup kit from the toy section at the grocery store, but of course it was really for me. I remember taking it to school and asking my teacher if I could put makeup on her. She told me I made her look like a clown. I would do my friend’s makeup on the public bus on our way to parties, or even in homeroom in high school. It’s always been a passion of mine. I think even as a kid I was in love with dressing up, being able to transform, and explore different versions of myself.
What is “By Amelia”?
“By Amelia” came about because I noticed everyone saying “makeup by so and so” and I thought how about just BY Amelia, because it’s more than just makeup. It’s a signature, it’s a look, it’s a vibe, it’s an experience, and it gives me room to grow as a brand without defining myself as just a makeup artist.
Right from the first look at your website, you’ve done makeup on a very diverse group of people. How does makeup help to tell one’s unique and powerful story?
When I worked at the MAC counter, I learned to meet my sales goals by actually getting to know the person in my chair. I personalized my product choices for my customers based on their actual life styles, not just their skin type/color/age. I had 60-year-old women who bought glitter eyeliner, and I would never tell them not to buy it because “glitter accentuates wrinkles.”
Makeup allows us to express ourselves, to transform and become whoever we want to be. A bold red lip tells a much different story than a nude lip, but the same person can wear both depending on who they feel like being that day. That’s how makeup tells stories—it allows you to rewrite the narrative.
If you could pick one piece of makeup you would use for the rest of your life, what would it be?
For my own personal use lashes. All the way.
What is the makeup unboxing experience like?
Exciting! I just ordered a million things during the Black Friday sales, and I’ve been literally checking the tracking numbers every morning because I couldn’t wait to receive everything.
What do you expect when you receive your makeup at home?
First of all, I expect everything to arrive in one piece. Makeup is fragile and things like powders and shadows break really easily, so it’s important to make sure they’re packed correctly. I do expect some kind of curated brand experience. If I spend $80 on a palette, it shouldn’t just be thrown into a box.
Have you ever had a negative shipping experience? What could have made it better?
Yes. I recently had one when I ordered a product from a retailer. The item was available on their website when I purchased it, and a week later they called to say it was out of stock. They said it would arrive in a month, and it took two to two-and-a-half months. I would’ve just cancelled it if I was in a rush to get the item, but a little more communication from the retailer would’ve been nice. I probably won’t shop there again.
How important is correct shipping tracking for you?
Correct shipping tracking is So important! I want my tracking info ASAP so that I can know when it’s getting to me and make sure I’ll be home to receive it and that the carrier doesn’t just leave it by the door on the street.
What do you wish the makeup industry could be doing better or differently? What are your hopes for the future?
I think diversity is still a huge area for improvement. Yes, the beauty industry has come a long way, and it’s not hard to find a range that fits all skin tones anymore. But makeup and skin analysis for darker skin tones wasn’t taught in my cosmetology school, and it’s a “specialized course” in most schools. I hope that one day the textbooks show representation for every skin color. I also hope that all the brands that claim to be inclusive just because they have a full foundation range can show us the same “full range” in their corporate offices and leadership teams.
Any advice you’ve been given that you’ve carried with you?
There’s a lot of advice that’s stuck with me. The biggest things (which I think apply in any industry or life in general) are be kind, do good work, work hard, don’t give up and you’ll make it eventually.
Another one is to close the Instagram and Pinterest pages, and stop trying to look like everyone else, just create from your own source of inspiration. The final thing is to always remain teachable. If I ever run out of things to learn, I’ll quit creating.
With her leadership in the makeup industry, Amelia is moving us in a profound and positive direction, where uniqueness is celebrated instead of feared. Just like her problematic experiences receiving makeup or retail shipped in the mail, every industry can be improved and include more perspectives.
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We strive to create personal connections with the customers through every box they receive. Just like Amelia says, we have the opportunity to “rewrite the narrative.” ShippyPro is rewriting the narrative of the shipping industry, turning customer frustration into peace of mind, late shipping into reliability, and fixed business models into ones of growth.
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