If you think the professional makeup artists who are popular on YouTube became successful overnight, think again. It takes hard work, determination and a plan to attain your career goals. Today’s young entrepreneurs are using all of the resources available to get to the next level. This is evident in the beauty career of Elessa Jade aka "Pursebuzz".
Elessa Jade “Pursebuzz” is a professional makeup artist and entrepreneur who recently launched her jewelry and makeup brush lines. It is inspirational when you see young business-minded professionals creating opportunities for themselves. Elessa’s job may look easy but she shares the importance of how being focused, hardworking and following your dream has helped her.
Q: What is your background?
EJ: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Finance and a Master’s degree in Project Management. I put myself through college by doing makeup. I ventured out of the beauty industry to pursue the video game industry for project management matters for awhile. On the side I would be doing my videos and blogging. Through that I was able to put myself through school and pay off my student loans. Once I was done, I decided to pursue the whole YouTube channel, my website, jewelry line and all of that full-time.
Q: What was your first professional makeup job?
EJ: I started at a makeup counter. A lot of people recommended that I work on real women with real problems. I needed to work one-on-one with people who have wrinkles, acne, skin issues and learn how to perfect that. Then I went on to brides and editorial.
Q: Do you think it is easier today for makeup artists to get started because of social media or is it harder because the market is so crowded?
EJ: Originally I thought it would’ve been easier because you could display your work through social media. Now it is very saturated and almost everyone I meet is a hairdresser, makeup artist or they have done some level of professional work (but that could be because of what I do). It is much more challenging but not impossible. If you believe in yourself and your skills you can do it!
Q: How did you come up with the name Pursebuzz?
EJ: Pursebuzz is all the items in your purse. Women tend to carry everything in their purse and I wanted to talk about it.
Q: People often ask you for advice on how to grow their YouTube channel subscribers and other social media. What is your advice?
EJ: I first ask them, “What is your goal?” Some people want to pursue a career on YouTube, others want to become a professional makeup artist and there are those that just want free stuff. Once you figure out your goal you can go from there. If you want to be a professional makeup artist, I suggest that you take classes and practice on friends. Work as a makeup artist for your local magazines and fashion shows, network and build confidence. If you feel like you’re really lost and you don’t know where to begin I recommend that you find a mentor.
Q: How important is it to have a mentor as one is developing in this business?
EJ: I think it is really important depending on what you want to do. If you’re thinking of moving to Hollywood because you want to do special effects makeup, I think it’s good to find someone who is already in it to teach and guide you. You can also go to a special effects training school. I have very little special effects training. So if I wanted to pursue that field I would want to go to school and talk to some professionals who have the background and then find the right path on what I could afford and go from there.
Q: You recently launched your own accessories business. Tell me how that started?
EJ: It started because I love jewelry and big sparkly items! It’s hard to find jewelry that had the makeup artist voice. I try to be very business minded. So I wanted to come up with an idea on how I and my fellow makeup artists could wear something that would help me (and them) sell and promote what we do, that would be fun, on trend and appeal to a lot of people. I designed the ”I Do Makeup” Pin that is sparkly, shiny and advertises that I do makeup. It’s a conversation starter and reminds people that you do makeup so you don’t have to keep saying “I do makeup.” It’s advertisement in a soft sell way that if you need to hire me, let me know and I’m not pressuring anybody. I started with the big lipstick necklaces and then the earrings. I’m so happy that they are really popular and they sell out at every show.
Q: What were some of the road blocks you encountered starting your business and how did you overcome them?
EJ: I always tell my readers and viewers to follow their dreams and keep pursuing what you’re passionate about. If you’re in a corporate job and you hate it you become miserable. You’re not only miserable in your corporate life but at home too and how you live life. It was a struggle for me in the beginning and it still is. I’m still learning the ropes of the jewelry business. You have to have a desire to keep learning and growing. With the jewelry line people want to touch it, feel it and see it. I started going to trade shows more often and displaying my items for people to see it. My jewelry line started by word of mouth, trade shows and the social media was a big help for me. I also had people review the products to get their opinion. It is important to get the word out and keep pursuing what you love to do.
Q: I see that you have your own makeup brush line?
EJ: Yes I do. I wanted to create a synthetic brush line because they are the best. I started out with a prosumer brush line. It’s for consumers and the professional artists. If you’re backstage at a fashion show you want to have the sleek professional brushes. You may lose one or someone may borrow a brush and unfortunately you may not get it back because they all look alike. Mine are recognizable because I love cupcakes and there is a little cupcake logo on each handle. So you’re able to gather them all back. I wanted brushes that were synthetic. Synthetic brushes have come so far these days. They are not only extremely soft and stay that way, but they are easy to clean.
Q: People think what you do is so easy and glamorous. What is the real deal on running your own business and being a professional makeup artist?
EJ: I don’t sleep a lot. A lot of the stuff I do is behind the scene. I’m running around making sure things work, products are shipped, making sure the manufacturer has shipped my items on time and they’ve shipped merchandise to me. I ensure the designs are on track, do my booking engagements and travel arrangements. I do a lot of stuff myself at this point like setting up my trade shows. I’m also doing makeup artistry and then I have my channel where I record and edit my own videos. My blog posts I do and fortunately I have editors that help and they offer different opinions and address different skin tone matters. I’m often responding to emails up until 1 am. I wear a lot of hats because I’m the Quality Assurance (QA) person, coordinator or if my website goes down I am tech support. It’s really fun. You’re everything as a business owner.
When I used to go to trade shows as a consumer and meet all of the vendors, I had no idea of the amount of work and effort that went into setting up a booth until I had my own. It is a lot of hard work but the effort is worth it.
Q: Pursebuzz will be at The Makeup Show LA 2013 and your booth is always fun. What can we expect?
EJ: Yes, I will be at booth 6009. We always have to have bows. This year the Pursebuzz booth will be a sexy, lace pink theme. Last year at The Makeup Show I didn’t know what to expect. It was last minute because they had a booth opening when a vendor cancelled. We were fortunate that we sold out on Saturday. Sunday was a lesson for us to track all of the popular items that people wanted and how we can make it better for the following shows and 2013. I had no idea how popular my items would be. A lot of my friends are more conservative and not into the sparkly accessories like me. I was glad and happy to meet all of my sparkle lovers who visited the Pursebuzz/Elessa Jade booth at The Makeup Show. This year I’m bringing in glitter, more sparkles and all kinds of beauty things.
For The Makeup Show LA 2013, I’m working with Violet Voss and we’re bringing in glitter and glitter glue. We’re really excited about that.
Q: What advice do you have for people that aspire to be the next Pursebuzz?
EJ: Follow your passion and do what you love to do. Find your own voice and that thing that makes you unique. You don’t want to be the cookie cutter of anybody. Find inspiration in others and funnel your passion and drive into that.
Q: A lot of opportunities arise not through what is advertised but word of mouth. How important is networking at these industry related beauty events?
EJ: It is very important to network, be yourself and be honest. Don’t be fake. There are a lot of people (in the industry) and they are all connected. It is really a small world. Seek opportunities. Some opportunities may turn out to be lemons, but as cheesy as it may sound there is good in most opportunities. I can’t stress how important it is but network, network, and network. Even if you don’t want to go because you feel like you’re tired or it won’t be worthwhile; often times you’ll be happy that you did. There are so many opportunities that come up for people after the shows and you don’t want to miss out on those possibilities.
Visit Pursebuzz at The Makeup Show LA booth 6009. If you like glitter visit the Violet Voss site www.shopvioletvoss.com for their ‘Violet's Secret Weapon’ that will be on display at The Makeup Show LA.
The Makeup Show LA begins on Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 9 am to 6 pm and on Sunday, March 3, 2013 from 9 am to 5 pm at California Market Center, 110 East Ninth Street, Los Angeles, CA. For
tickets visit www.themakeupshow.com.