7th Birthday Thanks: Failure + Finding Yourself

7 years ago, I was a 28 year old graphic designer, on the verge of getting laid off for the second time in 4 years. I was confused, frustrated and desperate to figure it all out. “It” being myself, my job, uh, my life?!

I struggled to ever find fulfillment or satisfaction in my graphic design career, despite it being a creative field and what I hold a college degree in. I could get projects done, but it often took me far longer than it should. It was always such a struggle that never felt worth it in the end. I didn’t love graphic design. I know that.

2012 graphic designer me with tiny un-filled brows and angst.

Have you ever felt like that?

All sorts of F-words come up when you’re struggling at work, and/or getting laid off. Failure, fake, fit in and of course, well, you know…

Though I am an enneagram 3, despite my desire and ability to achieve and succeed, I never did until 2012. That was the year that I got laid off for the second and last time, and what prompted me to get a job doing something I gave a very big F about, and start a blog about it too.

Wake Up For Makeup was born and I started working at Sephora. Thank God. Seriously. I now have a job that is just as much my identity. I truly believe I didn’t know who I was before makeup.

I thought I’d share with you some key excerpts from my Sephora Squad essay. Though I didn’t make it in, I really wrote this from the heart and feel these words to my core.

So many of you wrote some of the most heartfelt, moving testimonials for me and I knew I had to share what I’d written, so that maybe you could really know how much that meant to me.


Tell us about your hustle. How did you get started as an influencer?

I’ve always been an artist who loved creating, visually and via written word. In 2012, I felt compelled to share my joy and enthusiasm for beauty products with my blog, Wake Up For Makeup. At that same time, I began working at Sephora inside JCPenney, doing freelance makeup thereafter.

But wait! Let’s back up a little. In my former life, I was a graphic designer and after getting laid off not once, but twice, I had to get really real with myself. I had to ask myself what I was unapologetically, undeniably drawn to. I asked myself what I never got bored with, what I got excited about and what I felt genuine happiness about. For me, it was so clearly the beauty industry. I had to find a way to give myself that. My blog and getting a job at Sephora were how I did it.

What void do you fill in the current influencer landscape? Tell us how your content or the perspective you provide sets you apart.

Sure, I seriously love doing my own makeup, but I also do makeup on tons different faces each week as a freelance makeup artist. I have women of all ages and all races in my chair, expressing their concerns to me, seeking advice. When I try and review products, I’m not only thinking about what I want, but what about my clients need and want too.

My perspective is very fine-tuned because I’m a beauty consumer who also seeks out products that can perform not only on special occasions for my clients but for the talent on commercial film shoots and photoshoots. 

I’m a proud 35 year old Midwesterner, embracing my incoming gray hairs and forehead wrinkles with as much grace and humor as one can, trying all the beauty products on the way. I’m the champion of #GrayHairDontCare and #BangsBeforeBotox. I’m team #NoFilter #NoFacetune because if your products and techniques are good, you don’t need ‘em. 

Describe your audience. What do they love the most about your content?

My audience is both like me, and not like me at all, which I love. Though I’m not a mother, many of them are. I’m not a baby boomer, but many of them are. I’m a late millennial, some of them are early millennials.  I love them all the same. 

What unites them? They all want to know what to buy and how to use it. They want to feel better than they did 10 minutes ago. They love products and they just want a leader to be real with them and break it down in a way that makes sense. Like me, they know that when you look good, you feel good.

My audience really responds to my Target runs on Instagram, when my husband interrupts my YouTube videos, when I talk about how badly I need to wash my hair.

My audience knows that they can always count on 2 key things from me: honesty and humor.

What are your short- and long-term goals as an influencer?

My short term goal is to reach more people. I’m well on my way to doing every woman’s makeup in my immediate area, but I want to find out what people really want and need from the beauty industry on a larger scale. I believe social media can allow me to do that.

My long term goal is to find a way to simplify beauty and skincare for people. I know it’s overwhelming, but oh my gosh, it’s so fun that I would hate for anyone to miss out because they were confused. I want every person to have a routine that feels good to them, that they look forward to, that excites them. I love it so much that I can’t help but want to share that feeling.

What has been your favorite collaboration and why?

I am so appreciative of every single one but I have most enjoyed the products I’ve been able to experience thanks to Urban Decay. It was the first brand I ever bought at Sephora. To receive product from them directly and create content with it has been something I never could have dreamt would happen to me. 

When I see that big plastic cherry from Urban Decay in my makeup room, I think back to carefully choosing one single Urban Decay eyeshadow (Midnight Cowgirl) from Sephora, with my first paycheck, from my first big girl job, after I moved to my first city, by myself. I see how far I’ve come and it still makes me squee with joy.

Tell us about your passion for beauty. What ways has it shaped your life?

My relationship with the beauty industry has shown me who I am. Until I started my blog and doing makeup, I didn’t have a clear identity. I was no one before I met makeup! Now? I know exactly who I am and I honestly really like her!

Because of my involvement in the beauty industry, I am proud of myself, I am grateful everyday and I have a defined purpose that keeps me waking up for makeup, 365.

What does Sephora mean to you? How has it impacted your relationship with beauty?

Sephora has, without a doubt, changed my life. I know that sounds super dramatic so allow me to elaborate. I would not be the artist, nor the person I am today without Sephora. 

Growing up in a smaller Iowa town, I didn’t visit a Sephora until a family trip to Chicago. I was enamored at first site. Like a moth to a flame, I couldn’t get enough. I remember saying to myself, “I want to be a part of this.”

From the moment I started working at Sephora inside JCPenney in 2012, it was as though all the lights inside me suddenly switched on. It was a magical feeling that only those that have felt would understand. Suddenly, I believed in what I was saying, I felt genuine excitement when someone asked me a question. I felt like an awkward puzzle piece that had finally found her fit.

Sephora gave me the skills and the confidence to take women by the hand and say, “here, I’ll show you!” Sephora enabled me to see a client’s needs, outside of my own preferences or aesthetics and say “I see you, I get what you’re saying and I know exactly what you need.”

I no longer work at Sephora (I would if I had time outside my freelancing!) but I’ll never, ever forget what it did for me.


Now, let’s talk about YOU.

You, yes you, mean so much to me. I know that blogs are not a medium people consume as much these days but I still love doing mine and the fact that you come here, spend your time reading my words and looking at my pictures and videos is just so very very appreciated. I could never tell you how special you make me feel.

I can never properly say thank you but I’m doing a giveaway in an attempt to do so.

Giveaway Time!!

I’m giving away 3 different gift cards to 3 different Wake Up For Makeup pals. Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for being here. It means so much.

17 comments

  • LOVE This blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Long time reader and still find your content fresh, fun and real! Grateful to have someone like you who is all about authenticity in an industry that can definitely err to the other side! Thank you!

  • Congrats on your 7th anniversary! I love your blog and posts because they’re so honest. I come here and search when I’m looking for new products because I know your reviews are always straightforward with no BS. (Also, cat pics.)

    🥂

  • So fun learning your “origin story” and I’m glad you found your way. It’s so important to do what you’re really passionate about – so few people get that.
    Keep up the great work!

  • I feel grateful that sometimes, just sometimes, there are things in life that end up better than we could have dreamed or planned. Not all things, but some things. Love this authentic post!

  • I’m so happy for you! Your passion and love for what you do is what we all strive for. Keep kicking butt and congrats on seven awesome years!

  • Thank you for sharing your history with failure – whenever I run into you at work, I see a boss babe who’s rocking her self made career path!! But it’s very cool to hear where you started from. Happy Birthday!! ❤️❤️

  • Yay! Happy anniversary! 7 years.. wow. I’m such a fan of yours & truly believe your talent is unmatched. Your passion is undeniable & it’s inspiring to see someone completely in love with what they do. Can’t wait to see where the next 7 takes you!!

    Brittany

  • Love your reviews and your recommendations! Now the real question is… is Target going to have a Dermstore holiday gift set like last year? If yes, I’m buying them all! Best advice from you!!!

  • Happy 7th birthday! I love your realness and honesty in recommending products and sharing fun snippets of everyday life.

    I’m thankful for my amazing little family and the home that we just purchased. I can’t wait to make it our own!

  • Happy 7th birthday! I’m grateful for my family of course, but also grateful for fun, down-to-earth folks such as yourself to follow. I love all your makeup tips/advice and especially love your Target stories! 🥰💜

  • I’m grateful for connectivity to friends and family, especially those who I don’t see often. 🙂

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