:) I'm obviously hiding a lot of shadows in the well... shadows, I have 3/4 of the two collections done, including the glitters are pretty much done. I might add about 5 more mixed glitters to the glitter guns collection. :D I just felt like showing a sneak peak of some of my favorite shadows (I love greens and neutrals most of the time xD)
I swatched these with Urban Decay Primer Potion and Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy (ESPECIALLY with the glitter) the Pixie Epoxy under the glitter was very thick because the glitter is obviously loose.
My dear friend decided to do an interview of me for her college newsletter, which I thought was... adorable and made me wonder if they just didn't have anyone else to interview ;) jk! NOTE: I use a lot of emoticons... shhh, I'm sure it will get cleaned up in the real interview in the letter.
So, here we go, it was typed out in mostly Skype so I'm just throwing some stuff copypasta'd.
SR: So Ashley I have a horrible yet awesome feeling this is going to go very well for you, this is why I asked you specifically for an interview, you're being an inspiration to people who want to start their own business.
AJ: I severely doubt that, lol, but thank you none-the-less :)
SR: So why did you decide to get into making cosmetics? I mean I know you have been always inspiring to be a makeup artist and you have done makeup for weddings, but what inspired this?
AJ: Well... I haven't always been into cosmetics, I actually didn't start actually getting into cosmetics until I was about... 18 or so is when I bought my first MAC palette and started playing around. I was a huge MAC junkie until I turned 21 and then everything changed, I found out about indie cosmetics companies online, and when I was 22 I started to buy from them. Slowly after, I learned about Coastal Scents and TKB selling the ingredients and micas to make your own eyeshadows. So for about a year and a half now I've been making my own cosmetics, mixing my own eyeshadows once in awhile to make a color I think I want or need for a certain event, but I never thought of selling for a profit until now.
SR: Oh wow so you've been mixing eyeshadows for awhile now, huh?
AJ: Yep, almost a full year and a half :)
SR: Nuts! Well good to know you have some practice is it an easy process?
AJ: Lol, well some eyeshadows are rather simple, while others are more complex, I would say my bases are more complex than the shadow right now.
SR: Bases? Haha, I'm sorry I'm rather new to this.
AJ: Not a problem :) There are two layers to an eyeshadow, but there can be more, my bases can consist of Boron Nitride, Silica, Sericite, Methicone, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Carnauba Wax, and Magnesium Myristrate. Depending on the current dyes in the colors or the mica I am working with I can use a mixture of any of these for adhesion and slip purposes :) Some people use oils in theirs or little extras, but this is what I basically do. I never use just ONE of these though, everything is mixed beforehand then mixed into the mixture and into the color. It's kinda complicated sometimes, you can also use heat in some mixtures to make certain colors react. That I have not tried yet and I'm kind of scared of burning myself... so yea.
SR: Wow... I never thought that would be so complicated to do I really thought it was just mix and repeat then package, haha you learn something new everyday!
AJ: Lol! Yes, you should see my parents or my boyfriend when I start explaining it to them... they just look at me like I have five heads normally. My dad can keep up but my mom can't and sometimes I think my boyfriend just entertains me xD
SR: Boyfriends have been known to do that! So what inspired you to make your own business? Also did you ever want to be anything else before this?
AJ: You mean like what did I want to be when I grew up, kinda thing? :P
SR: Haha, yes!
AJ: Welllllllllllllll, when I first started my senior year in highschool, I wanted to be an artist it was the ONLY thing on my mind and the only thing I wanted. By the end of my senior year... after I was offered a 40k scholarship to the art school of my choice I declined it... much to my parent's dismay xD but at that time... I was almost sure I didn't want to become an artist any longer. Senior year stressed me out so much with my art and I was discouraged since I didn't win any awards like I had in my early years of high school. Everything felt more difficult, and I realized eventually doing the art I wanted to do... I would have to do everything someone ELSE wanted me to do, not my own art. So I basically quit, enrolled in community college, and started working on a business degree. After a year and a half of that, I decided I didn't want to do that anymore... then I tried for Education in Art and History. Quit that. And eventually, after I turned 24 this year... I realized I was slowly losing time and everything was becoming significantly harder to do. Bills were piling up, and I could never express my creativity in other ways in the world, I sold some freelance art and made a few dollars, worked at a car dealership (hated it) and I recently JUST acquired a full time job working for the tollway. This has helped me get this company off the ground, it's paid for my bills and left me enough to buy my ingredients and supplies. After all of this... I noticed after awhile... I have a HUGE passion for making these products, nothing is ever cut and everything is so complicated that it's fun. It makes my brain continue to run and keeps me busy without me ever getting bored. It's not work to me, it's a career and it's FUN! That is what matters the most to me.
SR: Wow isn't that like the American Dream? Doing what you love?
AJ: That's what everyone tells me! Lol! I always thought that was just something people told you, that you would never be able to have as much fun while making money and I do, I have so much fun!
SR: That's amazing! I hope after I graduate I feel that much happiness!
AJ: Lol! I hope so for you too :)
SR: So you've mentioned before some other shops gave you your inspiration, did you want to shout those out?
AJ: Absolutely! They are the inspiration, not that I would copy their products or ideas, but a lot of my ideas slightly branch from theirs, such as geeky cosmetic names and video game based collections! But yes, my two favorite shops are Beauty From The Earth and Fyrinnae, by the way, if you do not own any Fyrinnae, you NEED TO! The colors are amazingly gorgeous, stunning and complex. Other companies I do enjoy are: Shiro Cosmetics, Geek Chic Cosmetics (geeky names ftw!), MAD Minerals, Glamourdolleyes and Rockeresque! Love all of these products!
SR: Wow so are you nervous to be competing against these other companies?
AJ: HA! I doubt I will be any competition, but even if I do become competition I would always, always, always encourage others to buy from these companies as well. Each has their own ideas and concepts that are different from my own.
SR: That's really admirable, most companies would bash the others...
AJ: I'm not like that, I never have been, even when I was competing with people for art contests I would always wish them luck and tell them how much I loved their work. Because I DID, jealousy is not in my nature, I am not the type of person to bash someone else because their products are just as good if not better than my own. Ya know?
SR: That's insane you are a very modest person but I've known that for years!
AJ: Haha, I try to be :)
SR: So for right now, what does a day in the life of Ashley look like?
AJ: Ugh.. busy, I'm still technically in training for the tollway, so I am currently working from 4pm-10pm Mon-Fri. So lately it's been all ordering, mixing and trying to make sure my ingredients actually GET here, when the shop opens... I'm going to need help if I want to keep this full time job, I can already sense it. My boyfriend has been nice enough to offer to help with packing, and some of my friends also offered. I hired my one friend to take pictures since my DSLR has been broken for awhile now :)
SR: So we're never going to hang out again after the shop opens are we?
AJ: Lol, no we definitely will. I'll just be horribly busy, I mean... right now I'm only seeing my boyfriend once a week... I haven't even seen my father all week and we live together, that's how busy I am, lol.
SR: Well when you love something you put all of your time into it don't you?
AJ: Absolutely, and always.
SR: So, the motto on your etsy page says "Indulge in your every fantasy, we won't judge you" what's that mean?
AJ: Well... it has a few meanings, for me it means wear and be what you want, do what you want, and don't worry about others judging your colors or your colorful personality! I'm not meaning in any way to be vulgar and indecent, though if you enjoy showing your genitals to statues... then go ahead as long as no one else is looking ;) But in general it just means to be yourself, hold your head high and be confident in your look. Always.
SR: That's a really good motto to live by then isn't it? Like I've said I've known you for a long time and you've always been a colorful individual, and it is true you've never cared about what others think without being catty about it. Do you think...? Oh wait, why am I even asking this! I know you're going to have great customer service!
AJ: HAHAHAHA! YES! I definitely will, you know me all too well. Working in the mall, in retail, selling bras, during Christmas, has turned me into a loving teddy bear :) The customer is always right, unless they steal or lie, then they are sometimes right.
SR: Ash, as always it's been great talking to you, I will continue asking questions during the next month and I'll mail you the newsletter in January when it comes out!
AJ: Thank you Sarah :) I'll be happy to answer any more questions anytime!
So I am very sad to say half of my lovely package with my supplies got lost in the mail... YAYYYYY... not really. About $100 worth of ingredients, labels and containers went POOF apparently... sigh.
Either way! I started testing these a few weeks ago, and I'm happy to say about 75% of them are fully finished, some need a bit more tweaking, but I felt like I'd give a small sneak peek of what I have been working on ;) I'm still no Fyrinnae, but it's not too bad as far as I can tell. I also have named most of them.
From Bottom to Top: Linkshell Antoinette Pills Here! Archduchess 20 Sides Karwee Droids And Unnamed! I need to fix that one!
Not toooo bad, but some need a little more work to be less... boring in my personal opinion. They're nice... but they're not amazing :) I want amazing, or at least unique! But I still have time, I think the only two that are fully done are Karwee and Antoinette, Pills Here!, as well possibly :) Linkshell could use a bit more work and the unnamed one is far too similar to Droids to be any sort of use to me. 20 Sides in the picture looks so lame... but in real life @_@ It's my favvvvvvvvvve.
ANYWAYS! So, a small test. I used UDPP for the day to see how well Karwee would hold up, since it's my last venture on this one.
This is Karwee on the lid with Droids on the outside blended into the crease, I did it pretty quick since I was running late for work. From here to the end result is about... 12 hours, 10 of work and 2 of driving. Twas also rainy and grossly humid outside, which is PERFECT weather to test.
And this is when I got home, not too bad I have to say. It looks a little creased in the middle where my lid kinda closes, but other than that it was pretty damn good for a 12 hour day! :D I give it a 7/10! Everything can always be improved!
For too long have I looked and bought from different indie companies around the internet, from personal sites to Etsy to just people in my own town, and every time I bought... I seemed to buy from different companies for different reasons. Oh... this product is complex and gorgeous, this product is named after some geeky awesome stuff, this product is girly and gorgeous, this product is neutral and nice for work, etc etc etc etc ETC. It's always something that reels me in and keeps me there. Well... why not do all of that in ONE store?
That's what I've been working on for the past year, slowly building up to this... opening my own shop. A shop where you can look on one page, find bright colors, another page, find neutrals, one page indulge in your nerdy fantasies (girls, we know you play, don't lie.), one page to indulge in your love for girly lace and frills. Sparkly funtimes with extra awesome pushed into each product. It's taken me a LONG time to get to this moment... and I can't say I've ever been more excited or proud of myself. I have no idea how well I'll do... but I've got my foot in the door already on some sites, which will help. My friends have been constantly helping me improve my formulas, and they are just as critical as any customer will be to me, I've made sure to ask them to be. I don't plan on sponsoring YouTube gurus or anything, seems silly to me. I'd rather have my product loved for itself and not for one person liking it, though it would help business, for me it's not about the money and never has been.
That being said... I WILL be doing trials. Which means for the first few weeks it's opened, people who would like to be trials will be sent some products I pick out based on the trial's answered questions, all I ask in return is a review via either YouTube or their blog, linking back to my Etsy profile/Facebook page. This will help the product get it's foot in the door, and would help me greatly as a business woman and shop owner. I expect every review to be HONEST, I want to know where I can improve, where my weaknesses are, as well as my strengths. Now, after the initial review, I will send you a product evaluation to send back to me, and as well after the review if you feel you would like to try more products, feel free to at a discounted price as a thank you for helping me out. I will provide a coupon code when you message me back with the evaluation sheet, not bad eh?
Now, that being said from November 1st, 2011 to November 10th, 2011 I will be looking for trials to get email addresses and once the products are ready and the shop is opened (looking at around December 1st - December 10th as of right now) you will be sent a DC# to your email address you signed up with, and you will be sent a small package filled with some trial samples to try and review for me.
Interested in being a trial?
;) Darn straight you are.
Please fill out this questionnaire, and send it to VictorianDiscoCosmetics@gmail.com, from there you will be sent a confirmation and if you have any other questions feel free to ask. International girls are welcome to trial as well!
-What color eyeshadows do you normally wear (neutrals, brights, earth tones, etc):
-What color eyeshadows are you interested in the most when you buy from Indie Companies?:
-Do you prefer complex/simple/glittery/matte eyeshadows?
-Do you use a base with your eyeshadows?
-Do you pat/rub/blend your shadows in?
-Victorian Disco... sounds like a crazy disco Marine Antoinette doesn't it?
-What other Indie companies do you buy from?
-Do you have any allergies to mica/glitter/ultramarines/dyes/waxes?
-Do you believe in Vegan/Cruelty Free products?
If you have any questions to ask me you can throw them in the questionnaire.
Disclaimer: ALL products are made in a smoke-free, pet-free environment, by myself with non-latex plastic gloves, eyewear, hairnet AND respiratory mask on a clean wax paper surface with sterilized stainless steel tools. ALL products that are vegan are stated, and ALL product are cruelty free... unless you count me as a cute kitten, because then... yes, I do test all my products on myself before they are mass produced by myself. Please if a product is stated as not lip safe, do NOT spread it on your lips, I will not be viable for your reaction, all products that are lip safe or not WILL be written on the label.
Thank you girls! You're my inspiration and my friends!