in the pink: my surprising life as an entrepreneur

Dermalogica Industry Insider Member and Celebrity Makeup Artist, Rea Ann Silva Shares Her Entrepreneurial Journey

After 20 years in the beauty industry, never in my wildest dreams did I think that a fuchsia-pink,  non-disposal, egg-shaped, edgeless, seamless makeup sponge would be my claim to fame. Which just proves that being an entrepreneur is full of surprises.

Four years ago, I created the Beautyblender, which is the makeup sponge I describe above. I got the idea for purely selfish reasons. As a professional makeup artist, I was sitting with my team in a trailer on the Paramount back lot in Hollywood, while HD TV was making quite a buzz within the industry. I was posed with an even bigger challenge than ever before; not only was I responsible for making people look their best on camera—now they needed to be HD-ready with flawless skin for those close-up and personal moments.

Then, there I was, cutting up makeup sponges into shapes we could use, something that every makeup artist did. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I’d much rather be having donuts and coffee with my girls than cutting up sponges.

So, Beautyblender was born—a superior makeup applicator that is a “must” for those in the industry who are HD-Ready pros. But its success rests with everyday women. They love it because the perfect egg-shape makes it easy to apply everything from foundation, concealer and other products with no streaks or seams. They also love the fact that you don’t have to throw it away after just a few uses. Blendercleanser, the lavender-based cleanser for the sponge, reduces bacterial action and keeps junk out of our landfills, because the sponge may be used many, many times. Even the packaging is dual-use—it’s a pedestal where the freshly washed sponge can be further sanitized by oxygen and sunlight. And, when the well-used sponge has finally given up its little hot-pink, egg-shaped sponge-soul after many, many successful makeups, I urge people to send the worn-out product back to my company, where we recycle them en masse.

Lots of people think that they are “secretly” meant to be entrepreneurs, mostly because they’re bored with their day-jobs. This is like people who say they are “really” artists or writers.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I will say that there are sacrifices required. Time away from my family has been a huge investment, because I continued to work as a professional makeup artist so that I could get my sponge on the radar of the entertainment media.

The other qualities you need as an entrepreneur are persistence and focus. I was a bit naïve in the beginning, but I was also very patient. The key is not to get flustered to the point of defeat.

There were plenty of naysayers who did not take my idea seriously. At all. I got some very disappointing initial advice. If I had listened, I would still be sitting in the trailer, cutting up sponges, and wishing for a donut and coffee.

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