Nancy Dawson, BRIDEface
From running her own makeup application business to mentoring other makeup artists and fostering other small business owners – Nancy Dawson, founder of BRIDEface, does it all.
It’s always fun to “play in makeup,” but Nancy Dawson, owner of BRIDEface, knows that her job entails much more: being a therapist, a mind reader, a diplomat and a marketer.
Dawson’s journey first began when she worked at Saks in the cosmetics department for eight years, doing onsite weddings by special request for her clients. “At that time, almost no makeup artists were ‘legit’ doing weddings – no website, no contracts,” she says. “A lightbulb went off when I realized that there was a real need in the market my services.”
With years of experience under her belt, Dawson has definitely had “live and learn” situations. “I started BRIDEface when I had babies at home, so I was very careful to grow my company at the same rate that my children were growing,” she says. “I started out sharing studio space until I felt established enough to have my own storefront. I kept my retail line small and tight – I was very careful not to get in over my head.”
Ten years later, Dawson and her team of 10 women do an average of 350 weddings per year and the sister company, FACEing, Dawson launched offers both classes and lessons. “We are a six-time winner of ‘The Best of The Knot’ and a five-time winner of the ‘Wedding Wire Couples’ Choice’ award,” says Dawson. “We also do charity events several times a year to benefit various local causes.”
When considering the intimacy of the job, women often find that they can be quite vulnerable with Dawson.
“Women are so critical of their appearance and obsessed with their flaws,” she says. “There is a trend in beauty right now that is more about Total Transformation than enhancement.”
“The Kardashian Kontour Kraze has confused women into thinking that they have to re-sculpt themselves into something unrecognizable,” Dawson continues. “My philosophy is more about looking like the best version of yourself – not going into the witness protection program!”
If you’re wondering what keeps this creative lady motivated – it’s her passion for makeup. “Trends, techniques, products – that’s all my team and I talk about and train on constantly,” she says. “The artists on my team inspire me, my fellow vendors inspire me with their passion an my brides’ excitement inspires me.”
As for Dawson’s personal goals, she hopes to expand the boutique aspect of her business. “Three years ago, I started a signature lip color line, and now that product has grown to include several more niche items that I developed as a direct result of working with women in private makeup lessons,” says Dawson. “I would see what they were pulling out of their bags, what was and wasn’t working for them, and what their dream makeup would be.”
In regards to the retail portion of BRIDEface, Dawson has big plans for the studio to evolve at the same pace as our OTR neighborhood. They will be featuring the work of local artist, Kayla Risch, and will also have an exclusive on the popular product, sexapeel, which was developed by a makeup artist colleague of Dawson in Chicago. “It feels great to support other women whenever I can,” she says.
However, with the popularity of her lessons and classes growing, Dawson also plans to expand her offerings. “That in addition to our retail expansion as well as our wedding workload will be more than enough to keep us busy!” she says.
To learn more about Nancy Dawson and BRIDEface, visit www.brideface.com or check out her Instagram.