Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Downs.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Sarah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Throughout my life, I have been drawn to how art allows such incredible human expression, and the capturing of a moment in time never to occur again. Even from a young age, I was heavily steeped in artistic classes, and I began realizing my strong attraction to the kaleidoscope of color theory and its wondrous applications in the world around me.
This love for art, color, and beauty is likely a major factor in me pursuing makeup artistry as a career path in 2000, and why I find fulfillment and purpose through helping people look and feel like the best versions of themselves. I also dealt with acne in junior high, which led me to consult a dermatologist and then learn how to best apply makeup to feel more comfortable in my own skin.
I started out working in retail, managing high-end cosmetic counters, then began taking on freelance weddings and artistic projects. I stepped away from makeup for a few years and delved into the corporate world, planning learning events for a risk reduction organization, and then leading their client relations team. This helped me apply my detailed-ness and OCD-tendencies to something productive, haha. That experience has been a huge help in my management of a bridal beauty team and ensuring we plan wisely for each client’s date.
In 2013, my dad passed away unexpectedly. I mention this as it had an impact on where I saw myself in life. After spending time grieving and re-evaluating my purpose, I felt a major shift in perspective. I realized it was time to doggedly pursue artistic passions, focusing on my creative endeavors full-time. I left the corporate world and reached out to a select handful of artists I knew from my time in the makeup industry. My goal was to surround myself with phenomenal talent who would deliver exceptional services to our clients, and also encourage me to grow my own abilities. In 2014, the Lashes & Lace team was born!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
1. Learning that all-flash websites are the worst and I don’t need animated butterflies on every webpage, haha!
2. I had no real marketing experience when I started the team, so trying to put together a brand and create visibility around what we offered was a learning curve for me! Investing in marketing classes would likely have been helpful. Instead, I spent a bunch of time rebuilding our website (no more flash!), focusing on our SEO, asking clients for feedback, making connections with wonderful vendors, etc.
By showing that we truly care about our clients, the quality of services and the overall experience we deliver, we established a solid reputation for being one of the best beauty vendors in Texas. Word of mouth referrals from industry vendors and past clients have become our strongest advertising to date. We are so grateful that people trust us to have their best interests at heart! And I feel lucky that my lack of marketing expertise did not hold us back too much.
Please tell us about Lashes & Lace Makeup and Hair.
I usually tell new inquiries, “I’m a little like Monk (see tv show detective reference 🙂 ). I’m not a genius, but I am thorough/detailed. It’s a blessing and a curse for me, but it’s apparently great for our brides!” We both get a good laugh out of it! That being said, I do things a bit differently. Helping ensure our clients have an amazing experience from start to finish is a top priority. It is so fulfilling to get to know each human along the way and be a part of their happy memories! I have found that allotting our artists enough time to perform high-quality services helps promote a peaceful, luxurious ambiance. Especially for wedding days; we feel it is such an important event and we want to keep it as magical as possible!
Also, I take great care in choosing the right talent. For me, deciding if an artist is a fit for our team isn’t just about whether a person is skilled at makeup and hair and is reliable, it is so much more. Our team meshes beautifully with and genuinely cares about each other and our clients. I have somehow magnetized this collective of beautifully intuitive people. They all have this uncanny ability to help keep emotional days calm and positive. They are also constantly growing their artistry skills, and they speak “Sarah” really well (yes, that’s a thing). “Speaking Sarah” basically means they can follow me down the rabbit hole of randomness when I get rambly, and they easily distill the pertinent information. We have some of the best gals in the biz; they all have such passion and heart! Even though I know our artists are amazing, every time I see photos of their work, I continue to be blown away at the way they masterfully craft beautiful styles.
For brides, we also have a neat web form that collects preferences and inspiration from them before their preview session (trial run), giving us an idea of their wedding day style ideas even before they are in our chair! This helps boost our clients’ confidence that their artists will be on the same page with them and understand their wedding day vision. You can check out some of the awesome things clients say about our artists over on Wedding Wire and Facebook (visitor posts). Web links to the review pages can be found in the “Contact Info” section of this article.
If you had to start over, what would you have done differently?
I would have assisted a well-established beauty team or artist in the early stages of my career to gain additional experience. Assisting is basically carrying equipment, washing brushes, helping with touch-ups, observing artists while they work and taking notes. It’s a great way to understand how things work and flow before jumping in as a full-time freelance artist.
I would also work on my perfectionistic streak a bit and be less inclined to sweat the small stuff. But part of me understands that how I went about things in the past got me to where I am now. I am grateful for all the learning opportunities along the way!
- Website: www.LashesandLace.com
- Phone: 512-757-7045
- Email: email@example.com
Anna Smith Photo, Sarah Kate Photo, Elizabeth Bristol Photography, Matt and Julie Weddings, Ivy and Twine Photography, William Bichara, Melanie Julian Photo, Jaime Burrow Photos, Jessica Cernat Photography, Bethany Erin
Hair & Makeup – by the Lashes & Lace Makeup and Hair team