All my ladies, get ready for our June Who Run The World feature, Erin Infantino! This lady is kicking ass and taking names in the beauty and wedding industries and I got an inside look at what Erin and her beauty company, Simply Gorgeous by Erin is all about! Besides receiving an award from Brides Magazine for being rated one of the top beauty teams in the country for bridal, she is setting new standards for the beauty industry as a whole. In the beauty industry, it may be about creating unique and stunning makeup and hair looks, but Erin takes her company to a deeper level, focusing on each and every woman they work with, what makes them feel unique and beautiful on the inside and outside and how to bring about a woman's best and most confident self.
Check out my interview with Erin:
DANI :: When did you first develop a passion for the beauty industry?
EI :: It honestly developed at around 4 years old. My mother sold makeup to make some extra money. I would dig through her kit and thought it was the greatest art kit ever. The frosted mint eye shadow was especially fab for my ballet recital. Later on, I began modeling and this deepened my interest in makeup. I helped other models with their makeup. I began working the makeup counters in high school and through college.
photography credit :: Justin + Mary Marantz
DANI :: What degrees do you hold and why did you pursue them?
EI :: I have a degree in Marketing and Fashion Merchandising. This was my pick right after high school. I knew I loved fashion and thought this would be a good start. Later on I got a Paralegal Diploma and worked in Bond Legal then Corporate Legal. Then a few years after that I got certified in aesthetics to help me supplement income after I left corporate to build my makeup business. I had no idea then that I would have a team of makeup artists and hair stylists and am now moving into a gorgeous brand new studio and salon space after only 3 years of doing this full time.
DANI :: When did you decide to start your own company, Simply Gorgeous by Erin Infantio?
EI :: I began SGBE in 2010. It began as part time and I went full time with it in 2013.
DANI :: Why did you decide to focus your work in the wedding industry?
EI :: I love brides. I love weddings. I love love. I get psyched to hear about all the beautiful details from every single bride. I can't wait to see the professional photos of the wedding day. I love that when a bride comes to me she is trusting me with one of the most special days in her life. Seeing the transformation from her everyday self into her bridal self is like one of my favorites childhood movies, Cinderella, in the garden. So I guess that makes my team and I their fairy godmothers! I love collaborating with other wedding vendors for styled shoots. I have such high respect for all areas of bridal, from the gown boutiques to the florists to the cake designers to event planners; all of them. I'm very fortunate to live in an area where the wedding community is so passionate and takes such pride in what we do. Fashion can be cut throat and that's essentially why I didn't continue pursuing modeling. I don't have it in me to step on others or change my personality to suit someone else's idea of perfection. Bridal fits everyone. In fact, when I was in retail and managing various cosmetic brands I would tell my teams and clients that "makeup always fits."
photography credit :: Eric Foley Photography
DANI :: It says on your website, “There is a charisma and a power when a woman knows herself and realizes her role in this world.” Can you expand upon this as it relates to yourself, the beauty industry and your company?
EI :: I grew up with low self esteem. That's almost awkward to say aloud but it's empowering and freeing. I was told I wasn't smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, and the list goes on. I also had a mother who supported me in all I ever did. She was and still is my greatest cheerleader. If it weren't for her cheering me on I don't know where I would've ended up. I believe in taking power into your own hands. Not power as in wealth or popularity but as in the power of oneself. It takes most women a life time to find out who she is. I am 39 and still learning but I can assure you that I know the essence of who I am. Once a woman realizes who she is there is no stopping her. The most beautiful women that have sat in my chair may not have been ones who were "cookie cutter" pretty but they exuded confidence and had charisma and I find that absolutely captivating. There's almost an aura or glow surrounding their entire being. You can't produce that with a makeup brush or curling iron.
photography credit :: Simply K Studios
DANI :: How do you determine a woman's "signature style"?
EI :: The last question is a perfect segway into this. I listen to her. We talk and delight in her details. This paints a greater picture that inspires me to bring out her inner self. And let me tell you, that each woman has more than one style. We're moody beings and depending on the day maybe we want to be soft romance and the next day maybe we want to be rock n roll chic. I love them all.
photography credit :: Eric Foley Photography
DANI :: What is one beauty "faux pas" you see often that you wish women would stay away from?
EI :: There are many. However, I'll be damned if I'm going to talk down about another woman for something so simple as a faux pas. That's probably the biggest faux pas of them all; women who talk behind other women's backs. We're sisters and should always raise other women up. But....I really don't like when I see eyes lined just underneath. If you're going to line your eyes, line top and bottom or just the top. And spider lashes. Please just say no. Oh! And overly filled in eyebrows. Instagram has messed all of us up with the over processed makeup looks. Just my humble opinion.
DANI :: How do believe makeup and hair helps to bring about a woman's inner as well as outer beauty?
EI :: Some use it as a shield while others use it as an enhancement. I can see the need for both depending on the situation. But for bridal it should enhance. I want a woman to still be recognizable after her hair and makeup are done. Her fiancé should still recognize her when she walks down the aisle but their jaws should drop and the grins should blind the room. Who doesn't want that? Again, I listen and we look at inspiration photos she has brought in. We discuss her look together, then tailor it to her unique look and make it happen. It's often been said that its all about the wedding gown. It's not; it's all about the woman and her fiancé. We just help tie it all together.
photography credit :: Alicia Ann Couture
DANI :: Do you have a certain style you tend to lean towards for brides on their big day?
EI :: You'll probably never see me or my team applying blue eye shadow or other intense colors. Neutrals are always a safe bet but they should never be boring. A great makeup artist can show you how to wear the same two shades of chocolate and champagne hundreds of ways. A great hair stylist can show you hundreds of ways to wear a chignon or braid. I have been told many times that I am known for making eyes enter the room before the bride does and I call the hair stylists on my team the Braid Whisperers. I describe our look as "relaxed glamour". Never fussy or over done.
photography credit :: Anaise Prince
DANI :: How important is it for brides to use a professional makeup artist on their big day?
EI :: I may be biased but it's very important to have a professional hair and makeup team. Experienced artists know what works well with the camera, various lighting in the venues and knows there's a delicate balance between makeup appropriate for photography and still looking amazing to your guests. A seasoned stylist will know how to give you gorgeous hair that lasts all day and into the late evening without giving you helmet head (a can of hairspray). Using makeup and hair from the same team is also great as it allows you to get one cohesive look. The team knows how to work with each other quickly and seamlessly. Having a team go to you allows for a much more relaxed beginning to the day. We're the first vendors a bride sees on her wedding day. We better set the right tone!
DANI :: What do you find most empowering about your industry?
EI :: It's endless. The bridal industry keeps evolving. Every bride wants their day to be unique and special. It's a really exciting time in bridal. It's kind of like bridal has collided with the couture of the fashion world. There are styles created just for her and her alone from the gown to the makeup and hair to the venue decor. It's all customized.
photography credit :: Alicia Ann Couture
DANI :: Is there a certain stereotype or misinterpretation of the beauty industry that you and your company like to break?
EI :: Oh yes. I got my paralegal degree after working in the beauty industry for years because I was tired of being treated like an idiot. I felt I had something to prove; to prove I was intelligent. I learned later on that I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself. Frankly, working in legal bored me to tears. I am one hell of an intelligent and witty gal. My humor is awesome (at least I crack myself up). I can say this for my team as well. You can't show up with just makeup and hair skills. You have to be able to hold an intelligent conversation and know how to work with various personalities. You must have integrity and compassion or I don't have room for you. We're no longer the vapid beauty industry. We're intelligent and passionate working women on my team.
DANI :: What is your own personal daily beauty routine?
EI :: I may disappoint here. If I'm not seeing clients I don't wear makeup. But I do stick to my skin care routine. For days when I'm seeing clients I use foundation, concealer, tight line my eyes and often times wear my signature winged liner, fill brows lightly, mascara, blush. I don't usually wear much on my lips unless I know I'll be in photographs. I use more eye shadow when I'm going somewhere.
DANI :: Where do you see your company 10 years from now?
EI :: Still doing bridal as our bread and butter. Makeup lessons will still be going. I mentor some artists and I see that going further and further. I love helping other women in business. Some of my greatest supporters are my "competition." I like to think that I played a huge role in CT's friendly bridal makeup artist and hair stylists relationships. I saw how some teams didn't play so nicely with other teams before I began SGBE and I knew that's not how it had to be or should be. I made a very conscious effort to reach out to fellow artists and beauty team owners to develop good relationships. It's been beautiful.
DANI :: What has been your favorite destination that your work has brought you?
EI :: I love my Newport weddings. I used to live there so it's like going home every time I have a bride there.
DANI :: What advice would you give someone just starting out in the beauty industry?
EI :: Keep at it. You'll know in your soul if this is meant to be. If you're unsure, keep at it until you are sure. If you're not scared, you're not reaching far enough. Step outside your comfort zone as often as possible.
DANI :: What's next for Erin Infantino?
EI :: I open my new space in about two weeks. Anything is possible. I have some tricks up my sleeve but they wouldn't be as exciting if I told you about them ahead of time. Let's just say I will continue stepping outside my comfort zone until discomfort becomes comfortable.
Erin's headshot :: Justin + Mary Marantz
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