Friday, May 27, 2011

A Week in NYC...

My spring trip to New York City is always a very important and inspiring week for me.  I am finally back in the office and ready to tell you all about it!

The start was a little rough...I have to admit.  I was not able to get the 8:30 AM flight out of LAX, so I had to settle for 11:30 AM.  For any of you that have lived in So Cal, you will understand when I say that morning traffic on the 405 is to be avoided at all costs.  With that in mind, I thought it may be less work for me to take the Super Shuttle rather than driving myself.  WHAT A BAD IDEA!!!!  The driver called just as I was zipping up my suitcase.  I was so proud of myself because I was actually ready on time (for those of you that do not know me, I am always 10-15 mins late:).  I had everything packed perfectly and rolled my suitcase out the door.  As I was locking the door, my suitcase fell over with the extra weight of my carry on.  Mild irritation went to pure PANIC when I realized that the top of the handle had completely snapped off!!!  SURPRISE!!!  Knowing the driver would be waiting any minute, I ran back into my apartment and had to dump all of my stuff into a body bag size of suitcase...rgh!

I finally get in the shuttle and we head out of the valley.  I swear the driver was falling asleep, either that or he had a nervous tick or something.  He was driving so fast and his head kept nodding.  Then he would stretch his back, take a drink, sometimes yawn.  I was stressed to the max!  Seriously.  I wanted to tell him that I didn't want to die driving to LAX...more like yell at him...but then I started worrying that it was a nervous tick and it would be rude to point it out.  Suffice it to say that I was in that awful van with him for over 2 hours!!!  Totally frazzled by the time I arrived at LAX.


The first day in NYC began with Jamie Richards arriving to our hotel early in the morning.  For those of you who do not know Jamie, she is my right hand creatively speaking.  All of the cute copy and beautiful graphics would not happen without Jamie.  She coordinates everything and seriously sends me a schedule every morning of what we need to accomplish.  I love going to NYC with Jamie!  She is a serious shopper...and just slightly OBSESSED with Zara:).  Jamie just had a baby (Ruby) 3 months ago.  She was such a trooper to come this year.  After her arrival, we headed off to innovation presentations for cosmetics fills.  There are some great new lip formulations that were so fun!  I cannot wait to start brainstorming to use these awesome formulas.

Following that, we rushed to meet up with John Maly (Owner of Mirabella) to head to the first of four PR interviews.  The first PR firm was Pierce Mattie.  I really enjoyed their presentation and appreciated how they listened to a few of the ideas floating around in my mind and immediately started telling me how it could be better.  This is what we are looking for! I also really liked their ideas on how to continue branding Mirabella to the savvy cosmetic consumer out there.  To date, we have only really targeted salon professionals, and I have been stressing over how our message would evolve to include everyone.  The second firm was Bratskier.  I really liked that they seemed to be very team-oriented.  Everyone's opinion mattered.  The third firm was CMM.  They had impressive results on paper, but they didn't take much time to explore what they could do for Mirabella.  Lastly, we met with Shop PR.  Jamie and I both really liked Vanessa and Adrienne from Shop, but unfortunately they are a little out of price range.  Shoot!  Anyway, the PR hunt continues...we just do not want to make a mistake.  We were so exhausted when we finished the last interview at 7:30 PM.  We had been running around for over 12 hrs.  If I had to do it again, I think I would have scheduled it a little differently.  We headed back to the Hilton New York and crashed..

Happy Friday!

I just had to write a quick post to tell you about the AMAZING package I received in the mail today!!  For the past year, I have been working on designing a custom hand mirror for Mirabella to be used at the trade shows and in our fabulous salons.  Today I got to see the final production sample and it is BEAUTIFUL!  I seriously cannot wait for you to see it.  You will all want one:).

This idea has always been in the back of my mind as a fun project for Mirabella.  Back in my MAC Cosmetics worship phase...they had the coolest hand mirror at all of their retail locations.  It was a heavy black metal mirror with a handle the looked like a spring.  Maybe some of you remember it.  I COVETED that mirror!!  For real.  Unfortunately it was not for sale...and I will admit that there were many times when I actually thought about accidentally slipping it into my purse:).

Well, I am so excited to say that my Mirabella mirror turned out just like I imagined it.  Totally on brand!  SCORE:).  Many thanks to the talented designer, Chris, and the production team.  Watch for it at the fall trade shows...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Flashback to Cosmoprof 2005...

All of this writing about Cosmoprof brought back memories of my first trip to this show in 2005.  I attended with Christy and Lyndie Bullock (West Coast Regional Manager).  Lyndie and I were only 22, and this was our first trip out of the country.  We were to meet Christy and her husband in Italy.  Let me just preface with the fact that I did not plan well for this trip.  I didn’t quite understand what it would be like to not be able to speak to anyone or even read signs at the train station.  I did not even take an Italian translation book!  How stupid, right?  Well, anyway we ended getting completely lost riding trains back and forth across Italy trying to find the small town of Reggio Emilia where we were staying.  Talk about unprepared!  I had printed the address for our hotel and accidentally left it in a cab.  That was the last straw, and I totally began to panic.  I frantically started trying to call my mom in the US to get the address from her.  I swear I will never forget the moment when I finally got her on the phone at her work.  When I told her that I had lost the address and needed a copy, her response was “Well, what do you want me to do?  I am at work.”  I remember saying, “Mom!  Your daughter is lost in Italy riding trains in the middle of the night!!!  I need you to get that address.”  Luckily my dad came through and had my itinerary with him at work.  I now tease my mom saying that she just left me high and dry in the middle of Italy when I needed her mostJ.  And since she may read this post, let me say in her defense that she rides the bus to work every day and really didn’t have transportation to go home for the address.  But I still rub it in…
We didn’t arrive until 2:00 AM and had to be up and ready for the show by 6:00 AM.  We had been traveling for over 24 hours and were completely exhausted, not to mention jet lag.  We literally cried when we woke up to start another day.  When we finished getting ready, we called Christy’s room.  She then told us that she lost her luggage and wouldn’t be going to the show that day.  I could have cheerfully murdered her at that point!!!  So we went by ourselves...
My first experience at Cosmoprof really opened my eyes to cosmetic manufacturing and how amazing it is.  The manufacturer booths are outstanding!!!  Really.  There was a particular manufacturer that was basically having a party in their gigantic booth.  We all stopped in our tracks wondering who it was and how we could go about working with them.  I will always remember that they had a tree in the middle of their booth with hundreds of clear eyeshadow compacts hanging from the branches.  In each compact were really bright pressed eyeshadows in all sorts of textures and designs.  It was AMAZING!!  I promised myself that we would eventually be able to work with them.  I still have the eyeshadow compacts on display in my office because it was so inspiring.  They remain the most innovative cosmetic manufacturer globally, and I am happy to say that they create some really fabulous products for us.

The actual Cosmoprof show...

So my job during the Cosmoprof show was to man the booth whenever John and Stephanie were in appointments outside of the booth.  I’m not sure how effective I really was at this job.  My usefulness was probably used up during setup.  I do not speak a lick of Italian or any other language than English for that matter.  The first time they left me alone, I was super nervous.  I was watching the workers hanging up our signs when the representative from Bodyography stopped by and startled me.  In my mind, I was ready to tell the guys hanging up the signs “thank you” or “gratzi” in Italian.  When the guy from Bodyography tapped my shoulder, I turned right around and said “GRATZI” to him!!  Totally the wrong greeting.  How embarrassing.  I seriously thought about it for days after.  Duh.
Our booth was located on the very edge of the US Pavilion and the Greek pavilion was directly in front of us.  In the pathway directly in front of us, they had really thick cords hidden underneath the carpet.  Definitely not safe in US standards.  It became quite interesting to watch everyone deep in conversation trip over those cords.  Seriously.  But, I digress…
The show was really great thanks to Stephanie.  She worked so hard planning and marketing our brand.  We had so many great appointments, and it has been really great to see how the relationships we made there are developing.  On the second to last day, I was able to head over to the manufacturing pavilion.  I had an appointment with Faber Castell to view their pencil collections and planned to be gone from the booth for an hour or so.  But, once I got there, it was a different story.  I got lost in all of the booths viewing the latest and greatest in cosmetics.  Product development is so much fun!!!  I really felt my blood move quicker the second I stepped foot where I was comfortable.  I was able to meet several new manufacturers and hope that we can create some great things together in the near future.
On the last day of the show, we got to sell the leftover product in our booths to cosmetology students and the open public.  Just as we got setup, Stephanie and John had to leave to an appointment.  As soon as they left, a swarm of Italians came to buy and I literally just stared at them.  I could not communicate at all.  I felt so inadequate.  It had been about 20 mins of torture when one of my Italian manufacturer reps stopped by our booth.  He immediately took in the situation and translated for me.  Thank you, Marco!  I owe youJ.

The show setup...

Stephanie and I arrived in Bologna and headed straight to the show for setup.  Cosmoprof  Bologna is a GIGANTIC show!!!  Imagine the largest trade show you have participated in and multiply it by 20. 20 large pavilions to be navigated all full of beauty products.   Heaven!!  Once we finally found our booth space in the US Pavilion, we set to work.  One of the first problems we encountered was that I immediately noted that there was not tester unit in the shipment!!  We could not believe that we were half way around the world and we didn’t have a tester unit.  An OMG! moment. 
It had been awhile since I had setup a trade show, especially without any knowledge of what our booth would look like, what size it would be, etc.  Basically we had a pallet of random cosmetic products…and I had to create something out of nothing! Thank goodness for the extensive training I received from the master herself, Christy Thurston, at displaying cosmetics to create interest.  I did not make it happen as quickly as Christy would have, but I eventually succeeded…in 4-5 hoursJ.  I sent Stephanie to get some fresh flowers to liven up the booth a bit.  She was seriously gone for two hours!!  Apparently they charge exorbitant prices to rent potted flowers that they pick up at the end of the show and reuse for the next show.  Genius, right?    
Lastly, we were in need of some major branded images.  We have such beautiful model photos that show our cosmetics and we did not have one photo to display.  All of a sudden I remembered that I had randomly set up my idisk on my iPhone a few weeks back where I had stored all of our model photos.  Thank you, Apple!!  We went to the service desk and ordered prints.  I was able to email the links to the photos through Mobile Me to the service desk for printing.  Technology is AMAZING!!!  We were not sure what would arrive exactly because we were not familiar with the materials that were available.  The next day, the guy showed up with our images on sticker-like material.  It was so cool.  He mounted it right to the wall as if it had been painted on.  We were watching in amazement.  Next year our booth will look so much better because we can use our images on all of the white walls and really create something spectacular.  I can’t wait!!

The journey to Cosmprof Bologna...

Preparing to leave for several weeks to Cosmoprof is an overwhelming task in itself.  I felt like a bag of nerves filled with excitement but major stress as well.  It is very difficult to work normally on the road.  A consistent internet connection is not guaranteed, so I had to plan as if my daily work would be non-existent for two full weeks.  The packing process was intense!!  In my mind I had convinced myself that everyone at the show would be dressed magnificently, and that I would look like a country cousin in comparison.  I know John thought I was crazy to worry so much…but it is easy for him to pack a few nice suits.  Ladies have much more to worry about, right?
I was traveling with Stephanie Johnson, our International Sales Manager.  Phew!  A seasoned international traveler that I could just follow around.  We arrived in Milan safe and sound only to realize that our luggage did not arrive with us!!!  After all of my wardrobe planning, I was left with nothing.  I tried not to freak out, telling myself that they would deliver our luggage before we left to Bologna for the show.  And they did…but those hours of not having luggage felt like forever.
I do not know why they insist on scheduling Cosmoprof in March/April.  It is cold and rainy in Italy during that time.  Not great for sightseeing and most importantly shoppingL.  Stephanie and I had two days to shuffle around Milan and acclimate to the new time zone.  Jet lag was seriously INTENSE for me this trip.  I swear I wanted to sleep every four hours.  Beyond sleeping, we spent our time in Milan shopping in the pouring rain.  Milan has amazing expensive shopping…there was actually a street that sported TWO Prada stores!!  And people were actually in them.  There are several streets dedicated to shopping and they all lead right up to the Duomo cathedral in the center of town.  Here you will see the only picture we took of our adventures in the rain.  Gothic looking, right?  It really is beautiful though, and you never find anything remotely similar in the United States.  Here is another picture of the Duomo in better weather from one of my trips two years ago. 
Soon enough, our time in Milan was up.  We scrambled to catch the train to Bologna.  Stephanie was stuck lugging two ridiculously heavy suitcases into the train area.  For those of you that have never traveled on European trains, heavy luggage is not something you want to be stuck with.  And people are always annoyed with you as they watch you struggle to get the suitcases on the train.  But, it couldn’t be helped and Stephanie was such a trooper managing it allJ.  We finally settled in our seats and I was just about to drift off to sleep when I start thinking about my bags and if there is anything people could steal while I was snoozing.  The train started moving just as I realized that we both left our passports in the hotel safe!!!  OMG….seriously?  The one rule while traveling abroad is not to lose your passport.  I jump out of my seat to find Stephanie to deliver the news.  She was much calmer than I expected telling me that it was okay and we would figure something out.  The passports seriously did not arrive in Bologna until the night before we were supposed to fly to Spain.  Once we got them, Stephanie told me that she was seriously a nervous wreck over the situation but that she was trying to stay calm for my benefit.  Bravo!  I swear I couldn’t even tell that she was nervous.  She told me that the second I walked back to my seat on the train, she was on the phone in a major panic…ha..ha!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

About Me...

I grew up in Woods Cross, Utah, as the youngest of 5. Lucky meJ . I have three brothers and one sister who would tell you that I had it easy growing up...minimal rules, a credit card in high school, an awesome red Dodge Raider to drive, etc. What I remember most, though, is that I had fabulous friends as a support network and parents who instilled in me a drive to give 110% in everything that I do.

I would have never thought that I would end up working in the beauty industry while I was growing up...I always thought I would be a school teacher or librarian, seriously. BUT, I look back now and realize that there were many things that shaped me into a person that would love luxury goods, beauty, and spending money...the perfect mix for a Creative Director in cosmeticsJ.

I come from a family that boasts many beautiful women, truly. And they all get ready...EVERY DAY. In fact, to this day my parents expect that I get ready, even if I am not leaving the house.  And by getting ready...I mean a full face of makeup, hair styled, and flattering clothes.  Sarah Terpstra (Buyer at Mirabella) will tell you that I dress up even more when I am sick!  In fact, my dad irons his golf shirts to go the gym. My aunts and mom have worn false eyelashes every day my entire life. So, when I talk about wearing lipstick daily...this is not a stretch for some people, or shouldn't be (in my opinion)J.

My mom will tell you that I love anything that shimmers. She swears that my taste runs after my beautiful Grandma Ruth, who at 86 years old goes to the salon weekly and would not have a wrinkle in her fabulous button-up shirts. And I have to agree. My grandma's Christmas trees always inspired me. Now that I have my own place, Christmas is a BIG DEAL! So the day I met Christy Thurston, my life headed toward all things beautiful. She introduced me to wire-edge ribbon whose cut edges must be flamed, pewter dish sets, dinner party etiquette, etc. Small eccentric things, I know. But the attention to detail that it fostered makes me good at creating for Mirabella.

The day before I started at Salt Lake Community College, I changed my schedule and enrolled in cosmetology school...much to my mom's chagrin. During this time, Christy taught me to do makeup artistry in her salon. It was a busy two years, and as I reflect on the experiences, I realize that this gave me a great understanding of color, which has only expanded over time. In fact, I pride myself that I can see undertones of colors very easily. It definitely helps with the endless shade matching that I face day-to-day at my job.

But the real learning curve began five years ago when John Maly partnered with Mirabella. I moved to Valencia to work under super smart businessmen such as John Maly, Mike Seiser, and Ron Hock (the Maly's A-team). I was 23 years old and I remember my first visit to Valencia, CA. I went to lunch with these men, and I have never been as nervous since, really. I did not really understand what I was getting into when I moved from Utah. I went from working under Christy who breathed Mirabella to Mike Seiser who did not want to have anything to do with it. I probably cried more in the next 1-1/2 years than I had my entire life, BUT I learned. And my hard work has paid off. I come to work every day at a job that inspires me. And for that, I am truly blessed.

So now I live in a beautiful apartment complex a few streets away from work in Valencia. My best friend is my roommate, and I take classes at the local community college. Sometimes I wonder why I didn't choose to go to college and just get it over with. At the rate I am going, I will not have a degree until I am 50!!! Rgh!! But then I step foot at Mirabella, and everything becomes clear.


To all those cosmetic junkies out would it feel to eat, sleep and drink cosmetics? I am here to tell you that as Creative Director and principal trend forecaster at Mirabella Beauty Products, my life is cosmetics! I was Christy Thurston's (Founder of Mirabella) dedicated cheerleader working at her salon in 2002 when the opportunity arose to create a cosmetic company. In the past 10 years, I have learned so much about the cosmetic industry and the beautiful products that we all lust after.

I have seen so many products over these years that I have developed a very discerning eye when it comes to products that are done well versus products that could have been a little better. Today, if a product stops me in my tracks, I know it is a WINNER... and I just have to give a big sigh of adoration. If I could personally speak to the creative minds behind the winners...I would just give them a big kiss! Well maybe notJ . Anyway...

The reason that I am starting this blog is to give all you makeup girls details about what it is like to have such an AWESOME job. There are so many stressful, rough moments, but then a new product will arrive in our warehouse and the thrill of seeing my vision in reality makes it all worth it!  I find so much inspiration in beauty. There are only so many open slots for fabulous items to take shape within Mirabella, so I will send my overloaded thoughts your way!