When did you first fall in love with the idea of being a part of the beauty business, and what was the moment you knew you could make a career out of it?
I grew up working in my family’s salon, so I’ve always had an interest in beauty enhancements for women. But I think my “Aha moment” happened the day I was asked to apply to make up for a bride in the salon. It was a random request one Saturday…. and unexpected. I actually popped in for a quick visit while on Spring Break from Law School. As soon as I walked in the door I was asked to “Beat the bride’s face”. I didn’t have any makeup … only the collective makeup we just happened to have at the salon behind the counter. No lashes, no contouring, no fancy brushes. Only my fingers and sponge tip applicators were used to apply her makeup for her big day. When I spun the bride around to the mirror … she was full of tears! I Instantly thought it was tears of sorrow when is that she said she had never looked more beautiful in her life! I knew that day that if I could wake up every morning and make women cry like that that I had had found my purpose!
I ended up leaving Georgetown law school to pursue my dreams and that was 25 years ago!
With over 25 years of experience as a professional makeup artist, you’ve experienced entrepreneurship pre-social media, and with over 88k thousand followers (and all the members of the #PrettyKymittee) you can attest to the power of social media and its incredible influence. How has social media and the idea of being an influencer helped propel your business and brand.
Being a social media beauty influencer has helped to propel my business tremendously. The idea of being able to disseminate messages and beauty content across the world in a matter of seconds is magical. I cannot imagine any other source being able to do with social media does for businesses. Emails phone calls US Postal Service collectively could never compare to the power of social media. I am grateful for my followers and happy that I have a source to be able to share my beautiful thoughts daily.
Speaking of social media, you most recently experienced hacking of your business page. This is an influencer’s worst nightmare, can you speak to how you were able to recover from this, and what advice do you have for fellow influencers to pivot when faced with these types of adversities?
Wow, talk about a nightmare!! I lost 88,000 followers in a matter of seconds being careless. I received an inbox message that I had violated community walls by utilizing unauthorized music. I was advised to click a link to argue my case as to why my page should not be removed or penalized.
Upon clicking the link I was immediately taken to a website that seemed very unusual and at that point, my information and my page were compromised and within minutes it was gone.
After two weeks of rebuilding another page where I was able to get 1300 followers, I decided to start all over again. I began to teach my followers about the importance of knowing how to rebuild your life when all is lost. It seemed pretty relevant especially because we are coming out of a worldwide pandemic where so many people have lost so much. The idea sounded good and it was a way for me to pivot. However, it began to get frustrating when potential customers and brands who wanted to partner with me noticed that I did not have the reach and following that I had once promised. So it was at that moment after losing a potential customer that I began to get discouraged. I remember that day so vividly! I called my prayer partner, and we immediately begin to pray about God sending “a ram in the bush.” within moments I got a call from a friend who worked for a record label who had connections at Facebook … and they were able to recover my page within 30 minutes. Talk about a VICTORIOUS Moment !! I was elated.
You have made a brand out of capitalizing on your undeniable fabulosity! Historically, it seemed that women could not occupy both spaces of walking in christ and being super fly and fashionable. As an ordained Minister, and being a Pastor’s wife – how do you balance being fly and sanctified? Is there ever pressure to appeal to both lanes seeing as though you’ve merged them so well.
Wow, balance is so important in every aspect of our lives! I’m so glad you asked this question because women from all walks of life desire to master BALANCE! Each day I outline my goals and potential accomplishments and I weigh what has to be done versus what I would like to be done. There are some days when I fail at being balanced. So the next day I try my best to juggle it all over again.
When I initially became the First Lady it was very challenging because I thought I would be judged because of my profession and my love and passion for beauty. And I can honestly say they are still days where I question some of the posts that I put up. LOL. What has helped me tremendously is the support from my husband …many times I ask him for his opinion of my posts and the content that I share on my page. Once he approves no one else matters!
Your cosmetic brand WinkNPout has been doing amazing for some time now including the online store and your brand being housed at the MGM national harbor back in 2018. Additionally, you’ve cultivated a nice list of celebrity clients from Angela Bassett, Ledisi, the late great Ms. Cicely Tyson, a plethora of Bravo’s housewives and the list goes; all these years later in your career, what remains your “why”?
My, why is my “purpose”? I know that I am called to the marketplace and I am called specifically to the “a-Lister.” The A-list customer is generally never challenged by her staff and is typically very strong-willed. She is powerful, and demanding! And it takes a specific skill set to handle him/her. God has given me a very unique style and confidence when serving the elite. And I am sincerely grateful.
In your book ‘Brain beauty”, you list the ten commandments of true beauty which provides the reader with ways to not only enhance their outer beauty but speak to the importance of beautifying themselves internally. What is one piece of advance you’d provide to a woman who may be struggling with building their self-confidence?
Forgiveness! You cannot allow your ugly past to prevent you from a beautiful future. Learn to forgive those who hurt you, or wronged you, those who made you cry, the ones who despitefully use you, the very ones who rejected you … because holding onto those memories and that pain does not leave room in your heart for the beauty that God has in store for you.
CONNECT WITH DR. KYM LEE @theekymlee