Tag Archives: Beauty U

Backstory: How Beauty U Led to Mary Kay

Investigative Fund: Why I Went to Beauty School by Virginia Sole-Smith

 

Another coda to The Pink Pyramid Scheme — and more free online content for y’all! The Investigative Fund asked me to blog about why I went to beauty school in the first place, since that is, of course, how I met my first Mary Kay ladies and stumbled on to this story.

Regular readers here might think you already know the whole Beauty Schooled story, but this post is still worth a read — because I talk about the enormous gap between what women spend on beauty ($200 billion in 2009, the year I enrolled at Beauty U) and what women can earn when they sell beauty. As you’ve probably guessed by now, it’s not a hell of a lot whether you’re hosting Mary Kay parties or waxing eyebrows in a salon. And since beauty workers are almost always also beauty consumers, too … there is math here that is just not adding up. Read more. 

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Body Image Warrior Week: Me!

Body Image Warrior Week via AlreadyPretty

For my contribution to BIWW (why did I just now, on the final post, realize I could have been acronym-ing that all week? Sigh!) I decided to write an update of this old post. I’m kind of sentimental about that piece because it was pretty much the first time — after almost a year of blogging five times a week — I  wrote about my own body and my own body image struggles. And it was a lot to put out into the world. Especially if you’re not naturally a no boundaries kind of blogger. But it turned out to be hugely liberating and — judging by your comments anyway — kinda helpful. 

So I updated the piece and am reposting it here — not because I’m in the same place as I was when I first wrote it in October 2010. I’m so not. But because our bodies are still our bodies. They are always changing. And always the same. 

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Bring On the Beauty Start-Ups?

Beauty Salon For Rent Main Street USA Virginia Sole-Smith

A few weeks ago, Inc.com listed beauty salons as one of the best start-up businesses for 2011.

According to AnythingResearch.com, the cosmetology and barber schools (that educate salon-entrepreneur-hopefuls) grew at 29 percent last year, and nail salons grew at 9 percent. Inc.com’s reporting shows an industry with a low barrier to entry for salons and barber shops. Pair that with a recent resurgence in barbershop nostalgia—and with a return to beauty-service spending by consumers—and it’s a perfect storm for rapid growth in the salon and beauty industry. Bring on the beauty start-ups.

Well. Let’s take a look at that, shall we?

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Beauty Schooled is on Marie Claire!

"The Price of Beauty," by Virginia Sole-Smith Marie Claire

Because I know you never get tired of reading about me performing bikini waxes. But this piece, which just got published on MarieClaire.com, is actually about the art of the upsell.

Which I’ve touched on before — like over here — but never in quite this much useful detail. It even includes a handy sidebar on how to get the spa service you really want. And people, it is big news for a women’s magazine to do a story like this, even online. So click, check it out, and pretty please, leave some comments, tweet it and Facebook Like It, if you do?

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Beauty Schooled on The Beheld!

Virginia Sole-Smith Q&A on The Beheld

My new blog friend Autumn Whitefield-Madrano writes an awesome and thoughtful blog called The Beheld, which you should already know about because I link to it allll the time in the Price Check and on Twitter.

So there was much hopping about with excitement when Autumn asked to interview me for The Beheld about the Beauty U project and other beauty-related matters. Check it out here.

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Bam! Licensed.

Virginia Sole-Smith Esthetics License

I realize this is a little anti-climactic for those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook, since I spilled the beans last week when the license arrived — and then failed to deliver on the follow-up post all week.

Look, I’m a licensed esthetician now. We’re very busy and important.

(And wear sexy biker chick jackets.)

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The Written Licensing Exam

The written part of our licensing exam is held at one of those vocational high schools where they teach Driver’s Ed and certify real estate agents on the weekend. There is a lot of dingy gray carpet and all the fluorescent lights seem to have one bulb out.

Meg and I plan to meet outside, fifteen minutes early, so we can sit together. We’re both nervous and we both show up at least twenty minutes early. We are not the first to arrive.

When we reach the check-in table the first thing the old lady exam proctor says to me is, “Your purse is filthy.”

I’ve put it down on her table to search for my checkbook and am completely disconcerted. Is purse hygiene part of the test? Am I failing already? Read more…

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[2000 Dollar Wedding] Bridal Makeup is Whatever You Want it To Be.

The third and final post in my 2000 Dollar Wedding Guest Post Series is all about bridal makeup: The rules we learned at Beauty U —psst, Beauty U fans: There’s a new Miss Jenny story!—  versus what really happened with me and bridal makeup on my wedding day.

I also get to talk about the awesomeness of my friend Katherine (that would be her, hair-spraying me down, above) who is a very talented makeup artist, just by the by. (She also did Kate of Eat The Damn Cake‘s wedding makeup and was endlessly patient with both of us no-makeup types!)

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Test Time

Excuse the super short post today — in a few short hours, I’ll be sitting in the nearest official Department of State testing center, number two pencil in hand, poised to multiple choice my way through 100 randomly generated questions about makeup, facials, waxing, and a motley assortment of anatomy, skin histology, chemistry, and electricity that you’re supposed to know in order to become a licensed esthetician. (Even though we are not doctors.)

That’s right. It’s time for the written portion of my esthetics licensing exam. Some of you might remember bold plans to study a Milady’s chapter per week in preparation for this event. Most of you are probably like, “what plans?” Because that sort of petered out by Chapter 3. (Of 21. Oops.) Life and what not.

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How Beauty School Changed My Look

Grasshoppers, get excited.

I’m back over on No More Dirty Looks this whole week, talking some nitty-gritty, never-before-reported details about Beauty U — and how shellacking ourselves in potions and lotions for sixteen hours every week translated to all manner of hair and skin behaving badly. Read more…

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