Ellen Bodkins is Fabulous N’ Frugal’s DreamGirl of the week. She is a make-up superstar, a dream chaser, and the founder Ellen B Beauty & Face The Day NY. Her story of first doing her friend’s make-up in college to now running her own business is inspiring.
How did makeup become your passion?
I got my first start learning to apply makeup in college—in a friend’s apartment on campus at Tuskegee University. But my real start came in the summer of 1999 when I landed an internship at my favorite magazine, Honey. I was a little disappointed because it wasn’t the marketing one I had hoped for, but an editorial internship. This opportunity, however, opened my eyes to the beauty industry since I had absolutely no idea that someone could actually make a career from of doing makeup. My family isn’t particularly artistic and it was my understanding that after getting a degree in Marketing, I would eventually get my MBA.
After graduation, I was working as a marketing assistant for a small magazine, but I had to get other jobs to supplement my income. Surprisingly, it was the new makeup line at the Body Shop that allowed me to hone my makeup skills and gave me the confidence to work at it as an artist.
From that moment, at the age of 23, I decided that makeup was what I wanted to do for a living. I landed a coveted position at MAC and after my time there, I decided that I wanted to work in TV and Film. It was a grind working for free a lot but I built my resume enough to be able to send it out and land my first full-time position at Nickelodeon as a Makeup and Hair Assistant. A couple of years later, I eventually ended up landing another highly coveted position as a staff Makeup Artist for a NYC Morning show. It was a great vehicle to meet fellow artists, producers, publicists and great people. I still have many friends and great memories from this experience.
But in March 2012 I decided to take the leap of faith and quit this job—a job that I couldn’t get fired from in a recession.
If you were so successful and doing so well, why did you decide to quit?
Working for this corporation, I could count on one of my vacations being hacked and having to cancel my flights last minute. Imagine planning a family reunion for Christmas and being told two days before the holiday “we really need you to come in” which means “come in or you’re fired.”
How about after organizing my family gathering I had to cancel my flight and spend Christmas alone in New York? Smh.
After almost a decade of passive aggressive bullying from my supervisor, I had to decide, “Is my sanity worth keeping my lofty position?” The answer to this question gave me the courage to leave this cushy $85,000 job that was literally making me mentally and physically sick.
I quit to control my own destiny. I’m not saying that this goal is plausible for everyone. However, if you find little satisfaction in making profits for companies that don’t appreciate your hard work then you might want to make some changes that will help you achieve self-employment.
So tell us about Ellen B Beauty and Face The Day NY.
I started my company Ellen B Beauty in 2008. This was just natural for me because it allowed me to express my personal love for makeup artistry and people outside of my full-time gig. Honestly, a close friend of mine who also designed my first website nudged me to start a professional business because she didn’t want to see my talent go to waste.
However, Face the Day NY’s origin came about in January, 2012. I was planning to gradually leave my full time position and I created this corporation with my former partner. The name “Face the Day” just stood as metaphor for so many situations that I was dealing with at the time. It also had a positive feeling behind it so I had to make it the official name of my new business.
What advice would you give to those of us wanting to be self-employed?
First and foremost, have a plan. I did leave abruptly from my position and that wasn’t my plan. However, I had been saving up $500 a month for a couple of years just for a rainy day. I also knew that I had to move forward with my career so I was saving it for that too.
You want to make sure that you can allot all the money that you can to your new career and be able to pay the bills so you can focus on making your new endeavor a success. You also want to make sure that you enough to invest in your new business.
Second, weigh your options. I am single with no children so honestly it was easier for me to take the plunge. If had children I don’t know whether I would be so brave. Whatever your situation is, I think it’s just best to make sure that you will be financially ok for at least 8 months while you setting up and running within your new desired career. Also, having a part-time job isn’t a bad idea as well. If possible, you want to make sure that it’s in the field that you desire. At least this way you are able to make valuable connections with colleagues that might be able to not only encourage you, but also help you achieve in your new chosen field.
So how can someone keep in touch with you to learn more about Ellen B Beauty/ Face The Day NY services?
My website links are www.ellenbmakeup.com / www.facethedayny.com. You can reach me at 347-393-9203, “like” me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/FacetheDayNY?ref=ts and follow us on Twitter – www.twitter.com/facethedayny
If you have an inspiring story of entrepreneurship and risk-taking and would like to considered for a DreamGirl feature, contact me, Kara at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the contact page of Fabulous N’ Frugal.