Today we’d like to introduce you to Arianna Barquero.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I worked in the dental field for over 15 years. I even went to dental school in Costa Rica, but I always had an affection and affinity for make-up. I was confident that I was talented with it and I had a burning desire to work in the field, but I had to get certified. About five years ago, I enrolled in a make-up academy to get my certification, and as soon as I completed it.
I started getting work, but most of the gigs were unpaid. I looked at it as an internship. I had to get experience, and I had to grow my portfolio. I started by working a couple of photo shoots and through the make-up academy, I got an opportunity to work New York Fashion Week, LA Fashion Week, and even some commercial gigs. I was fortunate enough to gain some momentum, but I didn’t want to continue to work for free. I place a lot of value in my talent and skills, and I made it an important part of my business to not de-value my work.
I got a phone call one day from a marketer for Bride World, and they asked me if I would be interested in purchasing a booth for a bridal expo. I got really lucky because they gave me a great deal. It was a stretch for me financially, but I took the offer, but I also had to quickly brand myself and invest in some marketing materials. It was a significant financial risk for me at the time. I named my company Drama-N-Glam, and I was up and running. We had some success, and the company started to grow and soon, I was able to hire other artists.
I branded myself as a traveling make-up team dedicated to using all-natural, vegan, and gluten-free products. After a couple of years, I started to consider re-naming my company to something that would reflect my ideals and my dedication to using healthy and clean products. I’m Costa Rican, and there’s a well-known tree native to tropical climates called the Ceiba tree, and it seemed like a great symbol of my ideals, so I re-named my company to Ceiba Beauty.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth journey. I wasn’t a tech company with the ability to raise money through capital investment, and it isn’t a high margin business. I didn’t have a lot of money to start, and I’ve had to make careful decisions on where to invest our capital. I recall getting a call from a magazine asking if I would be interested in buying some advertising space in their magazine.
They said that their magazine was distributed to popular wedding venues. It seemed like a good idea, but I then found it that it was a golf magazine and it wasn’t a successful investment. I’m much more careful now when I get those phone calls. It’s also important to me to pay my artists and to make sure that they’re being compensated for their skills.
I know what it’s like to work for free and in make-up, working for free is actually a losing venture. Artists can’t work for free for a long time because they’re still using their own product. Make-up artists are actually losing money when they work for free. I know that there are some new artists out there that wouldn’t mind working for me for free for a couple of gigs, which would make sense financially but it’s not a good long-term business practice.
That means high turnover, which impacts the quality of our company’s work. I have high expectations when it comes to the quality of our work and having a consistent group of artists helps me keep the quality of our work high, even though I could do it cheaper.
Ceiba Beauty – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We specialize in using all-natural, vegan, and gluten-free products for our clients. We are also a traveling make-up team. Some brides can easily go to Macy’s or Mac and get their make-up done there, but we prefer to go to the client. If it’s a special event, like a wedding or prom, it’s stressful enough with everything going on. We want the experience to be less stressful, and more importantly, we want our client to feel beautiful after we’re done.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To a large extent, I already consider my company a success because I’m doing what I love. Our company continues to grow, I’m using the types of products that I want to use, and I have a client base that’s happy with my work.
- Complete bridal package (bride only and includes trial) – starts at $450 (hair and make-up)
- Luxury bridal package (includes bride and bridal party up to 10) – starts at $1850 (hair and make-up)
- Website: www.ceibabeauty.com
- Phone: 626-788-2208
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @ceibabeauty
Abbey Friesen Photography, c.elyse photos – Cassidy Elyse Zellmann