We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Janice Tunnell a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Janice, thanks for joining us today. Earning a full time living from one’s creative career can be incredibly difficult. Have you been able to do so and if so, can you share some of the key parts of your journey and any important advice or lessons that might help creatives who haven’t been able to yet?
Before working as a Makeup Artist full time, I was a Tax Accountant. I did Makeup jobs in the evening and on weekends for about 5 years before working full time in Makeup. I worked weddings, makeup counters at Nordstrom, local television, commercials, and independent film. Working these jobs helped me to get into a union where I was then able to work on feature film and television. I would take weeks at a time off from work to work out of town and locally in Maryland on movie and tv projects. In January of 2005, the Tax Dept. shut its Baltimore offices down and moved all of the work back to the New York office. That was my exit from working as a Tax Accountant and an opportunity to go full time with my makeup career. Everything lined up perfectly and I didn’t miss a beat. I left work at the end of January, 2 weeks later I was in NYC working fashion Week, and the day after, I flew to Atlanta to work on a movie for the first time as a full time Makeup Artist. I spent six years studying my craft, and honing my skills with various work experience while patiently waiting for the right time to leave my job.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I am Janice Tunnell, a Makeup Artist for Feature Film & Television, originally from Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve worked as a Makeup Artist now for 24 years. Before doing Makeup, I worked as a Tax Accountant and I always wanted to be an Entrepreneur. I always had a love for makeup, jewelry, and handbags. I wanted to own a Women’s Accessories Boutique and create and sell my own cosmetics line in the boutique. In the State of Maryland back then, you needed a license to do so. I went to Esthetics School and I was able to get my license in Makeup. After school, I started doing research for the cosmetics line and started working with a Chemist, Manufacturers, Web designers, etc. Illusions Cosmetics, a partnership with my twin sister Denise was born. Working with the cosmetics line, working as a Makeup Artist and My Tax Accountant job was all happening at the same time. In the beginning, the Cosmetics line consisted of Lipsticks and glosses, and slowly grew into foundations, powders, and eyeshadow. When I created the line, I wanted it to be another option for mainly women of color to have when it came to color cosmetics. A lot of women of color at the time were finding it hard to find foundations and powders to match their skin tone. We want to be a source for great products as well. We teach women of color how to take care of their skin and how to enhance their look with makeup. There are so many cosmetic brands that have been created for women of color over the years, but we created our line out of love of what we do, and the women that we serve. This desire to enhance the beauty of others and our extensive knowledge of the beauty business and many years of work experience is what sets us apart from other Cosmetic lines for Women of Color. I am very proud of my many accomplishments in my career as a Makeup Artist for Film & TV, a leader in the Beauty Industry, and as an Entrepreneur in Beauty. I want my potential clients/followers/fans to know that service is at the heart of the work that I do in all areas of my career.
Are there any resources you wish you knew about earlier in your creative journey?
Early in my creative and entrepreneurial journey, I wish I was aware of funding that’s available for small businesses. I was very aware of Small Business loans from the SBA, but not aware of all the grant money out there that’s available. Today, information is given to you on social media about everything. The internet provides so much information. When I first started out, the internet was no where near what it is today, so information was not as readily available. Financial resources that I didn’t have to pay back would have been a great resource for my business along the way.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
A great customer/client experience, and being very knowledgeable in my craft is what has lead me to build a great reputation within my market.
- Website: www.Illusionsbeauty.com www.JaniceTunnell.com
- Instagram: @JaniceTunnell @illusions_cosmetics
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IllusionsCosmetics/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janicetunnell/
- Twitter: @JaniceTunnell @illusionsbeauty
Roy Cox Sue Bryce Dash McIntosh