We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Suzanne Blons a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Suzanne, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. One deeply underappreciated facet of entrepreneurship is the kind of crazy stuff we have to deal with as business owners. Sometimes it’s crazy positive sometimes it’s crazy negative, but crazy experiences unite entrepreneurs regardless of industry. Can you share a crazy story with our readers?
As a professional makeup artist, I get what I call ‘face-time’ with interesting and inspired talent on a daily basis. One such fascinating person is Cindy Dale, Intuitive Healer and Author (https://cyndidale.com/). As I made her up for her on-camera interview, she looked up at me and declared, “I’ve got it! You are The Beauty Shaman! You are going to be huge; you will travel all over the world helping women embrace their own beauty and become empowered!” Mind you, this was when I was an exhausted single mother with two young daughters trying to make ends meet and manage life. The tag line, The Beauty Shaman, wasn’t anywhere near my overwhelmed brain. What she shared, though, ignited a spark in me.
From that day forward, I started to envision my life as The Beauty Shaman. Many hours were spent piecing out what this meant, from having an online store, to starting a YouTube channel and coaching women with a holistic and positive view of aging and beauty. Fast forward seven years, and I now have all of those things and more! There is unbelievable power in one crazy inspired comment from a loving guide. Find those guides and hold them close; they are the lifeblood of your inspiration and personal power!
Suzanne, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
“With makeup on you look amazing, but when you walked in I thought, woof-woof,” said the famous makeup artist about to do my makeup for a Revlon Charlie Girl Ad. I was 16 years old. Imagine having someone tell you that you resemble a dog without makeup at such a young and impressionable age! I was 5’10”, with an epic eating disorder due to being told I was too fat by my agent at Elite Modeling Agency. Meanwhile, I attempted to feign confidence while working for high profile clients like Vogue in New York City, Paris, and Milan. At age 19 I left modeling, deciding the industry was too brutal.
Even though modeling had its down side, the upside was that I learned how incredible it is to work with a creative team to develop visual content. In time, I decided to study makeup, get my aesthetician’s licence, and train under the then head makeup artist at CNN Washington, DC., Skip Smith. Live television turned out to be one long continuous rush of blood to the head, which I loved and still love. After 20+ years working in photography and television (both live and video), I returned to my place in front of the camera developing content for women on my own YouTube channel, The Beauty Shaman.
As The Beauty Shaman, my deepest passion is to help women find their own courage. I do not use botox, fillers, or plastic surgery, leaning instead on owning my own essence and influence, while coaching and training other women to do the same. The world tells women that we are aging and that aging is bad. This is a lie! Learning how to look our best by integrating self care including skin care and makeup skills, women can feel much more confident to step out and lead no matter what messages the culture sends us. Plus, by selling vetted products, I can help cut through the unnecessarily complex beauty industry. The world needs empowered women to jump into the ring with a voice of wisdom and courage. It starts with looking into the mirror and saying, I love you. You are beautiful, you are gifted, you can do anything. Let me help you find that both on the inside and outside.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been told that artists can’t be CEO’s. And if you are a female artist, the deck is even more stacked against you. When I started The Beauty Shaman as a creative, I felt the intense uphill battle from trying to figure out Quickbooks, take a part time hustle and make it a full time business, hire people, and create sales spreadsheets. I still get hives and spit-up a bit thinking about spreadsheets, but I’ve learned how to put what I consider difficult into bite-sized manageable chunks. When tempted to scream in frustration, I take a deep breath, go for a walk, and remind myself that creatives can be CEO’s, no matter what anyone says. Mind you, I’m tethered to my business coach, and for that, I am grateful. That’s the other lesson: find people who have strengths in areas you need help with and pay them well. It’s worth it.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
The Covid-19 pandemic was for many of us a major time of pivoting in business. For me, my main business at the time as a professional makeup artist came to a slamming halt, and my online business took center stage. What a blessing in disguise. During the lockdown, I created courses on my site, added products to the store, shot more content than I was ever able to manage previously, and beefed up my blog. This moved my business forward in what would’ve taken me another year to complete! In retrospect, I think it’s important to use supposed set-backs to either learn valuable lessons, or take advantage of the extra time and energy to head in a different direction.
- Website: https://thebeautyshaman.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_beauty_shaman/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebeautyshaman
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzanne-blons-3b170211/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/SuzanneTheBeautyShaman
Christina Kiffney Photography https://christinakiffneyphotography.com/