Trendsetting makeup artist and hairstylist DJ Victory shares her journey to launching her own line of cosmetics and tools.
Tell us about your background as a stylist/makeup artist.
I've been a stylist for about 14 years. I've always loved hair and makeup. I was wearing my grandmother's Avon & Mary Kay makeup way before I should have been. I did all of my friends’ hair & makeup for dances at school and I've just always loved it. I really started doing makeup for my own photoshoots after I watched a makeup artist that I hired, and I thought to myself, why am I paying her when I can do the exact same thing!? I invested some money in high quality makeup and tools, read every Kevin Aucoin book from front to back and tried to really pay attention to the editorial spreads in various magazines. I look at my earlier makeup work and cringe, hahaha...still a lot to learn.
You always seem to be ahead of the trends! Images of your work have been picked up by the media and shared on social media a lot. What are some of the trends you are known for?
Thank you! It's always still a surprise and delight when my work gets picked up. I used to do a lot of editorial work and have cut way back since I had my son 4 years ago. Doing editorial work can be extremely time consuming. I love it though! I guess one of the first things that went viral for me was my pastel purple hair. About 5-6 years ago, before pastels were even available, I had lavender hair and at America’s Beauty Show. A photo was shared of me on Facebook and that was it —it's been all over since then. The other thing people associate me with is my tie-dye hair. I started painting hair extensions using icing bags and small art brushes. It's a whole big, long story, but basically the photos that I posted were everywhere: Buzzfeed, MTV, Sweety High, Italian Vogue, etc. I was blown away. I knew people would talk about it because it was different and to my knowledge hadn't been done before the way that I did it but, wow, it was crazy in a good way.
Do you have tips for other artists who are trying to get their work noticed?
Don't let social media make you feel inadequate about yourself or your talent. By that I mean, don't think that just because you didn't get a lot of "likes,” "shares" or features on your work that you aren't talented. I worked really hard to make good relationships with editors like yourself, being consistent and following through when submitting work. I'm sure I've probably annoyed people along the way because I don't give up. If I don't hear back from someone I will continue to try and contact them. My thought is that editors, publishers and pr people are just inundated with submissions and it is very easy for them to forget. I'm rambling but my point is, be persistent and be authentic.
What led you to start Macy and Mia?
I honestly never imagined that I would start my own line. My mind is in constant chaos. I was sitting at my computer just browsing through makeup brushes and I thought, I should put my name on some and sell them. Then, I was like, hmmm, what should I call this imaginary line? I looked over at my 2 dogs asleep in the living room and thought...Macy & Mia. Macy is my Siberian Husky and Mia is my Miniature Pinscher, both rescues. After coming up with the name I felt compelled to attach the brand with animal rescue of some sort, especially because I named this brand after my dogs. So I give 10% of proceeds to a local non profit animal rescue. It quickly snowballed from brushes into lipstick, into more brushes, then eyelashes, lip gloss and highlighters. I'm working on some other products as we speak.
The unicorn brushes are also a very cool design and I love the matching lipsticks and lip liners. How do you get the names for the lip sets?
Thank you so much! I'm mildly obsessed also. Well, the very first one that I named was Marilyn, which is my classic red. When I first saw the shade Marilyn Monroe was literally the first person that popped into my head because of her beautiful red lips. Then I thought that I should name them after people in my life that I either love or have learned something from. All of the names of the lip sets and eyelashes are real people that have impacted my life in some way.
What have you learned from starting your own line? Any advice?
It is very, very hard work. This business is so extremely competitive. I thought my friends and family would be first in line to buy my products and show their support...I was wrong. It's difficult to sell online when no one has heard of you, so I feel very fortunate for my clients that I do have. Very fortunate. I have no great words of advice, hahaha.
Some of your products help raise money for charity. Can you tell us a little about your charitable efforts and the non-profits you selected?
I love animals so much. Like I said that's where the name Macy & Mia came from is my two little old ladies. I wanted an organization that was not only local but completely non-profit. I understand that people are weary of giving to charities or to people that they don't know. I try to be as transparent as possible. A very good friend of mine volunteers for Pay It Forward For Pets and she is the one that introduced me. Her very good friend is the founder, so I have 100% complete trust and faith in them. I give 10% to them. I am also very open about the fact that I am a recovering alcoholic so I also give 10% of sales of the Lip-Set "Eden" to local non-profit sober living facilities. "Eden" is named after Eden Sassoon, who is also open about her recovery. I kind of forced her to be friends with me a few years ago when I asked her to work on a project of mine, hahaha...so, she's been an inspiration to me. I believe in giving back when you are able. It's good for your soul.
[Images courtesy of DJ Victory]