Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lyn Vargas of House of Smart, Tough Advice on Business, Makeup and Marketing

It's not every day that you get to speak with a woman who is not only an artist, but also a business owner- and a marketing genius! Lyn Vargas has built her brand of colorful, highly-pigmented lipcolors from the ground up; she dreams the colors, creates them, sells them, and markets them to the fashion-savvy around the world. Instagram stars from England and Sweden post selfies wearing House of Beauty, right along with girls (and boys!) all over America, the company's country of origin.

House of Beauty is a joyful company that offers a riot of colors that will look beautiful on dark and light skintones alike, and all skintones in between. They even offer opaque gold lip colors, the likes of which you're seldom to see anywhere else!

Just as importantly, House of Beauty rejects the secretive business model of brands who separate themselves from their customers like royalty behind a castle moat. HoB not only allows all reviews, positive or negative, but they encourage them, and promise never to delete or hide any negative reviews. That's strong belief in a product!

Below is my interview with Lyn, where she talks some very in-depth suggestions for women considering opening their own business, how she creates her lip colors, and her relationship with beauty bloggers the world over...

Lyn Vargas, House of Beauty

1. Why did you decide to create such bright and memorable colors?

 I wanted to have a broad range of colors to cater to every personality and all walks of life. When I use to be a beauty blogger, one of my favorite  things to do was create lip art, but found that I could not really find lip colors to use for my art. So I would make my own mixtures using lip pencils, eyeshadows, NYX milk pencil, and clear gloss to create my own creamy paint. I also loved being able to create different looks and get into character, so as an artist, a lot of this is what inspires me now. I want to create colors that are your standard wearables, but I also really wanted to offer unique colors for artists that they can use so the possibilities would be endless. Like paint to a painter. My lip hybrids are so versatile and that's the beauty of it. I also love the idea that people are stepping out of the box, wearing colors that they wouldn't normally wear. 
I also must give credit to my ex manufacturer. Some of the colors that are bold and colorful that you see in my line have been reformulated from when I carried her line when we had a partnership. So in truth, colors such as Aquarius and Taboo for instance were colors she manufactured to me prior with her lip creams, but when I became an independent company, many of my customers asked for those colors to come back and I made a new and improved reformulation using my own recipe. 

2.When did you first decide you wanted to go into business for yourself?

I always wanted to but in March 2015, I was kind of forced into it. I started my business with a silent partner and before it was House of Beauty, my old line was called Premium Vanity. My ex manufacturer ended our business relationship abruptly. I had quit my full time job to focus on my business, so when she no longer wanted to do business with me, it was either sink or swim. I could not risk not being able to put food on the table or a roof over my kids' heads. So I worked hard. Through constant trial and error, I did not give up until I finally created a lip formula I was in love with. This was the birth of House of Beauty and (of me) being the sole owner and sole creator of my line. Everything started to fall into place. One door closed and three more opened. I was blessed with GOD guiding my hands and also the support and help I got from my husband, my company PR Kathryn, and the help of Courtney that created my website, even my promoters. Everything fell into place and led me to where I am now.

3.What is your advice to ladies who have a dream they want to turn into a business?

My advice is to motivate yourself to achieve your goal. I see a lot of girls that say I dream about this and I dream about that, yet they don't make any effort in trying to make their dream come true or they try a little and at the first sight of trouble, they give up. Unless you won the lottery or something, your dream is not just going to fall on your lap. You have to want it enough and actually do something about it to make it happen. Dedicate yourself and your time and take that step after step closer to your goal until it happens and if it does not do well, then at least you tried! So have that drive and be strong because the beginning is always the hardest part.
Secondly, based on past experience, it is best you work on your own. If not, then make sure you have contracts. If you're getting products from a private label or private manufacturer, make sure it is done in a professional manner. Even contact a business attorney or a business savvy friend who has a lot of knowledge on how to start your own business the right way. Educate yourself and believe in yourself. You won't know unless you try.

4. Bold eyes and bold lips at the same time... yes or no?
As a makeup artist, usually the answer is no. Usually, you would tone down your lip color when pairing with bold eyes and visa versa, but when doing editorial looks or you feel a bit dramatic why not? As long as it compliments each other. 

5. What is your personal favorite lip hybrid from House of Beauty?

That's like asking me what my favorite food is. I have so many. Really it just depends on my mood. I can't answer that, they're my babies I love them all.
House of Beauty, lipstick, lipcolor

6. How does it feel to see bloggers around the world wearing your products? Is it still exciting?

I love it!! Yes it is exciting to me. I'm still in awe when I see orders from all around the world! 

7. You create House of Beauty products by hand. Where do you draw inspiration from when you are creating a new color?

I am not really the type of person to stalk companies and be like, "Oh let me see if I can dupe that". No. To me it is like the art of cooking. Being a mixologist. I see ingredients in front me and I am like ohh I wonder what I would get if I mix this and that together? Or ideas will just pop up in my mind. Sometimes my own taste in colors inspire me, the season we are in or I may even have customers suggest a color and I try to satisfy that. Majority of the time, my imagination gets the best of me. 

8. In the past, there were not enough colors formulated to fit women of color, and many women were frustrated about the small amount of choices they had. Are your colors rich enough for women of color to wear confidently?

Absolutely!! They love my colors and leave amazing reviews on my review page @hob_reviews on Instagram. I carry a broad range of colors, almost 75 and growing! Many of them are so rich and pigmented that they will compliment darker skin tones.

9. That's amazing to hear! So... you feature pictures of fans wearing your products, via social media. How can fans get featured on Instagram?

They can simply use my hashtag #houseofbeautyco and/or tag me in the photo for a chance to be featured. Just a little hint, I love swatches, product shots and clear photos :)

10. What is the most memorable thing a woman has told you about life?

I must apologize, I honestly can't remember off hand anything memorable. Life itself has taught me about life. 

11. Who are your female heroes?

First and foremost, my mother. My grandmother and my aunt.

12. What do you do on days when you don't feel confident?

Sometimes, I fix myself up because it makes me feel better and puts a little pep in my step, or I speak to my close friends/family to help ease my insecurities. 

13. Fun questions:
If you could make up Heidi Klum or Jennifer Lopez, who would you choose and what House of Beauty products would you use on her?

Definitely Jennifer Lopez. I saw her rock a yellow color, so I would definitely use Kill Bill. Also Fusion, Seductive, Dragon, Spank My Pank, Nude Brulee, Kathryn and Chiffon.

14. If you could spend a day with Jon Snow (Game of Thrones) or Han Solo (Star Wars) which would you choose and why?

I would love to answer this but I do not know who they are because I have not watched either. So sorry! Maybe if you asked which out of the two brothers from Supernatural lol.

15.Finally, what is your current favorite:

Mascara: Maybelline Blackest Black Mega Plush Volume Express
Book: The Bible
Song: Energy by Drake
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Lyn's current favorite song:

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