Published by LCI Education, October 13th, 2016
An Inter-Dec College graduate, Isabel Kraut is a makeup artist and cosmetics retail professional. She is now the owner of Bel Cosmétiques, a new Boutique in Outremont district, in Montreal. Lots can be learned by reading up on this role model and ambitious woman!
You have been in the beauty industry for now 7 years, how did you find your passion for makeup and cosmetics?
As a teenager, I always loved makeup and was very "beauty savvy". At 17, I started my first job in the cosmetics industry for the Shiseido brand at the Bay, without having any previous training or cosmetics experience other than my innate passion for beauty. I worked at the Shiseido counter for 1 year, during which I learned a lot from my colleagues and the brand about luxury beauty products, including both skin care and makeup. The following year, I worked with Shiseido Canada as a regional sales support beauty consultant, visiting various beauty retailers across QC. Throughout my experience, I was especially drawn towards the makeup - everything about it from the colors, the textures, the ability to transform and the endless creative opportunities that it presented. It was from that point that I yearned to learn how to apply makeup professionally in order to expand my horizons.
You graduated from Inter-Dec College in Fashion & Beauty Artistic Makeup, what did your training bring you?
When I decided that I would pursue a diploma in makeup artistry, I researched various local institutions carefully and meticulously. Inter-Dec College stood out for me amongst all the other choices, as it was clearly the most reputable and offered the most thorough curriculum, with the added feature of the end of session "portfolio project". From beginning to end, the experience was truly rewarding and memorable. I was very fortunate to have an amazing teacher, Mr. Phillipe Gingras, who in addition to his years of experience as an artist and his attention to detail, was always honest and forthcoming with his students about the quality of their work and their progress. The program itself covers everything an aspiring artist needs to know, from the importance of lighting, colors, face and eye shapes, products and tools, history and trends, and even recommendations for how to launch your career in makeup after completing the program. I especially loved the portfolio project, as it was an immediate opportunity to apply what we learned and create something truly unique and impactful to present to future clients and employers. I was also awarded "best portfolio" in my session, after which I had the wonderful opportunity to do an additional high fashion-themed shoot with Colombe Photographe. Those 3 months of makeup school were the best schooling I ever had, and I can't tell you how many times I wish I could go back and do it all over again.
You worked for spas and notably, the Sephora brand, what did gain from these experiences?
After working with Shiseido, I had the opportunity to work for various different beauty retailers and service providers, such as Jean Coutu Cosmétiques, MUSST, Avanti le Spa, and Makeup Forever Canada in Sephora St-Catherine, in addition to freelancing of course. Every experience was so different, yet each equally beneficial and enriching in its own way. I became very proficient in sales and customer service, in addition to gaining invaluable product knowledge covering a very broad range of cosmetic brands, both commercial, professional, and luxury. While working as a makeup artist at Montreal's leading spa, I got to work alongside and observe many talented artists, which contributed tremendously to improving my technique and applications. Working at the Make Up For Ever boutique in Sephora was an especially rewarding experience, as it is a brand that is highly reputable in the artist community worldwide. Being affiliated with MUFE was a tremendous accomplishment, as I got to work with an amazing team and equally amazing products. It's a brand that is constantly pushing the boundaries of creativity as well as putting a special emphasis on educating their artists and nurturing their artistic growth. Being immersed within the Sephora atmosphere also allowed me to gain invaluable experience in sales as well as a wealth of information about competing brands and products.
Last April, you launched your company Bel Cosmetiques, can you tell us more about this experience?
Knowing a few months in advance that the Makeup Forever Boutique would be closing, I had to begin investing my efforts in pursuing another opportunity. Although I was happy to continue freelancing with my growing clientele, I also wanted to have something that would offer me both more stability and flexibility than just another "retail gig". For many years, I had considered selling my own products in addition to offering makeup services. I dabbled in Avon, Arbonne, and other such "direct selling" brands, but I quickly discovered that this was not for me. Rather, I began researching and testing various products and brands, on the hunt for a range of high caliber products that I could confidently work with and resell to my clients. Meanwhile, I'd been working as an "on-call" makeup artist for Van Hill Spa, an exquisite family-owned establishment in Outremont which has been offering a wide range of aesthetic services to a devoted customer base for many years. As makeup is one of those beauty services that is more occasional and less sought after than say, manicures or waxing, my presence at the spa as an on call artist was not consistent. This got me thinking, what could I do to make myself a more familiar presence at this prime location? From this notion was born "Bel Cosmétiques" boutique, a space that sells a unique array of cosmetic brands, both local and international, in addition to offering makeup services such as applications, home services, lessons, and temporary false lashes. I'm proud to offer brands such as FACE Atelier, Veil Cosmetics, Amaterasu Beauty, Kaia Naturals, Beauty Blender, Sara Happ, Trust fund Beauty, Girlactik, Lisa Noto, Xtreme lashes, and of course "la marque maison" Bel Cosmétiques, many of which are also Canadian.
As a young entrepreneur, where do you see yourself in ten years?
Our long term goals include establishing a successful retail website, expanding our ever growing product and brand range, representing and distributing cosmetic brands, expanding our range of beauty-related services, and of course becoming the city's most sought after makeup establishment for both makeup services and indie beauty brands.
Your career launch is already a great success, what advice would you give to our young Beauty students?
Never stop learning, creating, growing. When starting off, grab onto every opportunity. Don't get discouraged or derailed if things start off slow or you don't land your "dream job" right away. Surround yourself with people from whom you can LEARN!! In makeup, you never stop getting inspired by those around you. Instagram and YouTube are useful tools but they should not be the only points of reference. Challenge yourself, practice, take initiative, be proactive. Collaborate and exchange services with other aspiring professionals in related industries. If you're persistent, ambitious, and passionate about makeup, then you'll find the opportunities are endless.