Following your gut to make decisions is probably one of the top three things you won’t learn in a classroom. Yet many business owners like Danessa Myricks have found great success growing a company by following untraditional attributes such as instinct and experimentation.
Myricks recognized an opportunity to improve cosmetic marketing for ethnic skin tones so she launched Danessa Myricks Beauty, a global brand featuring a range of innovative products for beauty professionals, and wearable cosmetics for consumers. “For the past 18 years, I’ve touched many faces of women from all walks of life in every age group and part of the world,” says Myricks. I’ve listened intently to their needs and concerns. I move forward creating ideas even when they are not initially understood by others. I truly believe this has been the magic: trusting my gut and believing in me.
As part of Myricks’ portfolio, she has an A-list lineup of celebrities under her belt including Madonna, Ciara, Chris Brown, Jordin Sparks, and Chris Rock to name a few. She’s launched products in Panama, Mexico, Poland, Brazil, Australia, Trinidad, London and cities in the U.S., and countries in Africa—without the support of investors. Plus, by sticking to the notion that makeup is art, she’s been able to co-create with global beauty brands like Kiss and Benefit cosmetics.
Did you grow up thinking you wanted to be a makeup artist? How did you get involved in makeup?
Growing up, I never had an interest in makeup artistry, nor did I know what it was. However, I remember having a passion for the arts. All forms of art intrigued me; from fashion to painting to origami, sketching, and watercolor. Music was also a huge inspiration in my life. To me, the idea of telling stories through words was pure magic.
I am what you may call an “accidental makeup artist.” One of the publishing companies I worked for focused on beauty and hair within the ethnic market. Hiring makeup artists and photographers for photo shoots was a regular part of the business, and this is where my interest piqued and my curiosity grew for the industry.
What are the top things that have contributed to your success?
- Education and experimentation. I had incredible role models in my life, who were my parents, and they consistently “turned water into wine,” as they would say.
- Innovation vs. duplication. Beauty now has become so homogenous. Discovering new needs and ideas is just as important, if not more important, than regurgitating the trend of the moment.
- Unapologetic testing and experimentation. It’s extremely important to test all the formulas we create for all skin types and skin tones, and in varying lighting environments, to ensure they perform well for both consumers and pros alike. Through a trial and error technique, I was able to create strategies that were duplicable.