HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
Will Bachman 00:01
Hello and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. If you’ve been thinking about setting up your own independent consulting practice, you can visit umbrex.com and click on the link to start your own firm. We’ve put together a guide with 90 videos and 30 templates on how you can get started. I’m Will Bachman. And I’m here today with Rachel Weingarten, who runs fast moving content FMC and she has a long bio and a true independent professionals portfolio. So, Rachel has been a celebrity makeup artist. She’s worked with celebrities on designing their own makeup lines. She’s a journalist and author. He’s a marketing consultant. She gives keynote speeches. She’s a beauty historian. She’s written three books, she started a low fat mini muffin bakery and sold it she’s had a show on CNN called enterprising women. Rachael, you have a lot going on. Welcome to the show.
Rachel Weingarten 01:04
Thank you, well, suddenly hearing that I’m like, Oh, my gosh, that is a lot going on.
Will Bachman 01:10
But it is true modern independent professionals portfolio of income activities. And I didn’t even mention that you also started and run a nonprofit. So a lot to talk about. I’m curious, let’s let’s start with, with, with, you know, being a celebrity makeup artist. So tell me a little bit about how does someone become a celebrity makeup artist?
Rachel Weingarten 01:38
Sure, I find that most people are intrigued with the fact that I was a celebrity makeup artist. And I should add that I do come out of retirement very infrequently. You know, if it’s someone I used to work with, and that now during the pandemic, I’ve had a lot of former politician clients coming back around and saying, you know, oh, we’re in video, suddenly, what the heck do we do? We don’t look that good. But let me go back to your question. I actually started out the way most makeup artists do, which is doing weddings. I was working full time. I was going to college at night, and I was studying makeup artistry on weekends. And then I went to Paris to study for a while
Will Bachman 02:27
women how does someone study makeup? artistry? Oh, it’s really fun. Isn’t that? I mean, are there like schools for this? Or is it one on one tutoring? Like how do you study this?
Rachel Weingarten 02:41
You know, what is all of the above? There are absolutely schools for this. You know, for somebody interested in starting out you can even take a lesson. Not all right now, obviously because you know, the you can’t really walk to a makeup counter the way that you once did. But you can definitely take lessons there are schools, I was very fortunate. I apprenticed with a, he’s now deceased. But he was a celebrity makeup artist. He used to take me along on modeling shoots. And we met quite by accident, I found that a lot of my best professional relationships were, you know, meeting by mistake and being tenuous sort of going after it saying, gee, I want to work with this person. So um, you know, I started the way every makeup artist did I did weddings, weddings, weddings. I paid my college tuition by doing makeup at weddings.
Will Bachman 03:42
Wow. And how much does How much does a wedding typically pay? I mean, advanced today’s dollar. So you and
Rachel Weingarten 03:49
I couldn’t really advance it to today’s dollars, because there were so many different levels of makeup artistry. But so you might have people who would do you know, say, I don’t know, I’m really gonna do some weird high lows here. Someone could charge $50 to say someone could charge $800 a face. You know, someone could say oh, I’m a celebrity makeup artist. And here’s a bride and it’s a couple of grand it really depends. But for me a good Sunday with two full wedding parties meant that my college tuition for the semester was paid what Yeah, I was really good. It was really good. And I tried to to factor in, you know, how many faces how much time I guess even before I realized that I was you know, doing everything. I had my own line of cosmetics, I would sell products. But my whole thing has always been to make people feel beautiful and okay. You know, I’m in an industry I’ve always basically been in the beauty industry in some level or another. And unfortunately, insecure. Already is usually what drives it. You know, you have to improve yourself and with me, I laser focus on the best parts of people. And I think that’s why I did really well as a makeup artist and I do really well as a speaker and a motivational speaker, because I try not to see people’s faults. You know, of course, I’m critical and cranky like everybody else on Twitter. But I joke about the fact that nobody would ever go out on dates if I set people up on a blind date. Because all I would do is rave and see people’s best parts. You know, my sister jokes that I once introduced her to a friend of mine just said, Oh, you know, best friend, not a dating thing. And she said the way I was raving about my friend, she thought she was going to be, you know, a top model or whatever it was. But no, it was, it was just my friend. I just only saw her best part. So
Will Bachman 05:56
I want to understand his wedding thing. So like, Sure, let’s go back to it. Yeah, so how long? So you show up? And this is for, I guess, the bridesmaids? And I don’t know, maybe the mothers or something? Like how long do it? How long does that whole thing take? Are you doing it at at the house? Or at a hotel? Or like how long does that process take?
Rachel Weingarten 06:16
really depends? Again, everything depends. It depends on how much time we’ve banked in, it depends on do they want me to travel with them. I’ve had in my celebrity days, I’ve had people who wanted me to sleep over in their walk in closet over the weekend, to touch up their makeup after a big date. And not let this person know they were there people you would be amazed at what people want to spend on. Obviously, I turned down that. But I’ve had people book the entire day, even if it was three or four hours of time. You know, people just want to be pampered people want to feel beautiful. You know, they might weep after the ceremony and they want you to touch it up. I’ve had so many grooms try to sneak over to me and say, you know, can you get rid of my double chin? Can you get rid of these acne scars? You know, now, we kind of accept the fact that everybody might, you know, improve their books. But a couple years ago, it wasn’t quite as commonplace for a group to tell you Hmm, I don’t really like these gels. What can you do about it? But I did when I studied makeup artistry. I studied special effects makeup too, you know, so like oozing bleeding, disgusting things. I can do that for you too, if you want.
Will Bachman 07:44
What was the kind of the sales process to to lock down one of these deals where you’re doing a wedding that one day can pay for a whole semester of college tuition? That’s pretty impressive. Multiple times with the bride or was it just like, Hey,
Rachel Weingarten 08:02
you know, I reputation? reputation is my reputation. Yeah, as with most things in my professional life, it’s my reputation. You know, my name is my reputation. My good work is my reputation. And I don’t slack off. Because, you know, I’m good at something. And I don’t believe in false modesty either. Because I work my ass off. You know, I’m constantly studying, I’m constantly learning. So even as a makeup artist, I was constantly trying to figure out, how can I be better? How can I make this person’s pictures reflect the joy they felt? So I might meet with them once have a try on, you know, we would test the lighting and what they were going to wear. And I had scammers which was pretty evil. I had people who it was their actual wedding. Because I you know charged less for a trial, they would lie. And say it was a trial on when it was the actual ceremony. And I forget, you know, karma will get them one way or another. Because you know, individual contractors, it’s like, come on, respect our time, respect our talent. And then I would discuss with them what worked, what didn’t work, I took test shots or had the photographer there. And I took it very seriously, you know, and I would be exhausted and my hands would be cramped and painful after some marathon wedding session. But it’s very important to people it’s their day. You know, it’s very different now with Instagram culture with so many people declaring themselves to be something, you know, oh, we are all makeup artists now or we are all influencers. But I guess you see the results in the end product. You know, you see if people can come through or not
Will Bachman 10:00
You mentioned that you had your own cosmetic line, tell me a little bit about the process of getting that created?
Rachel Weingarten 10:07
Well, I’ll tell you two things. I’m really excited now to be in the process of doing r&d on another line. And I’ll get back to that. There, there were colors, I was an art major in college. Among other things, I had lots of majors. Because as I mentioned, I was working full time, so I wasn’t in a rush to get my degree. So I, you know, I just figured, let me keep learning. So I used my art background, to blend colors when I was doing makeup, and I would come up with custom colors for people, you know, now you might find a lot more inclusiveness, you might find more tints that work on faces of color, you didn’t quite find that, you know, 10 1520 years ago. So I was constantly blending. And I remember that, initially, I would go there were these two ladies who lived, you know, vaguely in the Broadway area, sort of near Hell’s Kitchen. And they were chemists. And they used to help me develop colors and products that worked, and that you wouldn’t sweat off and cry off. And then I just worked with different vendors coming up with formulations I liked. And what would happen would be usually I would do something at the tryout, people would love it and say, okay, bring that with you to the wedding, I want to buy it. So I would sell a fair share. My sister was a teacher at that point. And people she worked with her like, Oh, I need this lipstick or that lipstick. People were really wanted to buy it. Part of it was that sort of personal approach. They knew me they trusted me. They knew I wouldn’t steer them wrong and sell them a garish color. You know, and they knew they could talk to me about it. And now for the past couple of months, we did talk about my nonprofit, one of the things that I have been doing. Sorry, vague hiccups. One of the things I’ve been doing is developing a new line of cosmetics, a very simplified, pared down line. And part of what that will be is every purchase the majority of the funds, go to charity, they will go to our nonprofit. So you’re feeling beautiful, you’re feeling good. And whenever you buy something, you’re giving money to charity, you know, you’re helping people. So I’m very excited about that.
Will Bachman 12:43
That’s very cool. Let’s talk about the process of being a celebrity makeup artist. So how did that work? Would you like was that for? Like photoshoots? Or when the person is going to go out to some event? Or would you follow him around the world? Tell us a little bit about what what that was like
Rachel Weingarten 13:06
all of the above. I mentioned to you earlier in a private conversation that the way I got into doing celebrity makeup artistry was quite by happenstance. I was walking around the city, the city being Manhattan. No, I’m a New York native. And somebody was following me around a department store. And when I chose a certain cosmetic, she would go afterward and buy it. I later found out I sort of recognized her and she started talking to me, it turns out that she was, I guess an heiress to a cosmetic line. She was intrigued by some of the foreign brands that I was picking up which some of them I later consulted for. She told me she had an event that weekend. You know, we were talking and I said well, you should do this, you should do that. And she said, You know you do my makeup. I said okay, sure I did her makeup. She loved it. She started introducing me to her friends. And some of her friends were famous. You know, I will admit to being initially a little bit starstruck. I would do modeling shoots, I do photo shoots I would do. I did some film. I have very, very ironclad NDA. I can tell you that the most money I was ever offered was to write a kiss and tell book about some of my former celebrity clients and I declined. It was interesting, it was weird. You know, celebrities. Many of them are just been in a different astral plane than the rest of us. You know, some of them don’t actually see you as a person but more as a commodity. You know, I have high heels I have the person who does my makeup and some are just lovely and wonderful. Yeah, you know, it’s
Will Bachman 15:00
set the scene for me a little bit. So you’re, you’re doing someone’s makeup, some celebrity? I don’t know, like, how long does that take? And are, you know, as you’re going through that process? Are they chit chatting with you? Are they on the phone with agents and broker? You know, and and they’re, you know managers is defended.
Rachel Weingarten 15:19
Yeah, it depended there’s usually a coterie of people around them. You know, again, there is no usual because it depends on the age of the person, it depends what it’s for. Some, there’s so many different details that go into it. But there’s usually an assistant, there’s usually somebody doing their hair, there might be someone doing their nails. With one celebrity, she had somebody with little baggies. And if I would love her lips with a tissue, she would have the person grab it, and throw the tissue in the baggie, so that God forbid, I wouldn’t sell it on eBay. You know, as though my goal in life was to sell used Kleenex on eBay, because x celebrity touched it, it was just this bizarre little world sometimes. And some were very grateful. And some were just not some just expected. And, you know, some would have surgery scars, you know, a facelift or intense Botox or filler. And, you know, I’m gingerly trying not to touch the inflamed section. And I’m asking trying to be very subtle. Well, when did you get this procedure? And someone just lied to your face? What procedure? There is no procedure? You know, it was just so strange. Really, really strange. Have fun.
Will Bachman 16:49
And, okay. You mentioned that you also worked with celebrities on developing their own product lines of cosmetics. Could you walk us through the process end to end of what that’s like developing a product line for a celebrity?
Rachel Weingarten 17:06
Sure. Sure. You know, I did mention it. I don’t really talk about my celebrity clients. But one that pretty much everyone associates me with was Christina Aguilar and her early days. And one of the things that I did was developed her first cosmetic line. And what was interesting with a young starlet, obviously, I won’t touch on anything that I’m not allowed to talk about. But with someone just starting out, it’s usually the team of people around her who are more heavily in development than the person themselves. And the same ways that you might have seen 70s and 80s, iconic designers names start to appear on everything. Sometimes it’s just, you know, selling the right to license their name. So with some celebrities, it was just a matter of, Okay, this person needs a cosmetic line. Here’s a fabulous cosmetic line. Let’s make this connection. You know, in more recent years, I’ve done copywriting and branding. So let’s say I worked with the Bettie Page a state. And that was a little more complex, because you really want to honor this woman’s legacy. You know, you want people who are fans of her X number of years after her heyday, to still feel like they have some of that glamour. So again, everything that I have ever done has always been on an extremely individualized basis. So the process could be, here’s celebrity x, and she has a favorite color. And we want everything in this brand to be kissed by this color. Or maybe if we want to rebrand this person’s image as being more natural. So we’ll come up with a line of cosmetics that make it appear that she’s more authentic and natural than she is. So it’s pretty complex. You know, there’s so many meetings that are behind the scenes. And in my guys, as a cosmetic consultant, I could be brought in any stage of the process, you know, from from doing the entire brand, and working with the cosmetic chemists on the formulations to only coming in at the last minute and saying no, I don’t think this works. Let’s get rid of that and add this instead. Yeah, and when you say everything is very usually doing
Will Bachman 19:38
the entire brand so what would all like that, what would the whole thing include? I imagine it’s like the visual identity of the brand and the values of the brand and the kind of words it uses and the look
Rachel Weingarten 19:52
everything yeah, you would work with that person with their team with their you know, whoever’s plotting out the branding Do they have a movie coming up? Are they a superhero? Or are they a detective? What do people think about this person? You know? What about their quirks? What about their skin color? How does that play into who they are? Is that something we’ll highlight? What about the textures? What about the price points? What about the names of the products? How many products should we have? How should we price these products? Where should they be available? Who should we look to as our retail partner? Will we be doing any sweepstakes? Or promotions or launches? When do we want to be on counter? How often when we refresh the brand? What should it smell? Like? What should it remind us of? What should it make us want to do? You know, and I’m endlessly fascinated by cosmetics. It’s just, it’s absolutely fascinating to me how transformative it is, and how for 1000s of years, women and men, you know, have used this sort of visual alchemy to change the world, the way the world views them, or to give themselves the confidence you know, to face the world literally.
Will Bachman 21:14
Well, that’s, that’s a good lead into your work as a, you know, historian of cosmetics. Tell us a little bit about the books you’ve written and the kind of work you do digging into the history of cosmetics.
Rachel Weingarten 21:27
Sure, I have been endlessly fascinated by beauty and cosmetics. And I’ve always been studying and reading about it. And my first book was Hello, gorgeous beauty products in America 14th through 16th. And that was studying the advertising of the mid century. For me, on a personal level, the mid century has always been a very fascinating time. I’m the youngest child of child Holocaust and concentration camp survivors. So while my parents or grandparents were, you know, literally facing genocide by the Nazis, the rest of the world might have been listening to big band music, and, you know, getting dressed up. So for me, I always studied that era, because I wanted to see the beauty, the joy, the hope, you know, it was considered patriotic to wear red lipstick during World War Two. And after that, you know, what we then came to see as the Mad Men era. After that, what happened? When did beauty become this driving force? Again, women’s spending power? When did it become a symbol of rebellion, a symbol of power, a symbol of just saying, this is for me, this is not, you know, to attract the husband, or to retain my husband. So the mid century was something that always fascinated me. But I went much further than that, you know, I do a lot of keynote addresses. And one of the things that has always been fascinating to me, is, is going back where, you know, I mentioned the alchemy, but the actual cosmetic breakdown, what, what are these products? How do we make them? How do we develop them? How are they used in ancient times, there’s such a strong history, I did a program I was asked by LVMH and Parsons School of Design, to create a program for their luxury brand students. And what I came up with was, from Cleopatra to the Kardashians, a short history of beauty. And I’ve taught on beauty, marketing and fragrance marketing on the graduate level and undergrad, you know, a lot of different ones. And I remember sort of being intimidated, my first class, and that was that fit. And I had all these executives, you know, from Chanel, and just every brand and they were sitting in my classroom and I was terrified to speak to them. And the same when I faced you know, the Society of cosmetic chemists until I realized that many of these people knew the here and now, but they didn’t understand what brought us to this place.
Will Bachman 24:30
What were some of the surprising things that you discovered when you were researching that first book about the mid century? cosmetics in the US?
Rachel Weingarten 24:41
I have to think about that question. One of the things I think that fascinated me the most was that sort of one size fits all philosophy. You know here we might have a hideous coral color lipstick and You know, the mostly men in the industry are going to sell this to you and tell you this is what you need. Again, it was a very heavily male dominated industry, you know, you might have the max factors. There’s more attention now to madam CJ Walker who came before, you know, she she developed the first line for African American cars, you know, of haircare, but there really weren’t many women entrepreneurs. You know, and I think that was always so bizarre to me. Here’s a product used by women, you know, and you didn’t have that many women creating it, or branding it or selling it. You know, this was on the cusp of Estee Lauder or Avon. So it was just this sort of disconnect, between who used it, and what their hopes were for. Everything has changed, you know, the internet and social media have drastically changed what our perceptions of beauty are. In the mid century, there was still this level of conformity. The big difference, you know, as shown in all the advertisements were, is the sense of tall, the brunette, or is it the blonde, the weren’t, you know, the the many, many different shades of brown and black and everything in between. It was this is the skin color. But those perceptions had been around for 1000s of years. You know, in in ancient Japan, they might have been using Nightingale droppings to whiten their skin. There was an article a couple of years ago saying that nightingales were becoming extinct. That’s something that had been used for 1000s of years was still being used. You know, so I guess that whole what’s old is new again.
Will Bachman 27:06
And what were some of the primary sources that used for that? Was it a lot of looking at old magazines and their advertisement looking
at it? Yeah, a lot of looking at old magazines, a lot of looking at old advertisements and speaking to people who had lived through it. That was crazy and amazing. I feel also that I’m drawing a blank on her name right now. But I spoke to one of grace Kelly’s bridesmaids. Oh, wow. Yeah, that was amazing. And we stayed in touch for a while. And sorry, there’s a siren going by. No, no, that’s
Will Bachman 27:42
perfect. That’s podcast. Very tasty. That’s true. True Life intruding there. And today.
Rachel Weingarten 27:51
Yeah, we’re just having a vote where we got real. But yeah, it was speaking to people who had lived through it of different ages and stages. And that was amazing. Speaking to different industry people speaking to someone who was in the advertising Hall of Fame, who said, You know, I don’t really want to be mentioned by name. Read again, that’s who I spoke with. She was in a couple of movies. She was amazing, very interesting, interesting woman. I called Buckingham Palace, and I asked if I could speak to Queen Elizabeth. I have no idea where I decided that I can do that. You know, and I still have the email because I loved it so much. I my mother had told me that is very young girl, she heard that Queen Elizabeth drank barley water. And that’s why her skin was so beautiful. Okay. Okay. And my mother actually saw Queen Elizabeth once in Canada and she still talks about it. You know, how glamorous she was and how Prince Philip was so beautiful and amazing in real life. And I said, Okay, I am writing a book about mid century beauty. I’m going to call the queen and so called. And I went through a process of speaking to different people. And finally, one of her lovely aide sent back an email. And I sort of remember what he said almost word for word. He said there is so much that is known about the queen. There are some things she would like to keep private. And so she’s not going to reveal if she drinks barley water or not to keep her skin beautiful. And I thought that’s the most amazing thing on earth. We know everything about the queen, but she doesn’t want us to know her beauty secrets.
Will Bachman 29:50
Barley water, I’m trying to imagine how that would help your skin. I don’t even know what barley water is, is it like what water that’s been soaked with barley and
There is actually a drink in the UK as some sort of barley water drink. But But I did research into the actual barley water, there was some sort of treatment where where you would ferment the barley water and it was supposed to be I guess, an early sort of I don’t know. But it was supposed to be treatment, some woman drank it, some women wash their faces with it. Okay, but we will never know if the Queen does.
Will Bachman 30:30
Barley water to me sounds like kind of an upper crust term for beer like, Oh, yes, possibly the barley water.
Rachel Weingarten 30:37
Bit of barley water. It sounds pretty gross, you know, but um, we’ll never know. Okay.
Will Bachman 30:44
All right. So let’s talk a little bit about your consulting work for cosmetic companies. So tell me the types of projects that you get, you get pulled into.
Rachel Weingarten 30:56
I can tell for a lot of companies. Okay, I don’t only consult for cosmetic companies. I’m happy to speak about my work with cosmetic companies. Is that what you’d like to focus on?
Will Bachman 31:06
Oh, well, let me just give us the broader view. Yeah, what types of what types of consulting projects do you do?
Rachel Weingarten 31:12
Sure, I consult on everything from TV projects that need to be saved, you know, my partner and I at one part, we worked with American Idol right after it was cancelled in his first season. But I work with, gosh, so many different kinds of companies, mostly CPG companies. Different, you know, I worked with the gossip girls books, and film, you know, the TV versions, anything from marketing strategies to promotional partnerships, to analyze, and we’re studying, you know, what they’ve been doing. A couple of years back, I worked with a shoe and we were a brand, a Japanese heritage brand. And I believe it’s now owned by L’Oreal. And when it was coming over to the States, it wasn’t quite as widely known as it could have been, you know, even the way back when Marilyn Monroe you issue more cleansing oils. So sometimes it’s a matter of figuring out what will work with the American market. You know, I consulted for one of the UK is top bra companies. And they’re, they work really well over there. You know, it’s a very cheeky and tongue in cheek branding. But over here, it would have been something that put people off. I did work with
Will Bachman 32:43
nature, can you give us an example of, of something cheeky, that wouldn’t work so well, in the US?
Rachel Weingarten 32:49
I can’t, because it’s going to be too widely recognized. But um, there were expressions used, that might have been seen as inoffensive or cute. In the UK. And here, I really don’t need a focus group to tell me what’s not going to work. You know, I’m happy to work with focus groups, but sometimes with a cosmetic company or a different company. They’ll just say, listen, we need an hour of your time before we close the deal. What do you think about this? Yeah. All right. You know, a global brand just acquired another global brand. And, you know, they came to me with this top secret kind of thing. Can we get you for an hour on the phone with our team? And can you talk them, we’re just going to ask you some questions off the top of your head. What do you think? And that’s always interesting for me, because in a situation like that, I will not research it. You know, if they want my gut instinct, that’s what I’ll give them. I’m not going to do the background if they want my gut, you know.
Will Bachman 34:01
And you also do a fair bit of writing and journalism. There’s a lot of writing in journalism. Sure. I’m a longtime columnist for many different outlets You know, I’ve written for places as wind raging wide ranging as Oh gosh, I was one of the original copywriters for being you know, I I write a column for ladders on careers I longtime columnist for parade. I was an opinion columnist for am New York, and for USA Today. I wrote an article in The New York Times on Wonder Woman and director Patty Jenkins mentioned it in a different article. She said it made her cry. That was one of the high points of my life. You know, I love Wonder Woman and hearing that the director of Wonder Woman wept reading one of my articles made me very happy. I do a lot of not a lot, but I’ve done ghost riding. I wrote a really best selling book for someone under her name. So that was kind of frustrating to me that I couldn’t crow about it. But for a while I was lecturing. My second book was career in corporate cool. And I did a lot on personal branding. And, you know, a lot of what I write about is, is, I guess how to stand out while being yourself while being part of the team. So, gosh, I write for a lot of people. It is quite the portfolio. Rachel, where is the best place for people to find you online to kind of check out what you have going on?
Rachel Weingarten 35:48
You know, I’m pretty good about updating my twitter at Rachel CW. I have a Facebook page by Rachel Weingarten. And I’m in the process of making Rachel Weingarten calm, more of an umbrella site. And I am trying to be better about blogging at Rachel’s save.com. But you can google me, you’ll find me anywhere.
Will Bachman 36:13
Alright, great. Well include those links in the show notes. Rachel, thank you so much for joining. It’s been a really great conversation.
Rachel Weingarten 36:22
Thank you so much. Well, so much fun, stay safe, and I hope you make lots of egg noodles.
Will Bachman 36:27
Thanks a lot. And Rachel was referring to the fact that we mentioned before the show that we have 15 hens out in the hen house, giving us about a dozen eggs a day. If you have been thinking about reviewing this show on iTunes and giving it a five star review, now would be a fantastic time to do it. If you’re thinking about giving it four stars or less than just send me an email with your feedback, and I’ll love to hear it. It was great having Rachel on the show today. Again, check the show notes for those links, and we’ll see you next time.