Painting the Canvas of the Saskatchewan Makeup Industry – with Sara Lindsay

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When did you know a career in beauty was for you?

“It happened around 2000 when I accidentally fell into it. I was working sales at an Aveda spa in Calgary. Manager at the time was also the makeup artist and she was very busy with clients. She asked if she could train me in basic makeup to handle some of the overflow. I did that for about a year, and fell more and more in love with it. About a year later my husband and I moved to the UK. We had planned to go for a year and ended up staying for eight.”

Sara’s creative desire to turn her new found passion into a career led her to attend four different UK fashion makeup academies. Shortly after, she because a career in Northern England and Scotland with Mac Cosmetics and also managed a freelance career. Sara worked London Fashion Week, London Clothes Show, and photo shoots in both the fashion and beauty industry.

 Sara opened her makeup studio in Regina two years ago.

What has the response been in the community to the opening of Sara Lindsay Makeup Studio?

“Amazing. So amazing. This community has shown me incredible support”

You had lived in one of the ‘mega centres’ of beauty (England). What prompted you to open your makeup studio in Regina, Saskatchewan?

“I was in one of my favourite cities in the world, but I had no family there. Family is the most important thing, and I can always go back to the UK. The talent in the SK community is building this from the ground up, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.”

Sara points out that a great example of our community uniting in a unique way is through the Aveda Catwalk for Water event. The Aveda community in Saskatchewan comes together to put on a hair and makeup runway charity event – an event that is usually put on individually not collaboratively.

“We come together for a great cause.”

How would you describe your signature look and what is it about your style that sets you apart from falling into the “norms” of the beauty industry?

“If I have a signature look it would be – really luminous skin, classic bronze smoky eye, with warm contoured skin and a nude lip. However,  I try to not fall into anything typical; there is another side of me that loves to experiment with the artistic side of makeup. A great example of that is our fashion week campaign for 2015.”

Sara did the makeup for the 2015 SFW campaign and explained to me a bit of the motive behind the direction it was took.

“SFW founder and the art director for the shoot, Chris Pritchard, had a clear vision that he wanted to push it to be as artistic as we could. The team was on board with it right away. We wanted to ruffle feathers a little bit, and show that there is more to beauty then just traditional eye shadow, blush and lipstick – there are ways you can make a face look beautiful but evoke different emotions, even if it’s a little uncomfortable.”

What is the most important beauty advice that you can give to women?

“To appreciate your beauty without any makeup on at all. Be confident to leave the house with nothing on your face! Don’t let makeup rule you…but definitely have fun with it!

It’s not about changing who you are and how you look; it’s about enhancing it. So, how about those messages media sends out via celebrities and film – planting seeds of what the “ideal” woman should look like.

 

“The only way I can break through that, is to send a good message. I try to do that with the young models I work with to anyone who sits in my chair.” I am very careful how I portray my work and industry to my daughter as well. I want her to have a strong self image and appreciate the fashion industry without having unrealistic ideas of how a woman should look in everyday life.”

Sara leads by example. Her barely-there makeup routine accentuates her outer beauty and draws you into her inner beauty.

You have traveled abroad extensively for business. How does the Saskatchewan Makeup Industry differ from the others you have worked in?

“Saskatchewan is incredibly collaborative and supportive. Major centres are very cut throat sometimes and breaking through is really tough but it’s also thrilling to be a part of both.

Model Jade of Edge Agency.  Photographed by Kiriako Iatridis.
Model Jade of Edge Agency.
Photographed by Kiriako Iatridis.

What are some common misconceptions about the beauty industry in Saskatchewan? 

“That we don’t have one. I suspect people don’t realize how many talented artists there are. Also, that we are a clique. The creative industry here in Saskatchewan is made up of some of the most supportive, welcoming and collaborative people I’ve ever met. Fashion week was built on the vision to find these people in our province and bring them all together.”

Being a young adult, I mentioned that people that fall into my age group may have a little more enthusiasm to search into the fashion industry for specific makeup artists / designers – where as people in an age group such as my parents (sorry, mum and dad!) may feel there is no place for them.

“Yes, I think there are many women my age and my mother’s age who would love to seek advice but are maybe intimidated to do so. My hope is that they will reach out and tap into the services and talent we all have to offer. It’s fun and should never be intimidating.

“Another misconception is that we are “second fiddle” to anyone…we have designers, makeup artists, hairstylists and photographers as well as many other creatives who are world class. Some people may think we are doing it here because we can’t do it elsewhere – we are doing it here so people understand what we have here and because we LOVE it here.”

Running a business in the arts can be demanding, and as much as they can be rewarding, they can be challenging. Is there someone who inspires you to keep persevering through the tough times?

“My husband for sure. He is so incredibly supportive, along with the rest of my family. He sacrifices a lot, and so does my daughter. My entire family including my parents and siblings/inlaws are my hugest support system. It’s hard to balance it all – and that is my goal, to find balance.”

Sara’s husband Brad is a business owner as well – owning and operating Smith and Best located at 2062 Cornwall, in Regina, SK – a true team of local business owners who understand their community, and want to bring innovated services to the forefront.

 

What is your advice for aspiring makeup artists in Saskatchewan in particular?

“It can be good to start at a makeup counter. That way you learn different skin tones, how to communicate with people and the public. This way you get exposure to a variety of different brands, textures and colors. Work your butt off to build your portfolio. Build a network with hairstylists, photographers and other creative. Forget everything you learned about makeup ‘rules’. That will only restrict your imagination.

 

It’s important to understand your environment and clients but Sara puts a big emphasis on not just industry exposure but to give back to the community through fundraisers and through the art community.

“Don’t do it alone. There is a great community out there to support you – my door is always open.”

Kiriako Iatridis for Serena Ryder. Makeup by Sara Lindsay
Kiriako Iatridis for Serena Ryder.
Makeup by Sara Lindsay

How would you like to see the Saskatchewan makeup industry evolve in the next few years?

“I think just growing the way we are, at a sustainable rate. I would like see the senior people in the industry continue to mentor and support the beginners so there is an organic growth. A quality growth – rather than just an exponential growth. More exposure nationally and internationally would be ideal. To be taken seriously, so there is room for more people to enter our industry.”

“If that means some of our people are recognized and go elsewhere to experience other opportunities that’s great too! It’s a cycle.”

At the end of the day, we have a community here who is growing, successful and talented.

 

It’s not inevitable anymore to have to leave the great prairies to venture into the concrete jungles that are Toronto or Vancouver or New York or London. It’s exciting to be a part of growth… but to be a part of sustainable and unique growth is legendary.

 

I have been a big fan of Sara’s work since early 2012 when I moved to Regina, SK and took up an interest in the Fashion Industry.  Her passion for unceasing growth in her community and industry is inspiring.

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

Alice

15 Years Strong Saskatchewan Design

Photo by Jared Schlechte
Photo by Jared Schlechte

Rea Harbus of Amaranth Designs took a few minutes to chat with me at local 13th Ave Café in Regina!

Raised in Gravelbourg, SK. Rea went on to attend Yvonne Yuen School of Design in Saskatoon, followed by a diploma at The Blanche MacDonald Institute in Vancouver and later established Amaranth Designs in Regina around 2000.

What words would you use to describe Amaranth Designs?

“Sophisticated, Elegant, Quality.”

Rea’s targeted demographic is the professional woman, normally aged 35 and up.

What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when you are working with a client to create a garment for them?

“What their needs are, the occasion – their body type. I take a lot of consideration into their skin tone, and what they are comfortable wearing. I want to make sure what I design is what they will wear more than once.”

Amaranth Designs is carried at Havak and Studio S in Regina, as well as Mint Fashion Co. in Saskatoon.

Amaranth has been established for approximately 15 years; how would you describe the growth you have seen in the Saskatchewan Fashion Industry?

“Over the last 5 years it has grown substantially.  I think with the change in the economy more people are wanting to support local business and keep the money here in Saskatchewan to grow our own province.”

There definitely has been huge growth in the industry within the last few years.  Through the introduction of SFW in Regina, Saskatoon Design Festival and various other artists’ events Saskatchewan talent has been brought to the forefront.

Below is some of Amaranth’s designs at the 2014 Saskatchewan Fashion Week.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from running a design label?

“It’s a lot of hard work. It’s very rewarding with clients; they get the results as exactly what they envisioned for themselves.”

Who is a ‘Saskatchewan Fashion Icon’?

“It would have to be the publisher of Sky magazine, Lynn Armstrong. She has a keen fashion sense and is a huge supporter of local business”.

Rea’s work has been published in Sky magazine a variety of times. Lynn’s daughter has also attended Blanche McDonald.

What advice would you give to designers who are just starting out?

“Work hard to get the results that you want.”

Starting out Rea worked a few internships with some big name designers within Vancouver. She emphasised the benefits of various sewing jobs that amplified her skill set. She would like to expand into other provincial markets within the next 2-5 years.

You can interact with Rea and shop Amaranth Designs at the upcoming Trunk Show and Fabric Sale, Sunday March 8th at the South Leisure Centre in Regina. For more information and a list of the designers attending – see below.

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 Big thanks to amazing photographer Jared Schlechte for capturing and allowing me to share the images posted above! 

Check out more of his work below.

Click HERE to visit his site.

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

-Alice

The Evolution of Saskatchewan Ambition – with Chris Pritchard

Photo by: Laurie Johnson

Chris Pritchard

Co-Founder & Executive Director – Saskatchewan Fashion Week (SFW) / Co-Owner – Daniel Christopher Aveda Lifestyle Salon

It’s a typical -30 evening outside in Regina as I trudge in heels out to The Saskatchewan Hotel Lounge. My face near froze off, hair blown around like a wind tunnel and heels stuck like ice pick’s – the kind of temperature that hazes me to question my residence in SK, what better time to sit down with one of the most inspiring, and biggest supporters of staying in Saskatchewan.

You are a huge supporter of staying in Saskatchewan, What has provoked you to not only “Stay in Saskatchewan” but encourage others to do so as well?

“It’s always been important for me to create things, or change, develop and grow them I was determined to base my career around these principles. Here in Saskatchewan, it’s a blank canvas, so it’s a great place to do that. You can dream up something and if you’re passionate enough about it, stay fearless and make it happen. Our community is very supportive, passionate and collaborative. Right here, right now- I think it’s a very cool place to live, with endless opportunity surrounding us.”

How would you describe the aesthetic of Daniel Christopher?

“We spend a lot of time training on the technical craft of cutting colouring and styling, we have a yearlong education calendar where stylists are taking classes every month, or more. But we are just as passionate about the business side, and it’s important to be transparent.”

Owners and management at DC salon will sit down with the entire staff and tell them their personal intentions in life, family, and business, to show an honest picture of who they really are.

They have a thorough level system including tracking and evaluations that map out expectations, goals, and benefits, with coaching along the way to help them constantly be growing personally and professionally.

Click HERE to visit Daniel Christopher’s Website.

Styling someone’s hair is a very intimate experience – people put a lot of trust into the person with the scissors – you have an effect on how someone’s image is portrayed in their public and private life (That’s a lot of pressure!) – What is the most important thing to understand about your client in order to give them a great cut?

“What it comes down to is the experience. Clients are going to remember how they felt during their time at the salon. You can receive the greatest technical haircut in the world, but if the stylist wasn’t nice to you, you won’t come back.”

“We remind our staff that our clients likely have been giving all of their energy to others day and night for weeks on end, and may have been literally counting down the days for this hair appointment, and this is the time for us to give back to them. Along with caring for and updating their hairstyle while recommending the correct home care products, it might be just silence they need, or someone to talk to. You can find all of this out with a great consultation. The consultation is the most important part of the job hands down”

From the interviews I have done, one common trend that comes up has been being laughed at or found absurd to want to follow goals through the Fashion, Beauty and Photography Industry in Saskatchewan (opposed to leaving for Toronto, Vancouver etc.). Have you received similar responses and how do you combat negative reactions on pursuing business in Saskatchewan?

“I genuinely just don’t believe that- and I feel like it’s quite the opposite. When it comes to art industries the quickest way to lose your cool factor is becoming a huge corporate centre.”

“I believe that truly unique trends for fashion and art come from hidden places that aren’t yet cluttered with window displays on every corner. Places like Saskatchewan are forced to create their own style, which is then what is sought after in the end by the larger centres.”

What’s your response when someone questions being in SK?

“I’ve said in the past even NYC was full of train tracks and tumble weeds until people rushed in and built it to however they wanted it to be. How cool is it for us to be able to do that right now.”

How did you first become involved with styling for events and commercial clients?

“After a few years being a stylist at a salon I needed to get that bigger, crazier, inner creativity out somehow. About 8 years ago, I called up a photographer and makeup artist, that makeup artist had just moved back home to Regina from London and her name is Sara Lindsay. She wanted to get her name out in the province as well.”

“We just all had that same feeling and drive in our gut, we met up, put our thoughts together, photographed them and then after the fact on a whim entered them into the Mirror Awards. We ended up winning and have continued to either win or make it to the finals each year since to this day.”

“It didn’t come from, “hey we should start being competitive now”, we just needed to get this burning creativity out of our souls and it just had a really good response.”

That served as a catalyst for Chris, from being featured on social media, and in the news, people started getting in contact for more commercial work and events.

What would be your advice for someone interested in pursuing hairstyling in the Saskatchewan Industry specifically? (Something you wished someone told you when you were starting out!)

“We are putting together a digital booklet on our website, revealing our business model, including our level systems, training, budgeting and finance, not just for students to reference when applying, but also for the general public, – I think there is a lot of mystery on how salons are run.”

“I am happy to start seeing students graduate with a better education on the business side, because as much as it is about the creative, you’re going to have a career after so you have to be informed. It’s not so much what someone told me when I started, it’s more so how we are preparing them now. I’d like to see graduates challenging salons to show them their business plan and what is in store for their career if they choose to work there. I would also like to see hair salons collaborating, helping each other and influencing each other to grow in these areas.”

What does SFW look like 10 years from now for you?

“With Saskatchewan Fashion Week, the business side is insanely important to us, we are dedicated to growth, and sustainability of the community, the contributors, and the company. Having said that we are just as relentlessly passionate about breaking boundaries, taking risks creatively, breaking the safe mould, and encouraging others to do that same – building a place where we can do that on a larger stage than what we could typically do by ourselves.”

“There are so many areas involved in SFW, over 30 committees running at a time to put it together. Each area has an influence on the direction of the company. All in all, it is about connecting networks and growing the arts industries in Saskatchewan. Whether it becomes a major stop on the global fashion week circuit, or stays a hidden underground gem, we aren’t going to force it into a certain direction. It is a living organism, powered by an entire province of contributors, which is growing every year.”

Watch the 2015 SFW Campaign Video Below.

Watch a recap of SFW 2014.

Buy your tickets for SFW HERE Hurry!

“I’m afraid I can’t explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

– Alice

How do you stay fashion forward in The depths of Winter?

Is it spring yet? Take the poll below and comment to let me know where you get your winter shopping done!

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

-Alice

Expanding the Idea of what a Confident Professional Looks Like

Stunning, and Talented Janis Procyk
Stunning, and Talented Janis Procyk

Janis Procyk head designer of Prahsik

25yr. old, Saskatchewan born and raised.

Graduate of Blanche McDonald Fashion Program – Nov. 2013

I pull into Brewed Awakening coffee shop (Locally owned and operated of course), to sit down with renowned 2014 Designer Award Winner Janis Procyk.

Was there anyone in your family who inspired you to design?

“Well, not really both my grandma’s sewed. It was never something I was like, yeah you know I want to do that. When you grow up in a small town people laugh at it and sometimes don’t take it seriously. Growing up I never really thought of it as something for a career. Discouraging is not the right word, I just didn’t think of it as a possibility.”

Janis explained to me further that it was more so growing up, and life experience that exposed her to the possibility of turning her loved hobby into a career and business.

“I had a cousin close to my age pass away suddenly, and it’s one of those things that kicks you in the ass to try something crazy – if you fail at least you tried.”

What demographic do your designs cater to?

“It’s starting to change, big things are coming for Sask. Fashion Week. I can’t give my secrets away! I will say now that my demographic would be aged 23-35, professionals. I like going after people who want to look sharp but don’t want to just wear a suit every day.”

Janis herself being a young professional garnished in an impressive Degree in Business, can relate to the need for functional business wear. Something that gives you an edge and the ability to go from day to night. She comments that it is often disappointing to fill your closet with expensive business wear when you wouldn’t want to wear it anywhere other than the office. She is expanding the idea of what a confident professional looks like.

“I find that a lot of professional clothing that you can buy is very black and white, it’s either way too stiff or too casual and I’m aiming for something in the middle.”

What was the effect of winning the SFW 2014 designer award on you, and what has life been like since?

“Well, I definitely got a lot of exposure from it which is always a really positive thing when you’re starting out. I think the biggest thing that would have changed is up until that moment I felt like a complete fake, I didn’t really know what I was doing. It’s one of those things, when you receive something of honour like that, you feel like now you know what you are doing.”

It was the confidence boost, and recognition that moved Janis into believing she was on the right path.

“As a designer you’re always doubting what you’re putting forward, unsure of how people will take it. It’s not that you expect everyone to like it, but more so for people to appreciate it.”

Janis Procyk

Many people in the arts decide to leave our province for the bigger cities well known for their large Fashion and Design Industries, Why Stay in Saskatchewan?

“There’s a lot of reasons for this one. When you go into a city like that (Toronto, Calgary) everyone is busting their ass to make it, there’s so many good schools there, and people are more exposed to the established Fashion industry. I didn’t want to start there and get discouraged.”

Janis wanted to ease into the industry with the support of her family, based here in Saskatchewan.

“All the designers here are so encouraging, everyone’s sort of here to help each other out.”

Saskatchewan industry professionals, (as much as it is still competitive), people are more incline to help. Partly, believed to be the “Saskatchewan Demeanor”, coupled with everyone’s end goal to build Saskatchewan’s reputation as a reputable fashion industry full of talented designers, stylists, etc.

Janis goes onto say, “I like being the underdog, when you tell people you want to move back to Saskatchewan, people laugh in your face. It’s nice to show them – they think we are the little province who can’t do anything- and here we are busting out some pretty big people, the quality of work is amazing.”

How do you balance creativity with commerce?

I think of things I would actually buy, as well as incorporating trends. If you think about the colour of the year, (Marsala for 2015), you can start with that base. Some things I think will sell better than others but you do your best. It’s a tough balance.”

Let’s highlight here that it is a tough thing to balance quality control with your budget. Most people are under the impression that it’s still cheaper to make your own clothes then buy them (WRONG-O). Fabric alone for average wool would run you about $20.00/meter. To give you an idea, it takes about 3 meters for a jumpsuit which would equate to $60.00 – don’t forget about buttons, lining, embellishments, trim work, zippers, and labour…Most designers work multiple jobs to be able to sustain their passion of creating clothes.

“You do what you have to do, to do what you love.” Janis remarks.

What’s your advice for people curious about getting involved in the Saskatchewan fashion industry?

“It’s tough. I think you have to have a strong sense of determination. It’s not for people that are wishy-washy. In Vancouver my program started with 22 and finished with 10. It’s an industry that’s tough to get started in, and can be cut throat.”

A common problem with most young people today is… we have NO idea what we want to do. How can we? What exposure do we really gain from sitting in a classroom for the first 12 years of our education? Key is, try and get involved. SFW accepts (and is currently accepting) volunteers. Janis apprenticed under the fashion mogul Dean Renwick, and recommends approaching different designers.

Brewed Awakening
Brewed Awakening

 What do you think we should expect as far as trends going down the 2015 SFW runway?

“I think trends going forward – lines of fashion are being blurred now. It’s not so much men’s fashion vs. women’s fashion anymore. It’s turning into a generic thing. Women are starting to wear bolder and stronger looks, harder lines. I don’t think it’s as feminine as it once was.” 

We are going to start to see a variation in texture’s – Janis points out the (Dean Renrwick made- leather skirt) worn by gorgeous Founder of SFW Chelsea Petterson .

As seen here:

“People are turning leather into ball gowns…the lines are being blended and its exciting.”

Who is your favourite Saskatchewan based designer?

“Can I pick two?”

“I am very in awe of A LOT of designers here. I think that the work people do here is incredible. If I had to choose… Dean Renwick… because I’m biased and he is one of the most wonderful people I have met in my life. He is so willing to help people out, he can fit anything to ANY body type at the same time making them feel like the prettiest woman in the world or man…”

“…Also, Laurie brown – her creativity is what is really inspirational. She comes up with these far-fetched ideas that are so wearable.”

Especially what she did last year… OK, if you did not see Laurie Brown’s line walk SFW 2014… youtube it NOW. No words can describe the innovation of her line and the way that she PRESENTED it. In fact, it was so moving it called for a standing ovation, people were brought to tears— now if that isn’t passion displayed in art form I don’t know what is. Check out a tidbit of her show

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Janis Procyk

“Five years is not very long, I want to be into more retail stores including national ones. I don’t expect to be HUGE in five years but a few followers from all over would be nice. I would like to be moving toward designing as a full time job.”

I met Janis last March when I had approached her to make me a custom outfit for SFW 2014. She is one of the most detail oriented and kind people I have met. Her attention to detail and craftsmanship add to the great quality of her garments. Janis will be walking a line down the SFW 2015 runway Saturday May, 9th.

You can follow Prahsik through social media by searching “Prahsik” or click these links: Facebook Instagram Twitter

For more information on Dean Renwick click HERE
For more information on Laurie Brown click HERE
For more on Brewed Awakening Regina click HERE

HURRY AND BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE – THEY ARE SELLING OUT FAST.

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“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.” Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

.-Alice