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.
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.”
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.