This Feature Friday is dedicated to a woman who has inspired me so much in the past year!
Rachelle Llanes resides in California and wears many hats, running her own makeup business, growing a following on her nuggetorleaveit blog, and YouTube channel, and freelancing for another makeup company. I reached out for an interview to shed some light on her experiences with owning a small business and with freelancing.
I met Rachelle when planning a wedding in the NY Finger Lakes. Her charisma, dedication, and passion for what she does is infectious and absolutely inspiring. She is also extremely down-to-earth, which made working with her an absolute pleasure. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
TF: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
RL: After high school I attended a Junior College and studied Psychology with an emphasis on Child Development. I originally wanted to work with kids in the Peace Corp or United Nations traveling the world. Throughout this process I worked about 2-3 jobs at a time, one of them being a Makeup Artist at NARS and then got hired at MAC Cosmetics where I learned so much. I also started my own Freelance business on the side and mostly focused on weddings. I transferred to Cal State Fullerton and got my Bachelors in Psychology after 10 1/2 years. I realized how passionate I was about working with people through the art of makeup and making individuals feel good about themselves inside and out.
TF: Where are you from originally? Do you have family / pets?
RL: I’m originally from the Philippines and moved all over CA throughout my life. I really wanted to get away from the city life so on April 2015 I moved to the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived, Ithaca, NY. I was able to focus on myself, I learned how to use editing software and continued to build my business in a very small town where it was easy to succeed. I was able to start my YouTube channel where I’m able to share my passion and creativity with others. Although it was short lived, moving back to CA was a great decision. I’m now trying to rebuild my business and having different outlets to advertise has made my business grow faster than before.
As I’m getting older I realize how important it is to be closer to my family, friends, and of course the love of my life. Which makes living in the city.. not so bad haha. I have 2 old chiweenies who love to cuddle and are spoiled rotten.
TF: What does your typical day look like? Or do you even have a typical day?
RL: Aside from my business, I also freelance for another makeup company. My schedule fluctuates so my typical day changes daily. Other days I’m recording videos for my YouTube channel and editing. The problem with freelancing is its not always consistent. There will be a lot of down time where I sit at home trying to find more work. Other than that.. I spend most of my time at home with the dogs during the week and work on the weekends.
TF: Were you always involved in makeup/cosmetics, or did you start out in another industry? When did you start working in makeup/cosmetics?
RL: I grew up as a tomboy but being the only girl, my Mom always tried to make me look like a girl. I did start getting into makeup when I was in middle school and during my first year in college I started working in the cosmetic industry. I suppose I started working in a different industry considering my Mom owned a business where she had all her children work at. But it was a great experience because it really helped me to learn about having my own business.
TF: When did you realize you wanted to have your own business?
RL: During my years working with MAC, I built many relationships with my customers and always asked me if I worked outside of my job. They would refer me to their family and friends for weddings and other events. It was a great way to meet people and to network. So, I took advantage of the situation and eventually made my own business cards for my customers who wanted my services.
TF: What was the hardest part about growing your business?
RL: Consistency. It’s never consistent and there’s a lot of competition. Especially now with technology and how easy it is for others to market themselves. There are apps that can connect you to artists who are readily available and come to your door in seconds. Living in a city and with this industry becoming so saturated, everyone considers themselves as Makeup Artist. I mean, it becomes so easy when you have Instagram or YouTube beauty gurus teaching you how to “bake” (which by the way has become such a popular term when really.. it’s just a way to set your makeup) or look like Kim Kardashian. Social Media has taken over peoples lives and as for me, it’s a love and hate relationship, but I have to keep up with the technology and what social media has become in order to succeed in my business and my passion.
TF: What is your favorite part of your business?
RL: As much as I love makeup, I absolutely love working with people. It makes me feel good that I can change one person’s emotions just by putting on a red lip. I’m a people pleaser and I will do anything I can to make changes in this world.
TF: Do you still have another job in addition to your business? If so, how do you manage the work-life balance (or should I say work-work balance)?
RL: As mentioned, I have to work another job because my business is never consistent. It’s not easy being a freelancer. Yes, you have more freedom but it doesn’t mean you’re always making money. But I do have a lot of time in my hands for the most part and when I do.. I’m constantly seeking for other opportunities. It’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket. With that being said, I spend a lot of time with my family and friends.
TF: If you could give your pre-business owner self a piece of advice, what would it be?
RL: Be consistent, continue to grow and learn, & don’t ever sell yourself short. You are talented no matter how much think you’re not. I say this because I don’t always feel like I’m 100%. I have my really bad days and I get down on myself and think I’m not capable of doing what I want to do. Some days will be better than others and it’s okay to cry all day and lay in bed, because you’re only human.
Big shoutout to Rachelle Llanes for sharing her experiences with us! Check out her most recent video on nuggetorleaveit below! Be sure to subscribe to support an amazing makeup artist (and phenomenal person all-around). If you liked this article, share it!