Cinema Makeup School - Esthetic
Breanna Ortola, or Bre to her friends, is someone so ridiculously gorgeous, stylish and smart that you might secretly want to be her — especially once you get to know her. She empowers women through making them feel comfortable in their own skin. Aside from teaching customers the best makeup techniques and products for their skin type, Bre always points out the nicest feature a woman has, and the best part is she genuinely believes in the compliments she gives. (Talk about girl power!) Read on to see how she started her own business … in her twenties no less.
People who love what they do, and who are excited about doing what needs to be done to get the job done, inspire me.
Have you always wanted to become a makeup artist?
Yes, and no. I always loved doing people’s makeup. I would have girls at my school come over before class so I could do their hair and makeup for school photos. Then I’d get so caught up in what I was doing, that I would run out of time to get ready myself. It was great. The reason I say no is because it was not something I ever thought was really a possibility in terms of a career. My senior year of high school I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life until I met a woman who made a living as a makeup artist. It was the first job that didn’t seem like a “job.” I thought about how amazing it would be if I could somehow create a career out of making women feel beautiful about themselves, as well as have an exciting ever-changing lifestyle. So I did!
How did you go about turning a job as a makeup artist into a career, and eventually, the creation of your own company?
I was very fortunate to get a job as a makeup artist at such a young age in my hometown of Missoula, Mont. I started working in a little mineral makeup boutique for a year and a half until I was asked to move to Denver and open a second location for the company. The move opened up so many doors for me, including the luck of meeting my now business partner Sally Walker, who shares my love and passion for the art of makeup, as well as for the beauty of what makeup does for women from the inside out.
After the move to Denver I worked in the shop for my Montana boss for a year and then headed off to Hollywood to attend makeup school with Sally. After our training we came back to Denver where we decided to start our own makeup company. We started off doing makeup for weddings, fashion shows, headshots, etc. It was going really well, but I missed the love for showing and explaining to women the importance of healthy beautiful makeup. Most women have no clue how to apply makeup correctly, and we felt it was our job to show them an easy way. Our love for minerals never stopped, so we decided that instead of buying and selling someone else’s makeup line, we needed to start our own. That is where Alchemy Mineral Blends was created.
At first we started to do makeup at house parties and quickly built up a large enough clientele base that we needed a location for women to buy refills at any time. We first sold Alchemy Mineral Blends in a charming boutique, Violet, located in Larimer Square in downtown Denver. The store was great, but the parking for our clients was not. We decided it was not fair that they could not simply pop in quickly to grab a new product or refill, so we came across a funky and fashionable salon named Vain. It was a perfect fit! We have been in this great location for more than a year now and are growing every day!
Was there any one person or situation that helped you along your path?
Really the biggest help has been my mom and Sally’s mom. We used to (and quite often still do) call them EVERY DAY for help with things I didn’t even know existed. Sally and I both have creative passionate minds, but the whole business side has been the biggest challenge for us. My mom owns a day spa, so her being in the industry has been a huge help to our success.
What is your typical day like?
A typical day in the life of Bre is fun. I go to work at a great place where I am surrounded by creative and artistic minds. I take appointments only, so I can ensure that each person will have my full attention during a makeup lesson to help make them feel and look their best. Some days consist of me doing makeup for weddings (my favorite) either on location or at the salon. The fact that my day can be so different is why I love my job so much!
What is one lesson you’ve learned in your job that sticks with you?
I’ve learned that you really just need to stay stong and positive. When Sally and I really keep a strong bond and speak only positive ideas and thoughts we always find that we create dreams. We have gotten down at times, and that’s when we have seen our business suffer. Keep your head up and you can really accomplish anything you are passionate about!
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today?
I think it’s fear and also the feeling of self-worth. I see all types of women every day who are successful, beautiful, tall, short, skinny, overweight, etc. If there is one thing I have noticed, it is that almost all women have such a harsh complex about themselves. We all judge ourselves so hard because of what other people or the media tell us we should and need to look or be like. It is such a challenge for me to make these women realize that self-love is the only way to make others love and respect the true you.
What is the one complaint you always hear from women about their appearance that you wish they wouldn’t think?
I cannot stand women constantly saying, “Ugh, I am getting so old! Look at these wrinkles all over my face!” I just wish we could all stop looking at the negative side of our appearance and notice the beauty! That is one thing that is so great about my job. Every single woman has something so unique and beautiful about her, whether it’s her eyes or her lips or her cheekbones. Whatever it is, I love that it’s my job to accentuate those beautiful attributes.
What inspires you?
Positive people inspire me. People who love what they do, and who are excited about doing what needs to be done to get the job done, inspire me.
What is the best piece of makeup advice you’ve ever received?
My favorite advice is to keep makeup more natural. You always can add more if you need to. If a customer’s first impression is that they feel “made up,” then they are more than likely not going to come back to us. If we make them feel beautiful without going over the top, then they know it is a look they can achieve at home without a professional. I also am obsessed with YouTube videos! They help inspire me with new ideas and exciting looks! (Check out Kandee Johnson for some inspiration.)
What is something about your job that other people may not know/realize?
I think a lot of people would think my job is just girly and very superficial. But it is actually the complete opposite. I love my job so much, because I get to really communicate with women on a level that can sometimes be therapeutic. It may sound strange, but when you are working so closely with someone, you sometimes end up being the person they feel they can talk to about things they may not even tell their closest friends. I love helping women feel comfortable enough to express their feelings to me. Hopefully, I am helping!
What advice do you have for those who aspire to work in your industry?
My advice would be to make sure you are really getting yourself out there. Always, alwaysmake sure you are networking and building your name in a positive way. I have found word of mouth is the only way to success!