It’s not often you meet a woman brave enough to go on camera without a stitch of make-up on, but Jentry Kelley is just one of those fearless females. This Houston-based make up artist has spent the last 14 years perfecting the faces of brides, models, and the everyday woman through her craft, but one of the main reasons women all over the South (and especially at ULR) love her, is for her no-holds barred “How-To” videos. In these short online clips, Jentry bares her face (and her stellar sense of humor) and offers step-by-step application techniques of her exclusive cosmetic line (aptly named “Jentry Kelley Cosmetics”) for those of us who are a little more, shall we say, “make-up challenged”.
How does one start a cosmetics line you may be asking? To start, you have to love make-up, but more importantly, one needs an in-depth understanding of products and application techniques, which Jentry acquired while working for some of the industry’s most prestigious cosmetic companies while in school. After graduating from the University of Houston, she realized she had learned a trade in cosmetics while earning her business management degree. After a few months of working on her own applying make-up, she began writing a business plan to start her own line of cosmetics to sell to her clients, but the transition from paper and pen to powdered blush and eyeliner is a huge leap of faith–a leap which Jentry fearlessly took.
Thus, in 2011 Jentry Kelley Cosmetics was born. Her exclusive line offers skin, lips, eyes, face, brushes, and nail polish products that can be found in Houston’s Inner Loop in the Upper Kirby and Montrose neighborhoods, as well as online. Her unique, fresh approach to makeup and its application make it simple for all women to use and understand, artistic or not. Each item in Jentry’s line is named after a plastic surgery technique. That’s how her catchy tagline “Makeup with a Facelift” came about. She teaches women how to look like they had a brow lift, lip injections, and even a necklift. Needless to say, it’s a much less drastic alternative to the real thing, and it clearly works (Jentry has to work round-the-clock to keep her shelves stocked with products).
ULR sat down with Jentry Kelly in a one-on-one interview to ask our most pressing questions (namely, “how do we get some of that brow lift we’ve been hearing about?!) but more importantly, to understand how she turned her passion into a flourishing business, and what words of wisdom she has for fellow females looking to follow their dreams.
Why did you decide to start working at a cosmetic store during college?
Well my mom knew somebody who worked in the makeup field and she knew I had always liked applying makeup on my friends. I could sell anything, but applying the makeup was a different story. I worked for Clinique for 3 years before I took an outside sales position in a completely different industry. A couple of years later, I ended up back in cosmetics after landing a job at Neiman Marcus. It was here that I mastered the art of natural makeup application through the in depth training given to me by the trainers with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.
At what point did you realize that this is what you were meant to do?
When I went to work for Bobbi Brown, I was really inspired by the whole application process as well as the education. Not only did I learn to properly apply makeup, I got to teach the customers how to do it. I want every woman to look in the mirror and think, “wow this is beautiful, and I can do it myself”.
How did you come up with the cosmetics tag line “Makeup with a Facelift”?
I have always taught women my tips of highlighting and contouring to look more lifted and slimmer. Also, I listened for years to women complaining that the makeup lines just didn’t make it user friendly for them. Women need a color by number, and that’s what I do! Each product is named after what it does for your face, and the coordinating brush is named the same! Each client that sits in our chair leaves with a makeup homework sheet so they can feel confident in duplicating the look the artist taught them day after day!
Where can people locally purchase your products?
CAMEO|West Ave, Office of Dr. Roth, near Tootsies and Eddie V’s
Alira Spa 1619 W. Alabama, Houston TX between Dunvale and Montrose.
www.jentrykelleycosmetics.com, one day shipping in Houston Area
What’s the most difficult aspect about being a business owner?
The most frustrating aspect is trying to juggle so many things at once and still be thorough and effective. I think every entrepreneur can relate to the maximum level of adrenaline 12-15 hours a day, lack of memory, and misfiring of the brain. You have to learn to manage your time well, and prioritize or there is no way you will be able to manage it. I have to write everything down, even to eat, or I just make time for it.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your journey?
Most rewarding… is the path to success. It isn’t about the money, because I actually haven’t accepted one single paycheck since starting my company. It’s the feeling of accomplishment when you step back and see where you are at and where you have come and all the great people on your team who want the company to succeed as much as you do.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I really want to have a makeup school. I feel like that is what the market is lacking. For people who are interested in getting a job in the industry or for the average woman who wants to learn how to properly apply makeup. Unless you go to NYC, there isn’t much out there that educates women to become a pro at makeup application.
How many makeovers do you typically do in a week?
20 – 50 makeovers in week.
What’s your favorite thing from your cosmetic line?
The Brow Lift. When applied underneath to the outer 2/3 of the brow, it literally makes you look as if you had a brow lift, instantly! Even your friends will ask what you have been doing to look so defined and brightened. Pretty much every person that tries it buys it.
Is there anything you don’t offer cosmetic wise that you would like to add to your line?
Yes, brush wash. I don’t have something to wash brushes with but I’m formulating one right now. It will be out in a month.
If you could describe your cosmetic line in one word, what would it be?
Being a women business owner, what would you say to other aspiring women business owners?
“Well I heard this 900 times before actually giving it a shot…. Believe in yourself and follow your dreams. I always knew I loved makeup and the art of the application, but I didn’t love working retail. For many years I didn’t have the confidence that I could take a leap, and be successful at it. But literally overnight, after someone making a comment and asking why I never decided to have my own makeup line, I just did it. I got on Google and started doing research, and I haven’t stopped since. Nobody held my hand, I had to put myself out there and learn. I had to go to conventions and tradeshows and put myself out there a little more each time. I have made some mistakes and took a few wrong turns, but I don’t give up…ever. I learn from my mistakes, pick up the pieces and move on. It’s the ones who lose confidence and give up when things get tough that don’t make it. The others, like myself, come up with a plan to get around, or break through each roadblock we come up against”.
The entire team at ULR would like to thank Jentry Kelley for taking time to share her journey with us. It is the stories of local people like Jentry that shape our Houston community, and remind us of why we love this city so much. As we like to say: love where you live, and live where you love.
You can visit Jentry’s site at www.jentrykelleycosmetics.com