When exactly did you start blogging (2008?) and why?
I have a good friend who lives in another state. She loves Armani, but doesn’t have easy access to that brand — so she has to order online. In the spring of 2008, Armani came out with a summer lipstick collection, and my friend wrote me a frustrated email: she wanted to buy one of the new lipsticks, but couldn’t pick a color from the swatches on their website. She was sure she would pick the wrong shade, and end up wasting her money on a color she didn’t like.
I live in a city that loves to shop, and almost every makeup brand has a counter here. I said it would be no trouble for me to go to the Armani counter, swatch a few shades on my hand, and send her a photo to help her decide. The next weekend I did it again for Chanel lipsticks, and I realized I could make a blog out of this.
You have specialized on swatching. Why?
I’m not a professional makeup artist; I wear my makeup basically the same way every day. I didn’t think I could write a blog telling people how to create different looks. I wasn’t even confident that people would want to read my makeup reviews — everyone has different tastes, and what works for me may not work for someone else. But I can take pictures, and I realized that serial swatching could be my niche.
When you started swatching: wasn’t it awkward for you going to the different make-up counters, smearing lipstick and eyeshadow colors on your arm and taking pictures in front of the salespeople?
When I first started, I didn’t tell the salespeople what I was doing, or why. I think they were suspicious, because I was there every weekend (and no one swatches EVERY shade of foundation). I told them, “I just really like makeup,” or “I’m buying something for a friend.” I would go outside to take my photos, so they never saw me doing that.
Eventually I confessed that I was doing it for a blog, and I was surprised to find that they were incredibly supportive. They are my first source of information — they go to training sessions to learn about new products, and then I get the scoop from them. I’ve learned a lot about makeup application from them, too. I really value those relationships!
Do people sometimes recognize you on the street. How does that make you feel?
It’s only happened two or three times, and not because someone recognized my face, but because they recognized the stripes on my arm. The first time it happened, I was so startled! But since that first time I’ve been a little more calm and collected — we usually end up having a great conversation about makeup.
No offense (really!), but don’t you feel sometimes “too old” to blog? I mean, apparently most bloggers are teenagers…
Ha! The internet is no longer the domain of the young. Everyone is online — women of all ages — and they want to hear from their peers, writers with similar experiences. We need bloggers of all types: different skintones, different ages, bloggers who write in different languages. The fact that anyone can be a blogger is a beautiful and valuable thing.