HOW A 20-YEAR-OLD IS MIXING HER WAY TO MAKEUP MAGIC IN THE MAGIC CITY
by Jannely Espinal
Sophy Cosmetics is a fresh new makeup brand that just launched in Miami’s saturated makeup market. Founder Sophia Perez, just 20 years old, plans to defy traditional makeup norms with a kaleidoscopic selection of skin tones. The independent beauty brand offers vegan, cruelty-free, and luxury makeup. Sophy creates and manufactures her beauty line inside her parents’ home in Hialeah, Florida, about 20 minutes west of Miami.
Sophy’s background as a freelance makeup artist gave her the knowledge base to build her own makeup brand. She’s strengthening that business “foundation” with a public relations degree. At night, the burgeoning beauty boss transforms from student to makeup lab technician. Her parents’ home is a bona fide makeup factory, with lip-glosses, body oil, brushes, and highlighters.
The concept behind Sophy Cosmetics is simple: Offer affordable makeup that caters to both genders. Sophy has been a freelance makeup artist for three years. Since high school, she has been offering makeup services to friends – that pay-it-forward attitude built her a loyal client base that now buys her products.
Beauty products come at a high cost, though, and Sophy realized this early on. She spent months combing through YouTube videos and Google searches for ways to create homemade eye shadows and highlighters. Through continual refinement of her lab experiments, Sophy brought new products to market that met her aforementioned goal of catering to both genders and at an affordable price.
Sophy Cosmetics is currently sold online at sophycosmetics.com and sells for between $10-$48. Her bestselling product is Champagne Mami, a 37mm compact highlighter with a rose gold hue that is handmade with love and passion. Sophy Cosmetics products are non-scented and are produced in a highly sanitized environment.
Sophy believes in “the glow from within” and she believes every woman can precisely match her skin tone. Her experimentation also enabled Sophy to achieve an even more elusive goal, offering a wide spectrum of shades and colors.
“I just started crushing eye shadows and mixing colors together,” explains Sophia. Sophia believes that when a company starts manufacturing in high quantity it loses the cruelty-free and organic aspects.
Keeping her products organic is easy: Sophia is proud to be the sole creator of her products. By measuring every drop and ingredient, Sophy knows exactly whether her makeup is staying true to form. She uses jojoba oil, vitamin E oil, apricot oil, and fractions of coconut oil. Sophy purchases her ingredients from TKB Trading, a company that sells high-end raw materials, packaging, and starter kits to beauty starters. The company has been certified organic by FD&C and D&C and has more than 5,000 positive reviews on the quality of ingredients.
Keeping her products cruelty free is easy, too: It’s all about the supplier. Many beauty brands claim to be cruelty-free, such as Beauty for Real and Wet and Wild. The products that Sophy purchases from TKB Trading are designated as cruelty-free. As evidence, the animal testing statement on TKB’s website cites that “the color additives we sell have not been the subject of animal testing for cosmetic purposes by or on behalf of this company since 12/31/1990.” TKB takes an additional step by regularly contacting its suppliers for updated Animal Non-Testing Declarations.
Sophy acknowledges that the cruelty-free and organic angles appeal to a limited audience. To attract mainstream beauty buyers, she knows she will need to step up her game. One example, she says, is that her cosmetics need prettier packaging and technology like Beauty for Real (BFR) LED lip-glosses.
In addition to packaging challenges, the makeup maven continues to test different ingredients so that she can offer more shades for different skin tones. She has promoted her beauty brand at the Miami Expo and currently sells her cosmetics at Shop Koveted, a fashion boutique in Miami Lakes.
As the brand continues to branch out to other stores, Sophia plans to build an ambassador and internship program so she can focus on the production of the products. She continues to promote her products through Instagram and Twitter where her customers can keep updated about new beauty creations.
Fashion Week has become welcoming to the plus-size community. Recently, Torrid presented their collection at NYFW with showgoers who were diverse, vibrant, and fat. Even though the industry has become more diverse it does not address the myriad of problems with body diversity.
Torrid's front show seating was populated by skinny buyers and popular Instagram stars who do not fall into the plus-size category. The show would have served its purpose if the front row attendees would have been plus size women. It seems that the mainstream fashion industry does not have an interest in serving the plus-size community.
I asked Kareline a plus size customer about her thoughts on plus size fashion and Chris, a social media marketer about social media in general.
2. Which clothing brands offer the size of clothes you want?
Kareline: Old Navy, Levi's, Gap, Calvin Klein Victoria Secret.
3. How do you feel about fashion shows showing plus size models?
Kareline: I feel like it would be great to watch more fashion shows presenting plus-size models because people who are a size 14 want to see and buy beautiful clothes. Fashion should be for everyone not just for skinny people.
I proceeded to interview Chris and ask him about his thoughts on the plus size industry.
2. In your years as a social media marketer, have you seen a shift in the way the advertisement companies promote clothes to women?
Chris: I have seen a change. On social media, there has been a demassification in fashion marketing, similar to how TV evolved in the early 2000s. There used to be fewer than 30 channels, now there are 330.
On social media, advertisers marketed fairly predictably on social media: sexy, luxury, party, casual, and geek. Today, mirroring the millennials' trait of individualism, fashion marketing has evolved; advertisers leveraged super niche targeting on Facebook to target highly specific fashion interests. For example, they target comic book nerd girls with comic book T shirts by showing ads to women 18 to 25 who ave liked Facebook pages of comics.
Torrid's fashion show might have not been a wake up call to buyers but customers like Kareline are asking for more acceptance. The plus size community matters and it is time that fashion shows start showing more empathy toward plus size influencers who attend these shows.
Medium is a great platform to share your stories and grow your audience. It allows readers to search stories through tags and follow writers in their account.
Medium is minimalistic and has minimal editing options but that is what makes it great. Readers want to know what you write about and not the overall aesthetic. Medium allows you to be social while sharing your content.
Its user friendly capabilities makes it easy to transition your blog posts to medium in a copy and paste option.
Steps to post stories on Medium:
After your story is published, members can clap your stories up to 50 times, share it and highlight it. This is a great platform to redirect readers to your website and promote it.
As a fashion writer I like to keep engaged with my audience through social media. Instagram and Twitter are my two favorites when keeping my readers informed. For new readers, it is important to have a killer Instagram Bio that informs them who you are and what you do. Your bio should include your name, website, and purpose. It is important to be creative and show personality but without being too wordy.
I felt it was appropriate for my bio to have the things I focus on and where I'm located as I'm constantly on the lookout for the latest trends. I chose Instagram because I'm more connected with my readers through that social channel.
The purpose of my biography is:
Once you know your purpose, you can start creating a brief sentence or two that explain your audience who you are and what you do.
You can check my Instagram account HERE
Camille Charriere, best known as Camille over the Rainbow has had a major influence in the fashion community. The Parisian fashionista has no filter when it comes to trends. She offers witty advice, trend secrets, and an eye opening behind-the-scenes look in her podcast, Fashion: No Filter.
Camille shares her daily street style, fashion advice, and the business behind haute couture through her podcast, alongside with Monica Ainley. Camille transitioned from lawyer to fashion journalist with her blog "Camille Over the Rainbow" under the radar. Her quintessential French style is based on keeping things but always keen to try edgy things.
Camille combines law and fashion to build her own brand that include brand consultancy, social media strategy, radio, and capsule collection design. She has worked and collaborated with Net-A-Porter, Wall Street Journal, H&M, and Chloe.
Miami is an up-and-coming city for the fashion industry. Mall operators dominate Florida shoppers’ wallets but small boutiques have been gaining ground in recent years. The Magic City has worked its magic on Florida tourists, becoming a prime shopping destination.
Since seasonal clothes are limited and the city is soaked in year-round warmth, travelers struggle to find fashion pieces that are both trendy and timeless. Boutiques are upping the ante, offering fresh new experiences to shoppers exhausted with the drudge of shopping centers.
From interior design to personal styling, boutique shopping in Miami is often entertaining. The three boutiques featured here venture beyond the regular shopping experience. They go above and beyond for their customers and are competing to become the best shopping destination in the city. These boutiques will transform your shopping experience from stressed to blessed.
Please Don’t Tell Shop
Please Don’t Tell Shop (PDT) is a boutique located in Miami’s Wynwood District and is owned by designer Carolina Benoit. PDT is full of fashion finds from around the world. Most pieces have an ethical component or something special about them. The brick-and-mortar store offers a personal styling program and unique shopping experience for those wanting to reinvent their wardrobe. PDT offers high-end brands such as For Love and Lemons, Gracia, and Lovers + Friends.
The store opened in January 2017 and has grown into a favorite among influencers and Miamians for its whimsical style and unique local brands such as Annie the Alchemist. Tatiana, a frequent shopper at PDT, explains the boutique’s allure: “PDT is like a little secret among your friends, where you can’t tell where you got that skirt.”
The boutique offers more than just garments. Every month, Carolina hosts a wellness event that includes yoga, meditation and styling parties. PDT is also online and connects with readers through their blog where it shares topics such “How to Layer with No Fear,” all sowing products sold at PDT.
50 NW 24th St.
Miami, Florida 33127
Kiki on the Mile
Kiki on the Mile, formerly The Dressing Room, is a boutique with Miamian, Parisian, Londonian, and New Yorker vibes. Kiki Garcia is the owner and creative director behind Kiki where she curates finds from her travels and time spent living in New York City. Kiki’s boutique takes its design cues from her apartment where you will find home goods, party favors and that special outfit for your date. The boutique opened a year ago, and is located in the heart of Coral Gables, Miami. Kiki offers international and local brands such as Do + Be and Marsol Sagastume.
The best thing about this boutique is their same-day delivery service. If you are stuck at work with no time to shop, call Kiki and she will deliver your night outfit directly to your office. Next month, Kiki will host a live painting event with artist Mr. Dashing where customers will have the opportunity to personalize their denim jacket or shoes. Hannah, a loyal customer and lifestyle blogger comments: “I can always find what I am looking for at Kiki. She offers tropical yet casual clothes that are wearable day to day.”
Kiki recently opened up her interior design services to her customers, where she will turn dreams into reality.
88 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, Florida 33134
Miami’s Design District is an up-and-coming area with a variety of luxurious stores. Earthy Chic is at the south end of the District, north of the Buena Vista neighborhood. Earthy Chic is a collaboration born from Priscilla and Eileen, two friends with a shared goal of offering shoppers a wallet-friendly alternative to the nearby Design District luxe boutiques. The perky duo started their fashion journey handcrafting jewelry.
Their jewelry designs are sold in store and a percentage goes to a featured charity. The boutique carries Australian brands such as Style Stalker, Wilde Heart, & Quay. Passersby are drawn into the store for its tropical and fresh décor. Priscilla and Eileen will personalize and handmake your desired jewelry.
Laura, a student at the Art Institute, says: “I love coming here. I always find my size and they constantly bring new items. I can always find the perfect gift here.” Earthy Chic recently began collaborating with a vintage and antique clothing store to offer one-of-a-kind pieces.
4300 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, Florida 33137
I encourage you to shop small this holiday season. Small Business Saturday was a success around Coral Gables but make a habit of shopping slow and small to help the community.
THIS ENTREPRENEUR IS PROOF THAT LIFE IS BETTER IN A BIKINI.
FROM MODELING BABE TO GIRL BOSSIn 2014, a bikini geek posted a photo on LinkedIn of Miss Universe Natalie Roser wearing one of her flesh-baring bikinis. The negative comments actually had a positive effect: sales of Bikini Luxe, the bikini geek’s online swimwear store, increased 20%.
Candice Galek is a former fashion model and Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree. She founded Bikini Luxe three years ago after a successful swimwear-modeling career. In her twenties, Candice spent years behind the scenes and networked with swimwear designers. She leveraged this expertise to launch her online swimwear brand.
Bikini Luxe’s mission: sell a variety of bikinis to women of all shapes and sizes. “I want to be the #1 online destination for designer swimwear,” Candice says. Her philosophy of continuous improvement has launched Candice to within inches of her goal: Bikini Luxe now ranks third in sales among online swimwear retailers.
Bikini Luxe is based in Miami Beach and is a purveyor of luxury swimwear including Luli Fama and Frankie’s Bikinis. Bikini Luxe prides itself on its customer service, generous return policy, and partnerships with community-minded brands: “…we focus primarily on whether they have a motivation to do great in the community,” Candice explains. Brands using sustainable materials or providing work to the needy catch her eye.
Candice plans to build on her success by expanding her selection of styles and sizes to include plus-size women. “Plus-size swimwear has become prevalent,” Candice adds. What about her own swimwear line? “If I were to create my own line, it would be to produce styles women love at a better price point and profit margin for us,” Candice says.
As a girl boss, Candice offers this advice to prospective business owners: “If you are not a self starter I suggest you don’t start a business. Focus on your other assets.”
Fast food chain joins fast fashion retailer Forever 21
Brand logos have been around for years and it’s been a way of expression for the youth. This season Taco Bell and Forever 21 partnered up to release a clothing line that runs in the fast lane.
The collection was released October 11th for a limited time only. The Mexican fast food chain plans to target a different audience by teaming up with Forever 21, a retailer that sells to the young masses.
“The more eye roll-worthy style will no doubt do better than the styles that are more serious” Bitar says. “With attire like this, you go ridiculous or you go home.This is Taco Bell’s first fashion collaboration which created a popular demand in fast food printed clothing. Other fast food chains such as Pizza Hut and McDonald’s have created logo inspired clothing as well.
There is not doubt that fast food culture is popular among teens and Taco Bell’s plan to release a limited time only collection has created a shopping rush. Shoppers are now able to proclaim their love for tacos not only with emojis, but also with taco print t-shirts, too.
Moschino, an Italian luxury brand, has already debuted a wide collection of bags inspired by McDonald’s Golden Arches, and is credited with creating a high fashion craving for fast food. It’s about time that the actual food chains are taking advantage of their logo, to reach a broader market.
Now, Taco Tuesday will be even better with Taco Bell’s limited time collection of graphic T-shirts, jackets and pullovers.
New York City’s most trendy beauty store
Emily Weiss is the founder and CEO of Glossier; a global brand for consumers with a passion for beauty routines and those who want to feel comfortable in their own skin. While working at Vogue as a fashion assistant, Emily had an evolution with beauty; “I had a transition from thinking of beauty as this solitary, isolated endeavor or exploration, to something that I got very excited about as being something that was actually a lightning rod for people to connect over,” she says.
Her blog “Into the Gloss”, which receives millions of visitors every month and discusses topics on women’s opinions, beauty routines, and women’s individual beauty, was the starting point of a successful business. The blog has featured celebrities such as Karlie Kloss, showing the celebrity’s “Top Shelf” beauty products. What initially started as a beauty blog, has turned into a million-dollar business thanks to their direct-to-consumer approach.
Glossier was founded with a mission in mind; to offer products to women that will feel satisfied to wear on a daily basis. Glossier is one of New York City’s most visited content beauty stores where customers can shop for affordable products ranging from $12 to $60. Many customers have mixed reviews about Glossier. Blogger, Ingrid Nilsen has tried all Glossier’s products which she reviewed in her YouTube channel. “I initially tried this to remove my makeup and I have to say it didn’t work”, she explains about the milky jelly cleanser. “I definitely love it as a face cleanser” she clarifies.
Glossier’s signature shade in pink is so popular that followers share it through social media using the hashtag #glossierpink. Last year, Glossier had a 10,000 person waitlist for two of their products due to their high demand. The brand has become a cult status, which represents you as a cool and chic woman for wearing it.
This month, Glossier opened their new brick-and-mortar concept store dedicated to their new fragrance dubbed Glossier You. “I was really inspired by theater, performance art and magic shows when concepting the space. Everything about the experience is unique, from the way the customers physically interact with the fragrance…” Emily says.
With a growing online presence of 814,000 followers and 200 visitors a day in their store, Glossier will launch products in two more categories. Glossier is building a new generation of beauty mavens that focus on skin first and makeup later.
The “It”place to buy furniture and mingleLast Night, Restoration Hardware opened its mansion doors to thousands of guests to preview their newest modern luxury store.
The new RH West Palm is an integration of food, wine, art and design that reflects RH’s quest to revolutionize physical retailing. The four story building includes a labyrinth of modern furniture, a courtyard, estate gardens, and a skylit rooftop restaurant.
The event was hosted by a committee including Georgina Bloomberg, Matthew Chevallard, Lourdes Fanjul, Jane Holzer, Celerie Kemble, Katherine Lande, Talbott Maxey, Mario Nievera, Greg & Kirsten Norman, Todd & Frances Peter, Caroline Cummings Rafferty & Nicholas Rafferty, and Ariana Rockefeller.
Guests walked aimlessly as they experienced luxury service from the moment they valet their car in front of a 14-foot wall of falling water inspired by the famous fountain in New York’s Paley Park.
Guests can reimagine their space and lifestyle with just a visit to the first floor of the RH mansion. Each room is dedicated to an area of the house and adds a vibe of fantasy. You can easily spend an entire day planning your dream home at RH.