Tag - beauty

Gap x Birchbox Arrives in Houston
Learning About Bona Clara Skincare with CEO Jasmina Aganovic – Houston
Press Event at Edward Sanchez Vanity Lounge- Houston

Gap x Birchbox Arrives in Houston

Leading beauty and grooming retailer- Birchbox, has recently teamed up with the classic apparel brand- Gap and launched summer beauty shops within select Gap stores around the country. The eight week experience kicked off June 5th and will run through the end of July at flagship locations in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston.

I attended the Gap x Birchbox launch event at Gap in the Houston Galleria. Guests were invited to experience Try Bars- where shoppers could get hands-on experience with hair, makeup, nail, body, fragrance and skincare. There were makeup artists also on hand for guests to get touch-ups. I got my makeup refreshed by local artist- Heather Nixon, who gave me a natural look. Dallas blogger-Courtney Kerr made a special appearance, meeting-and-greeting fans, while sharing her favorites from the collaboration. She looked “All-American Chic,” wearing a chambray denim cami and black high-waisted distressed skinny jeans, all from Gap. Her makeup of the evening included: Cynthia Rowley Lip Stain in “Poppy,” Parlor Sea Salt Spray and Cargo Bronzer.

Courtney shared her other favorites from Birchbox: Laqa & Co. Lipstick, Klorane Dry Shampoo, Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream and Benefit “They’re Real” Mascara.

Customers can go HERE to find out more information on the Gap x Birchbox collaboration.

Learning About Bona Clara Skincare with CEO Jasmina Aganovic – Houston

There are apparently two key approaches that the beauty industry agrees on, “miracle ingredients” and “problem specific” products. Yes, but after learning about this new skin care brand… I feel they need to add another approach.

Thanks to an invitation through the Houston Fashion Bloggers, myself and Shalanda from Live Life in Style had attended a very informative session regarding new skincare brand, Boston based- Bona Clara. The session featured the brand’s CEO- Jasmina Aganovic- an MIT chemical and biological graduate-turned- beauty entrepreneur. She first explains that she was first working with a very well-known professor in one of the largest bio-medical labs in the world and in the process of developing an anti-biotic eardrop for babies to treat ear infections. She went through much riggerous testing, which included having to test on slabs of donated human skin that she received from the hospital. The final test was on different age groups (20s, 30s, 40s and 50s). This formula proved to be the winner, but not for the eardrops. Instead, she concluded that it was similar to formulas found in skincare products. This finding stuck with her and she started to pursue a different route, which led to the beauty industry. Upon graduation, she worked with three beauty brands and firmly stands ground on cutting edge science and natural product formulations.

When Jasmina started her brand, she wanted to make sure the brand provided education and actively taught women something about the products and their skin. She came up with the name Bona Clara because ‘bona’ is derived from “good” or “beautiful” and ‘clara’ means “clear.” She came up with a mission statement “Clear change of vision to create more beautiful and better lives for people everywhere.” In Bona Clara’s early stage, it launched strictly online and only offered four treatment creams for the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s age groups. The company saw a tremendous growth (by 200,000 customers) it’s first year. Jasmina was then able to fund other products to coincide with the treatment creams. I was really impressed when she (the CEO) personally called up her top customers and chatted with them about the brand (what they did or did not like, etc). She learned that women were constantly telling their friends, co-workers, etc., about the products and word spread like wildfire; leading to more orders and feedback. As people continued to ask questions about the product, she developed handy training tools, that included a newsletter- with her personal phone number (which is so awesome, because I’ve never heard of a CEO just giving out their digits like that). It was then that one of her best customers, who is now a rep, offered up the idea of also doing direct selling. After thorough research, she, along with three other people, initialized direct selling with zero (direct selling) experience.

Since the brand’s official launch in February 2013, there are now reps all over the world. You won’t find it sold in stores. Jasmina thinks it’s very important that the entire experience (from whatever angle, like as a customer, rep, etc.) with the products “is uplifting, inspiring and fun…that the experience does beyond picking up the bottle and putting it down and that’s done…I want it to be something you keep in your spirit the entire day.” The reps are also ‘on-call’ to further enhance the experience by delivering a person-to-person relationship. They make sure everyone has their questions answered and understands what they need to know about the brand. I’m absolutely thrilled Jasmina switched her career to the beauty industry. She surely seems to know what she’s talking about and I’m happy to support a brand where the ingredients are natural and that the CEO is so hands-on. So I guess now the beauty industry can add “age specific” to their key approaches.

Shalanda and I both received samples of product for our 20s. I have been trying to use it everyday and I have noticed a difference in my skin’s texture. It’s incredibly smooth and looks healthier. I highly recommend trying it! I also recommend reading their blog, it has some really helpful information on staying healthy and other lifestyle tips.

Bona ClaraExperience Smarter Beauty

heathermarie_033's Bona Clara album on Photobucket

Press Event at Edward Sanchez Vanity Lounge- Houston

I had the pleasure of attending a press event at the Edward Sanchez Vanity Lounge, located in the enterprising West Park Avenue neighborhood in Houston. It was an impressive evening, where some of Houston’s influential beauty and fashion bloggers got to mingle, taste palatable appetizers and macaroons by Petite Sweets and sample some amazing beauty products. Before I divulge in some of the highly-obtainable products offered at this exclusive lounge, let me fill you in on some history of the place…

The Vanity Lounge was launched by Edward Sanchez and his business partner- Diane Caplan about five months ago and has been on the radar of Houston’s social scene ever since. The space is quaint and with only six chairs and a small lounge where guests can relax with a light snake or beverage, it feels rather homey. They offer clients an array of beautifying treatments and sessions, including: makeup and eyelash application, eyebrow contouring, eyebrow threading, makeup classes, facials (using Bioelements skincare) and also offers on-location services. I was thoroughly impressed at the variety of products that are mostly imported but also not accessible at your local drugstore or Sephora. Below are a few examples of products that caught my eye…

FACE Aterlier

FACE Aterlier is made for the woman who “wants to put her best face forward.” It’s made to work with women who work hard, have busy schedules and don’t have time for their makeup to run, smear or get in the way- period. Founder Debbie Bondar, a mother of two grown daughters and over fifty believes ‘that women should not have to defy their reality and urges them to embrace it’. She is also ‘committed to helping women of all ages realize that there is nothing wrong with them as they are.’ This brand is favored by such celebrities as Madonna and Lady Gaga.

Rachel K.

Rachel K’s CC creams are one of the Vanity Lounge’s best-sellers and are sought after by top makeup artists in Hong Kong and Miss Universe beauty queens. The Singapore-based brand was founded by Rachel Kum (Miss Singapore Universe 2009) who devoted two years to perfecting mineral makeup for all types of skin. Edward Sanchez Vanity Lounge owns the bragging rights to being one of the first in the U.S to carry Rachel K CC Cream. Check out Rachel K (or the ES Vanity Lounge if you’re a local Houstonian) for all your skin improving needs!

Ellis Faas

Ellis Faas was officially launched internationally in February 2009 and is based in Amsterdam. The brains behind the brand is makeup artist- Ellis Faas- who’s career stems from stints at Clinique, Lancôme, MAC and L’ Oréal. The brand is known for the Human Colours collection, which every color is created based on colors that the human body produces naturally. This collection totally makes sense and I’m baffled as to way more cosmetic brands didn’t figure this out ages ago… but it not only helps when you go to match colors with their respectable foundations and such..but as Ellis Faas puts it, ‘what better way to highlight a great feature or mask an imperfection than with tones and hues that already exist in each of us?’ Oh and Ellis Faas is Only Tested on Supermodels.

That was just a few of the many products that Edward Sanchez Vanity Lounge has to offer! But to get the full VIP treatment, make a day out of it and pamper yourself by one of the friendly lounge artists. I know I’ll be in to get a facial real soon and maybe try some of that Bee Venom eye cream and mask

*HUGE THANKS to Edward, Diane, Blake, Holly, Cori and Kandace for having me and giving us a hospitable and fun evening!*

**PSST! And check out Live Life in Style for additional coverage of the night and pictures of me getting my makeup did by Cori.**

heathermarie_033's ESVanity Lounge album on Photobucket

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