Entrepreneurship is a tough road, but Atlanta makeup artist and CEO Terri Watson gives a new meaning to the phrase “by any means necessary.”
Known for delivering a flawless, clean, and glowing-glam beat, the 22 year-old decided to take her creative endeavors to the next level and produce The Beauty Conference, a community enrichment program purposed to inspire, empower and connect attendees with young and successful beauty industry experts, ranging from makeup artists, content creators, to graphic designers and more.
Inspired by Watson’s go-getter and ‘no excuses’ attitude, we sat down with the future makeup mogul to find out what it takes to create a large scale event as a one-woman team, all from her phone.
Talk to me about your journey to now and how you got into makeup?
I have been doing makeup for two years. My anniversary actually just passed – February 1. I started doing makeup when I was attending the University of West Georgia. It began with just me being a college student who was broke and needed some money and source of income. So, I had the idea to work at the mall kiosk. After working there for about a month, I left and decided I was going to do this on my own.
What is it about makeup that would make you want to pursue it as your career?
It’s always been in me to be a service provider. Even when I was a college student I worked on many executive boards [of organizations], was heavily involved, and always did community service. I think it’s kind of the same with doing makeup. Doing makeup allows me to serve my community, especially women of color, in a way that many people can’t necessarily do. When you are in makeup artist you have a special type of talent. Especially, when clients are sitting in your chair for hours. Being able to and knowing that I have connected with so many people on the basis of makeup made it something that I wanted to do for the long-haul.
Speaking of women of color, what do you think about the focus shift in the beauty industry when it comes to multicultural beauty?
It’s a double edge sword. On one hand, it’s amazing. I’m on the medium-deep skin tone spectrum. For me, going into Walgreens, Walmart or even Sephora, I felt like I wasn’t represented. So, I can only imagine what it was like being a darker black woman and not seeing yourself represent it in any brand. I think that part is amazing that we can finally see ourselves in brands that wouldn’t look our way before. But on the other hand, it’s trendy. I think multiple brands hopping on the [inclusion] bandwagon is good for consumers because it gives options. However, is it authentic for the brands? I just feel like there aren’t any genuine bases from a lot of the brands. It’s just about money. And that’s okay, but I’m going to shop with Rihanna because I know her original goal before anybody else was to cater to black women.
So what is “The Fabulouss Experience” like?
The Fabulouss experience is a plethora of things. I’ve always said I wanted to be more than a makeup artist. So yes. you get to experience the makeup side of it where I take care of your skin and make you look flawless and fabulous, and make you feel great and beautiful about your natural face. But you also get the other side of that which are events, project management, and marketing. The Fabulouss Experience is an umbrella for all of these other smaller fabulous experiences. That really allows people to experience something that’s bigger than me but also me. I try to [transcend] myself through the things that I do. Ultimately, it allows me to reach people like me.
What exactly is the beauty conference?
The Beauty Conference is a community enrichment event that allows people to connect with influencers, beauty enthusiasts and professionals. And I say ‘people’ because it’s not just for people who like makeup. It will be March 30 from 10 am to 6 pm and we’re going to have two panels and two speakers. Our keynote speaker is Noor Face, a makeup artist based in Atlanta. She is a makeup artist turned mogul. Our panelists are beautiful women who have given themselves to the beauty conference in order to really connect with people who may possibly need their help.
There are so many conferences and brunches in Atlanta. What made you want to have your own? What differentiates The Beauty Conference from everyone else?
There are so many branches in conferences here however The Beauty Conference is industry-specific. A black-owned, industry-specific conference hasn’t been held here besides Bronner Brothers. I wanted people to be able to connect with their peers. There aren’t many opportunities to connect with people who look like us and do the same thing that we do in one space. I’ve been to networking events but there would be somebody there or multiple people there that had no relationship with me. We couldn’t collab or work together. I wasn’t able to refer a client to them even if I needed to. So that’s why I wanted to change the narrative with The Beauty Conference. I wanted people to not only connect to do similar things than them but also create a continuum. If someone needs to know a photographer that specializes in beauty portraits. If they need to know a hair stylist that specializes in natural hair. We need to know so many people, so I wanted to create a space like that but for it to also be a conference.
Your marketing has been on point and everything is beautiful. Do you have a full team have you been able to pull everything off?
No, I do not have a full team. I am the event organizer, brander, marketer, and sponsor contactor. Everything is done by me. I’m hoping to get a team soon. However, right now I am a one-woman show.
So you did all of those graphics by yourself?
Yes, I actually create everything on my phone. I use apps that I find on the App Store. I do have a Holy Grail of apps, however, I cannot disclose until I release my e-book. But I can tell you that everything is done on my phone. It takes a lot of patience compared to someone doing it on a computer. But it’s mobile so I think it’s easier.
Have you been coordinating everything from your phone?
Yes, from creating itineraries to creating spreadsheets all of that is done on my phone.
What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur at such a young age and be able to put on such a huge event?
I think it speaks volume. But I also think it’s important to credit the people that are around me. I don’t think I will be able to do it without them. I am able to put on such a big event and connect with so many women because of the fact that I have so much support around me. I definitely think it’s necessary as an entrepreneur because you go through so many ups and downs. When your highs are really high and your lows are really low it’s important to have a strong system around you so you don’t feel like you are crashing and burning.
With being so young, having so many responsibilities and putting on such a big event, how do you fight imposter syndrome?
Wow, I was just speaking to my friend about this. I just told her that I felt like I was fighting imposter syndrome. I feel like everything looks great on the outside but it’s chaos on the inside and I want things to match. This wasn’t even two days ago. Dealing with those things goes back to my support system. They keep me grounded. I also realized that I have been intentional in all of my steps, thus far. I feel like in imposter syndrome can’t keep me down because when I asked myself ‘how did this happen?’, ‘how did I even get in this position?’, I always remember me spending hours doing model’s faces or showing up to a photo shoot that wasn’t paid. Even though they were free they sent me in the right path. Imposter syndrome doesn’t have a home here because of me being so intentional and knowing what I want.
What would your tip to someone who is younger than you, looks up to you and wants to take the entrepreneurial route? What are some things that you wish you knew two years ago that you’d want to have someone else know now?
I would want them to know the road is not easy and if it was, then we would all be superstars. If you stay the course, stay consistent and stay persistent your dream will come true. I wish I knew that when I was younger when I started off on this entrepreneurial path. Things are going to come but it may not be right now. What is for you is for you, and if something passes you by, it wasn’t meant for you. Be okay with that.
What are three things that you want the attendees at The Beauty Conference to have when they leave?
I want to The Beauty Conference attendees to have at least two solid connections with other attendees that they did not know before attending the event. I want them to leave with a sense of empowerment and none of that for fluff stuff. I want them to have empowerment that can last them for years to come just from hearing one good panelist or one good speaker. I want it to stick with them forever. The last thing is I want them to leave with things that will allow them to go back into the community and empower others. I want them to experience something that’s transferable. If they can learn one thing from the conference that they can take back to someone to else, that would be the ultimate goal. I want him to leave but this sense of wanting to help others.
The Beauty Conference commences in Atlanta, Georgia, March 30, 2019. Tickets can be purchased here.