What do you get when you cross a professional makeup artist with business savvy and a vision of creative freedom for top quality makeup artists? You get Gloss and Glam.

In 2010, when she was only 24 years old, former makeup artist Nikki Robinson decided to create her own company. Already a beauty and fashion industry veteran, Nikki had also worked in marketing, product and brand development in such notable companies as LVMH, Avon and Bath & Body Works. Out of her accumulated experience, she decided to fill what she saw as a huge industry void.

Robinson noticed that there was, “…an amazing amount of talent in the hair and makeup industry doing celebrities and film and magazines, but no companies catering to bringing the talent to film & tv and also to private clients and brides.” This was the inspiration for Gloss and Glam.

Her company is founded on a very simple notion that makes a whole lot of sense. Professional artists should be able to explore their passion and creativity, working in different areas of the business gathering inspiration and experience. Thus, instead of being pigeonholed into one style or type of work, Gloss and Glam artists work in film, television, commercials, and runway, as well as for brides and other private clients.

As you can imagine, everyone benefits from this arrangement. Gloss and Glam stylists are well rounded, experienced and excited about their work. They function as a kind of extended family, sharing their knowledge with one another and often collaborating on projects. They are also known for their high degree of professionalism and dependability, values which Robinson insists on as a hallmark of her brand.

As a business owner, Nikki recognizes the high level of responsibility to the people whose livelihoods depend on its success. One of her first great challenges was to make her bottom line, so she could pay everyone regularly. Still, she feels the benefits of being an entrepreneur far outweigh the pressures. As the sole owner of her company, she can implement changes in real time, giving her the ability to respond to styles and trends without going through many layers of corporate decision making. For instance, her artists offer all green products for their services, something that puts her company in the forefront of industry sustainability practices.

Having just celebrated the company’s second year anniversary in March, Robinson is happy to report quadrupled growth in 2011. And things are looking good for 2012 – the first quarter is already much better than last year, as they continue to meet an ever evolving series of goals. “Gloss and Glam is more successful than I ever imagined,” she says.

Noting that the number of male entrepreneurs in the  marketplace still far outweighs the number of females, she does feel the incredible pressure to succeed. Still, she does encourage young people, especially young women, to believe that they can have it all if they are willing to take the risk.

Her advice to fledgling entrepreneurs is that it’s a fantastic choice, filled with all sorts of freedom, but definitely not for the faint of heart. “If we weren’t risk takers, we wouldn’t be able to do it.”

Listen to my complete conversation with Nikki Robinson here:


Interview by: Deborah Oster Pannell, a Smith College graduate, is a writer who specializes in the arts, media, holistic health, advocacy and events. As Director of Communications for the tech start-up eventwist, she also manages their blog. Some of her favorite work is featured on modernlifeblogs.com, lizkingevents.com, and her own blog, She Says Yes. Currently she is launching Project Mavens, a literary, editorial design collective, with partner & writer Lillian Ann Slugocki. On Twitter @projectmaven.