MILESTONE: Fifteen Years of The Powder Group

When I left my job in Artist Relations at MAC, a number of thoughtful parting words were expressed to me by my fellow corporate executives at the brand. You are welcome back whenever you’d like to return. It won’t be the same, maybe quieter but not the same, without you! Why do you want to start your own business when you have such a good job? And of course my favorite, There’s no money in education.

That last one has hit home over and over again throughout the last 15 years. It’s true that the industry of education and events is not necessarily a cash-cow. It has also become more crowded — and competitive — that I could ever have imagined. But, as many who have attended programs at The Powder Group know, the education piece is just a part of what we do. It has always been a critical and highly visible part of what our purpose is, but it’s just one part.

When I started The Powder Group it was a different time in the industry. There were far fewer makeup artists. Social media didn’t exist, save for a few online message boards like Emelle’s Forum. There were few places where pro makeup artists could connect without the end goal being purchasing more makeup. Education was basically from
either a school, the union if you were lucky enough to be a member, or MAC, where we had created a strong and broad program of Master Classes and industry events.

I saw a huge white-space out there in our industry and I knew in my heart that leaving the comfort of corporate behind was a worthwhile risk to take. There have been ups
and downs — or if we are going in the actual order of events, it would be downs, downs and then ups. It has not always been a smooth ride, but I wouldn’t trade it all for the world.

We’ve spent the past 15 years celebrating the most important, inspirational and iconic professional makeup artists in the industry — 100 of them highlighted right here in
this feature. And we have celebrated them right alongside rising stars, students and those just breaking into the industry.

I take great pride in the fact that, since day one, we have placed a spotlight on all artists. Agency talent, award winners, celebrity artists, bridal experts, retail pros, students and part-time artists alike, all receive our love and respect in equal measure. We push hard to ensure that our clients, educators and program participants understand that our perspective is that without including all artists, The Powder Group community would not be whole.

When I think about the difference between what it takes to be successful as a makeup artist today versus 15 years ago, it is overwhelming. Everything is different. There is an
incredible amount of competition from unlikely sources like Instagram and Apps. There is much more effort needed to get a job and even more to keep that client. There are so
many new products coming out every year that it is impossible to keep on top of all of the newness. Everyone with a makeup brush or flatiron in their hands is teaching classes. I mean, it is just an amazing thing to watch. And watch it we do at The Powder Group. Because we are not just here to provide you education and community, we are here to be your filter, and your guide, in a loud, fast and crowded industry. Thank you for trusting us to be that guide.

Thank you also for trusting us to provide you with the best experiences, most meaningful connections and most relevant and inspirational programs along with the strongest and most focused community anywhere in professional beauty. The fact that you, the most committed pros in makeup, enjoy and appreciate what we do enough to continue doing it with us over the years is humbling.

When I think back to our first event, a bodypainting workshop led by Sheila McKenna and Hagen Linss, hosted at Tobi Britton’s The Makeup Shop in NYC, I can’t believe how many of our family are still here with us today. I am filled with pride when I see the  amazing things the artists who have passed through The Powder Group are now accomplishing.

The list of those who have helped us get to this milestone at The Powder Group is far too extensive to include here. Countless makeup artists, hairstylists and photographers,
brands clients, advertisers, and TPG Pro members have played huge roles in our longevity. Our relevance comes from you. Our credibility is deeply tied to yours. Our relationship with each of you is a key factor in making The Powder Group synonymous with excellence in education, relevance in our industry and growth as community. I am
grateful beyond words for each of your support.

That said, there are some without whom there would be no The Powder Group today — and I mean that sincerely.  To James Vincent, Alan Boss, Shelly Taggar, Tobin Ost and my biggest cheerleader and supporter, my incredible husband, Brad Farrell, I don’t know where I’d be today without each of you. I know it has not always been easy. Thank you for seeing the purpose in my vision and for playing such an instrumental role in keeping The Powder Group going all these years. Thank you for helping to make it possible.

To my TPG Pro members across the country and around the globe, along with my The Powder Group team members of today and yesterday, your trust in me and our values is what keeps me moving forward everyday. Thank you to each and every one of you for your contribution to all that The Powder Group is and all it can become.

Words and Photos Michael DeVellis
Illustration David Gilmore