Let’s face it, running a business is hard work. Running one for 20 years in a constantly shifting industry can be challenging on the best days, and make you wonder if you should give up during the most difficult ones. But when you are doing something you truly believe in — something that creates community, supports careers and businesses and allows you to be a catalyst for change — it becomes worth all of the effort and stress. It becomes your core, your soul, your
purpose. The Powder Group is that purpose for me.
When I started The Powder Group it was a different time in the industry. There were far fewer makeup artists. Social media as we know it didn’t exist and there were few places where pro makeup artists could connect. Education was basically from either a school, the Union if you were lucky enough to be a member, or MAC where we had created an extensive education program for our pro customer.
I saw a huge white space out there in our industry and I knew in my heart that leaving the financial comfort of the corporate world behind was a worthwhile risk to take. So, I made the leap from executive to entrepreneur in 2003.
Shortly after leaving my role in Artist Relations at MAC, I sat with some colleagues talking about this new company I was going to be starting over the coming months. I explained the concept of The Powder Group, our focus on pro makeup education and our emphasis on developing a stronger sense of support and community for our industry. I can remember being met with blank stares along with questions
as to how I was going to make this into a career.
Those looks of uncertainty remained unchanged as I went on to talk about my plan to create a new trade show called The Makeup Show that felt more like a big industry celebration than a trade event, and a magazine that celebrated the makeup artist — first and foremost, front and center — along with the artistic and creative side of our business, in a way I felt was underserved at that time.
Well, it took a bit longer than I had anticipated to convince even the most die-hard makeup pros and pro-focused brands that this concept, and new way of thinking about the craft and career of the professional makeup artist, was one that they should embrace. But, embrace it they finally did.
I can proudly say that 20 years later I have been fortunate enough to travel the world with The Powder Group message and to call thousands of makeup artists part of The Powder Group family, along with the most pro-centric brands and businesses and most inspirational educators in our industry.
It all started in 2003 with our first program – The Body Makeup Workshop with Sheila McKenna and Hagen Linss, that I hosted at Tobi Britton’s The Makeup Shop, in NYC. The next year we toured events in LA, Boston and Miami and moved into our own shared studio in NYC. We partnered with global industry shows like Warpaint Expo in London, Color Mundo in Montreal and World Bodypainting Festival in Austria. In 2005 we partnered with Metropolitan Pavilion to launch The Makeup Show and in 2008 I lauched On Makeup Magazine, The Artist Summit and Evolution. It’s been a busy 20 years indeed.
Over the course of these decades we have had the honor of presenting hundreds of programs across every area important to the pro beauty artisan — from career and
business development, to inspirational and wellness focused sessions, and of course technique and artistry programming covering every area of professioal makeup work as well as fine arts, hairstyling and photography. We have worked with more than 250 educators around the globe, many of them pictured here in this feature, and we have put a spotlight on the members of our TPG Pro community at every turn. We continue to partner with top industry business and events in pro beauty including WBF, TMS, ISSE, Premiere Shows, MakeUp In NY and Los Angeles and Professional Beauty Association.
My personal journey as a founder has taken me across the U.S. and to Paris, Brussels, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Toronto, Berlin and London to share the message of pro community and help artists around the world rethink and refocus on their career. My book Ten Word has been used in schools and programs across the industry and I’m humbled every time I hear how it has affected someone’s life or career.
During the pandemic we evolved The Powder Group into a completely online education and inspiration resource, keeping our community focused on what would come next and giving them the hope and tools to make it through the most challenging time in our industry’s history. I feel so fortunate to have been able to continue to be there for our industry during those years, and so grateful to every brand partner that supported us during those unprecedented times.
The Powder Group journey has been a long and exciting one, and truly the most satisfying of my life. Thank you to everyone who has come along for the ride, to those who supported this new idea from the beginning and to those who pushed us
forward. Over the past two decades there have been countless industry businesses, artists, educators, TPG team members and TPG Pro members who have been by my side, but none more committed to the cause than James Vincent. He has been my rock, my friend, my partner, my shoulder to lean on and my inspiration for nearly all of the past 20 years. Thank you James and thank you to everyone who has given
me the huge honor of being with me on this journey.
Words loftily Michael DeVellis
Photos Courtesy of The Powder Group