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Meet Riley Brianne of Riley Brianne Hair and Makeup Design

Today we’d like to introduce you to Riley Brianne.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a “starving college student”, I had to find a way to bring in a small income around my 18+ unit class schedule. Finding a boss who’s willing to work around your studies after an economic crash, when anyone and everyone was looking for any kind of job no matter their education level, was impossible. That’s when I connected the dots: I had worked at Sephora and under the tutelage of celebrity makeup artist Jill Powell for a couple years at this point, and I knew that I ‘knew my stuff’. In fact, I found myself educating many certified makeup artists entering the Temecula Sephora store, which told me something loud and clear: I can do this, and I can do it better than most.

So, I started. Using a bunch of hodge-podge gratis cosmetics, I meticulously organized into a large, turquoise case that Jill gave me, I took my hairstylist Aunt’s client referral and landed my first wedding in North L.A. in 2009. I was hooked.

The road was rocky, especially with finishing my degree, but this was a ‘job’ that worked around my schedule and brought in enough money to fund my meals, coffee house study sessions, and the fuel-ups in my silver 1999 Mercury Cougar to get me home on weekends.

Once I graduated with my B.A. in Journalism and Media, I attempted to get a “big girl job” where I could really use my degree. Again, darn near impossible in a market where 30-year veteran employees in every field, who were let go from their esteemed positions in our economic downfall, were snapping up all the jobs usually reserved for the newly graduated. After landing a couple of local marketing positions underneath the absolute worst bosses I have ever, in my entire life, worked for, I decided two things:

1. It’s all or nothing – I jump, I take the risk into working Riley Brianne full time, and I never work for terrible bosses again;

2. I will never be the kind of person that others loathe working for. My (then future) employees will be treated as equals, will be heavily invested in, and will feel like my partners more than they’d ever feel like employees.

So in 2012, took the plunge. I revamped my website, changed my branding and my marketing tactics, and started attending monthly meetings in Temecula Wine Country where I could get my networking on. This is right about the time where my best friend and partner-in-crime, Kaylee, joined me.

I pushed hard into growing Riley Brianne for the following 3 years, Kaylee becoming more and more vital to the business. More girls came along, including Cassandra, another hairstylist who also became a vital part of the business and is now the current owner and manager. Hundreds of weddings and events, numerous employees, nearly 100 5-star reviews, a million amazing memories to last a lifetime, and four years later, I am proud to say that I “made it.” Though, I would be a fool to say I did it alone. I couldn’t have done it without a lot of help from a lot of people, including my parents and Jill Powell, and especially Kaylee and Cassandra.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Being a business owner and a fantastic boss often means sacrifice – and lots of it. There have been countless times where I made sure my girls were very well taken care of at my own expense, plenty of times where I had to work an event while quite sick (like the time I had pneumonia and bronchitis and did a 17-service wedding…), and plenty of times where we gave an event our absolute best efforts, going far above and beyond, only to turn up with a negative review. One of the hardest lessons learned is that you can’t please them all, no matter what you do.

In the end, though, all of that blood, sweat, and tears was simply an investment into my business that has only caused it to boom – we have more events booked now than ever. The fact that I have always tried to treat my staff as valuable members of a team instead of low-level employees has proven a successful strategy, and each one of them is a gem I know I can rely on. And, through the years, I have had the huge blessing of pouring my talent, expertise, passion, and knowledge into girls along the way, and have had the great reward of watching them grow and flourish.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Many things set us apart. 🙂

  • We are entirely mobile – we have no storefront – which enables us to provide our luxurious services any of our clients in the comfort of their own homes or hotel rooms.
  • Our girls on staff are encouraged to continue their education in hairstyling and makeup artistry, which they do. They can accomplish current trends and timeless looks with equal skill.
  • We assess our clients’ needs, personalities, and desires and pair them with the artists we believe will best suit them. Of course, availability also plays a part in this, but we do our best!
  • We educate our clients as we go. We don’t believe that feeling “THIS beautiful” should start and stop with us; we want our clients to take a few ‘magic tricks’ home with them, and will reveal our secrets so long as we have clients willing to listen.
  • Kaylee and I worked for years to develop specific processes that cause hairstyles and makeup to last all day, no matter what. Let’s just say that our processes are unique and absolutely foolproof, and our 5-star reviews are a testament to that. We like to say that unless you’re caught in a torrential downpour, your look is secure!

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success isn’t money.

Success is wholly based on how many people you’re able to make a positive impression on, how many lives you’re able to impact, and how many people can walk away from what you’re doing with warm memories and good feelings. It’s watching others take what you’ve given them and take flight, spreading the love and good vibes you poured into them.

And no less important, it’s the glisten you see in the corner of a bride’s eye, her smile, and the warm hug you receive when she sees herself in the mirror after you’ve finished her makeup and hair.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ashlee Bee Photography
Nearly North Visuals

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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