RapidChat: Latesha Lipscomb

As someone who has always been about both beauty and brains,  I GOT FACE Cosmetic Concierge business owner Latesha Lipscomb spends her days doing everything from talking conflict resolution and restorative justice to picking out the perfect peonies for an event — and everything in between.
As someone who has always been about both beauty and brains,  I GOT FACE Cosmetic Concierge business owner Latesha Lipscomb spends her days doing everything from talking conflict resolution and restorative justice to picking out the perfect peonies for an event — and everything in between.
Rapid Growth Media: Since its original debut (over 15 years ago), I Got Face Cosmetic Concierge has evolved into much more than a cosmetic concierge service. What are some of the newer amenities you offer to your clients?
Latesha Lipscomb: Currently, I Got Face offers an opportunity for clients to receive services in our newly remodeled studio space in downtown Grand Rapids. Or as I always say, “our talented traveling troupe can bring the glam to you!” We are looking to expand our business by taking our talent on the road - literally. We’d like to launch a make-up mobile machine or beauty bus in the Spring of next year. As our community evolves we believe, so should our innovation. So think of a swanky food truck serving up great [I Got] Face. We also currently offer really cool t-shirt and sweatshirt options for our die-hard fans that love our logo. Those retail for $10 and $15 dollars and can be picked up here on your next in studio visit.
RG: With an education and background in law, you made a pretty aggressive career move when you switched over to a job within the beauty industry.
LL: Yes! As an avid reader, skilled writer, and semi-drama queen, law school and a career in that arena seemed like a natural progression, and I have certainly had my run with it. I have always been a person who desires balance, so I knew that I wouldn’t be happy working 80 hours a week doing acquisitions and mergers for a major firm. I’ve always been both “beauty and brains”, and as an entrepreneur, I generally work a 9-5 that requires those skills - but focus my personal ventures on all things nightlife, beauty, and entertainment.

For example, I serve on the Board of Directors for the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan, but the committee I serve on is both marketing and fundraising; I get the best of both worlds. One day we might talk conflict resolution, mediation, and restorative justice. The next day I’m picking out the perfect peonies for an event were hosting or schmoozing with potential donors who might support our cause. So whether is negotiating a formal agreement in my day job or writing an article for local publication on what’s hip, hot and happening in our city, I still incorporate my legal education into my life on a daily basis. Who knows, maybe one day I become corporate counsel for a major beauty brand. At least that way no one will ever question why I might wearing a bold orange YSL lipstick to the office.

RG: How did you come to find the niche for a cosmetic concierge service within Grand Rapids?
LL: Actually, I Got Face GR was born because when I first moved back home in 2010 from having spent years in the industry in Boston, Chicago, and New York. It was incredibly difficult to secure a job at a local make-up counter; it was like trying to get an invite into a secret society of artists that weren’t welcoming of new friends at the time.

After multiple attempts and multiple closed doors, I decided I’d try things on my own. Especially since I had an awesome new live/work space unit to use at my leisure in a central location. With that, I decided to go full speed ahead in the directions of my dreams. My make-up studio and workspace were essentially born out of that rejection. It’s a good thing that “delayed is not
denied”, because I provide a service to all women, particularly women of color, that you can’t find anywhere else in downtown Grand Rapids.
RG: Over the recent years, cosmetic companies have expanded their scope in shades of foundation – yet there are many who still have limited offerings. As a woman of color, how does this impact your business and techniques?
LL: Because I have been in the business so long, I have seen how much this billion-dollar industry has grown and how the only color that ultimately matters is green. I would argue that most companies have realized that all women spend lots of money in search of the fountain of youth and have now altered their offerings to accommodate all women. For example, Fashion Fair Cosmetics - which is the oldest beauty line that offers foundations for women of color - have completely revamped line in the last 5 years. We’ve seen offerings from Cover Girl Queen Collection, Milani, Black Radiance, and Maybelline, that have all expanded their lines to include more shades for darker skin tones. So in my business, I make sure that our make-up kits contain colors that are flattering alike for those who may have pale beautiful skin like a porcelain doll to those that may have a deep, dark, more melanin hue. Beauty comes in many different shades and we're ready, willing and able to service anyone and everyone irrespective of where your shade of skin may fall on the color spectrum.
RG: What do you think this says about the beauty industry at large?
LL: I think it says that the beauty industry in becoming more diverse and inclusive as the days go by. All women want to look and feel their personal best, so it would behoove the industry not to meet this demographic where they are. I am so excited about how far things have come because it creates a space where we can now focus most on using cosmetics creatively because all women have the proper foundation to build upon. This makes it easier to zero in on trends and opens more people up to trying new things like red lipstick because it forces you to appreciate colors in a new way because now there is something for everyone.
RG: With the increasingly popular “natural” beauty trend, do you ever sense that women feel apprehensive about wearing makeup out of the fear of being judged?
LL: I think some women have always been apprehensive about wearing makeup for a number of reasons. Whether your boyfriend won’t approve or you’re someone who’s always been told “you don’t need makeup”, there’s always something nerve wrecking for some people about layering cosmetics on your face. I’d even argue that term “make-up” can be unnerving for a few. Ultimately, makeup is not about “need”. Make-up is about enhancing and highlighting a woman’s outer appearance and inner beauty. It’s personal.

The irony of this question is that what most people don’t know is that in some cases the most natural looks in music videos require the most product. So unless you’re going completely bare on the face, the term “natural” is relative. It means different things to different people. Make-up is fun and women should never worry about being judged for two reasons. First, the most important opinion comes from the man in the mirror. Second, make-up can be removed just as easily as it can be applied. If you don’t like that new eye shadow or blush, you can keep playing in make-up until you find a look you love!
RG: What is the most common request you get from your clients?
LL: Oddly enough, I have to say that most women who sit in my chair always say they want to “look natural”, which is awesome because I specialize in beauty makeup which plays up a woman’s natural features. I am a firm believer that the eyes are a woman’s most powerful feature, so if she doesn’t do anything else, she should always slide on some mascara before heading out the door. Personally, I wear lashes every day because I love the look it gives me and how it accentuates my doe-like eyes.

Eyes are the windows to the soul. I think this is part of the reason we have seen such a shift in the market for mink lashes and lash extensions (which can be costly) but nevertheless, the lash business is booming.

The other request I received often is for brow sculpting, which again highlights the eyes and frames the face. So ultimately, I’d highly recommend that women find a few products that they can use daily to bring light to their eyes, cheeks, and lips. Keep in mind that is not always what you use as much as it is how you use it. A great face is about application and technique. If she can do this she’ll master her own unique “natural face” in no time.

Jenna Morton is the RapidChat correspondent for Rapid Growth Media.
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