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Betsey McKenzie: “Develop a routine for all aspects of your business and life”

Develop a signature look and keep it up! It may be something as simple as a bold lip and choppy bangs, but once you master it, you can achieve it quickly and always feel like your best self. Also, I highly recommend prioritizing your skincare routine. It not only makes sure that the largest organ […]

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Develop a signature look and keep it up! It may be something as simple as a bold lip and choppy bangs, but once you master it, you can achieve it quickly and always feel like your best self. Also, I highly recommend prioritizing your skincare routine. It not only makes sure that the largest organ of your body is healthy and protected but makes everything else you do look that much better on a smooth, radiant canvas. Lastly, change your self-talk to reflect what you would say to a child, a friend, or a stranger. You would never walk up to a stranger and say, “Wow, those under-eye circles make you look dead.” Instead, you would tell them how beautiful their eye color is or how much you like their haircut. Extend this love and grace to yourself.


Asa part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Betsey McKenzie of Luminous Beauty, LLC.

Betsey McKenzie is a C.I.D.E.S.C.O. Certified Master Esthetician and Makeup Artist who has worked in various facets of the beauty industry for over a decade and founded Luminous Beauty LLC (a salon and on-site hair and makeup company) five years ago. Betsey has a Bachelor’s in the Psychology of Beauty and continuously strives to stay educated in products, procedures, and techniques. As a Queer business owner, she recognizes the challenges of not fitting into a traditional beauty mold and works to promote inclusivity and diversity in the industry.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

After going to college to be a pilot, I was unhappily working as a flight attendant to get my foot in the door at an airline. I was trying to figure out what I really wanted to do for my vocation when I stopped in at Chanel in Van Maur department store for a facial. I told the esthetician how I had always loved all things skincare and makeup and asked her if she liked what she did. Of course she loves her job and gave me a beauty school recommendation. I was sitting in class two weeks later.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I was fortunate to experience the link between beauty services and emotional healing early on in my career. A mother-of-the-groom scheduled a trial run and I could feel the nervous energy rolling off her when she walked into the salon. She had a meltdown during her appointment and ran out crying. After bringing her back in and getting her calmed down, we were able to determine that her meltdown was because of having to see her ex-husband and his new wife for the first time at her son’s wedding….and not because of her hair and makeup. All of the employees and clients gathered around her to listen. We ended up sharing our own hardships, breakthroughs, and gave our love and support to her. She was a vastly calmer person on the wedding day and wrote us the most amazing thank you notes about how we lifted her up during her time of need and how fabulous she looked and felt that day. She has become a long-term client and is a constant reminder of how much power we have to affect people.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

The tipping point in my business was when I hired additional artists and implemented a CRM to simplify the administrative process. One person can only work so much and since my plans at cloning myself had failed, I had to find ways to work more efficiently and add more people to send out to weddings that were both talented and represented my company ideals and standards. It was tricky and a learning process, but it was the best decision I made in growing my company so that I could both earn a living and have a personal life.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have met some truly amazing women that have given me a boost throughout the process of starting and growing my business. The biggest help came from a salon owner who had been a hairdresser for 35 years. We met while I was doing wedding makeup for a party that was having their hair done at her salon. She asked me why someone of my talent level didn’t have her own salon and I shared my life story of having to start over from scratch after my divorce. She set up a makeup and skin area in the back of her salon and gave me the keys two weeks later. She didn’t charge me any rent; I just provided additional services to her clientele and she liked having me around. I could not have started or grown my business without her help. She just told me today how watching me has inspired her to be more intentional about her business instead of just resting on her laurels.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?

A lot of on-site hair and makeup companies are cash under the table, which can be unreliable and at best — it focuses on the fun parts and at worst — it forgets the business end. I wanted to run a legitimate and reliable business for both our clients and our staff focusing on the highest standards of skill, sanitation, customer service, and professionalism. This elevates our work, our staff, and our industry. We are beauty experts that provide judgment-free beauty services. This helps our clients by giving them a safe space to ask questions and receive services even if they don’t fit into what a traditional beauty client looks like.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?

We are finally beginning to move away from anti-aging labels, photo-shopping and starting to see the inclusion of diversity. It is going to be a long road, but I am excited that the conversations are happening and that this change is being driven by the consumers.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?

I am concerned about misrepresentation, influencers, and the fast rise of “naturally-derived” beauty products. We are still being plagued by “snake oil” salespeople hawking products that will solve all your beauty problems. Clean beauty sounds great on the surface, but products that contain certain types of preservatives and stabilizers are generally safer for the skin because they were formulated to be. Poison ivy is natural, but you wouldn’t want it as a face mask!

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

Develop a signature look and keep it up! It may be something as simple as a bold lip and choppy bangs, but once you master it, you can achieve it quickly and always feel like your best self. Also, I highly recommend prioritizing your skincare routine. It not only makes sure that the largest organ of your body is healthy and protected but makes everything else you do look that much better on a smooth, radiant canvas. Lastly, change your self-talk to reflect what you would say to a child, a friend, or a stranger. You would never walk up to a stranger and say, “Wow, those under-eye circles make you look dead.” Instead, you would tell them how beautiful their eye color is or how much you like their haircut. Extend this love and grace to yourself.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.

  • Always be authentic. Your clients can tell when they are being sold and they don’t want that. Talk to them the way you would to your best friend and don’t recommend products or services they don’t need or want. I frequently sell things when I’m not trying…even when I’m a client in another store. I share my experience and feedback about products with other customers and make sales that have nothing to do with my business.
  • Do your homework. Clients are more educated than ever before, and we need to know about the products and services they ask about. I’m constantly trying new things to see if they are legit — or hype. My clients trust me to give them the honest truth and to research something before rendering an opinion. The Vampire Facial/Facelift was one of the more intense treatments I tried, especially since the MedSpa doctor didn’t bother to go through any training before performing the procedure on me. I experienced all of it without any numbing agent and have to say the minuscule positive outcome for my skin was not worth the pain or expense.
  • Practice what you preach. If you are rocking a sunburn, they aren’t going to take you seriously when you tell them the importance of always wearing SPF. I went to Hawaii for 10 days for my 40th birthday and returned just as ghostly pale as when I left. I still had all the fun on the beach, in the water, and hiking in the mountains. I just did it under UPF clothing, a sunbrella, and some serious zinc oxide.
  • Lift up others. We all do better when we all do better. I had a mentor very early on in my career. She said the only condition for receiving her help was for me to promise to do the same. I have made that part of my life’s mission and I regularly give others a boost. One of my former makeup artists let me know that she loved working for me but wanted to start her own business. I helped her get into school, start her LLC, and give her business guidance when she has questions. We now share a salon space and it brings me so much joy to see her flourish.
  • Develop a routine for all aspects of your business and life. We all know that self-care is necessary to be able to work hard for long hours, but it can be difficult to prioritize yourself when building and maintaining a business. I often feel pulled in too many directions and have developed rules around work to keep me grounded.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love nothing more than for people to be intentional about their lives. If you don’t plan your life, it’s over before you know it and you didn’t do all the things you dreamed about. Being intentional about all aspects of your life, personal, spiritual, social, financial, work, family, beauty, and health will give you a greater sense of direction and allow you to prioritize the things that are actually important to you and not get stuck spending time, money, and energy on unfulfilling junk.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“When you can start looking at life as a series of lessons rather than mistakes, it will give you more freedom to experiment rather than always striving to achieve perfection.”

― Ruth Soukup, Do It Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love

I have had many setbacks in my life but each one has taught me something valuable for moving forward. Things that seemed earth-shattering have catapulted me through change and growth, giving me the tools and knowledge to adapt and succeed in life. I’ve also let go of trying to be perfect since it isn’t possible. Getting things done well, is good enough.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow us online at www.be-luminous.net, on Instagram http://instagram.com/luminousbeautyofficial , and on Facebook http://facebook.com/beluminousmn

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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