Tell us about yourself and professional journey:
I am Jeri Guyette, CEO and Founder of the luxury cosmetics brand Vintage Vixen Cosmetics™ LLC, especially created for women ages 35 and “Finer”. I am a Licensed Master Cosmetologist, Paramedical Aesthetician, and Camouflage Make-up Artist. I am also a Certified Medical and Clinical Electrologist, Certified Laser Hair, Vein Removal, and Skin Rejuvenation Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree major in Biology. I have worked in the field of Aesthetic medicine for over 30 years alongside dermatologists, cosmetic and plastic surgeons worldwide. My expertise is in treating ageing, acneic and hyperpigmented skin.
I began my professional journey by moving from my hometown of Savannah, Ga. to New York to model as a teenager. I had always been fascinated with high fashion and make-up, so it was an inevitable career choice. However, due to my stature and the industry height requirements at that time, I was soon relegated to catalog auditions. But, because of my love of the beauty industry I decided to pursue a career behind the scenes as a make-up artist and enrolled in Wilfred Beauty Academy, Brooklyn, N.Y. Back then, you could not be a MUA without a license and you definitely couldn’t work on set. One of the things that I noticed frequently was the congested skin condition of so many models and actors. Since I suffered from acne and hyperpigmentation personally, I began customizing cleansing routines for them prior to their make-up applications.
I dubbed this process as “prepping the canvas” and soon became known for my skincare results. This segued into the field of esthetics and I started enrolling in multiple esthetic trainings, seminars and certifications which led me to study not only here in the United States, but also abroad while living overseas. In 2004, I enrolled in college at the age of 35 to pursue a higher education. By 2008, I became a single mom and head of household working full-time, which increased my academic pressures. It took 11 years total, but in 2014 I graduated with my Associate of Science in Clinical Laboratory Technology degree and in 2016 with my Bachelor of Science degree. By 2017, I became disillusioned with the medical lab and realized that I missed working in the beauty industry. So, I decided to marry the two fields and become a cosmetic chemist. I know that’s a late start to the general mindset, but I believe as long as you are given a new dawn and can envision your dreams, it’s never too late.
What was the inspiration behind your pursuits?
Well, throughout the years, I noticed that regardless of how many cosmetic lines I worked with, none of them were specifically geared for ageing skin. While they all were advertised to be worn by many skin types, there wasn’t really any representation in media, print and television of mature looking women in their ad campaigns. Also, the skin changes that become evident with aging wasn’t being addressed. Women in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and what I like to call, “Finer” experience different skin changes that are brought on by hormonal fluctuations such as menopause and the depletion of estrogen. My clients began to complain about how the bright and fun colored lipsticks were chaffing their lips after being worn for hours throughout the day. The new, long wearing lippies that were being released offered great color payoffs and less frequent applications but had to be combined with a clear moisturizer stick layered on top to offset the dryness. Yet, the creamier options would not only transfer and settle into their lip lines but were mostly available in neutral, traditional colors rather than yellows, blues, greens, etc.
In addition, I too, was becoming “Finer” with the “Gift of Longevity” and found that certain brands I’ve used for years suddenly became drying to my naturally oily and acne prone skin; especially my lip and undereye areas. My hormonal changes caused me to revise my skincare as well as my cosmetic regimen. In doing so I also noticed a lack of bold lipstick colors that were devoid of heavy waxes and alcohols. I decided to create my own brand and to use women ages 35 and “Finer” as my Brand Ambassadors. It became imperative that they were represented, not as muted versions of themselves, but as beautiful, sexy, confident and empowered women who were boldly representing the new chapters in their lives. I included women in their 30’s as well because some have experienced surgical menopause, PCOS, hypothyroidism and other hormonal skin issues that mimic ageing skin.
On June 15, 2019, just before I turned 50 years “Fine”, I launched Vintage Vixen Cosmetics™ LLC, “The ProGenerative Cosmetic™”. We classify ourselves as ProGenerative because we are Pro-Ageing and reject the term ‘Anti-Ageing’. We strive to encourage women to be all that is beautifully you. Our products are formulated to enhance the skin’s cellular regeneration, help boost collagen production and maintain moisture. Our lipsticks contain luscious botanicals such as Coconut, Avocado and Castor seed oils, Shea butter, and Vitamin E along with a host of other “Glam Goodies”. The bold colors of “The Vixen Collection” and “The Soundstage Collection” are inspired by and named after famous Hollywood stars of film and sound from bygone era bringing vintage glamour, class and sass. We call our customers “Alpha Vixens” and of course refer to them as are our V.I.P. (Vixens In Power) “celebrities”.
How have you pivoted your business with the challenges that 2020 brought us?
2020 is indeed a year to be remembered, that’s for sure! It has brought a lot of challenges to us as a small business. We operate primarily online and until March 2020 relied on various pop-up venues, women’s empowerment conferences and special events in different states to showcase our brand and allow our customers to sample our products personally on our “Red Carpet”. That helped to build brand awareness, customer relations, networking and educational opportunities as well as increase our revenue. However, during the quarantine, all our events were cancelled. And so, we had to get creative. We joined an online virtual vending group, increased our Facebook lives from once weekly to six days weekly, offered raffles to win free products, afforded opportunities for our customers to “try before you buy”, and created sales bundles and discounts.
We also used our live platform to teach our customers how to maintain their sanitation safety during the antibacterial shortage by making homemade 75% - 95% hand sanitizers using the same ethyl alcohol found in 151 -190 proof drinking alcohol. Of course, we had to provide a word of caution regarding its highly flammable properties for liability sake but we were honored to join the multiple distilleries who stepped up to the plate and used their own supply to manufacture hand sanitizers for our communities. We did this for three months straight. Our sales increased until the Covid-19 mask mandates occurred. At that time, we began to educate our customers on how to make various sugar lip scrubs and moisturizers to exfoliate and hydrate their delicate lips and to combat the dryness of wearing face masks.
Once our sales began to decline, we then reached out to several manufacturers before sourcing one that was agreeable to our MOQ and budget and went into production of a 100% cotton, clear TPU (Thermoplastic polyurethane) mouth face mask with adjustable ear loops and adjustable, enclosed nose wire. We recently launched this face mask, “The MaskHerAid”, in September 2020 and noticed a steady growing increase in lipstick sales. Our customer responses have been positive now that their vibrant colored lips and beautiful smiles can be seen again. We had to acknowledge new unprecedented global challenges, create ingenious strategies and execute innovative resolutions to meet those challenges head on in order to remain afloat.
What is next for you in 2021?
In 2021, it is our intention for Vintage Vixen Cosmetics to become the industry leader of ProGenerative cosmetics so as to continue to grow in this niche that has been overlooked in the beauty industry for far too long. We plan to release an extended color line that will include our SS2021 eyeshadow collection as well as several new cosmetic products. We embraced the quarantine positively; located new teams of chemists and concentrated our focus on not only growing our brand but on creating our new lines and improving their formulations as well. We want to continue to ensure their beneficial qualities to the skin, remain cruelty-free, paraben free and Vegan friendly while still offering fun and exciting hues. We’re optimistically looking forward to 2021 to empower more “Fine” women to begin their own entrepreneurial journeys and to look amazing while doing so.
How can readers find you online and support your business?
They can find us in our virtual “Studio” website at www.vintagevixencosmetics.com as well as our social media platforms listed below. We love meeting new “Alpha Vixens”, so drop on in Dah~lings! Our “Red Carpet” is waiting for you.
Facebook: Vintage Vixen Cosmetics, LLC - Home | Facebook
YouTube: Vintage Vixen Cosmetics LLC - YouTube