Melanie Sutrathada
Melanie Sutrathada
FWO’s Brand Manager Melanie Sutrathada believes in eating dessert first, always looking for the silver lining, and that you can never be overdressed or overeducated. Say hello at @melaniesutra.

Remaking Makeup: Interview with Make-Up Pro

Interview with Chika and Cheve Chan of Make-up Pro

If you’re involved in almost any aspect of the New York fashion scene, you’ve probably heard the name “Make-up Pro” in conjunction with fashion shows and editorials, or just from people’s lips.

FWO’s Melanie Sutrathada recently sat down with founders Chika and Cheve Chan, for her web series Under the Seam. As she discovered, these two disruptors have created a new business model in the makeup business, functioning as a services provider, educational facility, and mentoring and career counseling hub, while bridging the gap between marketing and artistry.

Cheve Chan
Cheve Chan

Q: Tell us about Make-up Pro and how you got started. I’d love to hear about the inspiration behind your entire company.

Chika Chan
Chika Chan

Chika: I actually started Make-up Pro six years ago, and now Cheve has joined the company as well, and we are so happy finally. I have a full team right now, but six years ago I remember I’d just come back from Hong Kong, and previously I was the retail manager for Bobbi Brown. I learned so much from the company and figured maybe we should have some kind of workshop, that kind of balances the upper management and the artists.

I figured maybe we should have some kind of workshop that balances the upper management and the artists.

It’s always like a gap. A lot of makeup artists say “I look good, I am very skillful,” but they don’t realize they actually have a sales goal. So it’s not easy for the upper management to deliver marketing strategies. For the artists it’s like, “It’s too much. I’m an artist.”

Q: Right.

Chika: So we started Make-up Pro and then we started to do workshops, to fill in the gaps. And now we network a lot, with LVMH Group, Estée Lauder Group, and L’Oreal Group. And before that, the reason I got into makeup is because I was a finalist in a competition in London, from IMATS, it’s called the International Makeup Audition.

I really want to bring the artistry mixed with business and make people alive. That’s how we started.

Q: I love it.

Cheve: What we’ve created is more like a platform, so we invite and welcome a lot of people from different worlds and walks of life. You know anything in the art world we really welcome it; we want to create this as a creative haven … a platform for everyone to showcase their work whether it’s fashion week, whether it’s an editorial shoot, whether it’s an artist, whether it’s a graffiti artist that wants to utilize this space. So we just really welcome that, and I think that’s truly what the concept and aspiration is about.

Backstage at Concept Korea at New York Fashion Week
Backstage at Concept Korea at New York Fashion Week

Q: Absolutely! This amazing graffiti wall really just stands out; it’s not something you really see when you go to a makeup studio or even a lot of places in New York. There’s actually a workshop happening right now so these lovely ladies hold between two and three different workshops every single day, even on Sundays, which I still think is crazy. Can you guys tell us a little bit about the classes you’re offering and how everyday people can get involved?

Cheve: Yeah so currently, we are having different workshops and one of them is really gearing toward makeup artistry. So we want to really educate our artists to actually understand their periodic looks, this is because fashion and a lot of the trends are from history.

You know, the Great Gatsby look, the Marilyn Monroe look, Chanel. A lot of the brands that are trendsetters; these are kind of the inspirations that they are looking at, so it’s important to really educate our students with artistry skills, to understand trends, to know what was the ‘80s, how to like bring it back into modern, and just really transition it and make it your own.

The Great Gatsby look, the Marilyn Monroe look …

Chika: The Counter Workshop is an 80-hour workshop.

Q: That’s a lot of hours!

Chika: So a lot of artist would actually come in and say “hey, I want to learn makeup, I might have a little sense of makeup artistry skills; however, I really want to know how can I prep myself for an interview.”

So at that part we teach them how to dress properly, how to set their self-goals, and how to communicate to upper management and so on. And also chatting with your clients while you’re applying makeup. Not just applying makeup with no sound.

We teach them how to dress properly, how to communicate to upper management and so on.

Because there are a lot of people who say, “Oh I am so in love with this makeup,” but you really have to really consult with your client. Is that what she’s going to do after she purchases the product? She might not want to be with that high cheek bone and thick brow, and maybe she will be like, “Hm, that’s the trend, but that’s not really me.” So I think communication is the key.

And that what’s we teach in the Counter Workshop; and after that Cheve will oversee their résumés and set up interviews immediately with Chanel, Tom Ford, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Macy’s, so it really depends on the student’s level. And then we also have job postings as well.

Cheve will oversee their résumés and set up interviews immediately

Backstage at NYFW
Backstage at NYFW

Q: It feels like Make-up Pro is a really wonderful way of connecting anyone from very basic beginners first picking up a brush, to someone who is on a much higher level, someone with a lot more expertise. Make-up Pro feels almost like a safe haven for anyone who is in makeup artistry, wanting to do more than beat your face in contour. I think it sounds like a really great way to learn and to grow and to continue the education aspect but also have a lot of fun with makeup.

Cheve & Chika: Yeah.

Q: So what are you guys seeing in regard to trends. I know we talked a little about Marilyn Monroe and a lot of others kinds of comebacks, because history always has a way of repeating itself.

Cheve: Colors are always really powerful when it comes to fashion, anything in the makeup artistry world, and so there are a lot of this trend forecasters like WGSN, so obviously we also look to see what is forecasting.

We also look at what is forecasting.

So for example for this year, 2017, one of the colors is greenery. So I think it’s a bit of pop color. And we also talk about it because of the politics, and because of what we are facing now. Sometimes it’s great to have some strong powerful color to make people feel better, to make people feel good. And also understanding because the color is greenery, that doesn’t mean you have to put green all over your face.

So how do you use that greenery in pops? Like little accents, like an accessory.

So we do teach and educate our artists with the colors, and what’s trending, and how to really be creative.

Chika: You know we want to try our best to convince our clients to try all the new colors that they hate the most. So it’s kind of crazy, but we want you to discover that you don’t need to have only one look. It could be very fun. Makeup, colors, are all about transforming. So now it’s summertime. Although you might hate that Barbie pink, you might hate that orange color … give it a try.

We want you to discover that you don’t need to have only one look.

It doesn’t have to be like very, very orangey, but it could be just like a little tint on the lip, and then it kind of changes your total look and brings some warm personality out there, and help discover who you are.

Cheve: I think that a lot of girls out here are trying to find themselves, or want to discover “what is the best on me, what do I look the best in.” So I think that this is kind of a concept, that we wanted to be an educator, the pros to help them go down this path and to really discover who they are. And we are super excited about it.

We’re launching this survey where we are inviting 1,000 people to get complimentary makeup from Make-up Pro from members and artists, and to really get to know them through the survey, and to really discover who they are.

We are inviting 1,000 people to get complimentary makeup from Make-up Pro.

(For more information, follow Make-up Pro on Facebook for updates.)


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