by LeighAnn BorrelliUpon entering my business for the first time; you are greeted with a wall of celebrity photos including myself featured with Queen Latifah, Michael Douglas, Mary Higgins Clark and many others. Always; the first questions I am asked is, “How did you do all of this?” A question I have yet to find an easy answer to…
Most assume that it is something that I’ve always dreamed of doing; but rather, my career is something that actually chose ME.
As the youngest of four children, in a family where we often struggled just to pay the bills, I began a regular-working schedule as a pre-teen.
After losing my job at the bank that employed me in high school, I took an application to the mall, and applied to every business that was hiring. The first to call me was a makeup store. I was concerned that I had no experience in the field, but accepted the job.
I then enrolled myself in community college, but quickly found myself attending only the classes that I was interested in; and each semester it became less; yet all-the-while picking up extra work hours, and enjoying that every day. I began getting repeat customers, and one of them had asked me, “Where did you go to school for this?” It was an epiphany.
With already 2 years of self-taught experience, I enrolled myself in Skin Care School with the sole intention of being a professional Makeup Artist. I assumed that if I spent my own money on a private education, I would have been taught by the best; yet to my dismay, I was told that the curriculum was “outdated” and I, myself, as a student, was asked to show my class what the trends in makeup were. I knew it was my passion, and others, including my teachers, could see it as well.
I began a research process in 2005, at the age of 23; registered my business, Vanity 101, and acquired a makeup and skincare line of my own. Just starting out, my then-boss was nice enough to let me display it in our salon. But in 2009, the economy struck, and with only four days notice, our salon was to close its doors.
Only two months later, I opened Face to Fase – what many called a “risky” move in a tanking economy. (In fact, I furnished my spa almost completely with fixtures from other businesses that were closing!) However, I never considered it a risk; failure was never an option, because I knew I was ready to work for it. I never took a loan from the bank, nor personally. It was financed completely on my own, with the money I earned from my years of employment.
I immediately saw that; just because you open your doors, does not mean that people will come to you. You have to go out and get it– and THAT, I believe, is the “make or break” point in ANY business. I am both proud and thankful to say that I made it. Through hard work and long hours, I am currently celebrating my 5th year at my location, I am the youngest member of the Board of Directors in Downtown Toms River, I have had makeup credits on Showtime, and have world-renowned names that I am pleased to not only call clients, but friends.
However, it doesn’t end there. It would be selfish for anyone to accept success without giving back. I volunteer my time as a CCD teacher to 8th graders. And, this Spring I will be launching Vanity Academy, LLC – an instructional facility dedicated solely to Makeup; exactly what I yearned to attend in lieu of college.
There is a saying “If you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life.”
Which makes the answer to the second question that I am asked the most, much easier to answer: “When do you take vacation?” To that I say, “Vacation from what? I have yet to “work” a day in my life…”
LeighAnn can be reached at Face to Fase Facial Spa & Cosmetic Studio at 732-668-2181 or visit www.vanity101.com or connect with her on social media: