Last month we had the opportunity to visit MEI-CHA PRO and permanent makeup artist, Tinel Carapia, at her studio The Highbrow located in Newport Beach, CA. We chatted all things business, beauty, and the challenges of owning a permanent makeup studio.
What does the word beauty mean to you?
This is actually something I’ve thought a lot about throughout my career. I started out as a makeup artist and now being on the other side of it, there are so many different varieties of beauty! Ultimately what I feel beauty is, is confidence. It doesn’t matter what someone looks like. If they can rock it, feel comfortable and be themselves that’s beautiful.
How did you open The Highbrow?
It wasn’t planned at all! Opening my own business was always a bubble dream, far in the distance. Before I opened, I was renting and working for other people who kind of took advantage of being a boss. I had been promised so many things that didn’t happen so I finally decided to rent a space for myself. I thought I was looking at a small room in Newport, but when I walked in, it was huge! I decided to take the leap and after so many favors called in, my vision turned out exactly how I wanted it. This October we’re celebrating three years!
What type of products do you buy the most of?
Skincare! I know it’s so broad but any kind of skincare. I am loving Sunday Riley right now!
Who are your top favorite beauty gurus?
VC Face Beauty (Vanessa Ceballos). She’s been my mentor and has taken me under her wing. Vanessa gave me the tools in the brow industry and taught me everything I know. She is so supportive of me.
Pinup Doll Ashley Marie & Lil Moon Child - their tutorials are so cute and on it. They are funny and quirky and I could watch them all day.
And of course, I pull inspiration from classic beauties like Marilyn Monroe and Priscilla Presley.
How did you get into permanent makeup?
It was a need that my clients were asking and wanting! It was something I felt tinting could no longer do and they needed more.
Tell us more about Brow Snob!
I used to have a brow line when I was at another studio and it did so well but when I moved, I knew I wanted to rebrand. So many of my clients would bring in their brow powders and I couldn't use them because the color was not flattering or they were using eyeshadow. I decided to go and find a product that I would use myself. Brow Snob is a very diverse line and works well with so many different skin tones. I have had a hand in everything from product sourcing to packaging design. In 2020 we are working on expanding the line.
How do you structure your days?
I do affirmations - not anything over the top - but whatever I am feeling that week, I do affirmations to get me through it. Taking it step by step and checking off my to do list one at a time is important for keeping me sane.
What is your biggest challenge?
Just being content with what I have. I know I have a business and clients everyday, but I still want more. So just bringing myself down and knowing I have a lot going on and working step by step.
How do you balance work and personal?
It’s a lot of late nights and no sleep. I have a written planner - I write everything down and have a daily to do list. I have to check off my entire to do list every night no matter how late I stay up. That’s the only way. Balancing personal and work has been a struggle - but communication is so important. Understanding what my family and friends need and doing my best to complete that.
What is the most surprising lesson you have learned along the way?
Where my support comes from. You automatically think your friends and family will be your biggest supporters but your followers and clients cheer you on just as much, if not more.
Also being told how lucky I am to be where I am at. I think sometimes people see the highlight reel and don’t really see all the hard work that goes into it. Owning a business is HARD and is a lot of late nights and work.
What is the best business advice you ever received?
Do not burn bridges - you never know who you’re going to need or run into in the future. Give it six months no matter what you try, even if the first three months you fail. See it through and after six months re-evaluate.
What is your advice for new permanent makeup artists?
Practice! It’s people’s faces so you need to practice, practice, practice and get your hands on as many faces as you can. And always continue to learn! You always want to be on the up and up - not the back burner.
Why do you love the permanent makeup industry?
The tears of joy and reactions. The moments that help people are incomparable.
What do you do when you’re not doing permanent makeup?
My fiance and I love to go out! We enjoy Disneyland, music and just being out!
What’s next in your PMU career?
Moving and expanding The Highbrow (more artists and a bigger space), Growing the Brow Snob line, and training more!Want to learn more about Tinel? You can view her Instagram here.