Made from good-for-you ingredients and with a weightless, modern-matte finish that stays put all day, our newest product—Power Play Foundation—is a true game changer. So in celebration of its release (FYI—it’s already a bestseller), we’re shining the spotlight on beauty and lifestyle experts who also never fail to eclipse expectations. From superpower CEOs to makeup mavens and more, these #Powerplayers inspire us with both their how-I-got-here stories and their tips for living a beautiful life.
When Kelli Bartlett joined the early stages of Glamsquad in 2013, a beauty service provider committed to empowering people, she had recently come out of three freelance gigs and realized there had to be a more fulfilling way to help others. Once Glamsquad launched in 2014, Kelli was asked to build out their makeup program and in turn, a team of elite beauty professionals. Recently, we caught up with Kelli to hear a little bit about her story, her day-to-day schedule, and what keeps her grounded while living in New York City.
Hello! Tell us a little bit about your path to working with Glamsquad as VP of Makeup
Kelli: I think I have always been a makeup artist! Since drawing freckles on my face when I was a little girl, I have loved the transformational power of makeup. My background is in retail cosmetics and after ten years, I felt a strong shift in the industry. Retail was beginning to struggle and the artists were unhappy and uninspired, worrying more about hitting sales goals then caring for their clients.
So, in 2013 when I was working as a freelance makeup artist, hustling with three different photographers, juggling sporadic clients and still falling short… I thought, there HAS to be a better way! I joined Glamsquad to build out the makeup program a few months before we launched in 2014 and have never looked back.
Did you always see yourself going into beauty?
Kelli: Not always! I went to NYU for Musical Theatre, if that gives you any idea!!
Growing up, my Nana was a BIG believer in a beauty routine and she was gorgeous on the inside-out as a result of her good habits! The minute I was old enough, she took me to receive my first skincare consultation and taught me the benefits of a consistent regime. I remember feeling so excited about the multi-step process and the transformative power of makeup. It wasn’t until later in my life that I realized so much of what she did had NOTHING to do with the makeup. It was truly about how she made me feel… like I could do anything! I’ve always wanted to share that feeling with others.
With the beauty industry continuing to evolve, how would you say Glamsquad has stood out as a beauty service provider?
Kelli: I find that people are more confused than ever about beauty. They see these Instagram makeup “enthusiasts” applying contour with a whisk, overdrawing their eyebrows, etc. and they are so overwhelmed. Clients are constantly confessing to our Pros about being worried they “should” be doing more/applying more, etc. Beauty and makeup is all about the way you want to feel and the things you can do to empower yourself to feel like the best version of you-- whether that’s super GLAM or stripped down and raw. There is power in all of it.
Glamsquad has stripped away the Bazaar-like setting of a department store cosmetics floor and brought the focus back to high-quality makeups that address the needs of the client-- not meeting sales goals, which is super refreshing.
What does your day-to-day schedule look like? Does it change a lot?
Kelli: Every day is different! Glamsquad is still a startup, so each team member wears a lot of hats. I generally start my day @305Fitness for morning dance cardio before I shower, grab a coffee and run to the office. On any given day, you can find me in partnership meetings, operations and technology touch bases, teaching a master class, filming a segment for a TV show—the list goes on! My creative counterpart, Giovanni Vaccaro and I are constantly on the go and toggling between being creatives and operators.
What advice would you give to a young woman starting her career?
Kelli: Collaboration over competition, always. I believe it is so important to admire your colleagues, learn from your peers, and surround yourself with those who strengthen you. Other’s success is NOT your failure.
Also, write down your key learnings (moments when you said, WHOOPS!) and celebrate the small wins. Your career is a journey, not a destination and you should enjoy the ride.
What is your “foundation” and/or what keeps you grounded?
Kelli: My foundation is my “why” and my purpose. I am firmly committed to a life of helping others feel better about themselves.
Is there anything that used to make you self-conscious, but now you find yourself embracing?
Kelli: Yes, absolutely! Naturally, my right eyebrow is completely snow white. I used to get it dyed dark auburn or brown every 10 days in order to mask it. As I have gotten older, I have really embraced it, even foregoing brow products for days when I want to look particularly natural. There is beauty in quirks (even your own)!
What is your favorite Cover FX product?
Kelli: Those Custom Enhancer Drops are MAGIC! I love the range of colors and the versatility of the formula. I love them right out of the dropper and pressed onto cheekbones. GLOW ON!