About the Business
Brett Dorrian was 15 years old and fearless when she got her first freelance job as a makeup artist. "I thought it was so cool that you could paint on a live canvas," she said. And while she loved the idea of being a makeup artist, Brett was an academic. She went to college, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in theater and studio art, and then took a grant coordinator position at her alma mater. 'I kept trying not to do artistry because I thought it wasn't a 'real' job," said Brett.
But artistry kept calling her, and in 2007 Brett became a part-time apprentice for a photographer. It became clear to her then that she didn’t want a nine-to-five job, so after gaining some critical hands-on experience, she decided to open Brett Dorrian Artistry Studios on a part-time basis in 2008. Her makeup artistry and photography business flourished in the first year, yet she realized she needed more tools to be successful.
In 2011, Brett approached WomenVenture for help. She attended a number of classes and then worked one-on-one with a business consultant to obtain a loan through WomenVenture to revamp her marketing and studio space. "While it was scary to take on the expense, it was necessary to build my business," said Brett. "WomenVenture really challenged me and helped me learn how to be a more successful entrepreneur."
Today, Brett employs six artists and one coordinator, in addition to herself as the lead artist. Her company provides makeup and hair styling for an array of industries: film, theatrical design, special effects applications, runway, bridal, event styling, in addition to professional education in artistry and business. "We’ve become a respected, award-winning and published brand," she said. Her studio has three times as many inquiries as the team can currently service.
While Brett spends much of her time managing her business, she still finds time to hone her craft and to give back to her community. She developed an apprenticeship program for aspiring artists, allowing them to train under her guidance in artistry and business management until they are ready to launch their own brands and create jobs for their own teams. She also helps women who need corrective make-up to hide scars after an accident or surgery. "Commercial work is glamorous and well paid," she commented, "but when I am working with individuals and making a difference in their lives, that’s extending my talent as a gift."