Many of us have dreams of leaving a 9-5 and building a brand in something that might feel outlandish. It feels farfetched because we often don’t know where to start, or how to get there. We are maybe unsure of the tools that can help us turn our dreams into a reality. Sometimes, all it takes is being willing to invest in your passion, finding the right mentors and not being afraid to be seen.
For makeup mogul Amelia Thomas, following her passions, finding opportunities, and meeting the right people changed the course of her life. Within a few years she went from being a housewife to having a life she never imagined. A life in which she turned her passion into a successful brand. A brand that is still managing to thrive even with the challenges of Covid-19.
The Power of Social Media. Arlene and Buntricia
Amelia Thomas also known as The Colour Blocking Queen Pinky, is a food lover, mother of four a globally recognized make-up artist. Out of all the scenarios she could have imaged for her life, building a career in makeup was not one of them. Yet certain steps she took, put her straight on that path.
Like many creatives, Amelia quickly realized a 9-5 was not for her as she recalled her first attempt at the work life. “It was a disaster,” she says, “I realized I couldn’t work for people. I cannot deal with being told when and where to come.” Still wanting to be productive with her time, she focused on a career on becoming a nail tech while being a stay-at-home mom. Amelia was convinced that doing nails was her passion until she met one person who changed the entire course of her life.
While scrolling online, Amelia came across makeup artist Arlene Villarule, one of the premiere make-up artists in Trinidad & Tobago. In following her, it was then she understood the true artistry in makeup and this sparked her desire to learn more about the craft. In 2012 she attended a class with Arlene before eventually working by her side. “I worked with her for a while before I branched off on my own. She gave me a push in my career and really gave me that passion for makeup,” she says.
“Make up is something I grew very passionate about and when I started off my career I would eat, sleep and breathe makeup. When my face was too bruised to practice, I would use my ex-husband’s face or any face I could get my hands on.” In 2014 Amelia decided to move on from Arlene and become an independent make-up artist after receiving many requests for her work.
By posting her vibrant looks on social media, she quickly caught the attention of others. The late, international makeup artist Buntricia Bastian reached out to Amelia offering to bring her to Jamaica to attend one of her Master Classes. Around the same time, she also entered and won a competition for the international makeup brand, Motives Cosmetics. Amelia’s exposure was on a roll as American TV personality La La Anthony posted an image of her work on Instagram. “From there my career just took off, my page blew up and I became a lot more famous in the makeup industry,” she says, noting the value of recognition from an international brand.
Finding a mentor in Buntricia, Amelia continued to enhance her skills. She went to Buntricia’s home in Las Vegas to learn how to become a makeup educator. This became another avenue within makeup for Amelia to explore. “I made teaching my passion and doing makeup is just my art now, my skill. I feel so passionate about teaching persons how to beautify themselves without having to go to a makeup artist all the time” she says.
Pre-covid Amelia held makeup classes throughout the Caribbean region and has taught internationally. She recalled the first time she ever taught in Las Vegas. “That was my biggest most memorable accomplishment,” she says. Aware of the fact that many Trinidadian businesses stay limited to Trinidad, her Las Vegas class was an experience she would never forget. “When I walked into the room, they actually knew who I was,” she says, “They would stand up for me, clap and call my name. A little Trini girl like me never expected to have that kind of response internationally”.
During the course of that same year Buntricia encouraged Amelia to bring out her own makeup line. “I was excited because at that time no one other than Arlene had their own makeup line in Trinidad and Tobago. My makeup line took you from start to finish; from foundation to powder; everything you would need to complete an entire face”.
She began to use her brand, Think Pink Cosmetics when teaching her makeup classes which spread the word of her products throughout the country. On most occasions, Amelia wears her own makeup. Recently, she also added an eyelash line to her brand. Her products sell internationally, reaching clients as far as in Tanzania. Her brand is created for all women of all skin types. “I want them to feel beautiful within their own skin, I want them to look and feel like enhanced versions of themselves.”
Becoming the Colour Blocking Queen
Amelia’s style of makeup was one that would go on to define her career. When she started, everyone around her focused on natural makeup while Amelia was drawn to the boldness of colour. “I chose to do colourful makeup because I believe that colours excite people, it gets people more interested than just doing a natural face,” she says.
In a time where every makeup artist was ‘Makeup by….’ Amelia wanted to be different and true to her craft, she flaunted the name ‘The Colour Blocking Queen’. A name given to her by Buntricia. “I believe it was one of her classes in Vegas where she had said, this is The Colour Blocking Queen,” says Amelia.
“Before I was doing colours, I had never seen anyone put colours together in the way I did. It wasn’t just colours scattered all over the face but colours done in a polished way. You could wear colourful makeup and go to a job interview or a dinner. It was classy, not just colours looking everywhere like it was always Carnival.”
Adapting Through Covid With Hope for the Future
With a strong brand having multiple legs to lean on from doing faces, to teaching classes and selling her makeup products, Amelia had built a makeup empire. Like many, her business is not immune to the effects of Covid-19 but the diversity in her brand allowed her to stay afloat. While all her in-person makeup classes have stopped, people would still purchase her makeup.
Covid has also forced her to come out of her comfort zone as she recognizes the need to be more visible in her brand. “I have now started to go online and do some Instagram lives. Being on a public forum and talking is not my thing, I’m not really a speaker. Talking even in my classes or doing this interview would have been a big bother for me in the past but I now realize with covid hitting, I have to push my brand even more than before.”
Increasing her online presence by doing more lives and engaging her followers has actually helped Amelia boost her brand. “Before I didn’t push my brand as much as I should have but now that I am doing it, I am really seeing the positive feedback.”
As Amelia focuses on promoting her brand, she has great dreams for the future. “I want my brand to reach in stores all over the world. Every product I add to my line is a product I use on a daily basis.” She hopes to one day have her brand in Sephora, one of the biggest retail outlets for makeup. “I hope that my brand can reach all over the world so people can have access to it and love it as much as I and the people of Trinidad and Tobago love it.”