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Meet Trailblazer Marissa Hohner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marissa Hohner.

Marissa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have always had a passion for all things beauty related since I was young. I was always doing hair and makeup for my high school dance team at our competitions, doing makeup for friends at high school dances, and learning as many tricks and tips from as many beauty magazine articles that I could get my hands on. I started watching YouTube makeup tutorials nearing the end of high school, and throughout college, of which I couldn’t get enough. In 2012, I did my sister’s makeup for a friend’s wedding that she was a bridesmaid in, and I ended up doing two other bridesmaids as well as the mother of the bride’s makeup as well. I was overwhelmed by the idea that people would actually want to pay me to do something I had always seen as just a hobby that I loved so much up to that point. The energy of the room consumed me and I was hooked. It was that same feeling that I love so much of getting ready with a bunch of your best girlfriends before a night out on the town.

I continued to do friends and family’s makeup before big events or weddings on the side but still had not seen it as something that I could turn into a business. About two years ago, I decided to take the leap and actually turn this hobby into a business. In September of 2016, I launched Sugar Skull Makeup Chicago. I was excited, but also nervous, about the reaction that I would receive (or not receive). I began booking some individual jobs with friends (who I will always be thankful for believing in me and giving me those first opportunities) and from there, friends of those friends began reaching out to me. It was when I started booking weddings that I realized a makeup artist in this industry’s biggest form of marketing is referrals.

Women trust other women’s experiences, especially for their weddings, so I always try to focus on creating an enjoyable and calm environment with the brides and bridal parties that I work with. I love knowing that as a makeup artist, I am able to directly empower women with the confidence of not only looking amazing but feeling amazing. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful and if I can help even just one person feel that confidence and empowerment, then my job is complete. Working with so many different women, on such a personal level, allows me the opportunity to learn from each one of my clients, in-turn allowing me to continually evolve into a better woman. For this, I will forever be grateful.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting your own business is never an easy road, but if you are passionate about what you have set out to achieve, then I think there is always something to take pride in. I think there is always going to be some level of self-doubt when you start a business. I often relate to this feeling with other female entrepreneurs, but I also think that same self-doubt can light a fire inside of you that drives you to accept no outcome other than success. Being that I never went to school for makeup artistry and that I am self-taught, I think doors are open to doubt from others looking in from the outside. I have never let those types of thoughts get me down or hold me back from what I know I can do, and what I know I will achieve. I control my destiny and my success, so I know that if I always work hard, give 110% into everything that I do, and always focus on the client first, then I will be successful.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Sugar Skull Makeup Chicago – what should we know?
I think that I take a very natural approach when working with my clients. I first try to get to know them, their style, their daily makeup routine, and their ultimate goal for their look. I think that initial consultation is key in order to find out a little more about your client, what their goals are for their makeup service, and it also allows them to feel comfortable with me before we begin the service. I love using makeup to enhance client’s natural beauty and features. I always want whomever I work with, especially when working with brides, to still feel like themselves but ultimately feel like an “elevated form of themselves”. Most of my experience up to this point has been working with brides and bridal parties, which I love because you are working with someone on a day that they will never forget. I feel honored to be in the same room as these women, and those who they are closest with, on what will be one of the most important days of their lives. I do love working in more exaggerated formats such as: editorial, photo shoots, drag, costume, etc. These are settings where I feel I can take a heavier, more dramatic hand and I get to jump a bit outside the box.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
Take pride in what you do, your work, yourself, and you will never have to seek out your self-worth in others. You decide the life you want to lead, so be the leading lady in your own dreams! Oh, and one more thing… “nolite te bastardes carborundorum”.

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Image Credit:

Rich Casual, Kenny Kim

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