Dallas has caught the attention of some of the biggest names and brands in the beauty industry, and they’re bringing their prestigious beauty trade show to the Big D! That’s right, from Sept. 27-28, The Makeup Show will make its inaugural 2-day pitstop in Dallas, bringing inspiration, education and opportunities for local industry professionals at all levels to network with the elite of the beauty industry.
The Makeup Show is already making a great first impression on the Lone Star State by going all-in and selecting an East Texas native as their lead ambassador for the show. 29-year-old Owner & Creative Director of Knockout Beauty Catherine Smith (commonly known as “Cat”) is charged with the role of giving The Makeup Show’s participants a true Texas welcome, and to promote the show to us local folk. In less than four years, with multiple awards from TheKnot.com and appearances on Good Morning Texas, Cat has gained quite a bit of clout in Dallas’ wedding, modeling and event circles; that’s why it’s no surprise she was chosen to be at the forefront of a such a groundbreaking occasion for the city.
I got the opportunity to sit down with Cat over cocktails and talk about how she got to this point in her career and what it means to Dallas to have The Makeup Show here. While she did give a very “P.C.” answer to my question about bridezillas, Cat shared some awesome insight into Dallas’ beauty scene.
So Cat, when did this blond-haired, blue-eyed girl from East Texas discover her love for doing makeup?
When I was young, I loved seeing how makeup could transform people. I tore out magazine pages of beauty looks and how-to articles from Vogue, Allure and more. I kept them organized in 3-ring binders so I could analyze what I liked about each look and learn how to create them. I also had a bad habit of sneaking makeup from my mother’s case and smashing it up to mix my own colors and nail polishes. My parents were not terribly thrilled with my experiments (or what it did to my bedroom carpet!).
How long has Knockout Beauty been in business and what were those early years like?
Knockout Beauty’s first wedding was in the fall of 2010, so we will hit the four-year-mark this November! We had amazing brides who referred us to their friends and that was definitely what helped in the beginning. I built a portfolio as quickly as possible and launched a uniform brand as soon as possible.
What was it that made you want to take your artistry to the next level and go from just a freelance makeup artist to building a business around your craft?
I wanted to take control of the looks I created. When you are a freelance artist and working for a specific line, you are committed to their look. With Knockout Beauty, I can consult with each client, determine their look and execute a unique look.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments with KB so far?
KB has been awarded Best Weddings-Best Makeup Artist in Dallas by the TheKnot.com two years in row (2013 & 2014), a finalist in The Dallas A-List’s 2013 running for Weddings-Best Makeup and featured on Style Me Pretty, a paper proposal and many other blogs and magazines.
What do you attribute to this success?
The majority of my clients are brides. We are brought in for one of the biggest days of their lives. We make it a point to understand each bride’s needs and make sure they are happy and look perfect. We are just as excited as they are! I have been fortunate to build a team of reliable, talented artists that help me expand the Knockout Beauty brand.
You’ve done tons and tons of weddings, right? I know you’ve come across some “bridezillas”…tell us about your worst one!
I have been really fortunate to have amazing brides that loved their look or were not afraid to speak up and ask for something to be changed. I have definitely been spared any horror stories!
The name “Knockout Beauty” has some punch to it; how’d you choose it to personify your business?
I wanted to build a brand around an image, not my name. I loved the idea of making a client look like a knockout! I have definitely been influenced by the full lashes and cut creases from the 60’s. There is just something about that doe-eyed with pale lips look and natural blush that has appealed to me since I started in makeup. I find it to be both feminine and bombshell at the same time – my favorite combination.
Now, tell me about this makeup show that’s coming to Dallas. Why is it such a big deal for the city?
Dallas – and most of the South for that matter – has a true love of makeup and beauty. The Makeup Show (TMS) is coming to Dallas at the right time. There are no other major trade shows of this caliber offering so many fantastic brands that visit Texas. The education and networking opportunities that TMS will give local artists is invaluable. I really recommend that artists who are thinking about attending the show review the workshops and sign up soon because they sell out quickly!
The Makeup Show offers two days of inspiration, education and community where artists can check out the fresh looks of the upcoming season, learn about the newest lines and product launches, explore makeup workshops and network with their peers.
Word on the street is that you are The Makeup Show’s Lead Ambassador for the Dallas event. How’d you land that gig?
My first interaction with The Makeup Show was in the fall of 2013 when I took James Vincent’s “Work the Runway” workshop. I was so excited to learn new techniques and specifics about working runway shows. I was selected to assist with the Tumbler and Tipsy show for New York Fashion Week and had the most amazing experience working behind the scenes with an incredibly talented group of artists. During that trip, I learned that The Makeup Show was coming to Dallas for the first time in 2014. I reached out to the TMS team to let them know I wanted to help spread the word. I was named Lead Ambassador and I am so excited to get Texas pumped up for an amazing show!
What are your responsibilities as TMS’s Lead Ambassador?
My job is to manage the 30+ ambassadors we have across the South that are on the street and promoting the show. I keep them informed of important dates and events, set up meet ups, and am the liaison between headquarters and the ambassadors.
Who should come to The Makeup Show? What will the attendees experience?
The Makeup Show is not just for makeup artists. Hair stylists, face & body painters, photographers, models, stylists, costume & theater design beauty, fashion and hair students or anyone in the beauty, hair, nail and fashion industry can attend!
You can get a ticket here and check out the workshops and amazing keynote speakers that are coming to Texas for the first time!
What advice can you give to up-and-coming makeup artists and entrepreneurial women in general?
Spend a good deal of time learning as much as you can about the industry and new products so you can offer clients the best experience possible. I think a positive attitude and the ability to listen are two of the most important things for makeup artists. If you genuinely love what you are doing, it shines through. Being able to connect with a client, put them at ease and really listen to their needs to create the perfect look for them is so important.
For entrepreneurial women: Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. The worst thing that could happen is someone will say “no.” Then pick yourself up and have the confidence to go after what you want in another way.
How can the women of Dallas get in touch with you to get glamoured up?