March 8th is International Women’s Day and we’re celebrating by featuring some of Downtown Burlington’s female business owners & managers! With so many incredible business owners downtown we turned to our community to help us in the selection process by nominating a female business owner that inspires you.
Meet Amanda Steene, Founder & CEO of AmandaSteene Cosmetics, who was nominated for “awesome collaboration and spirit of bringing gal pals together!”
We asked Amanda a few questions:
What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path? Beauty has been in my blood since I was a young girl. I grew up in Niagara Falls, the honeymoon capital of the world, and had a passion for makeup ever since I can remember. You know those girls who dig into their moms makeup bags and paint red lipstick all over their face? Yeah, that was me! Later I went to school to become a makeup artist and was lucky enough to work with some great companies including MAC Cosmetics, and to also work in the bridal industry.
Over the years, even though I had an extensive makeup kit, I could never find the right match for my clients, and I would have to mix and blend products to create their perfect look. The Aha moment came when I realized it wasn’t a look they could recreate or buy because it was blended just for them. This is when it hit me! How amazing would it be to make those mixtures into products, and to record the formula so they could always reorder their perfect shade. That’s when I knew: “I am going to make this a business”. AmandaSteene Cosmetics was born.
I have been a makeup artist for over 12 years. The concept of my business came when I was living in the Cayman Islands, which is also where I met my life and business partner Ben. I realized that there was so much more to personalization and customization that was missing in the Cosmetics industry. Most companies create products that are based on a pre-defined trend, and they force you to buy what they think should look good.
We think everyone is unique and shouldn’t be forced to buy what is pre-made and on the shelf – they should have the choice to create what is perfect for them. So in 2016 we went for it. With my makeup artistry & hospitality background, and Ben’s incredible business track-record, we blended (pun intended) the two to create an experience in store that will soon be an option to enjoy from the comfort of our new app!
Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments? Oh great question. Well first and foremost, Ben has been my biggest cheerleader and supporter to help me create my dream. With all his experience I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. He doesn’t get enough recognition for all he does for the business. Ben has an IT background and has created all the tech for the company including the app that we are launching at the end of this month.
I have a whole back story about my personal life which calls for another blog. But my second family Art and Elaine, who I consider to be my mom and dad, always believed in me and told me I could do anything I put my mind to. After ten years of travelling and meeting people from many different cultures, I was also inspired because everyone is so unique – hearing about their makeup struggles was a huge motivator for me.
My dad passed away in 2013 from cancer and it was a long and painful end to his life during which he had some regrets of things he wanted to do. So I wanted to live in the spirit of my dad, who would be so proud of me for following my dreams. I also have a long list of many people who inspire and mentor me. I couldn’t have gotten through the rollercoaster ride without my mentor from Haltech, Judy Lindenbach, and my new business partner, Solange Strom, who brought l’Occitanne to Canada. Both very empowering women I aspire to be like.
As a celebrated successful female, what advice do you have for the next generation of successful women? Follow your dreams. Work hard. Make sure whatever you choose to do you are super passionate about because then it never feels like work. Believe in your vision no matter how hard things get, and never give up. Surround yourself with like-minded people who lift you up. Find a business partner, because when things get hard and lonely you always have someone to rely on. Big things happen from taking risk. You have to be all in if you want to change the world. Stress is normal and helps you grow and understand yourself more so don’t be afraid of it. Get yourself a mentor, someone you can have on speed dial when you need advice. But also don’t forget to enjoy the journey. It is truly an amazing experience!
Follow Amanda @amandasteenecosmetics