We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley McCray and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was simple, the pandemic happened. I’d been employed as a full time makeup artists with MAC cosmetics for about 4 years and as a result of the pandemic we didn’t offer makeup services, my hours were eventually reduced and ultimately I was let go. During that time, people were still requesting makeup services. I didn’t feel comfortable with having people in my home, and I wanted to respect the safety of my client’s families and homes as well, it was a natural step to open my own studio and continue servicing clients.

I love doing makeup and it was important to me to create a space that was comfortable, convenient and safe for my clients.

Truthfully, owning my own makeup studio has always been a dream of mine, the course of events of 2020 just provided the push to make it a reality.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a Makeup Artist. That means my art is dependent on my knowledge and experience of skin types, tones and textures as well as cosmetics and mediums that are used to actually create the “art”.

It’s a great accomplishment to be “self-taught”, but what sets me apart is the extensive training and years of experience. Working for a company like MAC, you’re able to learn from hands on training from industry experts and by having to service so many different clients with different skin types, tones and different aesthetics and ideas of beauty.

What sets me apart is my intentionality in listening to my client and my ability to create and elevate their personal vision. I take pride in my ability to be flexible in my approach to makeup and customizing each look to suit my client’s unique features and requests.
I credit my time at MAC with how far I’ve come professionally as a makeup artist. Prior to my time there, I was a mix of “self-taught” and shadowing other professional MUAs and learning from them.

Yes, it was hard.

I’ve had to learn a lot of hard lessons, I’ve had to hear a lot of “no’s”, endure rejection and criticism. I’ve been “stiffed” on payments, worked for “exposure”, you name it! I think you don’t know what you don’t know, right? I began my journey as a makeup artist before the age of social media- everything was trial and error and there wasn’t a wealth of knowledge and reviews at our fingertips. For that reason, I’ve had to learn from my mistakes and make adjustments along the way.

I am grateful for those hard lessons, they have shaped how I show-up for my business, today.

Pastiche Beauty is equal parts artistry and customer experience. I believe they go hand in hand. I want my clients to feel as good as they’ll look after their session, and that’s what they can always expect.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First off, my best friend is a makeup lover like me, so we’re definitely going to the MUA Project, Ulta, Sephora and the MORPHE store. We’d have brunch at Kitchen 1488 and dinner at Taste Bar. We’d have to go shopping for plants and have a cute lunch at Rosalie. We’re also going to worship at The Light House Church, for sure! I’m such a homebody when I’m not working, I’m binging old Pixar movies and Golden Girls reruns.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So many people have been influential in the success of my business in both inspiration and tangible ways. My husband’s support makes my business possible. His sacrifices and encouragement allow me the space and ability to pursue entrepreneurship. My dad has quite literally built and assembled my makeup studios and made it physically possible for me to service clients. Netra Ford, my nearest and dearest client, has sewn into my business by referring (repeat) clients, teaching me about how to run a small business and generously giving to help my business grow. And of course, my momma, who never stops momma-ing! They all deserve a huge shoutout, as I just wouldn’t be as far along as I am without their help and support. Thanks, y’all.

Instagram: Pastiche.Beauty

Image Credits
Gayla Johnson

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