Saria lives in a suburb of Milwaukee, WI only 45 minutes away from where she grew up. She’s a Cheesehead born & raised! Go Pack!! Saria loves living in Wisconsin, having grown up on snowmobiles in winter, ATV’s in the spring & fall, with summers saved for a jet ski, boat or riding horseback; she wouldn’t want to live anywhere else! She lives with her husband, Neil and their son, Nathan, along with their three cats – Little Man, Baby Girl and Naughty.
Saria describes herself as a little bit crazy, but with a big heart. She loves her family, friends and working with color in her makeup. You can view all her products at her store. When she is not creating, you might find her reading a good book.
Saria’s favorite quote or saying is – “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” -Anais Nin
How long have you been creating makeup?
I have been making mineral makeup for almost 4 years.
Why did you start?
Basically I started out of necessity. I have such sensitive skin that I had never really been able to wear makeup for more than a day at a time without breaking out in hives, pimples and a rash. When I decided to go back to school for cosmetology, wearing makeup was looked at as pretty much part of your dress code, so I had to figure something out. I had heard of mineral makeup and that it was supposed to be great for sensitive skin, so hoping it was what I had been searching for, I went out and bought my first jars of mineral makeup.
I had several friends who wore mineral makeup and swore by it, so I thought for sure I would be set! Unfortunately, what worked so well for my friends did not work so wonderful for me. Within hours of putting the products on my skin I had hives, bumps and a rash that started at my collarbone and came all the way up to my nose. People at school were shocked to see how drastic of a reaction I had- but I was used to it. It was the same thing that happened every time I put makeup on – even brands that worked for others with sensitive skin. It was starting to look like mineral makeup was not for me after all.
Being a former RN, I knew if I could figure out what it was in the mineral makeup that set off such an allergic reaction, I could then try and find a brand that didn’t use that ingredient(s) in their products. It was when I was researching the ingredients that I came to the realization that if I wanted a product that was made specifically for me, the best way to do it was to make it myself. So after spending a ton of time researching, I ordered my first batch of ingredients!
Needless to say, it was not as easy as I had thought it would be! It took me over a month to come up with a foundation that was even remotely close to my skin tone. It was several weeks after that when I realized that the color was perfect but the product felt and looked like I had just dusted powder on my face. I should mention I have VERY dry skin as well, so the idea of wearing a powder seemed a bit ridiculous to me, but having seen the great results my friends had with the mineral makeup I couldn’t wear, I knew it was possible to make it look like you were not covered in flour!
Long story short- I know, too late! After about 6 months of trial and error, and hours and hours and days spent researching the ingredients, their chemistry, color theory, and anything else related to minerals, I finally had a formula for a foundation that I could wear! It didn’t look like powder, it matched my skin tone, it didn’t have streaks of color when I put it on, and most importantly, I didn’t break out!
When I started wearing my new foundation to school everyone noticed! Not in a bad way, but in a good way! I had more compliments on my skin in one day than I had had in my entire life. People didn’t notice my makeup- they noticed my skin.
I know, it sounds like a cliché or a commercial, but it’s the truth! My skin had gone from being pale with blotchy red spots and dry flakes to an even, sun-kissed tone that showed no signs of being red or dry. Now I did start exfoliating as well- something I had avoided because I wrongly believed it was bad for dry skin- so that did help with the flakiness, but the balanced, even tone was all from my makeup.
It was the dramatic change in my skin that had people asking me where I got my makeup. What brand was it? Where could they get some? And so, beauty by Saria was born.
What are the items you have handy at all times for working?
My scale and my Sunbeam Kitchen Assistant. My Sunbeam is the absolute BEST at grinding colorants quickly, completely and with no mess.
Where do you get your ingredients?
I work with several different suppliers, depending on what I need. Most of my base ingredients I buy directly from manufacturers since I go through them so quick, but other colorants that may last a while I buy from wholesalers.
The most important thing though is that I know my suppliers! I don’t worry or question if the ingredient they are selling me is really organic or not…I know it is because I know I can trust them.
Can you tell us a little of your process?
My actual creative process can’t really be described….I get in the zone and just start mixing things together to see what I end up with. The only problem is that sometimes I get so into creating and what is happening with the product that I don’t write down every step…so I end up with a fantastic color, but no clue how to duplicate it. It’s frustrating, but funny at the same time- you’d think I would have learned my lesson by now!
Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere! I love color! I love taking apart the individual colors that make up large images…or grabbing a bunch of paint chips from the hardware store!! I could play with paint chips for hours!
Do you have a dedicated work area/room?
Given the level of cleanliness required for making cosmetics, I don’t think it’s possible to not have a separate area to work. Not to mention the powder dust flies everywhere! If you don’t contain it somehow, it will literally be everywhere in your house!
Is this your full-time job? Hobby? Fun?
All of the above! I am fortunate to be able to do this full time, but I also help care for both my grandma and my husband’s grandma, so sometimes makeup get pushed to the back burner for the week!
Do you have a best seller?
I would have to say my Smooth as Silk or Oil Control Powder- since launching them about 6 months ago they have continued to sell very well.
Do you have a favorite item?
My personal favorite is the Multi-Purpose Minerals in Copper Mine & Yours. It’s a fabulous golden brown that rubs down to a green highlight.
What other kinds of crafts do you do?
Crafts. You name it, I probably do it! I love sewing- I do costumes for an old time photo studio on occasion and love it!
My husband is a fine artist- a painter- so between him & I we are always coming up with something creative to do with our son, Nathan. That is if Nathan hasn’t thought of it first!
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
In 5 years I hope to be doing what I am doing now only on a larger scale. I would love to open my own shop that offers natural, Ayurvedic based cosmetics and skin care in a salon setting. I absolutely LOVE what I do, my passion for color is such a big part of what drives me, and since most people don’t want purple, green or blue hair, I need to find a creative outlet for my color craziness! Formulating cosmetics provides that and more! When I hear from clients who have never been able to wear makeup until they tried mine and they tell me how much it has changed their life, well, it’s then; in those moments that I know I am doing exactly what I should be.
Have any advice for people trying to start their own handcrafted business?
My best advice to anyone starting out in handcrafts is to first thoroughly research your desired field! I talk with people all the time who tell me they had no idea how hard it is to get going and develop a clientele. It is extremely hard, but also extremely rewarding. You just have to know what you are getting yourself into when you start.
Most importantly, don’t price yourself out of business! All too often I see handcrafters selling their work for far less than what it is worth simply because they are unsure how to account for their time and effort. They want to stay competitive with what others are doing…well ‘others’ are not making your products! Take pride in your work and remember your time IS worth something!
My product line is not the cheapest, it is actually on the more expensive end of the price range, but when you look at quality, craftsmanship and customer service, suddenly my prices don’t seem very expensive. I have also made the effort to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible, which means we use recycled materials whenever possible- even if price wise they are more expensive. We also chose organic, fair trade ingredients which again, are not the least expensive option, but are the right choice for our company.
I guess what I am getting at is that you have to remain true to who you are and where you want your business to go. Sooner or later customers who share and value the same things will find you and appreciate the steps you take to remain faithful to your ideals.