I’ve got a bit of an unusual Independent Spotlight for you for October. It’s with Rockeresque Beauty Company owner, Issanna.
How long have you loved makeup?
Always! When I was a little I was always such a girly girl- I played Pretty Pretty Princess and had my Barbie Vanity in my bedroom surrounded with My Little Ponies (some of those same My Little Ponies can be spotted in the Rockeresque office now!) I remember my parents got me my first ever makeup kit when I was twelve, but the packaging the kit came in was labeled to be for girls 13 and up. They told me I was so grown up I could have the makeup a whole year early, so I was ecstatic! Then in high school I had Gwen Stefani and Shirley Manson as role models and practiced my cat eyeliner and bright red lips. Makeup has always been a huge part of my life because of how much joy I get from using it.
What made you decide to make your own?
Many events led to the creation of my own line. I was at a point in my life where I wanted and needed to start my own business. I was a school teacher for a long time, but there are just no teaching jobs in California and so I was laid off like so many others. After that I had a few jobs, but I won’t lie, I’m a workaholic and for as much as I worked overtime for companies, I never saw the payback from it. So I thought about what I would want to do. Vegan makeup is something that is important to me. I do not eat animals so therefore I also do not want them in the makeup I use. Before starting my own line I would buy a lot of vegan makeup from various companies, but it was frustrating to have to search out which of their items were vegan and which ones were not. I also didn’t like the marketing for vegan cosmetics either, neutral and quite palettes are what you will find the most of for vegan cosmetics. I love natural looks of course, but overall I have a very colorful personality and enjoy colorful makeup. I wanted there to be a cosmetic line which had a full range of colors and products which were all vegan and of course cruelty free. So in making the decision to start my own company I decided what better venture for me to take than making my own vegan cosmetics? From there it just all came together and I have never been happier.
How many hours a day do you work? Days a week?
My first priority is my clients. Without them there is no Rockeresque. So, in order to get things done on time I have been known to be in the office from anywhere from 15-20 hours a day. If I’m not in the office, I’m at home working on my laptop, whether it is answering emails, filing taxes, setting up photo shoots… just whatever need to be done. Between formulating new products, making and shipping products, and all the odds and ends there is something to be worked on at all times. My fiance works for a band and is on tour a lot. When he is on the road which can be for over a month at a time I practically live in the office. I’m not saying that is healthy either, but Rockeresque is new and when it comes down to it if something has to get done, I have to do it. There was one point when the work load was so great that I stayed up for 3 days in a row, I did it by consuming many Rock Star energy drinks. After that I realized I needed help and began hiring employees and interns. If they catch me trying to work too much I have literally been sent home to sleep. When my fiance is home from tour I do try to make sure I spend ample amounts of time with him. Though if it is busy he has been known to come and help in the office with me So to answer your question I work on average 18 hours a day, 126 hours a week.
Can you tell us about your staff?
Well we have Jennifer, Laura, Michelle, Kathy, Jhelen, Jessica, and Marisol who currently work in the office. I make everything myself, that is very important to me that I do that task, but the girls answer emails, label containers, heat seal products, dance around the office, keep the office organized, process and maintain memberships, assist during our photo shoots… it is a big group effort and we are still continuing to interview at the moment to add to our office staff. I have, in California, 5 official makeup artists including Morgan Panter and Curstie Marie and 1 in New York City named Sinem Cetin. Two girls run the Blog (Tumblr,) I have an assistant Lindsey who helps me with product images (she owns the pair of eyes you see on the website,) and writing the Cosmetics Corner with me and other online tasks, there are 9 admins on the Rockeresque facebook page. I also have a street team which currently has 12 members, though that will be opening up to new members next month. Rockeresque is growing very quickly and each one of the girls involved is so important to the company, I am very thankful to work with such amazing individuals.
What is your favorite product to create?
I love creating everything! Though I have to say for Halloween we have a pressed eye shadow palette and we are making them by hand, this is a new process for us and I think it is so much fun!
What’s your least favorite product to create?
I don’t have a least favorite to create, though I will say that I have a least favorite step and that is heat sealing containers. It always burns my fingers sitting there heat sealing, sometimes up to 50 containers at a time. I am stubborn and do not use the heat resistant gloves Jennifer brought it… I don’t like them, it feels odd when holding the container of makeup. I just look forward to the day when we can order our custom makeup boxes and no longer have to heat seal!
What’s your perfect foundation blend?
Until we launch our own line of foundations, I use Laura Mercier’s Oil Free Foundation in Porcelain Ivory. It is pricier, but it is a vegan and matches my very pale skin tone which is difficult to do.
What are your favorite colors to wear?
Pink! Light frosty pink, bubblegum pink, fushia pink, magenta pink, hot pink…
What are your favorite colors that you’ve created?
Peppermint Gummy Bear, Zombie Ballerina, Sparrow, XOXO, Chicklet, and Vicious Teddy Bear (unreleased)
What is your absolute favorite eye shadow color ever?
Ever? Just One? Hmm, that’s hard. I wear different colors everyday, but at the moment Peppermint Gummy Bear takes the cake- it’s a light green shimmer and makes my green eyes pop!
What are your favorite lip colors?
super pale, baby pink (Zombie Ballerina) and black (Dead as Night)
What are your favorite blushes?
I am not a blush girl. Or a bronzer girl either. I enjoy being very, very pale. My fiance is from Southern California so sometimes he hints that he wishes I would even get at least a spray tan. However, I am from Boston so avoiding the sun and loving the cold and enjoying my paleness will forever be a part of me. Fair skinned beauties I look up to are Gwen Stefani, Nicole Kidman, and Dita Von Tesse.
What is your favorite beauty trends?
Reinvented 70’s pants- edgy, loose fitted and comfortable. Mary Jane flats, leopard print, zippers, and black and white striped apparel. The giant hair bone. Intense eyeliner. Super glossed lips with teased locks. Of course also well maintained unnatural hair colors, such as long pink or lavender tresses, but no super long dark roots please, that is not cute.
I know you were recently at Fashion Week! What do you want to share with us about that?
I still can’t believe I got to be a part of something so wonderful, this early on. Vianca, who owns Strange Vixens is like a sister to me and I love her dearly. Going through the roller coaster ride of putting on a runway show at fashion week is more than I cold ever convey. I was fortunate to have one of the best makeup artists I know, Sinem Cetin representing Rockeresque and heading the makeup team. I also had my personal assistant and friend Markie by my side as well as some of the official Rockeresque models who traveled very far to be in the show, including one of my best friends Risa. I could not have gotten through the week without them. We had so much fun, but there was hardly any sleep to be slept, and our hearts were poured into that project. It was just go, go, go up until the moment the first model walked out on stage, but as soon as that happened I was able to take this huge exhale. I would never have traded that one moment for anything in the world and I cannot wait until next year when we do it again, even bigger and better than last time!
Do you have a signature scent?
I am addicted to and coat myself daily with G, which is part of Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers fragrance line. It is Vanilla with a kick!
Do you have a trademark look or trademark colors?
I would say my signature look is a cross between Gwen Stefani and Blondie.
What do you prefer to look at for inspiration when you’re in the mood to create something new?
When I need to be inspired, I look at the things around me because I surround myself with things that I love. When I created Rockeresque I could see the brand in my mind and had every name for every product I would create from the opening until 2 years in. When I formulated a product I already knew what I wanted it to be, I just kept working at each one until it achieved that color, or consistency, whatever it was I was looking for. The names come from friends, my love, where I have lived, what I enjoy doing, the line is just an extension of myself and I have to cross my fingers that it will be enjoyed by others who see it.
What colors have you dyed your hair?
Every color. I say this and it is so funny because then people will start naming off colors and I have to stop and reassure them that if you can think of the color, I have had it in my hair. My mother use to be a cosmetologist and I began dying my blonde locks in 7th grade. The first color I ever dyed my hair was orange and there have even been moments when I had multiple colors in my hair such green with blue or red with yellow and orange. I get bored and change it often, right now I am very in love with my Jem inspired baby pink hair, it might have to stay this way until the wedding!
What’s your favorite way to accessorize?
Giant hair bone made by Tattooed Zombie Accessories. It has become a staple of my everyday life.
Can you tell us about any upcoming collections?
Well Halloween just launched which is very exciting. We have a pressed palette called Deliciously Haunted, which contains 6 eye shadows. We are also offering a Trick-or-Treat body spray, a Witch’s Brew Collection which has 2 new loose eye shadows, a skull hand necklace along with some other goodies, and are finally launching our lip glosses with our signature Dead as Night, black. We worked so hard on all of the Halloween products, personally it is my favorite time of year so I just wanted to have a lot of fun items to offer or clientele.
The entire month of November we will be making some amazing items for the holidays, I wish I could give them away, but just know we are continuing to grow Rockeresque into a full cosmetic line, so you will be seeing new products, a few collections, and some very new and unique Rockeresque accessories.
What’s your favorite candy?
I don’t really have a favorite candy… but I do love baking! I bake vegan cupcakes I learned from VegPanda vanilla cupcakes and raspberry homemade frosting. I made my fiance a dozen for Christmas once and they were gone in 2 days!
Do you play any video games?
Yes! When my fiance comes home from tour there are nights where we will play video games for hours. I love Mario Party the most. We own a Wii and I do have DS, though I honestly think I have been able to play my DS twice since opening Rockeresque. I love fun happy games. Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Rock Band… all games I enjoy.
What are your favorite tv shows?
Project Runway, 30 Rock, and Family Guy which I watch on my laptop. We don’t have cable, but my fiance and I avid movie watchers.
What is your office like currently?
In process! When I moved into the office space they pulled up the horrible and ugly carpet that was in there for us, but we still have to get the floors tiled. All of the furniture is black, with baby pink walls and lots of photos and hello kitty items everywhere. Everything cute I own is at the office, the only pink thing left in my home is my makeup vanity. When you go into out office the front has our office table where everyone sets up their laptops and hangs out. There is a wall of inventory and along another wall we have stations. There is a labeling station, a weighing station, a packaging station… In the way back is a blocked off section where I make everything and products are put into containers. Everyone who works in the office has a miniature mailbox and we try and make our work space fun and inviting since we spend so much time in it. I am excited to finish the floors and decorate it more though!
What color is your bedroom?
Well I live with my soon to be husband so it isn’t pink! When he is on tour I will pop on the Hello Kitty sheets, but to give you a visual we live in a downtown artists loft. It is a huge open space. Our bedroom is white with skateboards hanging up on an entire wall (we ride and collect them), one wall is striped with sea foam green, white and blues and we have a chandelier over the bed. I like a bright bedroom so it feels calm, but it is still modern and reflects our personalities. I have a white art deco chair in the corner so snuggle with the pups in and read books.
What colors do you like to decorate with in your home?
From floor to ceiling our walls are over 20 feet high, so painting would be very expensive. I add color to my home by how I decorate it, black throw pillows, antique robots in red, yellow and green, huge 6 foot paintings, things that pop amongst the white walls so that you forget they are white. Our space is very punk rock, however it still has a modern and grown up feel to it.
What do you do to relax?
Bubble baths. These are never overrated. I play some music, soak in the bubbles, dim the lights and no cell phone. I try and make time for one of these at least once a week. It is a great place to read a book or just close my eyes and feel calm.
How do you pamper yourself?
I love going to get tai yoga massages or reflexology. I enjoy anything where I am in a quite place and forcing my body to be quite and relax as well.
What’s on your iPod or Pandora Station? Or have you turned to Spotify or the Google Music Beta?
I am a Pandora girl! I have stations for all my favorite bands on there. Portishead, Ambulette, Dredg, Blondie, She and Him, Crystal Castles, Bloc Party, Led Zeppelin, Lena Horne, The Dead Weather, Radiohead, Rob Zombie, I could be here listing forever. Right now I am listening to Grand Ol Party!
Can you tell us something about yourself that might surprise your fans?
I am working on writing a children’s book series with my friend who owns The Cute Institute. My other passion is working with kids and I am greatly looking forward to our first book being published!
What magazines or publications have you been featured in?
The Herald (Calgary,) Newspaper, PETA (their blog,) and Rebelicious Magazine. We will be in Alt Noir Magazine and Bella Morte Magazine soon as well.
What countries have you been sold in?
Our products are being sold in an amazing store in Australia called Tattooed Zombie. As far as clients who buy from our online store… Australia, England, Isreal, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, Spain, Canada, Norway, Turkey, New Zealand, Greenland, Brazil, and Ireleand. If I missed any I am so sorry! Those are just the customs orders I remember filling out myself.