Andrea Fairweather: On Pioneering Mobile Services, Creating Patented Products and More
Updated: Nov 20, 2020
Andrea Fairweather had a love for the performing arts, particularly dance. Becoming a beauty entrepreneur was the furthest thing from her mind. But when she sustained an injury and also decided to take a business class in college, she presented the concept which would become her business, a mobile beauty service platform. She came up with it for class but her professor approached her afterward and told her to pursue the idea. At the time, Fairweather hadn't even thought about beauty as a profession.
was studying still to be a dancer. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go into a dance company, I knew I wanted to do like Broadway and film and act, but I took a really serious fall one day in a dance class and taught my ankle. And the funny thing about detouring is that you really don't know how God is going to set things up.
And I kind of like did this pitch and then sauntered off and sat down at my desk, like, okay, that's done. I did it. And she literally walked up to me and said, "If you could make that business model happen, you'd be a genius." I sat on it for like seven years because there was no business model out there. None. It was before the internet really started picking up. And I was researching literally in the library looking to see, is there a mobile beauty business? And there wasn't. So I had to literally build Fairweather Faces from the ground up.
But first Andrea had to learn some skills, and she set her sights on becoming a makeup artist. She took classes with Ilana Harvaki, owner of Il-Makiage, and from there starting working with brands in various department stores before landing a full-time role with Bobbi Brown.
I figured, okay, I'm not dancing right now, but I'll do music videos just to stay loose and open. And just in case someone calls and just in case a break happens to come that way. Then at the same time, I started going to class. Um, back then they had certified classes as[ a makeup artist at Il-Makiage in the city, And then at the same time to make money, I did freelance jobs for Clinique and Bobbi Brown, all these different makeup companies going counter to counter in the department stores to start to see, do you like that world? How are your talents? Are you really as good as you think you are? That whole thing.
In order to embark on her entrepreneurial journey, Fairweather needed to assemble a team. While working at Saks, she watched her colleagues to see who had the kind of temperament she was looking for.
But I was watching other artists on the Saks floor and watching how they were in terms of personality first and then talent. Where they talented but they talked too much? Were they personable? How were their sales? And so there were maybe two that I really, really jived with. And I asked them, I said, "You know, if there was a business that was mobile, that it was an ever changing environment, would you join the team?"And they said, yes. So I started that way. And then also referrals, like asking, is there anyone else, you know, that you think will be a good fit
In addition to getting clients, Andrea developed a system of educating her clients about applying makeup and she decided that she would try to get it patented. She ended up being granted five different patents.
Beyond that Andrea had developed a solid reputation. Late one evening, she received a call for an early morning makeup job for Good Morning America's Summer Music Series. She was invited back each day for the next week until she was offered a permanent position. Now she is one of the key makeup artists at GMA.
It was a 5:00 AM call. I said, "I will be there." It was like pitch black midnight [dark] in Central Park. I found my way backstage with my makeup kit. I set up, I was ready to go. And the first person that sat in my chair, the first male celebrity was Roger Daltrey from The Who. He was the first one to sit down. And from there, I was nervous as all get out the sweat with trickling down my back, but I pretended I was supposed to be there and pretended that I was seasoned to do it. And then they just kept calling. They called for the Monday and then the Tuesday and then the Wednesday. And they just kept calling until finally they made me an offer to take the position.
Andrea sees her journey from a dancer to an entrepreneur as a full-circle moment.
But it all made sense because I needed every single last piece of that training to be able to do it. I needed to know how to pitch. I had to use my acting skills with improv. I had to know how to get up, even though my body was aching and I was tired. That's what that ballet bar was. And that was me on pointe in class. I had to learn to follow through, have a plan. You don't know how you're going to get it done in the middle, but then you execute it at the end. That's all that Alvin Ailey training, getting across that floor, learning those dance combinations. That's what all that training was for. I'm making this up as I go along, I'm doing what makes sense, but it's working.
Listen to more of the story and hear how Andrea is managing through this pandemic by listening to the whole episode.