It’s no secret: I love beauty & makeup, but I’m no expert. That’s why, today, we’re proud to announce the Style at a Certain Age (SAACA) family is growing! Join me in welcoming our newest regular contributor, Jennifer Duvall. Jennifer is a professional Athens makeup artist and a dear friend.
Jennifer runs her own company, JennySue Makeup, full-time. But she’s found time to bring us a weekly beauty & makeup column on Wednesdays. Whether it’s a makeup tutorial or product recommendations, every week you can expect great content from Jennifer.
So, let’s introduce Jennifer properly.
Jennifer Duvall was born in Columbus, Georgia and attended the University of Georgia with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. Jennifer and her husband have three children and currently live in Athens with no plans of ever leaving their favorite city.
Growing up a ballerina always wearing stage makeup, then being the resident makeup artist among her sorority sisters while at UGA, she always had a knack for the art of makeup. After college she worked for notable names in fashion like Nordstrom and Free People clothing in Atlanta. All the while, still doing freelance makeup work on the side for extra money.
After moving back to Athens to start their family, her freelance business and beauty blog of JennySue Makeup was also born. With Athens being a city full of artists and creative types, it made sense for her to parlay her love and talent of makeup artistry into a full-time business. As Jennifer has aged, she continues to evolve, inspire, and educate her followers and clients with best practices on how to enjoy their makeup routines.
Are you over or under the age of 40?
Everyone has to start somewhere. What was your first job?
Very first job was working part time in the art department of an old color lab at the age of 16 with a paint brush touching up actual printed photos for dust specs! (before digital cameras and photoshop were even a thing) Once I got into college it was on the floor of the GAP folding shirts and denim 😉
What do you think of first impressions?
I believe they’re fairly important for me and how I present myself to others for the very first time. Especially when it comes to my business of being a makeup artist. I want someones first encounter with me (whether they be a client or total stranger) to be very positive. As that favorable impression typically carries on into the future and follows you and your reputation around. That’s why you’ll rarely (if ever) see this makeup artist running around town with zero makeup on! Ha!
Tell us about the backstory of JennySue Makeup?
I’ll try to condense this story of how JennySue Makeup came about. I have always had an extreme love of makeup – from a little girl who had a mother who never left the house without “her face on” to being a ballerina up through high school and was always on stage wearing performance makeup. I also did a lot of my sorority sisters makeup while in college at the University of Georgia for various events.
I’ve just always had a knack and love for the art of makeup. I started in cosmetics on the floor of Nordstrom right out of college then continued to do freelance makeup work after I left Nordstrom and worked as a southeast account rep for Free People while living in Atlanta Georgia for four years.
When my husband and I decided to move back to Athens to start our family, he was the one who encouraged me to start my own freelance makeup business and try this thing called a blog! This was 14 years ago when blogs were still fairly new and I had no idea how to even begin creating a website. But through a lot of trial and tribulation and figuring out how to market and promote my services through social media, JennySue Makeup has grown so much. I have two sides of my brand – I provide in person work doing anything from wedding parties, to headshot makeup, music videos, to private teaching lessons. Then the second layer is my online presence through various social media platforms and my blog site where I share my knowledge and experience as a professional makeup artist.
Fun fact : My name is not JennySue. It’s Jennifer Suzanne but my Granny named her siamese cat after me that she shortened my name into JennySue. I always felt the cat looked like it was wearing kohl eyeliner around its eyes, so when I decided what to name my makeup company, I thought JennySue Makeup had a better ring to it instead of Jennifer Duvall Makeup! And it honors my Granny and her cat I loved both so dearly!!
What challenges have you faced unique to being a female entrepreneur?
I honestly don’t find that any obstacles that I have faced have anything to do with me being female. Most of my challenges are just my own personal lack of knowledge and experience when it comes to owning my own business. I take personal accountability to figure out, ask questions and for help from fellow entrepreneurs (male and female!) that I look up to and trust. I’ve often heard that we should fail often and early, because it pushes us to become better able to handle future challenges. The biggest thing is to throw to the side this idea and expectation of perfectionism when it comes to being a female entrepreneur…because perfect people and their businesses do not exist!
What advice would you give your 20-something self if you could?
Quit being so hung up on what other people will think of you. And start a portfolio of work if you have a hobby or skill that you plan on turning into a side (or full time) business one day. I certainly was good at makeup through college and after, but never took pictures of my clients or my work early on for years. I might would have gotten started a lot sooner if I had had visual proof of my work!
Do you have a motto?
“No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.” Not sure who said it, but I’ve had it in my Pinterest account for a while now and it’s so true!!
Ocean, lake, or pool?
Ocean, but it needs to be the clear blue water I can see my feet through it 😉
What three words describe your current life?
Chaotic; Beautiful; Mess
What advice would you give to a woman looking to venture out on her own?
Just do it, just start. Be brave enough to bad at something new!!! You won’t know how to do it just perfectly, but the imperfections and mess ups are where you’ll learn from the most. Sounds super cliché but rings very true. Make sure you also have a good support system behind you, one or two people that believe in you and that you trust because you’ve seen them build and succeed at their own businesses.
In addition to SAACA, you can find Jennifer:
No. I am only taking a more active role in the blog and continuing to expand my content across all channels.
SAACA aims to be the place for women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. So, there’s still a lot of room to grow…