The Birth of Vixened by Vanessa Keri
When I was 8 years old, I slipped away from my family’s Christmas party to go find my Aunt’s handbag. I just had to try some of the popping pink lip gloss she was wearing. At the ripe old age of thirteen, you could find me in the bathroom of my Baldwin Hills home experimenting with my Mom’s eyeshadow pallets and red lipstick. I have always been fascinated with beauty.
Fast forward to college where I attended Spelman in Atlanta, GA -- the #1 Historical Black College and University (HBCU) in the country. I was the go-to person to glamorize my friends with the trendiest makeup looks when they were prepping for parties, campus events or dates. “Vanessa can you beat my face really quick?” they’d ask. Of course I joyously complied as I truly loved enhancing the natural beauty of a face.
After college, the job market was tough, so I took a job working for Elizabeth Arden and Lancôme at Macy’s. Although I had earned a degree in Psychology and Organizational Management, my instincts still drew me to beauty. I started a beauty vlog with make-up product recommendations and application tutorials. After a few months of working retail, I realized that I would need to earn a more sustainable living, so I landed a job in human resources at a global entertainment company, moved on to a startup film and television production company, and decided to go back to school to earn an MBA.
While pursuing my MBA, I did a research project for my finance class on Huda Kattan, founder of the cosmetics line Huda Beauty, and found that her story mirrored mines. She was working a corporate job that she liked but wasn’t totally passionate about, and decided to quit her job to start her own company. Her story really lit an internal flame - --beauty is where I needed to be.
One fateful day, I learned the company I was working for was shutting down and I was left jobless. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. On one hand, I was worried about paying the rent, but on the other hand I saw this as an opportunity to pursue my passion. I went all in and became a full-time makeup artist. Within my first few weeks I was able to land a gig doing red carpet glam for a television show premiere and a magazine cover! While the money was nowhere near what I earned in my corporate job, I was so happy and fulfilled to be chasing my dream!
While working in the makeup field, I realized there were some products that needed improvement. I often had to stack multiple pairs of eyelashes to get the effect that I wanted or I’d use dark brown or black eyeshadow to contour deep skin models because products were not available for their rich, beautiful tones. Even with the full range of products from the company that I use in my makeup kit, there was no foundation that matched a darker skin tone model on a particular shoot that I worked.
I knew that I had to create my own product line as I never want that model or anyone of her beautiful, rich complexion to be void of products to enhance their natural beauty. Everyone deserves the opportunity to shine. That is when Vixened by Vanessa Keri was birthed. My goal is to make the world more beautiful one product at a time. First product—beautiful lashes!