If there is one day in your life when you want your makeup and hair to look flawless, it’s the day you walk the aisle. Many of our brides entrust Linsey Snyder Wachalter to get a radiant wedding day glow. At the urging of her father, Linsey set out to make her mark in the beauty industry and she hasn’t looked back since. It was this constant drive and view of every mini-success as a sign to move forward that led Linsey to found Face Time Beauty Concierge. Today, Linsey and her expert team polish and primp clients around the world.
Since we’re heading into high wedding season and summer bridal beauty is on everyone’s mind, we thought it would be a great idea to interview Linsey for our Women Paving the Aisle series. Here, she talks about her professional journey, tips for turning makeup trends into timeless looks, the famous bride-to-be she can’t wait to see say “I Do,” and how she stays creatively inspired.
We always like to start from the beginning. What are your first memories of being interested in beauty?
When I was six, my Dad brought home a little girls makeup kit and I was so excited until I tried applying the makeup and to my dismay, it was plastic! I think I cried for days. The disappointment was real! I think that made me even more determined to get real makeup and my Dad felt so bad that he took me to the store and I picked out a colorful assortment. I was hooked then and there.
When did you realize you had a real talent for doing hair and makeup?
I didn’t really realize I had a knack for it until I moved to college and everyone asked me to do their makeup before we would go out on the weekends. I used to think that everyone was that obsessed with makeup but once I noticed that my friends couldn’t even put on lipstick properly, I knew it was my calling!
Can you tell us about your start in the beauty industry?
I was in the restaurant industry and I knew that I wanted to start my own business, but I was not sure what type of business I wanted to start. I remember sitting at a diner with my Dad and he asked me “What are you interested in?” and my reply was “I don’t know.” And he said “you have always loved makeup!” and that is where it began! We went back to my apartment and he started calling makeup manufacturers and I found a company that would help me create my own products. I started to sell the makeup I made at boutiques in NYC and I met decision makers who began to hire me for events. From there, I eventually decided that the events were more fun and lucrative then the product sales, so we transitioned into a service business and sold off all of the makeup. Face Time Beauty grew rapidly and now 15 years later we are doing about 5-8 weddings a weekend all over the country!
How long did it take before you considered starting your own business? Was there a pivotal moment where you said, “Yes, I could really do this.”
I was far too confident and assumed that if I started something it would sail. In hindsight, my faith really helped me because I never had any doubts that roadblocked me and I just kept going until I made it work. I also think that every little success propelled me forward and was like a little nod to myself that I was on the right path. My Dad always told me that business was “looking for the light and running to it” and that is exactly what I did. To this day, I always tell my team that we go for the gold, forget the rest, and every tiny step is a drop in the bucket to get us where we are going. Everything matters! You have to have complete confidence that you will make it succeed from day one and although you may not know exactly how or what it will ultimately become, it will be something great.
Anyone who has launched a business knows there is risk, and obstacles and setbacks are part of the process. Is there anything you would have done differently during those first years of Face Time Beauty Concierge? Do you recall the first time that you felt successful?
Of course risk is part of the process but if you try to always take the high road and see the big picture you can get past obstacles. I think business is all trial and error so you have to always look at the risk and consider the worst case scenario. You ask yourself if you could live with that scenario if it happened to you and if it would break you, then don’t do it. If you could live with the outcome if it didn’t go your way, then try it and move on and note what you have learned so it can be used to navigate your next decision. I remember when I was selling makeup at a bridal show in Rochester, NY, there was a man who owned a wedding gown boutique and he wanted to buy a bunch of products to sell. I didn’t love the branding of his store so I rejected his request. That weekend I left without selling a product and I remember thinking to myself “I should have sold that man the product he wanted to buy!” Money is green and if I would have given him a chance, it could have been a successful partnership. I do think you have to be thoughtful about who you choose to do business with, but assuming someone is not worthy of your product because of their branding or location might counter-productive.
Face Time Beauty works with private clients, on commercial and editorial projects, and weddings. What do you enjoy most about doing weddings? How does doing hair and makeup for a bride and her bridesmaids differ from your other work?
Weddings are special because it’s a longer relationship with the client and we get to really know someone and usually work with them multiple times over the course of a year or so. We meet them for a trial and then often do their makeup and hair for their shower, bachelorette party, engagement shoot, etc. On photo shoots, the models usually don’t have an opinion on their hair and makeup, so it doesn’t feel as special. When we work with private clients, we can really communicate with them and work with them to get a look that they are thrilled with.
Can you tell us about the various services Face Time Beauty offers bridal clients?
We love working with brides but we also do so many other events! We also do hair and makeup classes and workshops where we teach clients how to apply the latest trends or go through their kits and help them choose new products tailored to them. We have a manicurist and a spray tanning professional on our team and we often send them out to work on weddings or private clients!
What beauty advice do you have for a bride-to-be who is starting to think about her wedding day look?
She should look on Instagram under hashtags that suit her style (i.e. #classicbride #beachwedding #bohobride) and gather images that she is drawn to. This way, she can get a sense of what look she is leaning towards. This also helps with the trial because it gives the beauty team a sense of direction. Simply just thinking about your wedding day beauty before a trial helps the process!
What is your thought on beauty trends and weddings? Should trends be avoided all together? Or can they be incorporated in a timeless way?
I don’t think they need to be avoided all together, but I do think the trend should be considered. There are ways to incorporate a beauty trend without going totally crazy. I used sew in extensions at my wedding which was on trend at the time but half of them had fallen out before I walked down the aisle. It was a mess! I should have worn clip in extensions which are on point every time. You can do a smoky eye for example, but keep it a soft smoky eye which feels more subtle. Highlighter can be used, but instead of piling it on the cheekbones, keep it light. There are so many ways to capture a trend but not over do it!
The summer wedding season is in full swing. Do you have any tips for looking fresh all day long when the temps start to rise?
We love Urban Decay’s Chill Cooling and Hydrating Makeup Setting Spray and we don’t think any bride should live without. Use powder products in lieu of cremes and liquids that tend to melt. Use makeup sparingly and rely on good skincare with a little tan to do what makeup would do.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty means focusing on the positive and where you find your confidence, inside and out. Aesthetically, find the features that you really love and enhance them.
Do you have a favorite celebrity wedding of all time?
I love the royal weddings, and although JLo isn’t married to ARod quite yet, I am dreaming of how she is going to look walking down that aisle. She never ever disappoints! Wedding glow of all wedding glows!
How do you stay creatively inspired?
It can be really challenging to stay inspired, but I try and really to look for the inspiration in little things. For example, I walked into a store the other day and I was having a really bad day, and the woman who worked there said “welcome in!” and then later that day I was getting my hair cut and when I laid my head back to get washed, I must have been holding it up and the hair dresser said “just let your head fall into my hands and relax. I’ve got you!”. I remember thinking on both occasions how hospitable those comments were to me, how they made me feel and started to wonder how I could incorporate that feeling into my business. What could I do to make sure we made our customers feel that same way? I use my every day experiences (good and bad) to help propel my own business. For hair and makeup, I walk down the street in my Brooklyn Heights neighborhood and watch the women who live here and notice how they wear their hair and makeup. I also find myself studying young girls faces and hair and notice things that we can incorporate into makeup routines for our clients. For example, if you look at a young girl, she will almost always have this natural illumination on her lower lash line. It is such a perfect and pure sign of youth. We can mimic that using highlighter and other products when we do makeup here at the studio. Natural elements of others that I admire get filed in my mind like and like a card catalog, I just pull them out when needed.
Care to share any guilty pleasures?
Well now that I am a parent, I think I am overwhelmed by guilty pleasures and give into them so much more than ever before! Chocolate, cookies, Us Weekly, Live PD marathons on Friday and Saturday nights, Whoopie Pies from @onegirlcookies, nail art from @vanityprojects that is so expensive but so fun, Diet Coke…and there are some others that I probably shouldn’t mention here, but oh my gosh SO MANY! I hope that I can start to reign them in at some point, but it’s not looking like it any time soon!
Describe your perfect day off?
I never really have a day off because I have two little boys, however for a perfect day, I would drop them at their grandparents home on the Upper East Side the night before. This way, I could sleep in, wake up at 9:30 and read the NY Times while drinking coffee in bed. Then head to a hot yoga class and grab a manicure on the way to @cobblestonecatering for lunch. I would buy a Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich and a Diet Coke and then go to the Dumbo House (@sohohouse) to sit at the rooftop pool for a bit, Face Time my brother who would make me laugh the whole time, and catch up on the phone with a few of my girlfriends. Then in the evening I would give myself a facial with all of my @freshbeauty products, take a hot shower, watch Live PD and go to bed early. This would be my DREAM.
A big thank you to Linsey for taking part in our Women Paving the Aisle Interview series!