Stevi Christine – Founder & Creative Director of Naturally By Stevi Christine and Award-Winning Brow & Makeup Artist
Kara Goldin: Hi everybody, it’s Kara with Unstoppable and I’m super excited to have our next guest here, Stevi Christine. Hi, how are you?
Stevi Christine: Good, how are you? I am actually so excited to be here.
Kara Goldin: I’m really excited to have you here. Now, where are you right now? We’re obviously recording during COVID and hopefully the end of COVID, but where are you sitting? She’s based in LA typically, but.
Stevi Christine: I am based in LA typically, and I’m sitting, looking outside my window in Cape Cod. The storm’s about to come, just looking out.
Kara Goldin: Please, please be safe. But let me tell you a little bit about Stevi in case you guys are not familiar with her. I’ve been fan-girling Stevi forever on Instagram, she’s an award-winning celebrity brow and makeup artist with over 15 years of experience and really natural looking, just brows. But I mean, I hesitate because you’re not just, I mean, you’re definitely brows and you’re sort of known for that, but you’re also just makeup and you’re just… You have kind of the undone done brow look, but it’s… I mean, and some of the most kind of natural notable celebrities that are out there and influencers that are out there.
But like I said, Stevi started her career way back when, as a freelance artist, working for Laura Mercier, where she recognized talent soon and took off just basically working with some of these high-profile people in film and music and red carpet events. She became the resident brow stylist at Kate Somerville, where she is known as the eyebrow fairy, is that right? People were [crosstalk 00:01:55], there she is. And she’s been featured in Glamor, OK!, Refinery29. Named best brow artist in Los Angeles. I mean, Allure magazine, the list goes on and on and on. Stevi’s one of… Actually you are based really LA, but also you go to New York city, I know, a lot. We’ve talked about hooking up a few times there too, but recently she’s launched a line around eyebrows, products around it.
And I really wanted to get Stevi on here because, obviously, she’s been following her passion and figured out what she’s really good at, and obviously, people will ask her all the time. I mean, “How do I really get the look that you’re creating for me?” And I love that she’s launched her own business around this, and I want to just kind of hear from her. I’m sure a lot of people think, “Okay, I’m doing what I love, and I’ve thought about launching products.” But you just went and just did it. And I think that that’s just awesome and really admirable. So really excited to have you here.
Stevi Christine: Thank you.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, very, very excited. So the line is called Naturally by…
Stevi Christine: Naturally by Stevi Christine.
Kara Goldin: So what was kind of like… When did you finally decide, “I got to just go do this?”
Stevi Christine: My real, “aha” moment, I always knew I wanted to own my own something, I just didn’t know it. When I was younger, I thought I was going to go into fashion. I was obsessed with fashion, I would cut my own clothes, I’d make my dolls have fashion shows and my mom would be so pissed, because back then Guess was big and Guess is… It’s not cheap, right? And I would cut the little Guess sign out, I would make [inaudible 00:03:52], and my mom would walk in. She’s like, “We just bought you those for school that starts in two months.” Or a month, whatever, you go shopping first the whole time. I’m like, “Yeah, I’m creative and I need to do this.” And so, I think at a very young age when I kind of stepped back, I’m like, “Oh, I was always kind of creating things that I wasn’t supposed to be doing.”
So I think it was always there, but a really close girlfriend of mine, she was 27 at the time, she was diagnosed with cancer. And at first we were like, “Okay.” It was scary, right, at that time. And then we really dug in like, “Oh my God, what if my eyebrows fall out? And my hair falls out, now what?” And when we started looking at eyebrow products, I was like, “Okay, I’ll help you out, and we’ll just try to get eyebrow products that would you work for you if you have no hair.” And then she had to go to chemo and then they tell you about all these chemicals and whatnot. And when we started digging deep into it, we realized, “Okay, there’s a lot of cosmetics out there with a lot of crap.”
And a lot of ingredients that actually are harmful, especially if you’re going into treatment, you don’t want to add anything more that you don’t need to, right? And then that’s kind of where my, “aha” moment came of like, “Okay, I have this crazy cult following of like, I’m this eyebrow fairy, and I’m this and that.” And I never even dreamed that I was going to be an eyebrow anything. I just, I love people, I’m a makeup artist. And that’s when I was like, “Okay, I see a little niche here, and let’s try and figure this out.” And that’s kind of how the brand started.
Kara Goldin: [crosstalk 00:05:37].
Stevi Christine: And no one really knows that story, because I kind of feel it’s not a sad story, but it’s not, you know? Does that makes sense? It’s like-
Kara Goldin: Yeah, no, no, no, totally. And I think there’s always that, “aha” moment where people think, “Okay, I want to go do this.” When did you actually launch the brand?
Stevi Christine: 2 years ago.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, and when you launched it, what was sort of your strategy? Just take it out to your existing clients? Did you launch it online? What was the thinking?
Stevi Christine: I mean, I really didn’t have a strategy.
Kara Goldin: [crosstalk 00:08:16].
Stevi Christine: I mean, I just spoke to so many people and I got different information and I just was like, “You know what, I’m just going to do it. I’m just going to put it out there and see what happens.” And through social media, thank goodness we have that, and I created my own website myself, and I was up till 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 AM sometimes just doing it myself. Because when you’re first starting, especially I’m self-funded, and so I need to do a lot of leg work myself, and I wanted to be self-funded because I want to control what ingredients I’m using and what all of this looks like and feels like, and textures and colors, and everything. And I just put it out there and I don’t know if anyone else feels like that, but I was so nervous. My heart was beating and I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to post this on my Instagram account, oh God.” It was like-
Kara Goldin: It’s [inaudible 00:09:09] that happens.
Stevi Christine: [crosstalk 00:09:10].
Kara Goldin: No, it is, it’s scary. It’s like somebody’s telling you that your baby’s ugly, right? It’s like-
Stevi Christine: It’s so scary. And then it’s like, “This is my own money.” And it’s a lot of money. I have a lot of… I had to buy a lot of stock in it, and I’m like, “Oh my God, what if not one person buys it? Oh my God.” You know? I’m just freaking out, and I’m like, “You know what? I’m just going to do it. I’m just going to put it out there and put it on social media. I did my own website.” And here I am, and thankfully, luckily it’s continuing to grow and we’re definitely adding more products to the line. We’re really small because again, I’m self-funded so we only have currently five SKUs, and I kind of wanted it like that, because I wanted to start like…
You’ve heard of the book Tipping Point? It’s like when someone says something and then it’s conversations and talking growth and I don’t know, I studied communications and rhetorical studies. So it’s that same thing, the art of persuasion, but natural, it’s not forced. And I think I was going with that, I’m like, “I’m just going to go with a natural word-of-mouth and hopefully that grows it.” And luckily I have a great clientele personally, and I work with incredible artists all over the world. And I think just with that, I was just trying to see like, “Hey, what’s going to happen? I’m just going to throw it out there and I’m going to be vulnerable.” I think you kind of have to be vulnerable and just say, “I’m just going to do it.” And you can continue to grow and change it, right?
Kara Goldin: Yeah. Well, and I think also that you have to… I think so often people don’t want to reach out to their friends. They don’t want to sort of tell them, because again, you don’t want them to say no to you and I’ve been so-
Stevi Christine: Absolutely.
Kara Goldin: … surprised. I mean, my book, as I’ve told you, is coming out in October and initial-
Stevi Christine: So exciting, though.
Kara Goldin: I was like, “I don’t want to bother anybody about it.” And obviously I’ve launched a brand hint as well, where I’ve just learned let people know about what you’re doing. Because I think the more you do let people know what you’re doing, the more support you actually do have out there. And I know that you’ve got tons and tons of people who not only just swear by what you’ve helped them to do and how you’ve helped them to show up. And I just think the interesting thing, when I look at people and especially some of the people that you’ve worked with and photographed, I mean celebrities like Julia Roberts, Blake Lively, right? I mean, a few people like Katy Perry, you look at them and they’re obviously, really beautiful people, but they’re also… Their brows are really… They just make them look that much more natural. And I think that’s the kind of thing that I think most people just really… they don’t want to be too done up looking. They want to be sort of much more natural. And I think-
Stevi Christine: Well, I think too, right now during this whole COVID thing, everyone’s wearing masks, your brows have to be very important. And believe it or not, a lot of women-
Kara Goldin: That’s a good point.
Stevi Christine: … forget about their brows.
Kara Goldin: Yeah.
Stevi Christine: I mean, I can’t even tell… People are like, “Brows, what?” I’m like, “Do you not… Do you even own a brow product?” And you would be surprised, women are like, “No, I don’t even… I never even thought about it. I never even thought what to do with my brows.” And it’s interesting.
Kara Goldin: [crosstalk 00:12:43] great tutorials on your Instagram too, that [crosstalk 00:12:45]-
Stevi Christine: Thank you.
Kara Goldin: … I love them. No, I’ve watched them, I mean, they’re terrific.
Stevi Christine: Thank you.
Kara Goldin: They’re so good. In fact, I need a little touch up on my brows, so-
Stevi Christine: Yeah. And you have to be like… Everything’s covered now, right?
Kara Goldin: I know it’s-
Stevi Christine: Make sure those brows are framing those eyes.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. It’s so true. So during COVID, I mean, what have you been able to do as an artist? I mean, it’s super challenging. Where do you, I mean, I feel so sorry for this industry as a whole, right?
Stevi Christine: Very much so.
Kara Goldin: It’s a mess and somebody was telling me the statistic that, I don’t know. I think it’s over 90% of the beauty industry, I’m not surprised, is women, right? It’s like, “Right?” And a lot of them are sole breadwinners and it’s just a lot, right?
Stevi Christine: It is a lot.
Kara Goldin: But what do you think, I mean, what’s sort of been your experience just in dealing with the world?
Stevi Christine: I mean, I think the great side of it is you have to tap into something else, right? And I’m behind the scenes, kind of girl, I love making people look beautiful and I love making people feel confident whether you’re going on stage or you’re going on a carpet, or you’re going to go interview someone else. I like to bring that up. And I think during this whole COVID, it’s like, “Oh, wait, I have to be on camera? I’m not really into this.” But how else are my clients and my followers going to know any of this, right? So I’m like, “Oh.” And I think at least that I could still share my message. I could still give people positive reinforcement that we’re going to get through this together, and I’m here for them.
And I think that has helped me a lot. Because it was hard for a while. I haven’t seen any of my clients since the beginning of March. And I mean, that’s hard and that’s… So I think, thank goodness I have my startup and I have this brand and it’s been a blessing in disguise. And now I’m trying to, because some of our products are made in Korea and in Germany, and this whole thing, I’ve always, when I first launched I only wanted to do US made. I only wanted to do organic. And again, like I was saying, it was obstacle after obstacle, after obstacle, door shut, door shut, door shut, door shut. No, no, no, no, no. And I think now I really want to bring everything back again and I want to try and bring all my products made here.
And that’s the next two products that we’re launching are made in the USA and I’m really excited about that. And they’re fantastic and they’re clean and they’re healthy cosmetics is kind of what I’m calling them. And I think back to the whole COVID, it really brought me back to the whole like, “Okay, I really wanted it.” I’ve always wanted that. And now that I, at least, have a little bit more of a name now and a little bit more of a reputation, reputable now that more companies are starting to now be okay with me. But also I email them 25,000 times a day, right? “This person will reply to me, this person will want to work with me.” And now they are. And so I think sometimes you have to just keep going, I think. And I mean, you know, it’s like you have your ups and your downs and your all around and you’re like, “Why am I getting into this again?” And then you have to remember why. And I think COVID really reminded me exactly why.
Kara Goldin: No, I think that’s really, really important. And I think just as a fairly new startup too, I mean, I think you’re both a products and then you have a service business, as you said. I think what you’ve done an amazing job and doing is that you didn’t just stop and say, “Okay, poor me. I just need to sit here or wait it out or whatever.” I mean, I saw you just went right to social and you continued to build your brand and you did such a great job in doing it.
Stevi Christine: Thank you.
Kara Goldin: No, you really did. And I think it’s not limited either to any one industry, I think you can continue to sort of show people that you’re a real person that actually is trying to live through [crosstalk 00:17:11]-
Stevi Christine: Absolutely.
Kara Goldin: You’re a mom as well. And it’s like doing all of [crosstalk 00:17:16] a small business owner and all of these things that so many of us are going through. I think that’s just you guys, or you, have done such an amazing job with that. So tell me what… I know you mentioned other products, have you launched those?
Stevi Christine: No, I’m really excited about [inaudible 00:17:38]. I’ve been working on a… I’m obsessed with brow gels and brow pens. And I’ve been working on these for at least three years now, before even the launch of the actual product. And yeah, I think it’s coming to fruition really soon. We’re on the last, just fundamentals of everything. And like I said, it’s all going to be made in the US, so that’s phenomenal as well. But yeah, we’re really excited to launch hopefully by the end of this year. So we’ll have more product.
Kara Goldin: So you’ve got the five eyebrow, what do you think are some of the top tips for people, if they’re sitting at home and they want to go onto your site and order, how do they know what color, right?
Stevi Christine: That’s a good question. And I think that’s why when I launched it, I didn’t want to get… Because there’s so many cosmetics out there. And I think, just me as a consumer, I am a consumer, I get lost and I come from a makeup background and I’m like, “Is this brand authentic? What is this brand about?” So I didn’t want to get lost and I really wanted to help people and kind of guide them, but not like, “How come she has 17 different colors?” And I think that’s great, right? But for my product, I am trying to make product that are universal, for example, my blonde product works on you. And that’s what I love about it, is they’re interchangeable and you can use another product for your eye shadow. I have it on as my eye… because I mean, I’m traveling, I have my one product. I use it as my eyeshadow and my eyeliner and now it’s in my brows.
Kara Goldin: That’s amazing. That’s great.
Stevi Christine: Yeah, so it’s like, I wanted it small so then people wouldn’t get confused. And so it’s very tailored and it’s very interchangeable, like with the hues. Yeah, I was very anal when it came to choosing tones and colors and undertones because I wanted it to fit more than just one type of hair color, but I wanted it to kind of reach more.
Kara Goldin: What do you think are the key things that people are responding to on your social? Is it the tutorials?
Stevi Christine: I’m super new at this whole tutorial and I just launched my blog as well on my website. So I’m really new at it. And this, again, you always have to, well, I do anyway, look in the silver lining of this whole dark place I feel like we’re in. And I was like, “Okay, what can I do?” And I thought, someone suggested, “Oh, why don’t you do tutorials? I’m sure people would love to know how to do these things.” Right?
Kara Goldin: Yeah, they’re awesome.
Stevi Christine: Yeah. And so I just did it, and that was my first one and Who What Wear asked me to do it. And it just, I mean, we had over 180,000 views on it or something and I’m like, “Oh, wait. So people do want to watch these?” I’m like, “Okay, awesome.” And so, yeah, I’m definitely going to do a lot more of those because I feel like people love them.
And I also don’t want to just stick with brows, if anyone wants to know anything about anything else, if it’s beauty or clean eating or anything that goes with our state, with our brand, just healthy. I want to know that too, because I think it’s more than that. And I really, genuinely love connecting with people, I really genuinely do. I love people and I really want people to connect with me, even though they can’t see me face to face. And I think that’s would be a great outlet for me to connect with people.
Kara Goldin: I love it. And so you built the brand on social, lots of word of mouth. Are you going in the stores, do you think as stores start to open up, I mean, I just look at the beauty industry and overall, where do you think that that sits for a young brand?
Stevi Christine: That’s a good question and my whole goal when I first launched was to be in Barneys, because I’m a Barneys girl at heart. I mean, I love Barneys. I love the concept. I mean, I’m still heartbroken about it. Like, “Why didn’t I have the money to buy it? Oh my God, why Barney’s?” That’s my favorite store [inaudible 00:22:07] that and, by the way, I was actually in talks with Barney, we were going to do a popup-
Kara Goldin: Oh, that’s amazing.
Stevi Christine: … in New York city. And it was literally my moment of like, “I’m going to make it, I’m getting into Barney’s. This was my goal.” Well, I had two goals I wanted to be, I wanted a write up in Allure. That was my one goal. And I’m in Allure. And my second goal was to be in Barneys and there I am, talking to the buyers and we were in negotiation on when we were going to do it and then they closed and I’m like, “Okay.”
And I think something I learned, just along the way, you got to go with the punches and ride them out and just keep on going, because there’s going to be things that you think it’s supposed to align. And if I get there, then I’m going to be here. And then if I get here, I’m going to be there. And I clearly realized I can’t get into Barneys because they don’t even exist. So now what? So then I just started to focusing on my DTC and really just trying to put people there and bring them there. And I think that’s kind of like, you just kind of go with it, I guess, right?
Kara Goldin: Right. No, I love it. And I do think that you’re really… Somebody said to me the other day, I was talking to him about my podcast actually, and this was somebody who had just this crazy following. And I said, “So how do you grow your podcast?” And I thought, what he said was just so interesting. Because I think it’s really like, “How do you grow a brand?” And he said, “Focus on the first 100 people.” Right? Those people that really said that you should go and launch your business. You continue, obviously, to invite people in and be a part of it. But I think when you focus on those first 100 people and making sure that they feel honored, that they feel part of your decision.
Stevi Christine: I love that.
Kara Goldin: I do, too. I sat there and I think it really applies to almost any business out there, right?
Stevi Christine: Oh, yeah.
Kara Goldin: Whether it’s a podcast or if it’s a product, because you think about those people, they’ll come back to you and they’ll be like, “Oh gosh, how’s your business going? What’s going on with it?” And just asking them to help you kind of build it. I think it’s really such a key thing. So whether it’s Barneys or… I’m sure those people have now gone to other places as well, [crosstalk 00:24:48] come for you, right? Like-
Stevi Christine: Yeah, [inaudible 00:24:51]-
Kara Goldin: Over time…
Stevi Christine: Yeah and I think… So during this whole other COVID thing my mind kind of spiraled too, I was like, “Okay.” So as we know, the bigger stores are starting to close, like the Barneys and I’m like, “Okay, so now what?” I think, so during that, I decided, I think as a brand, especially a small brand, I want a storefront and no one knows this.
Kara Goldin: I love it. I think that would be amazing. And I could totally see just brows and just focusing on that.
Stevi Christine: A little small, where we can… Well, we’re a service as well, so you can come and get your brows and, or makeup, but it’s our brand. So it’s a storefront with services. And I think, I know it sounds crazy, but I just think that’s the universe is telling me that, that’s the next step for my brand, anyway.
Kara Goldin: No, I love it. I love it.
Stevi Christine: So sorry, Kate Somerville, if you’re listening. She doesn’t know. She was my client for years and-
Kara Goldin: [inaudible 00:26:14] come in. So that’s awesome. I love it. So I asked you two final questions. So first of all, favorite Hint product or flavor?
Stevi Christine: I mean, you know I’m a huge… Well, I don’t know if you know this, but I am a huge fan, I have literally, probably every single… By the way, my followers love your brand now too, because they’re like, “I’m always posting and tagging you because I absolutely am obsessed with your product.” And everyone now on the East coast here is now into it, my in-laws here. Because they carry you at Stop & Shop, never heard of Stop & Shop, but I don’t know [crosstalk 00:26:53]-
Kara Goldin: Yeah, they’re in [crosstalk 00:26:54]. Yeah.
Stevi Christine: Hints there, by the way, we’re drinking it out here. But I’m also obsessed with your SPF spray. It’s incredible. I love it. It’s amazing. So, favorite Hint water. I would say watermelon.
Kara Goldin: Yeah? Watermelon mint now, too, that is so good. Yeah. [inaudible 00:27:16]. We should do something on your Instagram. Maybe do a Hint giveaway on your Instagram.
Stevi Christine: Oh, yes.
Kara Goldin: So we’ll take-
Stevi Christine: My followers are obsessed. Hint? No, that’d be good with a little tequila.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, there you go.
Stevi Christine: Watermelon, mint, tequila.
Kara Goldin: I love it. So what makes you unstoppable?
Stevi Christine: That’s a really good question. And I thought about it and I think when I really look at, when I step back, I think I love what I do. I genuinely, wholeheartedly love what I do and I know it was something my dad has always told me, because my dad’s an attorney and he’s like, “You have to be either a doctor or an attorney.” It’s old school mentality, I guess. And I clearly have not either. I was like, “Yeah, okay.” He’s like, “But the one thing I gave you is passion, determination and perseverance. And so basically you can do whatever you want with those three gifts I gave you.” And he’s absolutely right. I love what I do. I’m really passionate about it, I don’t know if you can tell. And I’m not going to let anything stop me.
Kara Goldin: I love it. And I really think also that… My book is called Undaunted, that’s coming out and it’s really about just going out and trying things. And I know you and I have had conversations about this. I mean, there’s some things that have worked and some things maybe that haven’t worked, I’m sure along the way, but you’re willing to-
Stevi Christine: Oh, yeah.
Kara Goldin: … try and try the journey and just keep trying, right? Which I think is [crosstalk 00:28:54]-
Stevi Christine: Keep going.
Kara Goldin: … you go out and try these things and start small. And I always hear from consumers who ask me, especially when I’m out speaking, like, “How do you have the courage to go and launch a business?” And I think so many people, including yourself, whether it’s a small business or now a large business, you just start somewhere, right? You put a stake in the ground and you just go do it. And you don’t necessarily need to have tons of money to go and launch anything too. I think especially today, if you figure out how to do social, you figure out if you’re okay with picking and packing products initially in order to get it out.
Stevi Christine: Oh and we did that, yeah.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. I mean, you start somewhere and you just kind of see what happens and it’s a really fulfilling thing too, to be able to go and do that.
Stevi Christine: Absolutely.
Kara Goldin: And I think the confidence that you gain just from sort of knowing what you’ve accomplished along the way is probably huge.
Stevi Christine: And I think too, a good thing is, I don’t know if you saw that chart. It’s the entrepreneur chart is like, “One day, you’re like, ‘Ooh, I’m in this magazine,’ and the next day you’re like, ‘I get noes, noes, noes,’ and then you get like…” And it’s true. You would just have to know that there’s going to be ups and downs. And I have to, even today I have to remind myself that. I’m going to have my ups and I’m going to have my downs and I’m going to have my disappointments and I’m going to have like, “Why did I waste that money on that? That was stupid.” I mean, I’ve made so many mistakes.
I think you have to make mistakes in order for you to grow as a business. I don’t know. I mean, maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve made a lot of mistakes and made bad decisions, I was like, “Why did I do this? I should have done that.” And I don’t know. I think that’s something that if I could tell any person that’s going to launch any business, whatever it is, is just know there’s going to be ups and downs and you’re going to make mistakes and that’s okay. Just keep going.
Kara Goldin: No, I think that’s totally great. And also you’re a fairly new parent and I think the role that you’re playing for your son too, is just amazing, right? I think you’re showing him that you’re going out and you’re trying things and you’ll have stories to tell, and…
Stevi Christine: It’s so funny. I think about that all the time. Thank you for bringing that up. Because I always look at him and I’m like, “Mommy’s doing this for you. You don’t realize it, but I really am.” I want him to look at me and be like, “I’m really proud of my mom. Look at what she has tried.” Even if I fail, at least I tried. And that’s one thing, if you fail, at least you tried. It’s better to say, “I tried,” than not try at all. You don’t want to look back at your life 10, 20 years later and you’re like, “I wish I’d done that.””Hey, you know what? I did it, it didn’t work out. Move on.” Than saying, “Oh, I wish…” That’s not good..
Kara Goldin: I absolutely love it. So how do people find you Stevi, what’s your social handles and…
Stevi Christine: So my social handle is Naturallyby. That’s it, Naturallyby. And then my personal is Stevi Christine, S-T-E-V-I C-H-R-I-S-T-I-N-E. And Naturallyby, a lot of people ask me why I named it that, my whole goal in that was I wanted it to be Naturallyby, and I want to eventually create this little sanctuary of people where we work together and it could be… So my assistant, his handled is Naturallyby Matthew. So I want it to just eventually have this umbrella of people that we just work together and we do incredible brows together and we’re all Naturallyby each other. So That’s kind of the whole reason why I named it that.
Kara Goldin: I absolutely love it. So very, very cool. Thank you for coming on and [crosstalk 00:32:36]-
Stevi Christine: Thank you.
Kara Goldin: … with us. And you guys all go and I’m going to go buy some of Stevi’s products again, too. I’m in desperate need right now as I’m looking at her beautiful brows. And so, definitely. All right. Thanks everybody.
Stevi Christine: Thank you.
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