As a makeup and beauty writer, I like to explore what's happening in the commercial world of makeup BEYOND THE DRUGSTORE. And beyond the department store, too. Hell, I'd prefer to just skip the mall all together and find a personal, local makeup shop that has more to offer than gals in black smocks trying to win me over for a commission.
Enter Merry Kline. Back in September, this Texas beauty opened Belle and Blush -- a luxury makeup boutique -- right here in Little Rock, AR. After following the shop on Instagram, (@bellenandblush), I knew almost immediately that this was the sort of makeup counter that I wanted to share with my Makeup Monday readers.
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located at The Promenade at Chenal[/caption]
As the website says, shop owner and operator Merry aims to "offer unparalleled customer service with the gracious hospitality the South is known for." One step inside B&B and I felt that hospitality. The store is drop-dead gorgeous, and both Kline and her attending makeup artist, Samantha, were kind, professional, and endlessly knowledgeable about the business of beauty.
I managed to sneak in a few interview questions during my visit to this gorgeous little shop.
Katie Evans: What inspired you to open Belle & Blush in Little Rock?
Merry Kline: I'm one of those girls who tried putting mascara and lipstick on when I was about three years old, maybe two. I just couldn't be stopped when it came to being girly. Somehow I've been lucky to always have a job doing what I love. Before I opened the store I pretty much spent my career in beauty & fashion. While I was in college (studying International Business) I worked for the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon & Spa in Dallas as a Salon Coordinator & on the side I made jewelry just for fun. When I graduated college I worked for Barse & Co (a jewelry manufacturer) as a Product Development Coordinator. I moved to Little Rock in 2004 for my husband. In Little Rock, I was a Corporate Jewelry Buyer for Dillard's for 8.5 years. Besides being a girly-girl, I've also always been an independent thinker, so eventually the drive to be my own boss overcame me. Also I'm a mom so I really wanted to be able to dictate my schedule so I took a huge leap of faith, quit my job & starting conceptualizing Belle & Blush.
KE: What aspect of beauty are you most passionate about?
MK: Obviously I love it all, but I'd have to pick skincare. A good skincare regimen, drinking lots of water & using an SPF everyday makes such a big difference in your general appearance. As humans we naturally gravitate to beauty because it's a symbol of health, so if you prioritize skincare in your beauty routine you're taking a proactive approach and solving problems, rather than masking them with makeup.
KE: What beauty trends are inspiring you right now?
MK: Number one would be smokey eyes & glowing skin, and number two [would be] coral lips.
I am ready for Spring & Summer! I'm over this winter!
KE: What is your favorite beauty decade?
MK: I love elements from several decades. I love red lips from the 50's. I love dramatic eyes and nude lips from the 60's. I love Charlie's Angels hair from the 70's. I love how Debbie Harry from Blondie did her eye makeup in the 80's. I love the word love. I sported a lot of white eye shadow & bright red hair in the 90's so they were apparently a favorite. But really, I'd pick today because you can get away with whatever you want. I think one thing that made this happen is Sex and the City because it glamorized the lives of four very different female figures with their own look and strong personalities. It told an entire generation of women around my age that they can do that too. It probably also caused some shopping addictions but I'm not going to judge.
KE: What makes you feel like your best, most confident self?
MK: That's tough, because I've taken a risk opening my own business so my confidence goes up and down depending on the day. So I'd have to say successful results make me confident. As well as red lipstick, pretty skin and good hair!
KE: How would you encourage other women to own their beauty and feel more confident?
MK: Women should empower each other and rock what they have. As women, we always want to try to look like someone else, or we get envious of a celebrity's feature. I say embrace who you are and work with what you've got rather than trying too hard to be different. I've worked with a lot of beautiful and fashionable women. Usually the women that are happiest are just working their own style because it's what they like or what works for them. They're also the ones that get copied the most because they exude happiness.
Merry is a beautiful woman inside and out, and she -- along with her team of professional makeup artists -- can help you to create that attitude of inner and outer beauty for yourself.
Little Rock luvvies: do not miss out on this wonderful new boutique, located in the Promenade shopping center at Chenal in West Little Rock. Aside from the incredible collection of makeup, skincare, and hair care products, Belle and Blush also carries makeup tools (I bought a new beauty blender!) and various purses and other accessories. They also do fun complimentary events, like Make Over Mondays!
In the future, keep an eye out for more exciting collaborations with Merry and the other luvvly ladies of Belle and Blush.