What's New: The Make-Up Shop

November 2, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Welcome to What’s New Wednesday, profiles of local startups—and the entrepreneurs behind them. This week, we meet Brenda and Jennifer Sotolongo, who opened The Make-Up Shop in Fishers in August.

Type of business: full-service salon/spa that offers private makeup lessons and sells its own line of cosmetics  

Address: 8856 South St., Fishers

Phone: 577-9400

E-mail: brenda@prosoto.com

Website: themakeupshopfishers.com (under development)

Founded: Aug. 15

Owners: Brenda and Jennifer Sotolongo

Owners’ background: Brenda Sotolongo, 54, has been a makeup artist and hair stylist in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years. Trained in special effects makeup artistry at the Wilfred Academy in New York, her resume includes work on national commercials for companies including McDonald’s, Gatorade and Reebok, as well as ESPN’s SportsCenter. Among her famous clients: Peyton Manning and three U.S. presidents.

Brenda and Jennifer Sotolongo, The Make-Up ShopBrenda and Jennifer Sotolongo want to teach others how to apply makeup properly. (IBJ Photo/Perry Reichanadter)

Jennifer Sotolongo, 27, has been tagging along on her mom’s freelance gigs since she was 2 years old and starting working in the film industry at 18. The youngest of Brenda’s seven children, she relocated from Evansville after graduating from high school and got her formal training at Honors Beauty College in Indianapolis.  

Both women are licensed cosmetologists and aestheticians. They live together in Fishers.

Why started business: The Sotolongos were working an event as guest makeup artists for Estee Lauder when they met a woman who had skin issues and lacked confidence when it came to applying cosmetics. Brenda spent more than an hour with her, then showed her the results.

“She said, ‘For over 50 years when I looked in the mirror I’ve never seen a beautiful woman. Until today,’” Brenda recalled. “That was a turning point. We want to help average, everyday women, and teach them about cosmetics and skin care.”

Too often, she said, women feel pressured into buying makeup at salons or department stores and then have little idea how to use it once they get home. Although The Make-Up Shop sells its own Pro Soto products, the Sotolongos say that’s secondary to their educational mission.

“We’re truly artists as opposed to salespeople,” Brenda said.
 
Competitive advantage: Located in a cozy converted home just south of 116th Street in the heart of Fishers, The Make-Up Shop has a staff of seven who offer a range of salon services—everything from hair styling to full-body waxing and eyelash extensions to microderm abrasion. The private makeup lessons set it apart.

Customers can schedule one-on-one instruction or parties, taking advantage of the classroom set up in a former garage. “Students”—who are encouraged to bring their own makeup—are asked ahead of time to identify some problem areas, and the lessons are customized for each group.

Brenda Sotolongo also is offering an intensive 10-week course in professional makeup artistry for anyone interested in a career like hers.

“I know that’s unique,” she said. “I had to go to New York to learn.”

The Pro Soto line of makeup is another distinction, Jennifer said. The mineral-based products were developed as a cost-effective option for customers who have “holes” in their own collection.

Startup cost: $80,000

Funding source: personal savings

Potential problem and contingency plan: Marketing a new business is always a challenge, and the Sotolongos plan to get the word out via referrals as well as paid advertising.

They chose the admittedly low-profile location because it had more of “homey”  feel than a strip mall site—something they hope will appeal to customers looking for a personal touch.  

“We go above and beyond,” Jennifer said, citing extras like the handwritten thank-you notes technicians send to clients. “We strive to build personal relationships with our customers.”

“Everyone who comes in comes back,” Brenda said.

First-year goal: Jennifer runs day-to-day operations at the salon with the help of “sidekick” Rhiana DeGennaro while Brenda concentrates on the classes—and picks up freelance jobs to smooth over any financial rough spots.

The women expect to outgrow their current location before long, but they’re in no rush.

“We don’t have a desire to grow so fast that we can’t manage it well,” Brenda said. “We want to make sure we take really good care of the customers we have.”

Still, Jennifer is looking forward to having to squeeze clients into a jam-packed day.

 "It would be nice to look at the [appointment] books and have a hard time scheduling someone,” she said.

 

_____

Know another new business IBJ should feature? Drop me a note: adavis@ibj.com.
 

ADVERTISEMENT
  • AMAZING!
    I am the second oldest of Brenda's seven children and would like to say even as prejudice as it may sound I have never used a make-up line as spectacular as Prosoto and as far as any of the services my mom, sister and staff provide, I drive 3.5 hours just to get my hair cut and waxing. I have also watched my mom through out the years in pure amazement. It makes me so proud to see that not only do they provide the services as resonably priced but in a setting that will make you feel so relaxed at the same time knowing things are done sanitary and properly. I can assure anyone if they made the time to visit this facility just once it would definantly not be the last. The Make-Up Shop is really a great success not only for them but for any client that walks in their door. Great Job ladies!! This is what all your hard work was done for!!
  • Interesting. . .
    I have been thinking to myself, "Wow, so many women look so good with make up on, but I never get it right - most of the time going without" I'm going to try it out and see what my husband thinks! Expect a call soon ladies!
  • Foundation
    I purchased the primer and foundation about a week ago and absolutely LOVE it. I have combination and it does not feel heavy at all. I love the fact that I can use the same product for concealer as well. Can't wait to try more products from the Pro Soto line!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. I keep wondering why I keep hearing about this problem of corporations leaving America, and I never hear a reasonable proposal to lower corporate tax rates and raise personal rates on income from capital gains and dividends, especially for high earners. It is just too simple of a solution for Congress to embrace?

  2. Are you financially down and you need money to settle your dept,or you need money to start up a business or to invest on a huge business,we also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at low interest rate , loan terms determinant,Loan amount between the sum of $5,000.00 to $100,000,000.00. US Dollars And Euro. Loan for developing businesses a competitive edge/ business expansion. We Offer The Following Kinds Of Loans. Personal Loans (Secure and Unsecured) Business Loans (Secure and Unsecured) Consolidation Loan FIRST INFORMATIONS NEEDED ARE: BORROWER’S DATA’S INFORMATION,FILL AND RETURN FOR QUICK START UP PROCESS. Name:_________ Last Name:_________ Age:_________ Contact Address:_________ Country:_________ Amount Needed as Loan:_________ Loan Duration:_________ Phone Number__________ Monthly Income/Yearly Income:_________ Purpose for Loan:_________ Occupation:_________ How Soon is Loan Needed__________ Email via: albertbrownfirm@outlook.com

  3. is a disaster. SR37 already needs to be built to interstate standards between 465 and SR144. Southport Road is a mess each morning and evening.

  4. Bass Pro Shops would be good for the mall as well as a Giant Eagle Market District or a Jungle Jim's International Market Place grocery store like the one near Cincinnati Ohio.A Disney quest indoor theme park would be good.An Academy outdoor store would be good too.Indoor Circus shows and magic shows would be good as well. A casino with sports bar would be good.A Disney theater inside that shows movies and Broadway shows would work.Nashville Tennessee concert shops with indoor neon lights would be good.How about a theater that shows travel shows and theme parks. A train store would be good.How about a giant toy store with high tech video games.

  5. This development is in addition to Allpoints Midwest 5, Aitrtek, a recent FedEx and more in Plainfield. Greenwood and Brownsburg also have similar projects.

ADVERTISEMENT