Episode 096

Jami Svay

Celebrity Makeup Artist and Entrepreneur

by | Feb 25, 2022

Show Notes:

In this episode, I sit down with Jami Svay, a super talented and highly sought-after celebrity makeup artist based right here in the Lake Norman area. Jami was referred to me by our mutual friend, Ivy Robinson – the founder and principal at Ivy Robinson Events, the highly acclaimed wedding and event planning agency in Charlotte. 

During our conversation, Jami shares the story of her entrepreneurial journey and how she was inspired years ago to begin a career as a celebrity makeup artist. Now an internationally renowned expert, Jami has worked with numerous A-list celebrities. Her work has also been featured on the runways of the world’s elite fashion capitals.

Jami has also been involved in her own beauty product startup and has bought and sold a brick-and-mortar business in Huntersville. 

Not only is Jami super-talented as a makeup artist and a business owner, but she also happens to be a wonderful and generous person. I really enjoyed getting to know Jami, and I know you will too. Thanks for joining us, friends, enjoy the episode.

Jami Svay

Shoutouts to these local small businesses:

Ivy Robinson Events | Charlotte, NC
Kristin Hayes Jewelry | Charlotte, NC
The Cosmo Gypsy Boutique | Mooresville, NC
Verde Latin Restaurant | Huntersville, NC
Janet Gwen Designs | Charlotte, NC

Special thanks to our sponsors:

Transcript:

Narrator  
Welcome to The Best of LKN, a podcast featuring the best small businesses and the most influential professionals around Lake Norman, North Carolina. Each week, we spotlight those businesses and individuals that are making a positive impact here in the Lake Norman area. Thanks for joining us, enjoy the show.

Jeff  
Hey, everyone, welcome back to another episode of The Best of LKN podcast, Lake Norman’s number one small business podcast. The team and I appreciate you joining us in this our 96th episode. If you haven’t already done so, I’d love for you to get to know our sponsors for The Best of LKN online platform. Links to our sponsors can be found at thebestoflkn.com/sponsors. I want to give a special thanks to Sodoma Law North, they are the sponsors that makes the transcriptions for our episodes possible. The written transcriptions can be found in the show notes for each episode, and these transcriptions make the podcast accessible for everyone, including the hearing impaired. We love all of our brand partners, and I hope you’ll get to know them and support their amazing businesses. If you’re a local small business that operates in the Lake Norman area, and you’re interested in thoughtful and effective advertising that will keep your brand Top of Mind with the most exceptional audience in the Lake Norman area, then I suggest you consider joining The Best of LKN as a sponsor and participating in our program for brand partners. You can learn more about this program at thebestoflkn.com/advertise. I’ll have a link in the show notes. This week on The Best of LKN blog, we released an article featuring our favorite yoga studios in the Lake Norman area. We sent a direct link out to our email newsletter subscribers. If you’re not already receiving our weekly email newsletter, you can sign up at thebestoflkn.com/newsletter, or find the link on our homepage at thebestoflkn.com. Okay, now let’s talk about Episode 96. In this episode, I sit down with Jami Svay, a super-talented and highly sought after a celebrity makeup artist based right here in the Lake Norman area. Jami was referred to me by our mutual friend, Ivy Robinson, the founder and principal at Ivy Robinson Events, the highly acclaimed wedding and event planning agency in Charlotte. During our conversation, Jami shares the story of her entrepreneurial journey and how she was inspired years ago to begin a career as a celebrity makeup artist. Now an internationally renowned expert, Jami has worked with numerous A-list celebrities. Her work has also been featured on the runways of the world’s elite fashion capitals. Jami has also been involved in her own beauty products startup and has bought and sold a brick-and-mortar business right here in Huntersville. Not only is Jami super talented as a makeup artist and a business owner, but she also happens to be a wonderful and generous person. I really enjoyed getting to know Jami and I know you will, too. Thanks for joining us, friends. Enjoy the episode.

Jeff  
Jami, welcome to the podcast.

Jami  
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

Jeff  
Great to have you. Great to meet you in person. I’m glad we finally got to coordinate this.

Jami  
Yes.

Jeff  
Shout out to Ivy Robinson.

Jami  
That’s my girl.

Jeff  
She’s awesome. She recognized you and gave you a big shout out in her conversation for the podcast a few months ago and inspired me to reach out to you, which I did, and you responded, thank you so much.

Jami  
No problem.

Jeff  
Really appreciate it. Ivy, her conversations are always so much fun.

Jami  
I love her. We’ve worked together for so many years and honestly, she’s just not only great at what she does, you know as a planner, but she’s a great person. So, if you hire her, you’re probably in for like a friend for life, because she’s just that girl that you want to keep in contact with even long after your event.

Jeff  
Yeah, I totally believe it. That’s pretty well said. That’s basically what I think of when I think of Ivy Robinson. Yeah, for sure.

Jami  
She’s great.

Jeff  
Jami, you recently sold a business. You had a business I think in Huntersville?

Jami  
Yes.

Jeff  
And we’ll kind of dive into that a little bit. But before we do, if you can share a little bit of your background, a little bio on Jami Svay. You’ve got like five or 10 minutes to give me your life story.

Jami  
Oh, yeah. It’ll be the real short, short, short version. So, I am a makeup artist. I’ve been doing makeup for wow, 18 years now. And I have to say that my career, I like to say it’s been a series of moments, because there’s moments that have been really, really awesome, and then there’s been moments that have been like, hmm, okay. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some really, really cool people. I’ve gotten to do New York Fashion Week and worked with really cool designers like Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren. And I’ve had the pleasure of doing magazines and traveling all over doing catalogs and ad campaigns. And when I think back on my career, like I said, it’s just been a series of moments. Thank God for Instagram because to me, it catalogs those moments, you know, so someone’s always like, so what have you been up to? I just look at my Instagram, and be like oh, okay, so I was there last week. This week, I did this and because it’s just at that point it’s like a blur, like you just, it’s just doing it. A couple of weeks ago, I got to work with Oakley sunglasses and do an ad campaign for them.

Jeff  
I saw that. That looked like a really cool ad campaign.

Jami  
That was a lot of fun. It was sort of a nod to Dennis Rodman. They recreated a pair that he wore in the 90s. So, we got to do that, which was really awesome. Got to paint his nails, which he totally like loved. Kelly Oubre was the basketball player that I got to work with. I got to work with Daymond from Shark Tank recently. Dale Earnhardt and his beautiful wife, they’re launching a wonderful vodka company and got to do their ad campaign. I work with Wrangler a lot, Lee Jeans, Champion Sportswear has now become one of my clients. So, like I said, I’m just grateful, I am glad for this moment right here right now to stop and think and kind of have a pause and like, what have I been doing? What have I done? And like I said, it’s just a series of moments.

Jeff  
I love that description. That reminds me of, I listen to a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk, Gary V, a lot of his keynotes and interviews, and while I don’t agree 100% with all of his marketing theories and strategies, he did make a comment, and he makes a comment quite often about how a lot of his videos and keynotes and speeches are really for him and for his legacy, and to chronicle his life. And he does it through social, you know, and you bring up a really good point, social is so cool to be able to go back and kind of look at all these moments that we’ve had and how far we’ve come and look at those memories and it kinda just catalogs our career and our lives.

Jami  
Right, right. And some memories, you know, not so good. I lost my mother last year.

Jeff  
I’m sorry.

Jami  
So, 2021 was a very, very tough year for me personally, because not only do you lose someone that close and that special, you don’t really have time to mourn, you have to pick back up and keep going. So, that was hard, you know, to be like, oh, how was your day? And I’m thinking my head, do I tell them how I really feel, which is like crap, or do I just smile like, everything’s great, and keep it moving? So, that was really hard to deal with that and still having to work. Because prior to that was 2020, where there was no work, so for me 2021 was playing catch up. And there was no time to stop. But, like you say, looking through those moments, and you realize that, things are so fragile, and you just don’t want to take for granted what you’ve got.

Jeff  
Yeah, absolutely. That’s really well said. Yeah, I’ve mentioned this, we’ve had this conversation on other podcast episodes about how maybe a little bit of the silver lining of 2020 was being able to pause and reflect on everything that we had taken so much for granted.

Jami  
Definitely.

Jeff  
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jami  
I feel like everyone walked away from that situation, learning something. Whether it was learning what to do or what not to do, but I definitely realized that personally, I don’t need so much stuff. You know, I immediately when 2021 came, downsized, and just realized that I don’t really need as much as I think I do. Like I don’t need 20 purses, I don’t need, you know, 100 pairs of shoes. Like I really, it really made me think about what was important in life. And you know, do I love fashion? Yes, but it’s like, do I really need it? So, I myself changed my spending habits and my shopping and just the way I lived in general across the board. COVID taught me a lot.

Jeff  
Yeah, that’s really well said, and I can relate. I kind of feel the same way. And I’ve definitely found myself adopting more of a minimalist mentality over the last year.

Jami  
That’s the right word, minimalism. That’s how my sons will decorate their apartment. It’ll just be a mattress on the floor, and it’ll be like, oh, hon, that’s really minimal, it’s a decor type.

Jeff  
Yeah. I think it’s trending. Yeah. I didn’t come up with it. Believe me.

Jami  
No, but it’s great, it’s good to put a word for it. Like, oh, just that one table and one chair, minimalism.

Jeff  
Absolutely. Take me back to when you began your career as a makeup artist. When did you, when did that happen? How did that happen? What inspired you to get into the industry?

Jami  
Well, I graduated high school in ’99. And I remember that year so vividly because it was Y2K. Like it was supposed to be, the world was just supposed to collapse. And I remember going to college in Atlanta, I went to Bauder College in Atlanta for fashion design. And I wanted to be a fashion designer, that was my goal. I designed all through high school. And even my senior exit project was about designing, and I’d studied Chanel, and I wanted to do art. And fast forward, I didn’t graduate. And I was going to go to New York, but I ended up going back home to Charlotte, my dad was really ill. And I was thinking to myself, okay, I have this knowledge and this college career for art and I’m like, what kind of job am I gonna do with that? And yeah, I could work at a museum or something or, but I’m like, that’s, I don’t know. So, a friend of mine, he ran a modeling agency at the time. And he said, why don’t you do makeup? And I was like, makeup? And he’s like, yeah, you’re a people person. He’s like, why don’t you do makeup? It’s like art, but on someone’s face. And I was thinking to myself, like, hmm, that’s interesting. And so I started doing more research about it and thinking into it. And again, fast forward 18 years later, I am doing makeup. That was the probably the best, most life-changing suggestion that I ever received. Because I had no idea. And then I started working at a salon, was working at the front desk, and then they would let me do makeup on basically whoever would let me touch them, like whoever would trust me enough to let me touch their face. And I remember a photographer came in, her makeup artist had bailed on her. And she said, I need someone to do makeup. Can anyone in here do makeup for a photoshoot? I said oh, photoshoot that sounds fancy. I’m like, I’ll do it. So, I left, I clocked out, I went with her, and I did it, there were models and photographers and just gowns. It was for wedding magazine; it was for the cover. And I was like, wow, I could do this. Like working in a salon is great. But I’m like, I could do this right here like, and then she handed me a check afterward. And my dummy self I’m like, I’m just doing it for the love. She hands me a check and I’m like, and I get paid? Like this, like a whole other world opened up for me. And I was like, okay, not only do I want to do makeup, but I want to do this, like I want to do photoshoots, I want to travel, I want to work with photographers. So, I went home, and we didn’t have like, I remember I had a dial-up computer it was like AOL or something like that. I remember going on my computer and just looking up photographers, just looking up whoever was in my area, and I remember reaching out to each and every one of them, calling them, that’s when you called somebody, you didn’t text them then, you just called them you, you know? And I said, I’m a makeup artist, I would love to be on your radar if you need any help or need anything let me know. And out of maybe the 20 photographers that I called, five actually called me back and said, hey, we could use you, and then they put me on constant rotation. And then from there that’s how my career began basically, doing what I’m doing. I started doing catalog work and doing local department store makeup for like their, like I started working for Belk and doing their mailers and a friend of mine was like, so funny, she said, oh, I get those in the mail. I line my birdcage with them. I was like, oh, well before your bird poops on it take a look at her makeup, because I did that. So, it just transformed into this whole world for me. And like I said that was the best suggestion ever.

Jeff  
I love it when that happens. Yeah, and it’s some of the best career shifts I found that people have, happened by accident. You know, it certainly happened to me, and it’s happened to a lot of the guests that I’ve had on the podcast where they find themselves in this career that they love or this business that they love. And it just sort of came together and happened by accident.

Jami  
Yeah, happy little accidents. If I ever write a book that’ll be a chapter, happy little accident.

Jeff  
I love it. So, Dale Jr. is coming out with a vodka, huh?

Jami  
Yes, he sort of quasi-launched it last week at his Hall of Fame party. And then the big launch will be in February. Well, it is February. In a couple of weeks. And so, I was grateful to work on their ad campaign for their vodka, it’s him and his wife. Dale is an amazing guy; his wife is even more amazing. And I just love what he’s done with his brand. And transform, I think sometimes athletes have a hard time once their sport is done, once they retire. It’s kind of like, what’s next? And it’s so great to see different types of athletes be able to transform from one phase to the other. And I think he’s one of those athletes that has been able to do that in a graceful, amazing way. The host of Good Morning America, I can’t think of his name right now. Oh, gosh. What is his name? Used to be a football player. Now he’s the host of Good Morning, America. That’s amazing.

Jeff  
My wife could tell you.

Jami  
I can’t think of his name.

Jeff  
I know you’re thinking of, he’s also a commentator.

Jami  
Michael, something, Michael Strahan. That’s his name. I was like, it’ll come to me in a second, Michael Strahan. Like, to me, that’s probably one of the most graceful transfers ever to go from his sport to hosting Good Morning America. And even with Dale, I love watching him from racing to now commentating, I think that’s great. So, shout out to him and his vodka. I think that’s, I think what him and his wife, Amy, whom I love, I think they’re just awesome people.

Jeff  
I’ve had guests on who have worked or met with Dale and have basically shared the same sentiment you just shared, that just what a wonderful human he is. And there’s a reason why he was People’s Choice in NASCAR. Right? Why he has so many fans because he’s just a down to earth guy. 

Jami  
Totally.

Jeff  
I’ve never had the pleasure. Someday I hope to have the pleasure of meeting him and Amy. But yeah, yeah, really well said, I appreciate that shout out.

Jami  
Oh, yeah. Love them.

Jeff  
Speaking of the Hall of Fame party, I think Ivy was involved?

Jami  
She did. She planned the event. She did an amazing job as always. I mean, there was a shrimp station, crab cakes, and there was entertainment. Dwight Yoakam flew in from LA to perform and he was amazing. I’ve never heard of his music. But now I’m a fan just from listening. And, you know, I did a little line dancing, I had an amazing time. So yeah, shout out to her. Ivy always knows how to throw a great party. Like, she keeps it going. I love her.

Jeff  
For sure. Yeah, yeah. It’s funny, I don’t know Dwight Yoakam as the singer. I know he’s a singer, of course, but I am familiar with him as an actor. You know, he’s done so much acting over the years. He’s always been a really cool actor.

Jami  
And I thought I recognized his face. I was like, I know this guy, who is he? And then he started performing and his whole band had sequined jackets on, and I love sequins, so I was really happy there. I had the best time. I hope Dale really enjoyed his party and enjoyed his moment because that’s a huge accomplishment for Hall of Fame.

Jeff  
Absolutely. Yeah. I can only imagine how amazing that event was, so that’s really cool.

Jami  
Yeah, that was fun.

Jeff  
So, what are some, who is your current clientele like? Do you work with small influencers, entrepreneurs, small businesses locally? Are you working for mostly national brands?

Jami  
Right now, it has grown to national brands like Oakley and Lee Jeans and Champion, but I would never say no to a local up-and-coming brand like Kristin Hayes is an amazing jewelry designer. And I do her hair and makeup for her ads, and she’s based right here in Charlotte. KK Bloom is also a local boutique here in Charlotte and I think they’re amazing and I’ve worked with her many times to do makeup for her website. So honestly, just whomever needs makeup, like I’m not partial, national versus local. I’m grateful to work with the local brands because I learned so much from other businesswomen and men and other fellow entrepreneurs like how to do certain things and what not to do sometimes. And then also working for the national brands and sometimes international because Wrangler is based in Europe as well. And Laura Ashley is one of my clients and they’re international, based in the UK. I learned that we’re not so far off base. Like, you know, sometimes I really am hard on myself like, oh my God, I need to be doing it like the big dogs are doing it. And then I work with like the national brands and international brands and realize we’re not so far off. We’re actually on track. We’re actually doing what we’re supposed to be doing. So, I love working for both.

Jeff  
Excellent. I love that. A guest or two has recognized Kristin Hayes. And I don’t recall offhand if it was the Lake Norman podcast, it may have been Jacqueline Bassett, who owns Juelerye Fine Gifts and Art in Mooresville. Or it could be Nicole Corriher, who owns the Golden Carrot in South End, who I interviewed for The Best of Charlotte podcast. But Kristin Hayes has come up a couple of times.

Jami  
She would be a great candidate. I love her story. I love the passion that she puts in her jewelry. I’ve gotten a couple pieces from her, and I love them. They’re timeless. So, she’s great.

Jeff  
Yeah, I’d love to, I’ll reach out. I’ll definitely have her information in the show notes as well. We’ll make sure I tag her in the show notes and on social and I’ll send her a note and see if we can connect sometime.

Jami  
Sure.

Jeff  
Yeah, that would be great. So, I have to ask you, and we had talked about doing a makeover, videoing a makeover for the podcast. I do want you to come back. I want to do that.

Jami  
I definitely want to come back. I’ll bring a model, we’ll do it.

Jeff  
Yeah, that sounds great. We have a, we’re launching a YouTube channel for The Best of LKN. I’m in the process of recording the first few videos, they’re going to be real simple, folks.

Jami  
Ok, I love it. The simple the better. That’s great.

Jeff  
But we need to get started. We needed to get started on that two years ago. You know, the best time was two years ago. The second best time is right now. So, we’re gonna go ahead and get that launched hopefully March 1st, or shortly thereafter the channel will be live, and we’ll start updating those videos weekly. But would love for you to come back and do a makeover and we’ll throw that on our YouTube channel and that would be really cool to watch.

Jami  
Okay, I’ll definitely do it.

Jeff  
On that topic, for my listeners, for our listeners, any makeup advice for our listeners?

Jami  
I would say for makeup advice, it sounds so basic but good skincare. I think having a good foundation is the best thing because no matter how much money you spend on makeup Fenty Beauty, Armani, NARS, if your skin isn’t right then you’re not getting the best out of your makeup. I spend tons on oils and serums and, you know, moisturizers, take care of your skin, like seriously, like take care of it. Wash your face at night. No matter how tired you are, wash that day off, like seriously, do not go to bed with a dirty face, clean your pores out. Your skin, if you love it and take care of it, it will love you back. And so, giving your skin that extra oomph, if you can even treat yourself to a facial maybe. If not every season, if you can go just once a year, just treat yourself to a nice facial and give your skin that mmm, you know, that ooh ahh feeling. And then once you’ve given your skin the best you can, then you can focus on good makeup. Again, I’m a lip gloss girl I’m really sad at masks right now because you cannot see the awesome lip gloss that I’m wearing, because I love lip gloss. Like that’s even going to be, I told my son and my husband, like that needs to be in my obituary because even if I’m buried, I want a tube of lip gloss in my hand. As I’m lying in the casket like this, I want a tube of lip gloss because that is like my favorite part of the makeup process, it’s like the icing on the cake. Or even if you’re wearing nothing, but just a pair of sunglasses and a lip gloss. I guess it just gives me that sense of finish. That sense of done, that polish, like you’re not done unless there’s something on your lips. So, to me, invest in good skincare, take care of your skin, and then if you can do nothing else when you walk out the door, lip gloss. But they’ll learn more when I do that three-minute makeover. We’ll say, well that’s a little teaser. We’ll save that for the viewers when they visually can see what they can also do to enhance their makeup look.

Jeff  
Gotcha. The icing on the cake. Yeah, I love that. Wash that day off.

Jami  
Wash the day off.

Jeff  
Yeah, that’s good advice.

Jami  
And you’re not done until you put something on your lips.

Jeff  
I love it. You had, let’s talk about the business that you had in Huntersville. And if I recall correctly, you sold it recently?

Jami  
I did, it was a spa, I was a franchise owner of IDOLIZE Brows and Beauty. They specialized in brows and facials, waxing, that sort of thing. And I bought into the franchise in 2019. And we got the franchise, we got all the paperwork ready to go. And it was toward the end of 2019. It was like December, we signed the deal 2019 in December, and then we broke ground in January 2020, and then COVID hit in March. So, it was a very tough time, because I wasn’t able to run the business the way I wanted to. It was a time where no one could help or guide because no one had been through anything like this ever in history. So, when I would go to some of my business advisors, people that I love here that have guided me through a lot, they couldn’t even give me the best advice because they didn’t know. So, that was really difficult. And then we ran it for two years. And then in December of 2021, we got an offer from a man who owned other multiple spas as well, offered to buy it. And I wanted to hold on to it but then it was kind of like, no, this is a good opportunity, he’s offering to buy it. Let me go ahead and unload and sell to open and free myself up for something a little bit better down the future. It’s kind of like the game of Monopoly, where you put that house on Vermont Avenue, because it seems like a good plan at the time. And then you go around the board a couple times. And you’re like, okay, nobody is landing on Vermont, what the hell, and so you’re like, but then that one person buys up everything in the game. And they’re just like, hey, let me buy that Vermont off you. Hmm, here you go, take Vermont Avenue. Because I want to hold out for Park Place, or Boardwalk or that money maker on the side. Let’s not forget about, let’s not forget about New York Avenue, too, because people snooze on New York Avenue. But people land there all the time. So, you notice I play Monopoly a lot? But to me, that is the best way to teach life because it’s about, again, this old country song, knowing when to hold them know when to fold them. That was the time to be like, okay, it’s time to go. It’s time to go.

Jeff  
Were you reaching out looking to sell, or did this offer come in unsolicited?

Jami  
The offer came unsolicited. It was kind of like, because I hadn’t reached out to a commercial real estate broker or anything yet. It was kind of like a thought process like, maybe we should look to sell it. And then I guess something was just being heard in the cosmos. And then we got a call, and they were like, hey, we’ve been in your spa and I love it, we want to put an offer on, and we dug into them and realized they owned several others so they’ve done very well with the others that they’ve owned. And we’re like, okay, this is solid. This is our, this is where we need to go. And a lot of people were like, are you sad? And no, I try not to get emotionally attached to businesses, because you start them to eventually sell them, unless it’s like a family business. But even then, once the children take over a lot of times, the family business that was created by grandpa or great-grandma or whatever usually gets sold once the children take over. So, I try not to get attached to something like that. Because if the business move and the financial survival of my family is to sell it, then do so.

Jeff  
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, really, the stars kind of aligned to get that offer at that time, I mean is probably, I can understand why it’d be a really difficult opportunity to pass up.

Jami  
Right. And I don’t really know, I mean, I’m not a fortune teller. Obviously, if I were I probably would have not signed the deal when I signed it, because then I would know, hey, COVID’s three months away. Because who would have known that? You know, a lot of people were like, why did you start a business during a pandemic? It’s not like I did it on purpose. It’s like, gee, hon, what would be fun? Okay, let’s start a business during COVID. Like that, no one does that. You know, so it wasn’t like it was done on purpose. It was just, it just was the timing. It was the alignment. So, to be able to run it for two years and learn so much, my son managed it for me, he graduated in 2020. And then he managed our spa for the two years that we had it because college was not on the radar then, and I’m not a big advocate for sending your kids to school when they don’t know what they want to do. Like, I’m not in the business of spending money and you’re partying, like you can party at home for free.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Jami  
So, I was on board with him learning the business and just getting his feet wet with that first before he goes to college and figure out exactly what you want to do. Who knows at 18? That’s really hard to say, what do you want to do for the rest of your life, you’re 18, boom, tell me, you know, and then spend all the money for college like, I was on board with him working at the spa and managing it, getting his people skills up and figuring out that path first for free, before he spent money on school. But to me, it’s like, that was a great learning experience. I will never take that away. But now with it being 2022. I just want to sit back and see where things unfold. Like economy wise, I kind of want to take this opportunity to just sit back and watch and see what’s happening. Because we don’t know, we really don’t. And I’m okay with saying that. We really don’t know. And I’m not saying that I would never do another business in the future. But I definitely want to take this time and watch the climate, because I’ve never seen anything like this.

Jeff  
Yeah, tell me about it. And knowing what you want to do for a career at 18. I didn’t even know what I want to do until I was in my 40s.

Jami  
My husband’s the same way, he just went back to school about six months ago for real estate, residential and commercial real estate stuff. And, you know, he’s 42. So, I’m all about growing and changing. I hate it when people put you in a box and say, okay, you have to stay here forever. Because that’s not fair. You should be allowed to grow and change and shift and say, okay, I was this, but now I’d like to maybe try this. Or you know, I didn’t know at the beginning, but now I know and it’s okay. I don’t think that paths should be as conservative as they’ve been in the past. I applaud my husband for going back to school at 42 years old and getting his degree. I think that’s beautiful. Like coming home at night and watching him do his homework alongside our 18-year-old son. That is beautiful to me. They’re at the kitchen table doing their homework together. I love that because we can say work hard, go to school, but when you can physically show your children, that’s beautiful. That’s better than preaching any day like physically showing them. Hey, you can do this, too.

Jeff  
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, just a quick note, I’ve always known that I wanted to be in business for myself. But I’ve had other businesses that started and was somewhat successful and some failed. And so, I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t find my true calling until I was in my 40s.

Jami  
So, now I have a question for you. Do you feel like you learned more from the businesses that succeeded or the ones that failed?

Jeff  
Oh, without a doubt you learn more from your failures than you do from your successes, I believe for sure. Yeah. And I’ve been able to take all of those lessons, and the failures are hard lessons, but those are the ones that teach you and the ones that stick. And I’ve been able to take those lessons from past businesses that have not been so successful, and I’ve been able to apply those lessons to a new business. So, yeah, that’s how we learn for sure.

Jami  
I agree. I’ve learned so much on this path. And like I said, I’m not saying that I would never do another business in the future, but I definitely want to watch the climb and see economically where things are heading and where things are going. I’m very grateful for that opportunity to be able to sell the business and to start it and to sell it and to see it in fruition, because a lot of people told me that I couldn’t even do it. My race, my sex being a female, my background, like, you’re an artist stick to that. So, a lot of opposition. And it was, maybe it was just in some small way, a validation for me to say, no, I can do this, and I did do this, and I got it off the ground and got it running. So, I’m proud just for that. And then not only that, to run it during probably one of the most hardest economic times in history. I am definitely gonna pat myself on the back for that because I don’t know many people that could have done that. And I mean, a lot of businesses, well-known businesses, Pier 1 Imports, Carrabba’s, a lot of companies had to close down during that time. So, I’m very grateful for the things that I’ve learned.

Jeff  
I love that, that’s really well said. Yeah, absolutely. And you should be proud.

Jami  
Thank you.

Jeff  
Yeah, absolutely. And there’ll be other opportunities.

Jami  
Oh, yeah.

Jeff  
I think we’re all proceeding with caution.

Jami  
Oh, yeah, I don’t beat myself up for that at all. I’m grateful that I still had makeup, I never stopped doing that. I was doing photoshoots and still doing that aspect of it while the spa was running. So, I am glad that I still have that to go to and be a part of. So, that has always segued into something. In 2009, I had a lip balm company called Tasty. And I used to sell it on QVC. And a lot of people said I couldn’t do that. And then that got bought out. And that was 2009. And then now you fast forward to 2020 and then I have the spa and then I sold that. Who knows what can happen in the future? Leaving yourself open to opportunity and possibility is half the game,

Jeff  
Launched a business in the Great Recession and then launched another business in another one basically.

Jami  
Now you can see why I’m like, hmm, let me just sit and, I wish I had Warren Buffett’s number, like yo, Warren, when’s the next recession coming? Elon, you’ve been to space, where? When’s the next one?

Jeff  
Yeah, now entrepreneurs are astronauts. Speaking of astronauts, and a really high level and speaking of business failures, I’m a big Jeff Bezos fan. I’ve read a lot of books on Jeff Bezos. I’ve listened to a lot of his interviews and keynotes, and love him or hate him, there’s no denying what he’s achieved with Amazon.

Jami  
Oh, I mean, we have single handedly kept him in business. Between me, my children, Amazon packages are on our doorstep daily.

Jeff  
Yeah, you know, he is elevated by so many successes, but in his keynotes, and in his interviews, he’s really transparent about bringing to everyone’s attention that for every success, there were 1000 failures with Amazon. And it was just, it was messy. The process, the entrepreneurial journey is a messy journey. And it’s a windy road. And it’s not a straight line.

Jami  
No, no. And shout out to Jeff Bezos for being able to provide jobs. You know, he’s been able to give so many people jobs and employment and for that I love. He brought a plant to Charlotte, my hometown, and employed so many people. And I just, I love those opportunities to build your economy, to build your people, and I dig that.

Jeff  
Yeah, I do, too. That’s really well said, I like that. And I hate that Charlotte missed out on the East Coast headquarters.

Jami  
Yes. Where did it end up going? I can’t remember, Virginia or something?

Jeff  
Yeah, I think Washington DC, Northern Virginia.

Jami  
Ok, but yeah, I’m with you, on that.

Jeff  
Which kind of makes sense. Because, you know, they are in DC so often for other reasons. That’s a topic I guess for another conversation.

Jami  
Yeah, we’ll put a pin in that, and we’ll put a pin in drones because we could talk for hours on that.

Jeff  
So, thank you for sharing details on the small business that you sold recently. And Ivy did give IDOLIZE a shout out in her conversation. I think you were in the process of selling at the time of my conversation with her. What I’d love to do in these conversations, before we wrap up, is to take a few moments to give other small businesses a shout out in the Lake Norman area and even Charlotte, and these businesses could be businesses that have been great partners for Jami Svay and her makeup business and in the work that you do, or they could be small businesses that just you love and you and your family adore in the area. Do you have a few for me?

Jami  
I do. Cosmo Gypsy is located Mooresville, I love her boutique, love her clothes, love her aesthetic of her store. I think she’s great. Front Porch Florist, they do delivery, floral arrangements and she’ll even do deliveries to nursing homes and things like that to just brighten people’s day. I love that. Verde, which is in Torrence village. It was next to my old location. I love Mexican food, so when you can give me a ceviche that knocks my socks off, I am for it. And it’s family-owned, so I definitely love them. If you’re having your next holiday party, business luncheon, or whatever, they do great catering, love Verde. She sells online, but Janet Gwen, she is an Asian sculptor, and I love her sculptures. She does nude goddess sculptures, she also does plates and things like that, just to decor your home. I just recently bought one of her sculptures and I adore it. It’s funny, I was thinking about what my husband would say, it’s this naked figure and my husband’s like, what is that? I’m like, it’s art. But I love Janet, and her headquarters is based in Charlotte. So, that’s all I can think of right now. But those four people, all ethnicities, like I said, Front Porch Florist is black owned. Janet Gwen is Asian. Verde is, like I said, it’s run by a Mexican family, family-owned for many years. And Cosmo Gypsy. Her name is Bec, the owner, it’s her and her husband. So, I adore all those places. And I love what they’ve done in the community, and I love their work.

Jeff  
Thank you for that. Cosmo Gypsy, I’m not familiar with that boutique. We have an article on our blog, I think we had 10 local boutiques featured in that article.

Jami  
They’re right in downtown Mooresville. Do you know where that antique mall is?

Jeff  
Yeah.

Jami  
It’s right, like if you go down just a little bit, it’s right across the street.

Jeff  
Perfect. I’ll reach out, we’ll get some information. We’ll update that article and make sure that they are included. Front Porch Flowers, excellent. One of our sponsors is a florist, Blumengärten, and I love, I think florists played a really important role in the last two years. I think they always kind of do. But I think they’ve provided a really important service for a lot of people over the last two years.

Jami  
I love fresh flowers. Whenever I can put some on my dining room table, I adore it, because it just brightens the area, brightens the mood. I think as we can see now, mental health is being a really big topic of discussion and anything you can do to just bring positivity to your home and to your world, and something as simple as a flower bouquet, I know it sounds silly, but it does help.

Jeff  
Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more and it’s not silly. Yeah, it’s so true. Denise Ulhorn, the owner of Blumengärten shared, I interviewed her early in the pandemic, and they were a guest early on in our podcast, and she made a point to say how during the pandemic, a lot of customers were ordering flowers weekly just to kind of brighten up the house. We were stuck at home, you know, we couldn’t go anywhere. We were working from home. We couldn’t go anywhere.

Jami  
Lowe’s kept me in business during 2020, and they’re one of my clients, I work for their headquarters. They have a local show called the LoweDown, which they feed to all of their stores nationally. It keeps them connected. And it also, they use that opportunity to do DIYs. I also do makeup for the CEO of Lowe’s, Marvin. Love him, adore him. And while every other business possibly were shutting their doors or closing down, Lowe’s, their business spiked because like you said, everyone was at home. So, everyone being at home, what are they going to do? Home improvement. So, Lowe’s was banging during COVID because that was their time to redo that deck that they never got around to or fix that showerhead that’s been broken for two years. So luckily, they were one of my clients because they kept me employed, which kept my lights on, so I was really grateful for them. So, shout out to Marvin and Mia his right hand. They are awesome.

Jeff  
I love that, that’s a great shout out. Yeah, our home has never looked better. We’ve done a lot of improvements over the last 18 months and again, another silver lining I guess, you know, we’ve kind of fallen in love with the house again.

Jami  
Oh yeah, reinventing your space, man. I’m telling you when you’re in a good place you do good things.

Jeff  
Absolutely. Verde, we’re huge fans of Mexican food as well.

Jami  
Have you been there yet?

Jeff  
Yes. We have an article on the blog with I forget how many local Mexican restaurants we had featured in that, but yeah, Verde, big fans.

Jami  
Love it, love their ceviche, their queso, everything. And then like I said, I love that they’re family owned. But it’s hard, the kids took over and didn’t shut it down. Yeah, I love them. They’re great.

Jeff  
And Janet Gwen?

Jami  
Janet Gwen, G-W-E-N, she is a sculptor and based right in Charlotte, and I love her work, I mean her sculptures are super cute.

Jeff  
I will look her up and make sure that her information is in the show notes as well. We’ll tag her on social and I’ll check out her work. That sounds really interesting.

Jami  
I love that, I love that. And hopefully your wife or whomever will let you put one of her sculptures in the living room.

Jeff  
I’ll send her the link and maybe she’ll buy it.

Jami  
Exactly, let it be her idea.

Jeff  
Okay, another question I had for you, another topic that I wanted to bring up and wondered if you could help out a little bit. A little bit of advice for our listeners. Any online resources that you’d recommend for learning more about style, makeup? Or business, marketing, entrepreneurship, or personal development? What are some of your go tos?

Jami  
For fashion, I follow @fashionbombdaily. I follow her. For makeup, oh my gosh, there’s so many.

Jeff  
Jami Svay?

Jami  
Well, yes, you can follow me definitely. For makeup, I love NikkieTutorials, I think she’s great. And sometimes I just love to follow the brands directly because they also post how tos and things like that. Right now, I’m loving Oak Essentials. Her skincare was created by Jenni Kayne, who’s also kind of like a home decor guru. But Oak Essentials is amazing. I love Rare Beauty, my son bought me some for Christmas. And it’s Selena Gomez’s line. I follow them because she does great how tos as well. And then as far as for business…

Jeff  
You know, what a guest recently recommended?

Jami  
Shark Tank. No, I’m just kidding. 

Jeff  
Shark Tank. Yeah?

Jami  
I’m serious. You can learn so much watching that show.

Jeff  
No bias there.

Jami  
I watched it before I met him. Which was gonna be a pivotal moment. Because, you know, sometimes you see someone on TV and you’re like, oh my God, they’re great. And then you meet them in person, and then you’re like, please still be great.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Jami  
Because I’ve met a few people that I’m like, okay, I’m not buying your brand ever again, you are a jerk. So, it was great to meet Daymond, and he was still a wonderful gentleman. So, I will continue to watch Shark Tank because he was great. So, I was so happy. And I was, serious, the whole time I met him, I was like, please don’t be a jerk, please, because I love Shark Tank and I would hate to have to stop watching it. But he was, and he was dropping gems in the makeup chair. So, not only am I doing your makeup, I’m getting free advice. And I don’t even know if he knows he was dropping gems. But you can’t be surrounded by wonderful businesspeople like Dale Earnhardt and Daymond, and you know, and even basketball players, and not take away something. Because these are men that are using their funds doing whatever they’ve done. Like you know, with Daymond, he started FUBU and he was able to transform that into the crew he has now. Same thing with Dale and NASCAR, now he’s doing vodka and God knows what else. And even Kelly Oubre, starting his own venture. So, you can’t look at these men and not take away something and learn from them. Because being in their presence, even Marvin, the CEO of Lowe’s, that man has no idea how many knowledge gems he’s dropped on me, just sitting there chatting and talking and picking his brain and understanding what’s happening in our economy around us. You can’t be around these men and not learn something.

Jeff  
I love that. I call them value bombs. I need one of those sound effect machines where I can, when a guest drops a value bomb, I can give bomb sound effect.

Jami  
I mean, I’m getting free education on the job. Like, these men are great. And women too. I love it.

Jeff  
I love that too. A guest recently, on this topic, mentioned a bunch of biographies and autobiographies and he said, I don’t really read books on business, I like to read biographies about successful entrepreneurs and politicians and business people, and it really hit home because I listened to a lot of keynote speeches by successful entrepreneurs and I read through Audible, I listen to my books, a lot of biographies and autobiographies and I was like, oh, yeah, I do that too. And I didn’t even realize it. But that is a really good point. I love hearing their own words and listening to their story and their experiences, which gosh, I could go off on a tangent.

Jami  
But no, it’s like I said earlier, you realize that what you’re doing isn’t so far off base. You realize, I actually am on track. So, it kind of validates, and in a way, like, keep going.

Jeff  
Yeah, it reassures you too when you hear someone like Jeff Bezos talk about all of the failures that he had throughout his career and it’s reassuring to know that we’re not the only ones that are struggling with this thing called entrepreneurship, you know?

Jami  
Right.

Jeff  
Jami, this has been amazing. Great to meet you in person and great to have you on the podcast. How can listeners learn more about Jami Svay?

Jami  
Definitely following me on Instagram, Jami, J-A-M-I, there’s no e, J-A-M-I-S-V-A-Y. Following me on Instagram is the best way. And then also go into my website, jamisvay.com. I’m always posting new work there. But definitely the best way is Instagram because you get to know me and see what I’m doing. I try to take people on a tour of the job and what I’m doing. And then also drop knowledge as far as like how tos and tutorials. There will definitely be way more tutorials on my page this year than the past previous two years. So, I definitely want people to learn not just what products, because everybody can tell you buy this product, this product, that product. I’m not a big advocate of that, spending a whole bunch of money and then you get the product home and then you have no idea how to use it. And then it ultimately ends up being shoved in a drawer somewhere. Educating us, educating your people is the best way. Because I can tell you all day, go buy this go buy that, and you don’t know how to use it. So, my job is to show you how to use it and empower you.

Jeff  
I love that. That’s great. And I can’t wait to have you back for a makeover.

Jami  
Yes.

Jeff  
That’ll be one of our first YouTube channel videos. I can’t wait for that. That’ll be really cool.

Jami  
Empowerment continues.

Jeff  
Jami Svay, makeup artist to the stars, based right here in Lake Norman. Jami, thanks again for joining the podcast.

Jami  
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate you tenfold.

Jeff  
Big thanks to Jami Svay for joining the podcast and sharing the story of her entrepreneurial journey. My friends, you can learn more about Jami Svay and her work at www.jamisvay.com. That’s jamisvay.com. I’ll have a link in the show notes, of course. As always, you can find the complete show notes for all of our episodes at the home for Lake Norman’s number one small business podcast and online resource, www.thebestoflkn.com. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for our weekly email newsletter. It’s packed with all of our latest podcast episodes, blog articles, and coming soon, weekly YouTube videos. You can find the link to sign up for the email newsletter on our homepage or go directly to thebestoflkn.com/newsletter for the signup form. Just enter your first name and preferred email address and you’re all set. Thanks again to our sponsors and brand partners for supporting the work we’re doing here at The Best of LKN. I’ll have links to these fine businesses in the show notes as well. My friends, I think that’s going to do it for this episode. Thanks so much for joining us. We’d loved getting to know Jami Svay and I hope you did too. We’ll be back next week with another episode, same time, same place. Until then, cheers Lake Norman. Bye for now.

Narrator  
We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of The Best of LKN. For more information about this podcast, show notes, video episodes, and links to our featured businesses, please visit www.thebestoflkn.com. We publish episodes weekly, so be sure to subscribe and stay up to date. Until next time, cheers Lake Norman.