I am so honored to be featured in Voyage LA Magazine’s series highlighting inspiring & successful female leaders/role models! I would not be where I am without my supportive family, friends & clients - I am beyond thrilled to be given the opportunity to share my story. You can see the full spread here!
Meet Trailblazer Tina Tom
Today, we’d like to introduce you to Tina Tom.
Tina, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Ironically, I was never allowed to wear any makeup growing up – my mom was very strict and did not allow me to experiment with makeup, ever. It wasn’t until I moved away to college that I had the freedom to experiment with cosmetics, and once I started, I couldn’t stop – I was hooked and wanted to know every little detail, every step behind the art of creating a beautifully made-up face.
I got my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 3 years from UC Irvine at 20 years old – at the time, I was interning with the US Department of Commerce, specializing in International Trade. While this stable career path seemed to be the safe route to take, the nagging feeling in my heart got the best of me and I made an overnight decision to obtain a second degree at The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), where I studied Beauty Merchandising & Marketing. I started working behind the counter for CHANEL Beauty and continued until I finished school. After I graduated, I worked full time doing product development, product marketing, & brand management for skincare/makeup companies while freelancing for CHANEL as one of their regional makeup artists in the LA region.
I never had the desire to work on my own and start my own brand because I liked the safety and stability of working for a large cosmetics brand. It wasn’t until my boyfriend nagged me for months, purchased a makeup train case for me and presented me with a Sephora Gift Card to start my own makeup kit that I took the first steps toward freelancing for myself. Slowly, my retail customers started calling me to work bridal events and word-of-mouth created endless referrals for me. I have had the good fortune of having supportive friends, family members, boyfriend, and clients stand by me throughout the years to watch me build my brand and grow my business.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As cliche as it sounds, it is true what they say: nothing in life worth doing comes easy. In the beginning, I was constantly worried about where my next appointment would come from. I was constantly comparing myself to other artists & other makeup teams, and to be honest, it wasn’t until I stopped paying attention to what others were doing and focused on ME and what I wanted to do, that everything started falling into place. I now truly operate my business with the intention that there is more than enough business out there for all of us and we should view each other as comrades, rather than competition.
I have learned so much over the years through trial and error. I learned that running a successful brand requires more than passion and skill – it also requires an insane amount of patience, superb people skills, organization, good follow-through… the list never ends. People out there only see what you’re posting, but they don’t know the endless amount of hours that are spent behind the computer answering emails, dealing with contracts, updating social media outlets, websites, working with different vendors on scheduling, etc. Another huge thing that I’ve learned to accept throughout the years is that you really can’t please everyone.
My advice for young women just starting their journey is to stay focused on what it is they are trying to accomplish and chip away at it, day after day. Stay positive and hustle! Be persistent and never give up. It is okay to lose sight of your goals every once in a while, but the important thing is to never give up. Look for people who inspire you and ask them to share their story with you. Constantly strive to improve yourself and build on your skill set. Never stop learning. I was fortunate enough to have amazing colleagues at CHANEL who were willing to share tips and tricks of the trade with me.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Tina Tom Makeup – what should we know?
Tina Tom Makeup consists of a team of passionate stylists who have only one goal in mind: to bring out your best features without making you look or feel overdone. We specialize in soft, elegant beauty and intricate hair looks with a focus on enhancing your natural features. We are known for creating looks that are described as “soft glam” – pretty without looking overdone, with a focus on glowy skin & eyes that pop.
Which women have inspired you in your life?
I have had so many women inspire me – I don’t know if I can name them all!
Off the top of my head, my mom and my sister have been there for me since day one. They continue to inspire and motivate me to be better and do better because they always see the greatness in me even when I don’t see it myself. My team of artists, as well as fellow makeup teams, inspire me through their dedication, their willingness to help, and their camaraderie. Quite a few of my former bosses*& instructors from FIDM have inspired me in my life – Lily, AnaLisa, Ms. Habermeyer. They have always been supportive and helped me with anything I’ve needed. I also have a small group of girlfriends who have inspired me to continue on with my journey, even when times have been rough. They are always there to listen and give sound advice.
I appreciate the women in my life who have consistently lifted me up – it is so important to surround yourself with people who share your vision and goals.