Brittany Gray is a professional singer and television/film actress, certified makeup artist and the the founder of Fancy Face Inc.
Founded in 2006, Fancy Face Inc. is a full-service luxury on-site beauty agency that specializes in couture bridal hair & makeup styling. Brittany has built a team of 35 artists underneath her, launched the brand’s namesake cosmetics collection and opened her first brick & mortar in Toronto. We spoke with Brittany about how she got her start and what it takes to successfully scale a business in the beauty industry.
When did you first become passionate about makeup?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a genuine passion for makeup and the cosmetics industry as a whole. I grew up a competitive dancer and transitioned to a professional career in the performing arts as a teen and throughout my early twenties. I frequently utilized makeup to transform myself into the characters I was playing on TV, in films and on stage. I always had a natural knack when it came to doing my own makeup & makeup on others as well. While pursuing a career in front of the camera, I took some time to become educated and certified as a professional makeup artist, to be able to seriously pursue that passion & after 15+ years at it, it’s safe to say this has always been my calling!
What was the catalyst that turned your passion for makeup into a business?
The transition happened very organically. It started with being asked to do makeup for friends and family. Over time (before social media was a thing), the word spread fast and before I knew it, I had a significant client base. However, at the same time, I was cast in a Mirvish theatre show, performing 8 shows a week which was a grueling schedule. It didn’t leave much time for me to do makeup bookings myself. I decided that I really needed to develop and train a roster of talented artists to help support this budding business. Thankfully, due to growing up in an entrepreneurial, business-minded family, I had the tools to be able to build something special and think outside of the box of what was currently offered in the market.
What were the key elements in scaling your business?
For Fancy Face in our early years, it was all about hiring the right team of artists. The more artists we had, the more weddings and special events we could take on. I had to guarantee the talent I brought on was second-to-none, so I invested a lot of time training professional artists of my Fancy Face aesthetic.
I really started to scale out when I opened the roster in Vancouver, making the Fancy Face brand a bi-costal offering. The sheer volume of bookings we could take on went up substantially. Over the years, we focused on organic growth, ensuring our talent was top tier to reflect on our reputation and credibility.
Just prior to COVID, I made the bold decision to jump into products, and launched an edited collection of Fancy Face cosmetics. The clientele we built over 15 years was substantial and our social media supporters had really grown, so the initial 20 sku’s of Fancy Face makeup really carried us through what could have been a very unfortunate time in our business journey. With the service side becoming obsolete due to Covid-19, our cosmetic brand launch allowed us to double our business during an economic downturn and for that, I will forever be grateful. What we learned: no matter what happens in the world, women will always want to enlist in products that make them feel empowered to be their best self. Self care is recession-proof.
How important is social media to your business?
Social media is something that we’ve always found tremendously valuable. I think it’s important to continue to build your newsletter subscriber list, because in this day and age, you never know when an app will no longer be relevant. Our social media growth has been a slow and diligent grind on our part. We’re proud of our following – they are truly aligned with our content and to us, every one of them matters. Our social media supporters have kept our business thriving this past year and I am always so mindful of that and thankful to them.
How has the pandemic impacted Fancy Face?
After having some time to really reflect on this, I truly feel like there’s been such a silver lining for Fancy Face when it comes to the pandemic. We’ve been able to build an exciting side of our business and breathe new life into our brand as a whole. We simply wouldn’t have had the amount of dedicated time to develop the cosmetic line, had COVID-19 not happened. It allowed us to press pause on the service-side of our business and watch the transition into products take full effect. As hard as it’s been to pivot, it’s been thrilling to see where our new Fancy Face ideas and dreams can go.
Is there a job that you’ve had to date that really stands out to you? Over the course of my long career, I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities both as an actor/singer/dancer, as a makeup artist and business woman. It’s hard to pick just one! Some that stand out: performing in the Oscar-Award Winning movie, ‘Chicago’ with the likes of Catherine Zeta Jones & Richard Gere; performing onstage with QUEEN in We Will Rock You, and making TV appearances as a beauty expert on TV shows like Good Morning America, Cityline and ET Canada.
View this post on Instagram
What does your day to day look like in running Fancy Face?
My day starts at about 6am with getting my daughter Ivy (4) and son Nash (3) ready for school. Once they’ve been dropped off, I head to our Fancy Face storefront, ‘The Rosé Room’, for a day full of work. My workdays differ every single time I enter the shop. Some days we are in zoom meetings with our incredible FF team -planning out the months calendar, some days were packing up orders after a busy ecommerce weekend, some days were sharing tips and tricks with our social following & others were testing products and formulas for new launches. It’s ever-changing and always exciting, that’s what I love about it! Never a dull moment… that’s for sure!
What is a key lesson that you’ve learned in running your own business?
To be authentic & to always trust your intuition and listen to your gut.
What trends do you think we’ll be seeing this Spring? Dewy skin is here to stay. Glossy & stained lips. Colourful eyes. Sky-high natural lashes. Brushed-up, au-naturale brows. Graphic eyeliner. Less bronzer & more cream blush.
What’s a beauty hack you can’t live without? I cannot live without our ‘Perk Up’ Brightening Under Eye Pen. It makes me look like I’ve had 15 hours of sleep in 15 seconds and the makeup equivalent to your morning cup of joe. To cover up dark circles and tired looking under eyes, it’s an absolute must. The pink/salmon tone of the brightening formula cancels out that blue/purple tone we get with having dark circles. It’s a total life saver.
What do you have coming up in 2021?
OOOO – Fancy Face has a ton planned for 2021! I can barely contain myself -THAT’S how excited I am about what’s to come this year. We have some major innovations launching this spring which I cannot wait to share more of soon. Truly life-changing. Also, let’s just say, we’re hopping on the lip-tint trend in a big way! We also have some amazing brand collaborations coming up that tie into the wedding industry side of our business so beautifully. We have Mother’s Day gift ideas covered with some upcoming beauty boxes. It’s sure to be an incredible year of growth for the brand!
Check out Brittany’s website here.