Beauty Gives Back - A Day of Empowerment for Beauty Pros
At Marlo Beauty Supply, we are passionate about furthering the education of beauty pros, so we were thrilled to meet Julie Hightower and Mireya Villarreal, the founders of Beauty Gives Back. This one-day industry event was created to provide those in the professional beauty industry with the tools, guidance, inspiration, knowledge and motivation needed to succeed in every step of their beauty industry journey. As a proud sponsor of the event, we recapped with Julie and Mireya after the inspiring day about their partnership, goals and - according to them - most importantly, their failures. Read the interview below!
Marlo Beauty: First things first: how did you two meet and decide to collaborate on Beauty Gives Back?
Julie: Mireya and I met seven years ago through my board sister for the Daisie Foundation. One yes and one person can change so much. Mireya has an extensive background in cosmetology and created The Pink Pewter Foundation. They began to support our random acts initiative and we connected that way.
Mireya: We came together to create Beauty Gives Back and encompass what was in our hearts and vision. We had to see how we could make a life-changing impact in the beauty space. My friend Nikki Hall, who was like liquid sunshine, passed away during COVID. We had discussed an event of this nature six years ago. She said the beauty industry needs something uplifting, something that creates opportunity…but we weren't ready then.
Julie: Mireya is my sister, my dear friend, my co-visionary. Let us be the example of what co-partnership looks like. We wanted this event to be a testament to people coming together to touch lives. We wanted to expose the next generation to greatness and awesomeness. It’s not about making money, it’s about making an impact and changing lives.
2023 Beauty Gives Back attendees. Mireya and Julie are passionate about helping future beauty pros reach their potential.
Marlo Beauty: What was the inspiration behind Beauty Gives Back?
Mireya: I grew up in a beauty salon. I started at 9 years old answering phones for my mom. I was the first generation to go to college and enrolled in business school. My mom told me to go to beauty school at night. After I graduated beauty school and college, I started as a hairdresser - even though I thought that’s not what I wanted to be. But I remember the first haircut I ever did; I had so much passion for the beauty industry. The only thing missing was a mentor.
Julie: We wanted to give an opportunity to the beauty school student, the commission stylist, the booth renter…to find a mentor. To set them up to be successful in anything they do in the beauty world because of the knowledge they gained from this event. We want people to see everything the beauty world can accomplish.
In casting a vision, we were very thoughtful and intentional in the programming, as well as the speakers we brought in. We wanted it to be different from other shows. We had to ask ourselves: ‘What is unique about us? What makes us stand out?’ We realized we needed to do a day of empowerment. We thought: ‘Let’s bring in people who can talk about their beauty blueprint - the ups and downs.’ We all know it’s not always glitz and glamor - it’s not what it looks like on Instagram. We selected people we know who can come on stage and inspire, empower and give back to the next generation, whatever generation you’re in. Because it’s never too late - you have time to do what you want to achieve!
Mireya: We chose people who had strong stories to tell. Of failure, success, failure again. People who could help every stylist - from students to salon owners - that was very important to us. We are so passionate about this mission. We have gone through a lot and have seen a lot, and this is our purpose.
I made a lot of mistakes [in my career], but if I had a mentor, I could have learned more from those mistakes. I believe everyone needs a mentor - to help them through beauty school, build a salon, grow a salon, be an educator, create a brand. The beauty world is so big, and Beauty Gives Back is the key formula to learning all you can do in the beauty world.
Marlo Beauty: Your passion to give back to beauty professionals is so inspiring. What fuels it?
Mireya: I have been through so much - surgeries, loss, starting a business from my kitchen table, making and losing millions. I only wish I had someone to help me when I was in need. There is such a lack in the beauty world. We have the ability and knowledge to help, and that’s our purpose. I see the way Julie is - so giving and wanting to help people. It motivates me to do that for others.
Julie: This is our heartbeat - this is our center. I think about all the people who bet on me and said yes - it would be a disservice not to serve in the same capacity. We have a gift of hope and exposure and an opportunity to give back. We are movers, shakers and life changers. It’s about putting yourself aside and changing someone else’s life. How many budding beauty artists, nail techs, barbers - how many lives can we change? We want to show people they can do this.
Marlo Beauty: Can you tell us more about the people you chose to speak at the event?
Mireya: I’ve done a lot of motivational speaking, and I’ve found that people want to hear about my mistakes. I see the look in their eyes when I talk about my experiences in failing and people need to hear that. Everyone we had on stage shared their mission, but also how they failed and got back up…that’s part of the secret formula, the beauty blueprint.
Julie: We asked our speakers to speak from their hearts, from their truth. When we strip away the titles and positions, we are all still human - we want people to be real. People connect with authenticity. It was an authentic, vulnerable day.
We asked all of our speakers to lead with takeaways - that’s the beauty blueprint. It’s a thread we wanted to pull all the way through the entire day. So when we come back a year later, what does it look like? To give everyone one takeaway to execute, that they are committing to no matter what - a non-negotiable goal.
Beauty Gives Back promises to leave you feeling empowered, inspired and motivated to pay it forward!
Marlo Beauty: In a few words, what do you hope attendees left Beauty Gives Back feeling like?
Julie: Knowing that nothing is impossible, that truly the sky's the limit if they’re willing to do the work. Our assignment was to make sure people leave feeling that way. This event gave everyone who came one of the greatest pathways of exposure from so many perspectives that sit in the beauty space. The hunger, zest and zeal for wanting to learn was extraordinary.
Mireya: Empowered, next level thinking, inspired. In beauty school you are taught how to use your hands. At this event we taught attendees how to use their mind. Teaching how to use your mind can build an empire. We hope we inspired attendees to take action and know they have the support to do so.
Want to attend “Beauty Gives Back” next year? Mark your calendar for September 15, 2024, in Oakbrook, IL and keep up with the empowering organization here!
Beauty *truly* does give back, with grant winners celebrating on stage at the end of the event!