High school friends and longtime Jamaica residents Shanda Evans and Madegine Gauthier have created a makeup studio that embodies Marie Antoinette-era decor and the hustle of rapper Lil’ Kim.
Vanitee Suite, which opened on July 29 on 157-11 Rockaway Blvd., is a full-service makeup studio offering makeovers, facials, nail services, henna, eyebrow threading, eyelash extensions, teeth whitening and classes to teach customers the appropriate makeup to wear for job interviews.
“We just decided that we wanted to bring something different to our neighborhood and something with class that kind of represented woman of all walks of life, how to help them enhance their beauty outside and inside,” Gauthier said.
Gauthier, a nurse and fashion designer who owns a daycare in Jamaica was approached by Evans, a Geico claims examiner, to open the makeup studio in May. Though Gauthier said she already had several responsibilities, she could not pass up the opportunity to work with her friend.
Gauthier and Evans have their own line of lipsticks and lip glosses that they use called Vanitee Cosmetics and are also looking to provide classes to the community on a number of topics like back-to-school makeup tips for teenagers and business tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Prices range from $15 for lash extensions to $35 for acrylic nails and Gauthier says they keep prices “reasonable” for the middle-class neighborhood. Vanitee Suite also provides birthday specials and two-for-one specials to its customers, and a Ladies Night is scheduled every Friday for community members to meet the owners and six makeup artists at the studio.
The walls are painted mint green, Gauthier said, to evoke a sense of calm. The chairs, which are also mint green, are adorned with gold trim to make customers feel like “royalty.”
“We wanted to do something that is just a place where a woman could come and leave her problems at the door,” Gauthier said. “We want them to feel royal. We want them to feel like kings and queens when they are here. Just to get away from everyday life, everyday hustle and bustle.”
Gauthier said she and Evans hope to expand the makeup studio, turning the business into a franchise to allow makeup artists to run their own studios.
“We’re just happy to have the establishment within our own community and we hope to get as much community support as possible,” Gauthier said.