After Working for Beauty Brands Such as Smashbox and LORAC Cosmetics Elyse Conroy Launches Soul Makeup
Since graduating in 2005, Beauty Marketing & Product Development Graduate Elyse Conroy's career evolved from Stila Cosmetics Counter Manager to her dream job as a Director of Global Product Development at Estée Lauder where she worked on Smashbox. After more than a decade in the corporate beauty industry (where she hired more than 30 FIDM Grads over her career), a family health crisis prompted her to quit her fast-paced job and found Soul Makeup, a personal care program that helps career women build confidence, beauty, and success from the inside out.
Where were you born and raised? I was raised in Apple Valley, which is a small town in Southern California. You have probably only seen it as you stopped to get gas on the way to Las Vegas.
Tell us about your path to FIDM: I was born with beauty running through my blood. I knew at a very young age that I had a passion for creation and began developing my own formulas in my dad’s garage. My parents pushed me into a more traditional career, but I knew that was not for me. I started researching how I could get into a career in beauty and Google led me straight to FIDM. In that instant, I knew this was exactly where I needed to be in order to make my dreams a reality.
I made my parents a passion-filled PowerPoint Presentation telling them why FIDM was for me and they empowered me to pursue my dream. I wasted no time and set an interview with Kathy Frank to begin the application process. A few months later, I packed my bags and moved to Downtown LA. I had never seen a high-rise building or subterranean parking before.
Why did you decide to major in Beauty Marketing & Product Development? I have always been a bit eclectic with my fashion and beauty. Coming from a small town, that wasn’t exactly accepted, and I was severely bullied because of my uniqueness. I felt in my soul that I would spend the rest of my life doing whatever it took to make women feel confident and beautiful. I followed that passion and knew one-thousand percent that beauty was the only major option for me.
Do you have any favorite FIDM memories in or outside of class? My absolute favorite memory was going on the New York Study Tour. This was a life-changing experience for me. It was the first time I had ever been on an airplane alone, my first time in NYC, and my first time getting a taste of what my future in beauty could be. We went to the Estée Lauder offices and met with a woman who was the head of Product Development for MAC at the time. In that moment, I knew it was my dream to work there. Little did I know that 10 years later I would be working for the very same woman who spoke to my class that day.
You've worked for major beauty brands such as ORLY International and LORAC Cosmetics. How did FIDM help prepare you for the various roles in your career? FIDM gave me the exact tools I needed to walk into any company and start working. I went into every interview so confident because I knew FIDM taught me everything I needed to land my dream job. I was also able to narrow my focus of which department I wanted to work in and the classes in the Beauty Program prepared me for that exact role. I also made the conscious choice to only hire FIDM Beauty Grads. I knew how prepared they would be after graduating FIDM and in my 15 years in beauty I hired 30-plus FIDM Grads to work on my teams.
What led you to start Soul Makeup? After spending 15 years in beauty, launching thousands of products that went onto sell millions and win Allure Best of Beauty Awards, I was being called to go deeper. I recognized that there was only so much we could do on the surface and something in me was telling me that it was time to go beyond face value. I’ve worked with the most beautiful celebrities and influencers in the world and I saw the same result time and time again. The product would be applied, the confidence and feeling of beauty would increase, and at the end of the shoot, the product was washed off and they went to hide their bare face. It killed me to see the most beautiful people I’ve seen in my life still struggling with their insecurities in the way that I used to.
I knew that no product or pill is going to create a lasting solution that truly makes us feel better about ourselves. I shifted from creating personal care products to creating personal care programs because when you do the deep work with your internal makeup (your thoughts, feelings, and personal care), the lasting results come. I am so proud that I have finally developed something that provides more than a temporary solution.
How did FIDM help prepare you for entrepreneurship? I wouldn’t have been able to do this without FIDM. I cannot tell you how many times I went back and referenced my textbooks and my old notes from class as I was developing Soul Makeup. As a business and personal development coach, I help my clients elevate their success, build their careers, and launch their dream businesses. I wouldn’t know how to do that had I not learned how to do it first at FIDM.
I am also still connected to all of my FIDM sisters and this network of phenomenal women has been nothing short of remarkable. We still share ideas, give each other feedback, and champion each other’s success. The support I have felt as I built my company has been next level and I am so grateful and inspired by these amazing women in my network. FIDM truly started it all for me.
Learn more about Elyse on Instagram @yoursoulmakeup.