A Lisburn woman who launched her own makeup brand just before the pandemic has opened up about following her dreams.
25-year-old Drew Clarke began working on a makeup counter as an artist six years ago but said she felt ‘terrible’ going into work.
She decided to take the leap by launching DW Cosmetics in January 2019, something she says as a teenager she never would have imagined.
The mum-of-one said she was extremely quiet but decided she needed to change and ‘take a risk’.
Drew now has a message for young people that they can do anything they want to if they put their mind to it.
She told Be : “I have always had an interest in makeup and when I started working… I realised the range of makeup just wasn’t what I wanted. Whenever I was trying to doing people’s makeup, I found just, nothing was what I liked. When I was using foundations, bronzers, I always had an issue.
“I remember always coming home to my mum and my husband and saying ‘I don’t like these products, it’s really hard to sell them’. I had no passion for it as there was nothing I loved.
“I thought, ‘what can I do that would help the makeup industry?’ Being a makeup artist, you know the ins and outs of skincare and products and what’s needed.
“I was doing a girl’s makeup one day and she said, ‘why don’t you come out with your own makeup line?’ I thought, ‘what a dream! I could never..’ I started thinking maybe I could… That is where it all began.”
Drew, who does all of the work herself and is creating her second business, says it can be stressful to keep everything going smoothly alongside being a new mum.
The makeup artist says she is 100 percent glad she took the leap to create her own business and added it is extremely rewarding having something with your own name on it, ‘a dream come true’.
“For somebody who is from Lisburn, grew up in Dromore and Banbridge, I was so unfamiliar with the whole influencer world. I think it is very saturated as well and you don’t know who to trust when they are wearing your products as well, you have so much hit and miss with that.”
Drew says as a teenager, she never would have thought she would have been able to accomplish what she has, adding that her life took a complete U-turn.
“I went to a country school in the middle of nowhere, literally I was so quiet up right up until I left in fifth year. I decided I needed to change, I took a risk and left and went to a brand new school because I just felt like I wasn’t going to get anywhere in that school, I was really quiet.
“I turned up, didn’t know anybody… and thought ‘Oh my god, what am I doing?’ I would never thought this would have been my life, I would have thought I’d be working for somebody else and super quiet my whole life.
“It took me to stop listening to what other people thought of about me and just thought, ‘do you know what, it should be what I want to do’. It doesn’t matter what someone else has to say about you.”
Drew has a message for younger people who are influenced by what others think of them.
“That other person is never going to walk in your shoes. Just do it. If you hold yourself back due to what somebody else thinks about you, that person is going to go on with their life and you are going to be stuck in the same position because you were too scared.
“I think fear is what holds everybody back, but if we could just put out the idea that, if somebody thinks X, Y and Z they are going to think it anyway whether you do it or not, they are going to have some sort of opinion. Just do what is best for you and makes you happy, rather than living your life around what somebody tells you to do or what somebody thinks is best for you.
“If you really want something and you have all the ideas going forward… being from Northern Ireland – I would watch big brands like BPerfect and all the brands that have millions of followers – I never knew they were from here until I spoke to half of them – [I was like] ‘how did you do this?'”
It was important for Drew that she was able to create products that were not tested on animals.
She added: “I knew years ago I wanted to do it but it was just trying to find the right time to do it, I needed to grow my Instagram, I needed to start YouTube, I had to do all that because if there’s no audience, there’s not going to be anyone to buy it. It did take a long, long time but here we are now.
“At the time I just knew I did not want to work there anymore, I needed out.
“I just thought, ‘what could I grow with?’ It is suppose a risk in the sense of if it made no money and I put all my money into it, I would have lost a lot, but at the time it’s almost as if I was willing to put it on the line as I wanted it to work so badly. I was so passionate about getting a brand out there all about empowering people.”
Drew says a standout moment in her career was holding an event on body positivity along with a makeup demo, thinking she would never be able to sell 70 tickets.
They all sold within 45 minutes, with the makeup artist saying she ‘couldn’t function for the rest of the day’.
“It felt just surreal,” Drew said.
She added how it is vital to empower other women in the industry.
“I worked in a background in makeup and I worked with a lot of other women, the one thing I noticed was I felt crap going into work, I didn’t feel good about myself, I wasn’t made to feel good by the women I worked with.
“Something I’ve carried through my life is I know how terrible I felt, so now my new thing is, just make people feel good. It’s literally free, you can make somebody’s day.
“My whole ethos with both of my businesses is to empower people to feel strong, confident and good.”