“The reality is, you’ll never be fully prepared, but at some point you just have to try. As long as you know going in that you’re going to have failures, you’ll be strong enough to pick yourself up and keep going.” Want to know how to start your own successful small business? Just ask the dynamic duo behind Pucker Makeup Studio. Started by a stay-at-home mom and an international makeup artist who did house calls(!), this serene makeup bar was created as a way for women to get their makeup done while still feeling at home. Who wouldn’t want that? It was truly a pleasure working with the talented Pucker team at The Big Fake Wedding NYC, and we’re thrilled to share more about them in today’s Vendor Highlight.

“I can’t say enough about the team at Pucker. I was so impressed with their hearts, work, talent, and all-around attitude that surrounded them. They were a solid team and did phenomenal work. It was an honor to work with them and a bride would surely not regret having their makeup done by this team!”
The Big Fake Wedding NYC Team



 Tell us a little bit about the story behind Pucker.
A stay-at-home mom, Founder & CEO, Hiyam McKelvey, would call international makeup artist, Julio Sandino (soon to be Co-Founder and Creative Director), for a house-call makeup application when she needed to glam it up for a special occasions. For years, Julio did her makeup in her home because department stores were stressful and cumbersome, especially when trying to awkwardly navigate through the crowd of shoppers and pushy salespeople. Together they developed the concept of a serene makeup bar, Pucker Makeup Studio, a comfortable place where women can come get their makeup done and feel “at home,” just like Hiyam once felt. In just six short months of planning, their vision become a reality. Pucker launched in the trendy Soho area of NYC on February 1, 2014. Since then, thousands of women from all walks of life have visited the studio for a makeup application for many purposes, including a girls’ night out, a bachelorette party, their birthday, wedding, or even an interview.


Who or what inspires you?
We’re inspired every day by the things we see in the city – from the looks women put together themselves, to the fashion by great designers in the stores throughout Soho. Hiyam also really enjoys great restaurants, especially seeing the way a chef assembles and presents a plate. It’s amazing how the right composition of colors and textures can transform the ordinary into something unique and engaging. At Pucker, we love to take what we see and transform it into makeup looks that take our customers to another level. We encourage our clients to go out of their comfort zone a little bit in order to create an extraordinary result.


Describe the ultimate bride to work with.
Pucker is known for its exceptional makeup application customized to every woman’s beauty needs. Our brides come to Pucker to look fresh, youthful, and radiant, while still looking familiar. We’re experts at that. The ultimate bride wants a natural looking complexion, but isn’t afraid of highlight, contour, and eyelashes. The three combined make all the difference in the world, especially if being photographed. She understands that this special moment is a chance to live a little and trusts our makeup artist to enhance her beauty. Longevity for wedding day makeup is essential, which is why we use our own brand of primer and CC cream, and she won’t have to touch up much throughout her special day.


What advice would you give to aspiring small business owners?
It sounds simple, but – just do it! So much of what typically keeps people from starting businesses is fear. The reality is, you’ll never be fully prepared, but at some point you just have to try. As long as you know going in that you’re going to have failures, you’ll be strong enough to pick yourself up and keep going. Go out and talk to as many people as you can. Be a sponge – absorb everything they have to say. But then when the time comes, follow your own intuition – your own path – and never stop!


What is your favorite part about The Big Fake Wedding experience?
We love how unique the concept is. Julio was able to recreate this magical moment for the bride all over again with just the stroke of a makeup brush, as did the other vendors involved. We also love that it wasn’t boring – it wasn’t your typical wedding exhibition show full of tables. It gave guests a chance to really see what the vendors can create in a real-life wedding atmosphere. It was more than just a vendor show with booths – it was an experience. We’re so happy we could be part of something so exceptional.


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