Remember when you were a little girl and would rummage through your mom’s makeup bag when she wasn’t looking? Well if you didn’t do that, you really missed out on a good photo that gets pulled out during family dinners. If you did or didn’t, makeup is a fun way to express yourself or to help others express themselves, which is exactly what Dania Blanco strives to do in her business.
“I mean I’ve loved makeup since I was in jr. high and I’ve always experimented with it,” said Dania. “I mean I would go to high school with like crazy colors on my eyes and in 8th grade I started wearing eye shadow, and I mean it was the 80s! So I was wearing really fun colors. So that’s where my passion started.”
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In the 90’s, when Dania was out of that awful jr. high phase and out in the real world, she worked for a place called Broadway Southwest which eventually was taken over by Macy’s. She worked at the Lancôme counter for four years doing makeup and loved it.
Working in retail with young children was difficult to juggle, so Dania decided to pursue a, to quote her, ‘real’ job.
“I worked for the town of Gilbert for 18 and a half years,” she said. “I worked at the police department, I was an investigator in sex crimes and that was a fantastic job.”
You see, back when Dania was in high school she wanted to attend law school, but with getting married and having kids, it didn’t end up working out. Working at the police department allowed her the ability work in a field she wanted to, while being able to provide for her children.
At the time she was an investigator in the Gilbert police department, she was the only one who spoke Spanish, which allowed her to do, “a lot of fun stuff she probably shouldn’t have been doing.” (Knowing more than one language really has its advantages.)
Although she loved the job and working within the sex crimes unit, it started to take a toll during the years she worked there.
“There are a lot of things that I can’t unsee,” she said. “I thought, ‘well I sorta need something good in my life.’”
That’s when she went back to makeup. She began by dipping her toe in (if you will) by doing makeup part time for weddings, but if she was going to be doing this job, she was going to do it right.
“I went to school and I just dove in,” she said. “I thought, ‘I’m gonna do this right so I’m gonna go to school.’ I took out money from my deferred comp account and I payed for my school and I really hit if off with the director there.”
The director she met sent her out to her first gig on the set of a movie. Things spiraled from there and she had to keep asking to use vacation time at the police department to keep up with the time she needed to be on sets.
It got to a point where the police department denied her request to take a leave of absence and Dania went home and knew, makeup was what she wanted to do. Her kids were grown, she didn’t care what it took, she was going to chase her dream.
The next day she turned in her letter of resignation and went into freelance, full-time with her company, Cosmiix.
“I had no idea how to run a business, and I still don’t. I’m still learning every single day and I think technology makes it super easy, now. So anybody wanting to start a business now is super lucky because you can do everything on your phone- on an app,” she said.
One of the hardest parts to starting a business is branding. Especially when you have to represent your brand and figure out how you want to portray yourself. In the case of makeup, it is a challenge to balance the act of always trying to look you best, cause when Dania is out with little to no makeup and says she’s a makeup artist, people can be skeptical.
Balancing a personal brand, and one where people sometimes expect you to look flawless at all times can be draining.
“My brand is out there and I’ve worked really hard on my brand and I’ve worked really hard to come this far. The thought of quitting has crossed my mind. ‘Maybe I really do need a job, like a real job,’ because freelancing is hard - as you know,” said Dania.
Yet, Dania continues to push past the doubt from others and the doubt she sometimes places on herself because she knows what she does is helping others. She pushes herself out of her comfort zone to help people feel confident in their own skin, and is branching out into more than just doing peoples makeup for them. She has started a blog to help women, especially women over 40, feel confident and happy in their skin.
“I want to help every woman, I want every woman to feel beautiful. Every woman to be able to use some of the stuff I’ve learned over the years of doing this. I think that will be my number one passion right now, is my blog.”
The road might be rocky at times, but Dania wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The only thing that I can say is, if you don’t take a risk you’ll never know. But be smart about it. Financially smart, talk to somebody. And um, you know - not do things irrationally like I did,” said Dania.