A variety of retailers sell makeup. But learning how to apply it professionally is another matter.
With that in mind, Nikki Hynek, a makeup artist for more than 20 years, began offering lessons in January when she opened Pretty Lane, a beauty experience boutique at 312 Third St. SE in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Pretty Lane offers interactive beauty workshops taught by professional makeup artists.
“Women want to be taught how to use makeup by a professional — not just purchase the products,” Hynek said. “We tested pop-up makeup workshops when we were in a cooperative space in New Bo and realized immediately there was a huge unmet need for makeup classes.
“We decided to create a space that focuses on providing that experience. Ulta and Sephora go after the 20 percent of women who are makeup enthusiasts, but we are going after the 80 percent who use makeup every day and just want to learn to use it.”
Pretty Lane is set up like a beauty guide shop where customers can meet a professional makeup artist or shop on their own. The store offers beauty brands that meet the high standards of the professional makeup artists working at Pretty Lane.
“We have curated a selection of beauty products that are personally loved by our makeup artists,” Hynek said. “During a two-hour Beauty and Bubbly makeup workshop, which costs $45 per person, guests can expect to be guided through all the basics of a makeup routine and such topics as contouring, false eyelashes and highlighting.”
Each class has between six and 12 customers. All makeup and tools are provided.
Pretty Lane also offers hair, facial and botanical oil classes.
The cost is the same.
“We host standing public classes, but 90 percent of our classes are private classes,” Hynek said.
“A woman will book a class for herself and her friends at night or on a Saturday. We require a minimum of six people.”
Hynek said classes were booked virtually every night in March and April.
“We were even selling some of our Sunday afternoons,” she said. “We have hosted more than 600 women in classes since Jan. 1.”
Hynek plans to offer additional classes in the future, including day classes over the lunch hour that will roll out this month.
She also has expansion plans beyond Cedar Rapids for the Pretty Lane concept.
“I’m overly optimistic and a big dreamer.” she said. “I believe the next location that we will talk about is Des Moines. We had a lady call us and ask where we were located in downtown Des Moines.
“She asked that we let her know when we open a store there. I think that’s a good indication of the interest in what we are doing.”
Hynek said Pretty Lane’s typical customer is a 30- to 35-year-old professional, although she also has booked classes for stay-at-home moms.
They enjoy taking a class with a close friend or friends.
In addition to offering classes, Pretty Lane also will apply makeup for a bride and her bridesmaids.
Hynek also is founder of Dollup Beauty, a refillable makeup compact that has a magnetic case. Dollup Beauty sells makeup in metal pallets that adhere to the interior of the case.
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“Most makeup comes metal pallets glued in plastic containers and when you are finished with it, you throw the whole compact away,” Hynek said. “Our makeup is sold in individual pallets, so a customer can create a custom makeup kit.”
Hynek received two patents for the Dollup Beauty case for design and the function of the mirror inside the case.
“All of our makeup is made in this country,” she said. ”We do import our cases.”