Meet the Dynamic Sibling Duo Behind the Marina's Best New Beauty Spot
The benefit to letting a professional do your makeup is you can show up to a party looking flawless. The drawback is that you can easily spend hundreds of dollars on cosmetics you don't need when you let the artists at most makeup stores and counters do their thing. At FaceWest, (3236 Scott Street), the process work differently.
Instead of sales-pitch makeup application, FaceWest artists spend their time focused on making you look amazing. Basic makeup application is $55 for a 45-minute session. Extra-glam (with airbrushed foundation and false lashes) or costume makeup is $80 for 60 minutes. If you want to buy everything your makeup artist used, the staff will hook you up, but there are no hard feelings if you walk out with a simple "thank you." Novel concept, right?
You can thank Pavla and Petra Langer for bringing that vision to life. The Langer sisters opened their Marina studio in June, and I had an opportunity to take a turn in one of their chairs before the Symphony Opening Night Gala last week. (Juanita Valencia, my makeup artist, was a delight and a goddess and I want her to do my makeup forever always.)
Much like service at a blow dry bar, the experience at FaceWest starts with champagne or sparkling water, followed by cleansing. (And I mean actual cleansing—not just swiping a cotton ball with makeup remover across your face.) The makeup artist then talks with you about (1) what kind of makeup you like, (2) the outfit you're wearing to your event, and (3) any practical concerns. The makeup process itself is part pampering/part education, and the education factor made FaceWest a much more enjoyable experience than the usual small-talk.
If you're not getting ready for a special occasion, FaceWest's services are still worthwhile. You can bring in your own makeup bag, and the team will show you how to create whatever look you need with the items you already have. (Mind = blown)
Read on to learn more about the women behind FaceWest, and why this studio will be your guilty beauty pleasure.
Rockyt: Why did you decide to open a store?
Pavla: We share a lifelong passion for the beauty industry. We’ve found ourselves constantly seeking (unsuccessfully) for an environment that truly focuses on the experience and artistry of makeup as opposed to a place that is highly driven by product sales. We decided to rethink how people traditionally learn about, experience and shop for makeup. Et voilà...FaceWest was born!
Rockyt: What’s the best thing about owning your own business?
Petra: Where do we begin? There are so many wonderful things about owning our own business, but one of the best is developing the FaceWest company culture. As a part of the FaceWest team, we ask our artists to work hard while at the same time helping to create an environment of happiness and positivity. Above all, we are looking to establish a collaborative and supportive workplace where we all learn from and inspire one another.
Rockyt: What’s the hardest part of doing business in San Francisco?
Pavla: The foggy and cold San Francisco summers. Things get pretty quiet in the City as many people leave town in search of sunshine and R&R. Once Labor Day passed, we’ve seen an uptick in foot traffic and appointments. Bring on the weddings, galas, and holiday parties!
Rockyt: Tell me about your day.
Pavla: We are both morning people and tend to get up pretty early. Petra doesn’t make a move before having her freshly brewed cup of Stumptown coffee. We’ve recently starting kickboxing, so you’ll find us at the gym a few mornings a week. We also spend a ton of time at FaceWest as starting one’s own business doesn’t leave a ton of free time. Day-to-day we are meeting new customers, managing inventory, running the front desk and admiring the beautiful work of our makeup artists.
Rockyt: There are lots of thought pieces right now about how shoppers are craving unique experiences. What makes FaceWest unique?
Petra: FaceWest is the first premier makeup-centric studio providing access to professional artists at reasonable prices in San Francisco. The studio was created for anyone who already uses makeup or wants to learn more about how to use makeup. We believe that by opening FaceWest, we’ve taken away the intimidation or pressure to purchase products, and instead created a comfortable environment where our guests can enjoy themselves, be inspired, and, most importantly, feel beautiful!
Rockyt: What’s one thing a customer can find at FaceWest that he/she is unlikely to find anywhere else in SF?
Pavla: We have a really unique selection of makeup lines. We spent months curating what has become a very crowded makeup and skincare marketplace. For example, we are the only shop in California that carries Beauty is Life, a stunning makeup line from Europe. We are confident that shoppers of every age, ethnicity and skin type will find products that work for them at FaceWest.
Rockyt: Where do you hang out/what do you do on your days off?
Pavla: : On her rare days off, you’ll likely find Petra at Crissy Field walking her beloved dog, Oliver.
Petra: Pavla squeezes in a manicure/pedicure before catching up with friends at her local wine bar. Our favorite activity of all is hanging out with our neice and two nephews who live nearby.
Rockyt: Show some love for fellow small businesses. Not including your store, what are your three favorite shops in San Francisco?
Petra: We love Boba Guys! (In case you were wondering, we’ll take two Classic Milk Teas, 25 percent sweet.) Two Skirts, a clothing boutique in the Marina, has a unique and amazing selection of women’s dress and casual wear. We love shopping at Big Daddy’s Antiques on 17th Street. You never know what treasure you’ll find there. We can’t leave out As Quoted, a farm-inspired organic cafe that serves an irresistible banana muffin.
FaceWest offers makeup application services as well as makeup lessons, brow shaping and waxing, lash extensions, as well as makeup and skincare products. The studio is located at 3236 Scott Street at Chestnut Street and is open Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm, Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm, and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. For a full list of services, appointments and further information, visit www.faceweststudio.com.