Hard work and dedication are the trademarks of successful business owners everywhere, but for two local businesswomen, the heart of their success, is friendship.
Co-owners of L Makeup Studio, in Morgan Hill, Janet Perez and Ana Lopez Silva, both 30, opened their first studio in 2011 in a tiny third-floor, corner space, off Second Street.
One year later they relocated to 17295 Monterey Road, Suite C, (across the street from Ladera Grill) a comfy space decorated in muted tones where they offer their clients professional makeovers. The studio also features a spray tan station.
“We didn’t want to offer haircuts, or hair color, we wanted more of a studio—a makeup studio,” Silva says.
“It was a dream come true for both of us to see that our idea and our passion, happiness, and love, for what we do could be a reality. It is our workplace, but doing what we love is so rewarding.”
“It was such an idea that I didn’t think would really happen,” Perez adds.
And it wouldn’t have happened, if not for a Gilroy High School history class project, where the girls first met.
“I sat across the room from her and I just remember looking at her, and she was so smiley,” Perez says referring to Silva.
“Then we got paired up, and I thought, ‘great I got paired up with smiley girl’. We were best friends after that,” Perez says of the friendship she and Silva forged over 16 years ago.
“I think years and years ago, I stopped looking at her like a friend, she’s just my family,” she says.
Silva wholeheartedly agrees.
“Since I met her, we grew up and yes, we’re sisters.”
Clients of the studio all agree, the personal connection the ladies have with their customers, and each other, sets L Makeup Studio apart from all the others.
“They’re both really, they’re just so personable, they’re accommodating, and they listen to their clients,” Gilroy resident, Jennifer Puthoff, says, adding that she discovered L Studio two years ago, and has been a loyal customer ever since.
“I walk in, and I feel like they’re there for me.” says Puthoff. “We talk about life and raising children. And they’ve been friends forever. From the scheduling process, the appointment process, all the way through the service, it’s professionally done.”
Perez views the studio, and what she brings to it, as way of providing a much-needed service for women.
“In the world today, especially women, we get so down on ourselves. I think it’s just about making them feel good about themselves,” Perez says. She explained that when the women come to the studio they take time for themselves and by the time they leave she can see it in their posture and their smiles just how much happier and prettier they feel.
After their initial introduction back in 2000, both Silva and Perez quickly realized they shared a common love, makeup.
In 2006 they both enrolled in the cosmetology program at Gavilan College, and although both are licensed cosmetologists, each admits their passion revolves around the artistry of makeup.
“We were always more interested in makeup. We went to L.A. and to San Francisco, for makeup (classes), because they don’t teach you everything at cosmetology school,” Silva says, adding that she inherited her love of makeup from her mom, who had a real talent for it.
While attending Gavilan the ladies freelanced their makeup skills to companies like Lancôme. They branched out from there to weddings, and by 2011, their freelancing success proved it was time to establish a home base, and encouraged the duo to move to the next level.
In 2012, the lease on their first studio was up. It was during this same timeframe that the storefront of their current location became available. It was a financial risk to move to a larger space, but the friends decided they were willing to take that risk.
“The timing was just perfect, and we’ve been here ever since,” Perez says.
“Watching our reports from our sales, we saw what it was last year, and then we doubled it the next year, and we kept doing that,” Perez says.
“We want to grow and hopefully one day be able to have a team, hire a staff,” Silva says.
Much of the studio’s business revolves around weddings, with an average of two per weekend, nearly year round.
“There’s usually Janet and I doing makeup, and one or two hairstylist. Sometimes it’s three, four, five, or six, hours that go by fast because we are doing makeup back to back. In between, we clean and sanitize our makeup and brushes,” Silva says.
“It’s overwhelming at times. It gets stressful, like I don’t think I can do it, and then I just do it,” Perez says, adding that no matter how stressful the work, she’d never consider giving up the business.
Silva agrees, “This is our baby—our baby together.”
Along with their wedding business, L Makeup Studio collaborates with Paige Day, of Paige Day Photography, in Morgan Hill, who specializes in senior portraits.
Day creates brochures using high school students as her models, posing them in creative shoots, many of which are themed, ranging from the vintage 1950s, to the post-apocalyptic look.
Creating these special looks requires just the right makeup professionals, and for Day, that means, L Makeup Studio.
“I fell in love with them immediately,” Day says. “They are just such positive, friendly, warm, professional people.
“I would say that beyond just their skills, for me as a business person, beyond just the fact they’re very talented makeup artists, I also know they’re going to take really good care of my clients, and that’s important to me, because that’s a reflection of my business.”
Christa Tallman, of San Jose, met the ladies of L Makeup Studio when her daughter, Megan, 17, was selected to participate in the 2016-2017 modeling shoot for Paige Day Photography.
“They’re wonderful, they’re just so nice and personable. They’re very good about accommodating any kind of a look you’re trying to achieve,” Tallman says.
“I just see a big difference in the quality of work they do, they’re just top notch. We adore them, it’s been such a good experience, and I enjoy referring people to them because I know that people will be happy with their work, and enjoy working with them, they’re always just a pleasure to be around,” she says.
Perez and Silva get as much enjoyment from the themed shoots as the students, which provide them a creative outlet.
“It’s really fun, I love doing that, it’s so refreshing,” says Perez.
The ladies also balance their personal lives with their busy work schedules. Silva is married, and the mother of, a 5-year-old little girl, Bella, and her 1-year-old son, Logan.
Perez too, is married, and a new mother. Her son, Jaxon Dixon, is just 8 months old.
“It’s such a different, new, big love, that I’ve never experienced,” Perez says about becoming a mother.
“We were all pregnant last year, both of us. And we both have boys that are probably going to be crazy together,” Silva says laughing.
“They’re going to grow up together, and they’ll be family too,” Perez says.
Luckily for Silva and Perez, both their husbands are very supportive, which is important because most weekends the ladies are busy working.
“I know when we do have that weekend off, we do enjoy it to the fullest, with our families,” Silva says.
Reflecting on the more than six years the women have spent building their business, they credit their success to hard work, perseverance, and most importantly, friendship.
“She’s always the mom. She’ll always take care of everybody. She’ll stop whatever, to take care of you,” Perez says.
“My wild child has grown into motherhood, and now being a mom, and just watching her experiencing everything, it’s a lot,” Silva says with a catch in her throat referring to Perez, who she always has taken care of in a motherly kind of way.
“We’re proud of each other,” Perez says smiling.
For more information, or an appointment, call, 408.647.4013, or go to: lmakeupstudio.com.