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On this episode of Behind Her Empire, beauty brand marketing agency SHYFT Beauty Consulting founder Melissa Hibbért discusses how her lifelong love for beauty led her to ditch the corporate world and follow her passion.
Hibbért was born in Jamaica, “on the kitchen floor, literally, my mom and I. The good thing is she was a nurse so she knew what to do,” she said.
Her mother moved to the U.S. when Hibbért was four, aiming to save money so her family could follow her. The experience, Hibbért said, taught her to focus on making her own choices from a young age.
Though she was always interested in pretty things, Hibbért singled out a moment in her early teens, when her mother let her borrow a tube of red lipstick, in instigating her love for beauty.
“[It changed] how I felt about me and the color and how I just connected with the application of color and how that changes people's perception of me,” she said. “I also felt more bold—I felt more seen. I also felt more in control of my own look and identity.”
Hibbért balanced her passion for beauty and her family’s focus on education as she completed her cosmetology degree alongside her high school diploma, though she eventually chose to pursue higher education. But her foray into the corporate world didn’t distance her from her passion. Hibbért said one day her boss, having noticed her love for makeup, singled her out to work on a CoverGirl pitch despite her not being on that account.
After 14 years working for other people, Hibbért said she was ready to take a risk on herself. She took a sabbatical from work and visited her childhood home in Oregon, where she convinced her mom to let her do her makeup for a new Facebook profile photo. That experience led her to reevaluate where she was centering her passions and how she could best utilize her talent.
Hibbért said she made personal cutbacks as she re-focused her vision, with the goal of replacing her six-figure salary within a year. Her years in the corporate world helped her quickly build SHYFT Beauty Consulting, as Hibbért said her business acumen combined with her genuine love for beauty and helped her to approach the industry with a different mindset.
“I always wanted to be business first, not beauty first,” she said. “And that was my point of differentiation. I am a businesswoman who works in beauty.”
dot.LA editorial intern Kristin Snyder contributed to this post.
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