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Exploring Life & Business with Kristin De La Renta of KDLR Beauty Labs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristin De La Renta.

Hi Kristin, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started at 17 when I was discovered in a grocery store by hairstylist Ben de Cordova, which led me to my first modeling job as the cover model for a local magazine. This experience was my introduction and I’ve been hooked on the beauty industry ever since. I guess you could say that I was Ben’s muse, as we went on to work together for beauty shows and competitions with me as his canvas. I spent some time in fashion school and modeling between Tampa and South Beach, but the beauty industry kept tugging at my sleeve, so I decided to alchemize all of the design techniques I’d learned into my beauty aesthetic. I practiced on myself and others for fun and at photo shoots, and becoming a professional makeup artist finally found me.

A photographer pulled me aside and asked “You know you are a makeup artist, right?” It took someone else who was a professional in the industry to validate that I was in fact at a professional level, and when that sunk in I ran with it. I started my own business and taught myself how to build and market my brand. Networking brought me to Mac Cosmetics, where I was a full time artist in NYC. That experience, for as challenging as it was in many ways, was an industry bootcamp I will forever be grateful for. I would go on to hold leadership and educational roles for brands including Bobbi Brown, Catrice Cosmetics, L’Oreal/Saloncentric, and have served as a top selling artist for Mac, Estee Lauder, Morhpe, Nudestix, Coola, Dermablend and more, before deciding to launch KDLR Beauty Labs as an on location studio in Tampa, Florida. Since then, I have been back and forth between New York City and the Florida markets building my brand and expanding my business. I have been featured as a Guest Host & Makeup Artist on HSN, worked many beauty trade and runway shows as both a makeup artist and a beauty model, and have been featured in various commercial and television projects as a SAG commercial talent for brands including Nascar/Super Bowl 2017, Metropcs, Sony, Yuengling, and more.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Nothing worth anything is easy. I’ve always been relatively autodidactic, teaching myself things and I went along and adding my own spin and flair to everything. Sometimes, as is well known, this industry can be difficult in that one must develop a foundational strength in their own worth and not be deterred by the opinions and criticism of others. In this business, it is important not to allow self-doubt to be the reason for not executing. Everything we try gives us information for what works and what can be better. Further, a lot of the business involves relationship building, which I love, but one must learn how to gracefully walk, for instance, the line between client relationships and friendships – which can easily blur as a makeup artist and be detrimental to business if not held within proper boundaries.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about KDLR Beauty Labs?
Our mission statement is “Aligning a mesmerizing look on the outside with the natural energy and inner glow and beauty from the inside, which is what KDLR Beauty Labs does – one beautiful client at a time. Your customized look will give you the red carpet, show-stopping, can’t-be-ignored energy that highlights who you are while bringing out your very best for any event you’re ready to enjoy.” KDLR Beauty Labs is always expanding and evolving to meet the current market. We are operating and headquartered out of Tampa, Florida and in the initial build phases of New York City, post COVID. The pandemic made it very clear very quickly that our traditional services of makeup and hair for productions, weddings, and events needed to be shifted to a digital landscape to meet the needs of those working from home and on camera – be it an actor or model submitting for a casting or a corporate executive speaking for the company. Our online lessons, virtual beauty shopping experiences and workshops are the result and are now being offered online as well as live, in the areas that are open and operating as such. Fortunately, we’ve been around long enough to serve as a bridge between analog and digital, so our business meets all audiences, anywhere, both remotely and in person. Working toward knowledge sharing, we offer individual and group online lessons teaching everything from DIY makeup solutions to shopping experiences and workshops, as well as a new online shop accessible on all social media platforms where some of our customers’ favorite products can be purchased. I have always served as an advocate for beauty beyond the cosmetic, which includes the success of other women (and men) like me who want to start and build their own beauty brand and business, so I offer courses in multiple formats for those audiences as well.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
KDLR Beauty Labs and the way in which I create, structure, and organize my business and branding was born of necessity and through initiative and hard-learned lessons. I am a single parent and had minimal support, started with no budget, and was new to Tampa. What I had going for me was that I had a clear vision and was willing to put one foot in front of the other, learning all of the business practicum such as building relationships, filing taxes, designing websites, orchestrating social media and graphic design, and creating freelancer and client contracts. I found a way to make it happen through asking people who’ve done it before me questions, doing extensive research, and enlisting a lot of guts. Though it seemed like I’d never reach the top of those mountains, everything was accomplished one day, one choice, and one moment at a time. Resourcefulness is a superpower! I always remain open and teachable in every situation in which I find myself. I choose to see every experience as a learning opportunity and I approach those situations with a ‘How can I help?’ philosophy. Starting out as a freelance fashion school dropout taught me the basics of art fundamentals. Working for Mac afforded me the opportunity to be surrounded by amazing artists and incredible diversity in faces and skin tones, working within a playground in which I was mixing and molding products and color theory to get results. As a single mother, I moved on from Mac to have more flexibility in my schedule through running my own business. Adversity today leads to opportunity tomorrow. Everything evolves into something else, and if one is too busy complaining about the current circumstances or situation because it doesn’t look the way one thinks it should, the opportunities that arise to make your dreams a reality can be missed.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Neil Lee Photography
Kristen Weaver Studio
Michael Giragosian Photography
Ehsan Zarrin Chelsea Images

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