Makers Series: Interview with Pietra Dunmore, Creator of RetrochicBeauty (Cosmetics)
Many years ago, on my journey as a creative entrepreneur, I met and befriended Pietra Dunmore.
Pietra Dunmore is a professional model for the likes of the QVC channel, print commercial ads for magazines including Essence, Ebony and Modern Salon and on the book covers of best-selling authors Zane. She has recently launched her own line of cosmetics. It was a pleasure to probe her about her entrepreneurial journey.
Me: Pietra, you are the epitome of a Renaissance Woman! When you and I met a decade ago, we both had fashion lines represented by Showroom 77 in Philadelphia. Since then you have re-invented yourself as a makeup artist, hairstylist, and have maintained a successful career as a professional model. On top of all of that fabulousness, you are about to graduate from grad school as a double major and you have recently launched your own line of makeup! So impressive! How do you juggle it all?
Pietra: People around me are often surprised about the creative things I do, and to be honest I forget some things myself. Many people know me for different things, and at the time when I met you I had my t-shirt line.
My being a make-up artist isn’t actually a re-invention, I’ve been doing hair and makeup for over 17 years. I don’t think I ever had the occasion to tell you about the other things I was into. It’s just that when I’m in a particular mode, I don’t mention the other things that I do, because I’m in the zone of that particular creative hat. I treat each job as its own entity.
I am graduating from Rosemont College this May with two Masters degrees; a MFA in Creative Writing and a MA Publishing. I write non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. My writing has appeared in the Journal of New Jersey Poets, Human Parts, City Key, Let’s Mend, Phati’tude Literary Magazine,The F-Word and Athena Talks. You can learn more about my writing career at www.pietradunmore.net.
Me: Phenomenal! I've seen you at work when your handled the makeup for the last Jypsea Leathergoods shoot. You are an incredibly talented MUA (makeup artist). And your line, RetroChic Beauty rivals prestigious, long established brands with the vibrancy of the colors. What inspired you to launch your own brand of makeup?
Pietra: My style is an eclectic mix of textures, colors and shiny embellishments, and I feel like my make-up collection is a great illustration of that. In regards to make-up there are a few things that are important to me; that the colors are complimentary, the formula is long wearing, and that each item is less than $20. The majority of my line is either waterproof or water-resistant.
Me: As a multi-passionate creative like you, I do sometimes feel the tug to move on to new ventures because I have so many things I want to create.
How do you determine when it's time to launch something new and leave something else (a business, a career, etc.) behind?
Pietra: I always want to work with something I feel passionate about. I tend to get obsessive about a particular thing until it no longer interests me. For the past few years I’ve been working hard on a novel, which was my graduate thesis. So for right now, I am taking a break on writing longer works. With my other creative works I don’t make myself come out with a collection for each season, I feel like that is disingenuous to my brand. If I have colors and shapes that move me, then I release them.
Me: What books, podcasts, class/workshop has been most influential in your entrepreneurial journey?
Pietra: I don’t follow entrepreneurial podcasts, I am extremely self-motivated so I tend to find them boring. I like listening to podcasts with stories. I love Snap Judgement, Serial, The Truth, Reveal, and This American Life.
Me: OK, fair enough. Well, what role does technology and social media play in growing your brand?
Pietra: I would say 90% of my business has been word of mouth and people asking what I have on. I am just starting to see new clients from social media with my younger clients 15-24. The other 10% is people asking for quotes or to collaborate with me on a project.
Me: How can we get some RetroChic Beauty in our hands?
Pietra: You can purchase the new collection at www.retrochicbeauty.com. This limited collection combines well pigmented subtle shimmer and matte textures. The shades of a pale lemon cream, mocha, deep navy, neutral browns, and a glittery black can be mixed and matched for a day to night look.
Me: Any parting words of advice for creatives who want to venture out and see their dreams comes to fruition?
Pietra: If something interests you, learn about it and pursue it. It is that simple.
Follow Retrochic Beauty on social media:
Show Pietra's modeling IG some love! @pietradunmore_modelofficial/