Make Up Artist Brittany Baer Creates Her Dream
By Melissa Gulden
True BrittJuly 2015
By Melissa Gulden
Photos: Kara Stewart and Heather Armstrong
Vibrant eyeshadow and blush palettes and foundations in variegated shades surround her, while fluffy brushes, fake lashes and other assorted products are strewn about in organized chaos. This is the life of a makeup artist. Three weddings in one day is nothing to artist Brittany Baer. She is used to long workdays and life on the road. And she wouldn’t trade it for the world.
“We love weddings around here,” she says. “And I love brides.” Ask anyone—Baer is a queen in the makeup world and has created a social media empire.
Bride Shawna Vannucchi, 28, is from the Bay Area and knew that in order to get Baer, she had to act fast.
“After my wedding coordinator recommended her, I looked at her Instagram and saw how flawless her work is,” says Vannucchi, who wanted her country-style wedding in Redding and booked her more than a year in advance. Good thing, too, as Baer’s popularity has soared.
“I have learned that having a good name is a big deal,” says Baer. “Word of mouth is huge, especially in small towns, and I have worked incredibly hard to make sure that everyone I meet has the best experience that I can provide them with.”
Born and raised in Stockton, Baer says her solid work ethic comes from her parents’ involvement in encouraging their kids to further themselves. She played sports and was active in many school clubs throughout childhood and into high school. Baer discovered her love of makeup at around age 13.
“My mother had three girls and would make us over all the time in her bathroom,” Baer recalls. “I can remember her showing me brushes and teaching me about eyebrow shaping. When I attended my first school dance with a new look (courtesy of my mother), I remember everyone looking and commenting on how amazing it looked and how it enhanced my features. I was hooked from that point on.”
Two weeks after graduating high school in 2005, Brittany moved to Los Angeles to attend a prestigious makeup academy where she learned special effects, cinema, editorial and avante-garde makeup techniques.
She landed her dream job at 18, working for MAC Cosmetics. She worked in numerous locations throughout Northern California, including San Francisco, where she attended college and worked on perfecting her craft, while moving up in managerial positions to learn more about the business behind the art. She left MAC in 2010 to finish college and pursue running her own business.
By this time, she was in a relationship with her now-husband, Curt Baer (owner of Iron Mountain Tattoo in Redding), and transferred to Chico State University to be closer to him. She earned her degree in small business entrepreneurship and began building her business. She says she knew early on that she was destined to do makeup, and said to Curt, “I’m going to start a business.” And she did.
“I literally walked up and down the street handing out business cards, introducing myself to people and building relationships,” Baer says. “When you treat people well, they tell other people. It’s important.”
And word has gotten out. Baer works non-stop, traveling to get to as many clients as possible, while working full time at The Waxing Lounge in Redding. She says every step has led her to this next phase—launching her own cosmetics line. It’s important to her to be involved in every step of the process, and she wants a product that will be around for the long haul. “I want to create a makeup line that I can be proud of, that can be found in places like Sephora,” she says.
Baer wants people to know that one doesn’t have to go to a big city for quality work. She is inspired by her surroundings right here in the North State.
“As a bridal artist, I am heavily inspired by things that carry a light, soft touch,” Baer says. “Flowers and textiles are sources of inspiration for me when doing beauty makeups. I also am very inspired by photographers and their stylistic preferences. I find that I tend to tailor my makeups to the setting. The images at the end of the day are all that the client really has. The more I know about the way they will be edited, the better likelihood the makeup will stand on its own.”
Baer says her biggest accomplishment thus far was making the team as a freelance artist for a London Fashion Week show. “There were only 10 artists on the team and I had the opportunity to beautify runway models and see my work on the Vogue website the next day. It was truly an out-of-body experience.” She also went to New York, alongside 20 artists from around the world, to work with celebrities such as Lala Anthony, Eva Longoria and cosmetics mogul Loren Ridinger.
Despite being offered numerous opportunities in larger cities, she has chosen to stay in the North State. “I love Redding,” she says. “We’ve been able to build our business in a beautiful area. Also, we have both built huge clienteles and we don’t want to leave our clients.”