Women Working Together:
The Sparkle Bar
This female-owned Phoenix beauty business is about even more than helping women find their glam and confidence.
Thanks for talking with us today, ladies! Let’s start off by giving our readers a bit of background on The Sparkle Bar. You’re both driven by a particular passion – can you tell us about that?
Alexandra Bradberry (AB): The Sparkle Bar is Arizona’s first makeup-only beauty studio. But, let’s be real, it’s about so much more than cosmetics. We believe that makeup allows you to forge confidence through self-expression. You decide who the world gets to see, so express yourself.
We’re here to provide professional makeup applications in a fun and relaxing atmosphere where you feel both comfortable and pampered. Our expert makeup artists provide a wide range of services and looks that are unique and individual, just like the women who wear them. Basically, we help women (and men!) feel like their most confident, empowered and beautiful selves by highlighting their individual features using our medium of choice – makeup.
In addition to all of that, we’re especially passionate about supporting and empowering girls and women. Here in Phoenix, we’re members of several organizations – including Central Phoenix Women and East Valley Women – because we think it’s important to give back with our time and gifts of service. One of our most favorite memories was when we had the opportunity to directly impact lives through our work with Make A Wish and Teen Prom for the Cancer Support Community.
We also believe in helping other women in business. We are aware of the fact that many, many people have contributed to our success and we are so thankful to those people who took us under their wing to help us flourish. We do our best to pay it forward for our fellow girl bosses.
From the outset, opening up The Sparkle Bar had its ups and downs. What are you most proud of, to date?
(AB): We’ve been blazing trails in the beauty industry since the beginning. When we first decided to open The Sparkle Bar in Scottsdale, there was nothing like it. We identified a white space; before we opened, the only option local women had to get their makeup done was to hire a makeup artist, which for all women may not be financially feasible, or, head to the nearest department store in the hopes that someone at a beauty counter would be able to not only do your makeup, but do it the right way for you as an individual.
Once we decided to open The Sparkle Bar, it wasn’t just about finding a location and hiring employees. We actually had to pass an Arizona Senate bill in order to be able to legally open and operate our business. With our work and effort, the Arizona legislature passed Senate Bill 1320, and we opened in September 2015.
Leiah Scheibel (LS): Passing SB 1320 allowed us to open our business on our own terms, but it also created opportunity for every single makeup artist in the state of Arizona by getting rid of unnecessary restrictions. It essentially ensured economic liberty for makeup artists.
Leiah, your background is in the makeup industry. How did you and Alex come to open up The Sparkle Bar together?
(LS): We were working at the same company for about a year, selling medical software. At the time, I was still the regional makeup artist for Laura Mercier and would work featured artist events on the weekend, then bring back whatever the beauty gift was to share with the gals in the office. Alex always knew what the trending products were before I even brought them to her. We shared a love for all things beauty. Although it didn’t really extend passed the office, we had a great working relationship.
Eventually, we both went on maternity leave (my son and her second daughter are a month apart) and that was the catalyst to our new venture.
Around that time, Alex needed her makeup done for a wedding that she was attending. She asked me to do her makeup. I was booked, but offered to make her an appointment at a department store. She wasn’t feeling it. Too often, she’d encountered makeup artists who didn’t know how to match her skin, or who put on too much makeup, or who spent the entire application trying to sell her products. She knew other women must feel similarly, and the seed for The Sparkle Bar was planted.
What we wanted to do, and what sets us apart, is that our kits are all hand-curated for the global woman.
Our clients are able to come in and have an application based on their lifestyle, skin tone, texture and age. We ask her how much time she likes to spend in the morning on her makeup and we take into account her regular routine, too.
Awesome! And now, the final question: What’s next for your partnership and The Sparkle Bar?
AB: That’s an exciting question! We believe in empowering our clients. Our one-on-one makeup lessons are extremely popular, so we’re going to expand on the educational piece of our business by creating more content on all of our platforms. (Hint, hint, wink, wink.)
Katarina Kovacevic is founder and editor of RUBY. Follow her on Instagram @Little_K_Kata.