One thing that sets Makeup BLVD apart is the personalized care and attention provided by our owner and staff. Part of this is getting to know us. Let's start by interviewing our owner, Melina Carreno Tobin!
Tell us a little bit about you!
My name is Melina Carreno Tobin, born in South Haven Michigan, raised in West Michigan and now living in the beautiful city of Grand Rapids with my husband of 7 years and my almost 2-month old daughter! I got into makeup by freelancing, primarily focusing on bridal makeup, when I was working at Spectrum Health hospital and going to school at Davenport University full time. I started when one of my co-workers asked me why if I could do make-up for a wedding of her relatives. And that’s how it all started, I gained clientele by word of mouth from that first wedding I did. I think it also helped that I spoke Spanish. Word got out and I started getting busier and busier. My husband had talked me into enrolling into cosmetology school after being a medical assistant for 5 years. So, I did and here I am now, having babies and starting up a business at the same time. Crazy, I know! Luckily, I have an amazing team and a family who is so supportive!
What made you want to open up a makeup boutique in Grand Rapids?
Grand Rapids is such a great city. There is always something new popping up and one of the biggest art events is hosted in the city of Grand Rapids. ArtPrize!! If you have not been to ArtPrize, I definitely recommend it. It is so awesome seeing unique pieces from artists all over the world.
One of my favorite areas of Grand Rapids is the East Side. There are a great amount of cute boutiques and businesses. I figured why not open a makeup store in the same area I love?!
What sets you apart? Makes you different?
I have always dreamt about opening a business since I was a little girl. Seeing my parents success at owning a restaurant made me want that same thing. I have always been passionate about makeup. When I was just thinking about starting my business back in 2014, I started brainstorming on what would need to set me apart from my competitors, so I turned to social media and that’s where I got the idea! Beauty influencers and gurus are always promoting products and new brands on YouTube and all over Social Media. But where can you find these things besides online? That’s where we come in. We offer brands and products that are in high demand on social media but that are not offered in other cosmetic retailers, or if they do, we’re one of the first to carry it!
We also designed our space to feel like your favorite YouTuber’s beauty room. Chic, clean, and crisp so as not to overwhelm shoppers! You can also get your makeup done by one of our artists. Or we can come to you! Our level of customer care and makeup expertise is also a differentiator. We are committed to teaching our guests when they visit the store. It’s not about selling you something, it’s about helping set you up with what you need.
Where do you see the business in a few years?
I see the business with more than one location in Michigan. Then, nationally a couple years after that. But that is just another dream of mine. I also want to assist and support women as much as possible. I just had a baby on Christmas Eve, two weeks after I opened my first location and it meant a lot to me to be able to spend as much time with my daughter before returning to work full time and I want that for everyone else. Family means everything to me and I want new mommy’s to be taken care of when they have their baby and not worry about having to return back to work in a short few weeks or worry about income. I mean come on? Our bodies do not heal overnight. Who wants to work in pain while their hormones are out of wack. Not me!
Who is your makeup inspiration?
Anyone I can learn from! There is no right or wrong way of doing makeup, which is the beauty of it. It truly is an art and every single makeup obsessed person out there has their own unique way of creating a makeup look. I also do love all my Beauty Influencers and YouTuber’s. Two of my favorites being Desi Perkins and Katy LustreLux. Not only are they very talented and strong women but it makes me happy that they are both best friends and support each other and always cheer each other on at their success! They do not see one another as competition. Which is what I love about them. It is not often you find that!
This is tough question for any makeup lover! I have a ton of favorites. A favorite brand of mine that we carry in store would be Crown Brush, they have such affordable and quality brushes that work just as great as those $30 brushes, umm yes please!! Another would be Luxy Lashes, they have such cute Lashes that seriously give me more than 20 uses (if you take care of them, obviously). They are my go to lashes when I want a dramatic lash with a natural eye look! And one more, Time Los Angeles, for their cute swag. Have you checked out those T-Shirts and cosmetic bags? Perfect for any make-up lover! I do like to branch out and try anything and everything. If I had to absolutely choose one specific brand, it would be Nars Cosmetics, my favorite foundations come from Nars. Besides the fact that a lot of the product by Nars are amazing, I also love the speeches Francois Nars’ gives, Founder of Nars. He is motivating, empowering and encouraging. When I find a brand, I have to research them and what they are all about, how they started etc. I want to hear the full story, not only do I choose based on the products. I look at all aspects. Not many people do that.
If I had to absolutely choose one specific makeup product, I would probably have to say mascara. Because even on my lazy makeup days or busy errand day, I do not have time to apply a full face of makeup and a little bit a mascara makes it look like I at least tried, and also makes me look more awake than I really am, lol.
So, that is a little bit about Melina. Stop in the store to see her, or call (or email) to book an appointment!