Playing with makeup leads to successful business

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Playing with makeup opened doors for a Maryam Maquillage, a self-taught beauty blogger and vlogger. The twentysomething has traveled the globe, met celebrities like Mariah Carey and Gigi Hadid, and she also collaborated with high profile beauty brands such as Maybelline, Lancome and Loreal.

Maquillage's success was completely unplanned. She graduated from Baruch College with honors in International Relations and Communications. Like so many, she struggled to find work after getting her degree. "After I graduated college I could not find a job," she said. Maquillage continued, "I was so sad. I was so depressed. I could not find a job! Then one of my friends suggested I start writing a blog. They said, you love makeup, you love fashion, why don't you write about your passions! So that's what I did."

In 2011, she launched her blog. That's when she started noticing that more and more followers were from other parts of the world. "I was suddenly being contacted by people from Germany, India, and The Philippines, who had viewed and read my blog."

After he blog, she created her social media pages. Maquillage posted her first video on YouTube and that's when things really took off. About 4 years later, her boyfriend Lee Leon joined the operation as her partner and videographer. Together, they built a big and growing following on social media. On Instagram alone, she has more than 1.1 million followers and she has more than 164,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel. The have built a successful business and brand that brings in more than six-figures annually.

When Maquillage started out, she focused on drugstore beauty products. As her fan base grew, higher-end beauty brands started sending her products to endorse and feature on her social media outlets. What does it take to earn her seal of approval? Maquillage said, "I am very picky when it comes to the products I use in my tutorials. I have to know the products. I have to know the people behind the brand and the culture behind the products themselves." Maquillage explained that she gives each product at least a 3-month trial period before demonstrating how it's used in her online videos.

What's her secret to staying current on makeup and beauty trends? She revealed, "There are so many YouTubers out there right now, so in order for me to keep my content fresh I can't really watch my peers," explained Maquillage. She finds influence through her friends who are also makeup artists and the relationships that she has built with brands that she has worked with over the years.

Maquillage offers this bit of advice to those trying to obtain social media success. She believes you should follow your heart and be genuine. She adds that if you are only after the money and fame, you will not succeed. She said, "You have to have a passion for what you do. This is something that came naturally to me. I am a natural social media person so as a career, this does not feel like work."

What's next for the makeup maven? She says staying true to her brand and building upon the success that she and her partner have built. She hopes to delve into fashion and one day create her own makeup brand.

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