I think this post has been a long time coming, and probably not a surprise because of how quiet I’ve been.
I can say all the clichés, and they’re all true. It’s with a heavy heart that I write this. I did a lot of soul-searching. My heart isn’t in it anymore. You get the drill. It’s time to say goodbye, my friends. My fashionistas. My beauty lovers. It’s only goodbye in a sense, because I’m not really going anywhere.
8 years ago, I started BrookeKnowsBeauty. I struggled to start. Would anyone read it? Would they like it? Would they make fun of me? Well, the answer to all three of those questions is, yes. People read it. People liked it. People made fun of me. Wait, what? You may ask. People made fun of me? Yes, they did.
One of my very first memories in life was when I was 3 years old. My family lived on a farm in Texas. Yes, me, the self-proclaimed city girl, living on a farm. But, hey, I was only 3. I had no choice in the matter. I didn’t know how to convince my parents to get a fancy condo in a high-rise overlooking the city. I remember after a rain storm, running outside to play in the mud. I didn’t make mud pies or even splash around. I pretty much bathed in it, ran it up and down my arms and legs, and wondered how it would make my skin feel. Seriously. Obviously, I had never been to spa at such a young age, but I had already grasped the idea of walking around in a fluffy robe and sitting in a tub full of mud with cucumber slices over my eyes.
My love of beauty only intensified over the years. I played in my mother’s makeup. When I was 5, a friend of my mom’s fanned my addiction by giving me a shoe box full, FULL of Avon samples. I gave my sister’s and my friends makeovers. And when going to a university after one semester just seemed too tedious to bear, I decided to go to beauty school. Actually, my mother suggested it. My grandmother was a hairstylist and since I had been obsessed forever, it was the obvious choice. So, why did my mom see that, but I didn’t? Because mother knows best. Sorry, mom. I guess I never appreciated that, but I sure do now!
I’ve held just about every job there is to hold in the beauty industry. I’ve worked as a receptionist in a salon. I’ve worked as an assistant and moved my way up to stylist. I’ve worked as a makeup artist, as an esthetician, as a skin care expert at a high-end department store, front desk at a spa. (I realize I said receptionist and front desk…they are different, trust me.) I’ve done just about everything and I learned so much along the way. I had the knowledge and the love, and I loved to write. Why not combine my passions and start a beauty blog? Why not??
With the encouragement of a dear friend, I took the plunge and was off to a great start. I wrote about homemade skin care, mask recipes you could whip up with ingredients you probably had on hand in your kitchen. I wrote about my experience in the industry. I wrote reviews, I did Q&A Monday, remember that?? Quick Tip Friday was also fun! I did giveaways and contests. I had companies reaching out to me and sending me their products, free of charge, either as a thank you for a review, or asking for a review. But it wasn’t without its challenges. Sometimes it was hard to come up with content. After a while, people stopped sending me questions for Q&A Monday. Keeping up with it became challenging.
Also, things evolved in the blogging world. People turned to video tutorials and videos of their hauls. I didn’t have an interest in doing a video tutorial, and as for the haul videos, well…I kind of thought they were in bad taste. “Look at me, I have so much stuff! Don’t you want to watch me dump out a bag of beauty loot so you can be jealous?” That’s probably not the message people were trying to convey, but that’s my opinion on the matter and I didn’t want to do that.
Let’s touch on that other nasty situation…people made fun of me.
I worked at Sephora for a while. It was great at first. I was surrounded by nearly every beauty product out there and almost every day I left with free stuff. You can’t sell it if you haven’t used it, and most of the vendors were generous with their gratis. Most of them…some of them were stingy bastards, I won’t lie. It got difficult at Sephora because my manager found that I was fast and efficient working the cash register. When I told her I wanted to move into skin care, I was met with a firm, “No! We need you at the register.” With all the knowledge I had in skin care, I started to dislike the monotony of ringing up sales. I also found myself surrounded with very immature people who thrived on gossip. One day, one of the makeup artists came up to me and said something to me that rubbed me the wrong way.
“So, Brooke, I hear you have a little blog.”
I won’t lie, the first thing that nearly flew out of my mouth was, “I hear you have a little penis.” But I held it together. I smiled at him and acknowledged my writing and my experience in the industry. His only response was a wispy, “Hmm.” From that moment forward, there were a lot of whispers among these young men and women about my “Little blog.”
Let’s get one thing straight…to call someone’s project “Little” is condescending and bitchy. If you tell an aspiring musician that you hear they’re working on a “Little album” that’s rude. If you tell a chef you hear they’re opening a “Little restaurant” that’s rude. If you tell an artist you like their “Little drawing” that’s rude. You get the gist…and if anyone tells me they hear I wrote a “Little book” I might end up in jail.
It stung. Hearing that really hurt. I looked around at these youngsters…yeah, I said it…and told myself that I was selling $200 face cream while they were still in diapers. I almost quit writing after that. I’ve always been a sensitive person, but to belittle my experience in the industry and my writing was the ultimate blow. Miraculously, I shook it off and kept up with my “Little blog.” My time at Sephora was short-lived after that. Not because of the snide remarks and snarky comments I would get. Simply because I was done working in such an immature atmosphere, even if I did get a bunch of free products. My time at Sephora can be summed up nicely: It fed my addiction, but it didn’t feed my family.
I persisted. I wrote. I was given free products from companies I had never heard of. So why quit?
About a year ago, I tried to shift the focus to more of a lifestyle blog. Food, wine, accessories, fashion. Sounds like a good idea, but I couldn’t commit. I had relocated 2 times in 5 years and along the way I started writing a series of books.
I have put my heart and soul into the Heart & Soul series, and that’s where my focus has to remain. I published my first book and I’m working on the second book in the series. It’s an amazing thing to realize what you finally want to be when you grow up…at the age of 40! It’s been 4 years in the making and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. I love it too much. The floodgates have opened and I’m writing every single day. In the near future, I’ll be writing full-time and I can NOT wait for that moment.
So, even though the beauty blog is going away, I’m not. I’ll still leave the BrookeKnowsBeauty blog active, so people can search for and find my posts. Why? Because I’ve put a lot of good information out there, that’s why! But, I won’t be doing any more Q&A or product reviews and I’ll be removing the Facebook page. I know what I have to focus on. In closing, (Finally, huh?) I’m ready to pass the torch to all you video mavens!
Never give up, always follow your dreams and embrace the changes life brings!
I want to thank everyone for supporting me and for reading my blog. Now, I hope you read my book. It was a great ride and I hope you had fun!!
Check out my new website!! brookegillespietrout.com