Christi Reynolds Beauty: A Gratitude Post

2018 marks my 20th anniversary in the beauty industry, and I felt compelled to write a little note about it. Looking back on the past two decades, I can't believe I am here, but really, I can't imagine myself being anywhere else. It's easy to wonder what would have happened should I have chosen to finish my college degree, become a writer, move to New York, and maybe, hopefully work for a publication. But if there is one thing I have learned is that the best laid plans always fail, and destiny just might be a thing.

From an early age I have always appreciated every little nuance of beauty. Like a bird, sparkly things always seemed to have caught my eye. I love ambient lighting. A special velvet ribbon. A foreign language's lilt. Iambic pentameter. A haunting tune. The idea of travel. I loved writing about and drawing pictures of pretty people, places and things, about what I considered lofty ideas of unreachable worlds of luxurious possessions, and delicious experiences.

A career in the beauty industry was something that never occurred to me, as I always fancied myself in a ivy covered beach bungalow, or a dark cafe penning best selling novels...or at best about the 5 step skincare and beauty routines and pretty faces I read about and saw in my beloved Sassy and YM magazines. My walls were papered with Linda, Cindy, Elaine, Claudia, Anna, Christy and Niki. I looked at their faces everyday and knew their world was a universe away, but I had the deep desire to have something to do with it.

I was a young, broke, uncertain, strangely ambitious but hopeful girl struggling with terrible skin and like all of us, hungry to reach a destination of some kind, oblivious to the long road and journey that actually requires. 

My desire must have won though, for one day in 1998, I stumbled upon my first job in beauty at the age of 20. I found myself in a starched white lab coat selling 3 step skincare systems behind a shiny glass counter in the Nordstrom cosmetics department. 

A whole new world opened itself up to me like a strange, beautiful, elusive flower. Women in long gowns and coiffed hair handed out perfume samples. Busy artists dressed in black, red or navy uniforms rushed around gathering products for their personal customers, and jotted down their sales. I found myself among an infinitely diverse sea of people, colors, sights, smells and sounds that would change my life. I saw women finding out new things about themselves, discovering personal preferences for textures and color. I felt the vulnerability of a stranger sharing her concerns and intimidation with a retail beauty advisor. I experienced what it was like to learn a new level of self care with a great skincare routine, to treat yourself to the luxury of a new perfume, and have a conspiratorial chat with someone who took the time, who listened, and was kind to you. I was all at once intimidated, inspired, scared to death, and powerful.

I knew in an instant though, with conviction, that I had found my calling as an artist, and service provider to women. I am so grateful to the women I worked with back then who loved me enough to teach me, shape me, scold me, celebrate me, show me how to care, how to not care, how to be diplomatic, and fair. How to respect, care for, and serve. The ones who let me struggle just enough to earn a tough skin, but were kind and helpful when I failed.

And- I am infinitely grateful for the women who, 20 years later, still subsequently enlist me to teach them, show them what I have learned, and trust their faces in my hands. 

With that, cheers to this bright, beautiful new year, and welcome to my pretty little corner of the interwebs. I hope to create with you. 


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