When Terri was a young girl, she remembers often going to the make-up counter at department stores with her mom. She loved make-up but she was especially fascinated by watching make-up artists transform their customer’s look. How did they do that? She wanted to learn.
From an early age, she practiced developing make-up artist skills. Terri explains that what she saw in her mind’s eye, she could create with her hands with the help of a makeup palette. During her time at Syracuse University, she worked part-time behind the Chanel counter. It was here she was introduced to Artistry Education which led her to pursue a career as both a make-up artist and educator.
After college, she moved to New York City. Working hard to build a career, she had the opportunity to work with famous fashion houses, like Christian Dior, Smashbox and Josie Maran, developing programs to educate other artists on how to optimize their consumers’ look. While she enjoyed tremendous success, there was a bump in the road for which she was not prepared.
She has a specific memory realizing that there was a disconnect between what she was thinking to execute and what she could actually do. She recognized there was a problem. A 20-minute job would take 45 minutes.
Similar to many people she has met, she went to the doctor and explained that she had stiffness and pain in her arm. The doctor suggested it was an indication of getting older and perhaps she was not getting enough sleep. She was left with few options, and this was very upsetting to her. She found herself turning down jobs, especially if it was a fast-paced environment like Fashion Week.
Her next step was to see a physical therapist. He recognized something was off and suggested she saw a neurologist. Her neurologist asked her to stand up and walk across the room along with a few other quick tests, and he was very confident she had Parkinson’s. After establishing support from DAT scan and MRI, her Parkinson’s diagnosis was confirmed in 2015.
Realizing now what she was dealing with, Terri gave a lot of thought into a plan moving forward for her career. She is fortunate because her symptoms are mild to moderate, and all things considered she feels in pretty good shape. While she has frequent fatigue, it is the unknowns regarding the path of the disease that really frustrate her. At the same time, she really wanted to continue to work as a part of the beauty community that she loved.
It was then that Guide Beauty was born. GUIDE BEAUTY offers a fresh approach to make up artistry. The company develops beauty products designed to not only meet the needs of people with physical disabilities but make these products better for everyone else at the same time. As the tagline says, Artistry Made Easy.
Terri knew applying makeup was often challenging to her clients and showing them the steps with standard tools and formulas was not always enough to get the look of a professional makeup artist. She began to research how to make beauty products better for everyone. Her goal was to improve make-up artistry from the novice to someone like herself with grip and stability issues.
Terri discovered an approach to product development called Universal Design. Terri explains, “the idea is to factor in the people who have the greatest need, and you will create a better product and process for the whole. For the most diverse and widest user group possible” She referred to the development of the TV remote control as an example. Initially it was created to address people with movement disabilities. A product that has made everyone’s lives much easier!
She formed a powerful group of problem solvers combining her expertise in the beauty world with designers that specialize in ergonomics and human factors engineering. While working with over 200 test users, the team went through many iterations of potential products, while considering conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Arthritis and many more.
Her efforts led to success! The company’s products reimagine the application of makeup by providing tools that guide a person’s hand for easier makeup application.
Terri’s explains that she is passionate about her career and realizes that her Parkinson’s diagnosis has given her a gift. She believes, “life is full of challenges, but from those challenges something beautiful can be created. The key is to see things from a different lens, and you can find new meaning.” Spoken like a true artist!