Blending Art and Business
“I’m an entrepreneur first. My business is a pioneering business,” says Andrea Fairweather, who launched Fairweather Faces Traveling Beauty Services more than 20 years ago, bringing salon services like manicures and makeup application to customers’ homes. “[My business] trailblazed the mobile beauty industry in New York City in 1997, when it was just me and my makeup and nail kit. There was no other business to look at as a model.”
Andrea was fortunate to have the support of her family when she was first starting out.
“None of my family members were in the beauty industry, but my brother was in law school and he helped me behind the scenes,” she explains, adding that her father, a “military man,” handled the scheduling and driving, and her mother, an accountant, taught her bookkeeping.
“I was awful at math all the way through, but my mother helped me to know that if you’re serious about your business then you need to sit you down and look at the books.”
These days, Andrea, who likens makeup application to painting, is proud to be an artist who also has business skills. “It’s rare in the industry to have that duality,” she says.
Along with support from her family, Andrea says that growing up as a Girl Scout in Brooklyn set her up for success. She was a Brownie, Junior, and Cadette, and in addition to doing crafts like sewing and hooking rugs, which she still does today to relax, Girl Scouts taught her what she calls “timeless techniques.”
Says Andrea, “It [Girl Scouts] taught me how to be a servant leader. Every Saturday I woke up having a purpose, knowing I was going to the troop meeting. Every time was different, but there was order. We had breakfast, we opened up our troop book, and they had an assignment for us. It was monumental for me. It gave me the skills to figure out what my passions were and how to activate them in a way that would work for me.”
Today, Andrea’s company is national and offers a wide variety of in-home services—including makeup, hair, nails, massage therapy, and beauty parties—through a network of beauticians who are located across the country.
Fairweather Faces Traveling Beauty Services is only part of Andrea’s work. She’s also been a makeup artist on ABC’s Good Morning America for 22 years; in fact she was the show’s first full-time African American makeup artist. She has five patents on her Color-Coded System, makeup palettes that allow women to recreate the looks Andrea creates for celebrities at home, which she has sold on fairweatherfaces.com for more than a decade.
“The kits are like ‘paint by numbers’ for your face—it’s easy to do,” she explains.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit Andrea’s mobile beauty business hard, shutting Fairweather Faces down for six months. “I had to do some serious soul searching and creative thinking,” she says, reflecting on how to continue to reach her existing customers as well as new ones during the shutdown.
Her answer: launching Fairweather Faces-Sip & Shop, a Facebook Live program featuring beauty-related demonstrations. She hosted 30 of these Saturday afternoon events in 2021, relishing the opportunity for connection.
For most of her adult life, Andrea—who has groomed everyone from Diane Sawyer to Ben Affleck, Denzel Washington, and Robin Williams as part of her work on GMA—has been someone who does more before breakfast than most people do all day.
“I wake up at 3:45 a.m. and get to the studio at 5:30 a.m. The show wraps down at 8:57 a.m.—but that’s my warmup,” she laughs. “Then I start all over again at 9 a.m. running my business.”