We had the good fortune of connecting with Emma Riggle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emma, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As a kid, I was always known as the “bossy one” which of course felt like bullying at the time but now I realize that those bullies were right, except that I was going to be a leader, not bossy. Growing up I never knew what I wanted to do with life, only thing that I can remember telling my parents for years is, “I never want someone to be able to tell me no.” I have always been into creating, whether it was moving my room around every weekend, trying makeup looks over and over again, or even just doodling on my schoolwork. When I was a junior in high school it was time to make a decision as to where I was going in life, even though I always knew that I would be creating in some way I had no idea where to start. Once I realized that makeup was my life and joy I decided that I was going to open my own artistry business, but mine would be different than the rest. I wanted to create a business for people of all sizes, shades, and tones to feel welcome and confident. While being a makeup artist is my title, my business is built on empowering others and helping others see their true beauty. Whether it is a full glam look or clean beauty confidence and strength start from within and sometimes we just need to feel beautiful on the outside before we can see our inner beauty
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Over the 4 years that I have been a professional makeup artist, I have seen a little of each side of the industry. When I was 16 I got hired at the first salon I worked at as a receptionist. While I was there I thought that I wanted to do hair and be a stylist in a salon. But then I found that I could be a professional makeup artist and that’s when it all began. I started by doing a few homecoming/prom looks for the salon I was at and fell in love. After 2 years I moved to a different salon where I was the lead makeup artist doing most of the weddings and homecoming/prom days. After working there for a couple years I decided that being in the salon was not for me. I was attending Studio Crush School of Makeup when I decided to leave the salon world and start my own business as a freelance artist. I didn’t want to be stuck in Canton doing the same looks on the same people, I was ready for adventure and to be creative. I am currently dipping my toes into a little bit of everything right now, but weddings are definitely where I want to be in the long run. It is definitely not easy, while Studio Crush made it 100x easier for starting artists, there are still the struggles of life that can get in the way. For example to pay bills, I’m currently working a serving job on the side to keep money coming in when it’s slow, especially since I am just starting out. Balancing two jobs, one being your business and trying to take care of yourself is a lot, but it’s teaching me how important every minute of the day is. I’ve overcome the challenges by remembering that this stress/struggle is only for now eventually you will have a new stress/struggle so why dwell on the negativity, I try to remind myself that the sun can’t always shine, but it always come back to shine. That the “job” that I do is one of the most rewarding things, I get to be apart of beautiful and loving weddings, have fun on shoots and do crazy creative looks, the most special of all though is seeing your clients reaction in the mirror, the happiness and joy that radiates from them warms me and assures me that my job matters!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For their first day I would probably take them to breakfast in Midtown Atlanta at the West Egg Cafe to enjoy some delicious brunch and get our morning coffee in! After that we would go over to Ponce City Market where we could walk around and shop, I love to grab ramen from Ton Ton Ramen and Yakitori whenever I’m there! After grabbing some lunch and walking around, I would take them to Piedmont Park for some chill time. For dinner we would definitely go to RA Sushi Bar, it is my absolute favorite place to go for dinner. They have amazing drinks to compliment their outstanding sushi rolls, and the restaurant itself has an amazing vibe! But before we head out of the city for the night I would take them to get Jeni’s ice cream for dessert, my personal favorites are their brown butter almond brittle or cold brew with coconut cream. The next day we would start with coffee and breakfast at Caribou coffee which is one of my favorite places for coffee! After we would then go to the aquarium for the day, I absolutely love the Georgia Aquarium and seeing all the animals! To end our day I would take them to the original Varsity in Atlanta for all the greasy foods and shakes you could imagine. Next day we would go over to Decatur Square to change up our location. Decatur Square is filled with so many amazing places, you never know what you will find. While we are there, we would grab lunch at Raging Burrito and Taco. When I say the biggest burrito I’ve ever seen, I’m mean HUGE! For their second to last day I would take them on the adventure of Little Five Points, now that is place that is unpredictable. Little Five Points feels like you’ve entered a different universe, where no one cares what you wear or what your hair looks like. It is the best place for expressing yourself and venturing out of comfort zone and try new things. Lunch that day would definitely be at the Vortex, the most mouth watering food I have ever had. For their last day, in the city I would start with breakfast at First Watch in Kennesaw and then hear over to Kennesaw Mountain for a hike with amazing views. And then to wrap up their trip I would take them to the most magical place in Atlanta, Lips for an amazing drag show with dinner. I mean who doesn’t love dinner and a show, am I right?
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Of course there are so many people and organizations that I could thank for everything they have done for me, but my most important is my mom. My mom has told me from the time that I can remember that I can do and be anyone or anything I want, the sky was my limit and she made sure that I knew that. I never thought that I could be a makeup artist, I’m from Canton, GA and makeup artists weren’t really a thing here until about 2 years ago. When I told my mom my senior year of high school that I didn’t want to go to college, I was expecting some yelling or cussing or at least her mad at me but the way that she looked at me in that moment of explaining my future, I could see that all she truly wanted was for me to be happy. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t going to have a degree, she heard me out and listened to every dream and goal that I had. My mom realized early on that my brother and I were completely different, he’s a UGA double major graduate and bilingual in Spanish, and I’m definitely not. School was a struggle for me keeping my grades up, focusing, or even just going. I think my mom always knew that I wouldn’t go to college, she knew that she couldn’t push me like she did my brother because school wasn’t an accomplishment for me it was more of a chore. As a kid grades were a big deal in my house, but after I started school my mom realized that school wasn’t going to be an accomplishment for me, it was going to be a chore to finish. She dedicated my childhood to helping me through my struggles, she read all of my books to me since I couldn’t focus, she quizzed me while I rode my scooter because I couldn’t look at her while she asked or I’d forget, but most of all she told me that the letter on my report card didn’t define how smart I was. She was definitely thrown a curve ball with me, but she helped with with my little quirks and issues with school to get me to be where I am today. My mom was always in my corner for me, so my senior year in high school she made it her mission to help me find a school to explore my creativity. From tours to tests she was there with no questions asked. I could call her at 3 in the morning for help or even to just vent from my day of work she’s always there to help in anyway, she’s my person, support, and the one I do it all for because she deserves the world.
My Photo: Nancy Gabriela Starting at the top going from left to right then down 1st: Leah Perry 2nd: Tess Yaney 3rd: Nancy Gabriela 4th: Brittney Mullins 5th: Savannah Rose 6th: I Vizon Photography