We had the good fortune of connecting with Manny Espinoza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Manny, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
To be very honest, I never thought about having my own business. Why you may ask, well at the age of 16 I started working in fast food, then moved into retail which then lead me into cosmetics.
When I moved into cosmetics, I realized that I found my passion – to help build confidence in others! So, at the age of 19 I started working for the #1 Cosmetic Brand which was a dream of mine since my mother was the one that introduced me to the makeup line.
Fast forward 12 years with many relocations with promotions and reaching company targets with my teams as I was in a leadership role. I felt onto of the world – I was able to identify business problems and utilize my teams to ensure any obstacles became successes. This lead me to build relationships all over the US.
During my 12th year – I got laid off for no reason given, just told that my time was up and thank you for your service. Just like that… So you can understand every emotion that I felt – shocked, nervous, upset, sad, happy, fear and many others cause after 12 years of comfort – it was over.
At this moment I knew I had to figure out what my next step was going to be… Which lead me to realize that the last 12 years in my life was coaching me and developing my skills to start my own business.
In August 2019 – I started working for myself. I told myself that I wasn’t going to let this defeat me and destroy my passion of building confidence in others. During this time I was living in Orlando, FL but I knew that if I wanted success I needed to make a bold move and move to Los Angeles, CA to start my business.
While in Los Angeles, I was fortunate enough to get booked for The Grammys to be part of Lizzos Team (HUGE thank you to Alexx Mayo). so this to me was a sign that I made the right decision. I started to network and meet people in the industry which was so fulfilling. Then bam, COVID-19 happened in March and we all know what that meant… however for me it was extremely hard due to me living in a new city with little connections. Also being in the beauty industry- we got hit the hardest.
However I didnt let that stop me – I used that time to focus on a new passion of photography. During this time I started sending emails, DMs and comments to people that I would like to work with once Covid became a thing of the past. This helped me get booked for Jennifer Lopez team for the AMAs.
Now being in April of 2021 – I am still working for myself and networking while building my clients in a market that is over populated in MUAs. I knew if I wanted to be successful I would need to show people something different which to me was kindness as a MUA and letting each client that I work with that the makeup isn’t just about me and my skillset – it was more of a collaboration together to ensure that both parties felt comfortable with the makeup application.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
While being new to Los Angeles, I am not new to the makeup world. I’m excited to explore this new chapter of my life while becoming a dad of two franchise named Slate and Gia.
During my career as a MUA I am very fortunate to have worked several seasons of NYFW: Lacoste, Hood by Air, Nicole Miller, Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone, Parbal Gurung, Christian Cowan, Alice and Olivia and many others.
Worked with Lizzos team for The Grammys, JLo for the AMAs to working with Jennifer Williams from Basketball Wives to working with Cornelius Jones on a new tv show on HBO MAX called Genera+ion.
Although all this is nice to have it didnt come easy… I had to make tons of scarifies – Moving away from home, missing tons of family moments: Birthdays, Holidays, Baby showers and bonding moments. When I first moved away from Fresno, CA where I was born and raised – I had to find a roommate on craiglists and sleep on the floor for 2 weeks till I had enough money to buy a bed. I come from a broken family and money was very tight growing up, so this lit a fire under my ass to work hard! I wanted to have money to my name and be able to buy something if I wanted it.
I always tell myself “I am to poor to buy cheap things” I rather save and buy what I truly want vs buying something and knowing that I can replace it when it broke, I like quality and sometimes that means buying a label here and there.
At the end of the day- Im a hard working Mexican that comes from a broken family with both parents passing away due to cancer. My main passion is to build confidence in others and to build relationships. Im now living my life in Los Angeles, CA with my two frenchies Slate and Gia… oh and my two cats Mocha and Leche, My drive is to be booked with clients and being able to enjoy the small things in life. A nice coffee at my local coffee shop.
Follow me on IG @88manuel88 to keep in touch and follow my new chapter here in LA.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Amazing, I love planning things out – because if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
Outdoors – Malibu and or Laguna Beach, Hikes and exploring parks like Angels Point (my personal fav) and just to go on a drive down some streets that you normally wouldn’t to really explore the city. Dont forget rollerblading and or bike riding.
Food – Grand Market in DTLA so many good options there for food. Masa of Echo Park, they have the best Deep Dish to me! Teddys Red Tacos in Venice beach, Slurpin’ Ramen bar, Eat Drink Americano, El Zarape (Great Tacos) Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. Catch LA, Perch LA, The Guest House for Happy Hour and Laurel Hardware… cant forget Randys Doughnuts as well. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Hmmmmm, this is a loaded question.
There are so many people that helped me become the business man that I am today.
When it comes to Love and encouragement without a doubt, is my mother. She always supported me in everything that I did and knew that I was going after my dreams on becoming a celebrity makeup artist! She always gave me the best advise and something was too honest with me about life and when things didnt go my way. I am working twice as hard to fulfill my commitment to her as she is now my guardian angel, cancer sucks and she was taken from me way too soon. However that’s a different story.
Mentors in my life were my friends, co workers and my partners in life. to name a few : Bernie Bernardo, taught me business and how to lead a team by setting the example vs leading a team by having a title. Suzanne Chu, taught me to pay attention to the details in everything that I do in life and what good food is. Victor Cembellin, taught me precision, symmetry and having energy from start to end during any makeup application. Also words that stuck with me were… “its easy to be booked for a job however its harder to get rebooked” so with knowing that I try to make every interaction very special no matter how big or small the occasion is. Stacy Maki, how to make things fun and how to motive others to lead us to success. Gina Duarte, how to not take anything personal and to understand that at the end of the day, this is a business nothing is personal. C. Gluck, how NOT to lead a team. Cassy Wilson, taught me that people work for people and to build relationships since our coworkers become family. Tiffany Chang, taught me dedication and social media.
many others have shaped me as well so the list goes on and on.
Valerie, Bonnie, Sygga, Archeala, Brandi