Barbara Panagos: Professional Makeup Artist, Entrepreneur, Industry Leader, Founder

Written by  

Barbara Panagos has been in the cosmetics industry since 1975, starting as a buyer and top salesperson for a retail operation involving three stores. When the opportunity arose, she started Brush Up with Barbara, a cosmetic and aesthetic brush company, followed by Mineral Mine Inc., a line of high quality, United States-made mineral makeup with added vitamins and lavender aromas. She has since added the branded lines as Barbara Panagos Cosmetics and Wundercover concealing cream. With world-class customer service, she is currently celebrating 27 years in business.

I have worked in the cosmetics industry for 35 years and I am still enjoying the work! I started with a part-time job in my neighborhood in order to be home on time for my sons after school. After my first week of working, I knewstrip this would be the career for me. That was in 1975 and the rest is history. Considering everything in this industry, what I love the most is dealing with and connecting with my clients – some who have been with me since the 1980s. It is my patience and persistence that I believe have enabled my success. Stability is my company’s greatest strength. We just celebrated our 27th anniversary. We help all clients, large and small, and allow clients to brand themselves without a huge investment. I always keep up with trends in fashion and makeup, which go hand in hand with my business. This allows me to stay relevant in the industry. I was very surprised by how well my clients took to my private label mineral makeup line. We were the first company to offer private label mineral makeup to plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and schools. Having products with the client’s name on the package makes for happy clients. I always advise clients to brand themselves. The more they get their name out there, the better it will be for their business. I believe consumers are loyal to a particular spa because of the employees and services that are offered. I think all clients should be treated as you like to be treated – If a spa’s staff is professional, it can make it or break it for a client. My inspiration comes from my loyal clients and my family. I have close relationships with my family and we are lucky to all live close to one another. Family is what I refer to as the beautiful side of life. If someone is planning to begin a career in this industry, they should by all means do so. This industry is fabulous and there are so many avenues to choose from, whether it is wholesale, retail, teaching, consulting, makeup artistry, or aesthetics – the opportunities are endless.

Has there been a constant theme that has led you from one point to the next throughout your training and career?
“Asking questions and listening to client’s answers has been a constant theme throughout my career. It allows me to give clients the proper products to have success with.”

Here's more of our chat with Barbara: 

1. DERMASCOPE: What various roles and positions have you held within this industry? 

Barbara: From retail to private label companies to showroom sales, I have been helping clients start successful businesses for years. 

2. DERMASCOPE: Which of these roles taught you the most or had the most impact on you and how? 

Barbara: How much of a people person I am and the respect I get in return. I am from a large family and am used to dealing with all types of personalities, so it's a good fit. 

3. DERMASCOPE: Do you have any regrets, or is there any one things you can point to and think, "I wish I would have done that differently" or "if only I had known then what I know now" that you can share with readers? Please explain.

Barbara: I wish I would have started my own business earlier than 1988. At the time, my children were already old enough to do so. 

4. DERMASCOPE: What tool(s) would your treatment room (or business) not be complete without and why?

Barbara: We offer a tray of loose mineral foundation, which also carries a concealer and the correct cosmetic brushes to apply with. This enables the client to look great after treatment and allows for the lunchtime facial, which is very popular with our clients. 

5. DERMASCOPE: What are your hobbies when not working? 

Barbara: I love dancing and yoga! Three to four days a week I go to yoga class and one evening I participate in a two-hour Latin dance class. I meet fun people at dance, which the most relaxed people are seen at yoga. I do Tai Chi also. 

6. DERMASCOPE: Do you have a company or personal motto that you live by? 

Barbara: Just like the 'golden rule,' I think all clients should be treated as you like to be treated. My employees follow that fule as well. 

7. DERMASCOPE: Can you share something that most people would not know about you? 

Barbara: I still answer the phone at the office! I really enjoy the connection with the clients, especially those from different states. 


Want to read more?

Subscribe to one of our monthly plans to continue reading this article.

Login to post comments

Main Stage