The people and places of the 2nd Street District are a diverse and dynamic array of retailers, restaurateurs and enterprising small business owners who, both individually and collectively, make the neighborhood what it is: a warm, welcoming place to enjoy life in the heart of Austin. And here's a fun fact: many of the district's denizens are women who have blazed their own trails to success, inspiring everyone around them every day. So, for the remainder of 2017 (and beyond), we'll be shining a spotlight each month on the women of the 2SD.
First up: Rochelle Ray, a two-decade Austinite (hailing from Missouri) and the owner and founder of Rae Cosmetics. Her sweat-proof, cruelty-free makeup line launched in Austin 11 years ago with just a couple of products and has since blossomed into a full collection with a 2nd Street studio and abundant distribution partnerships with spas near and far. We caught up with her to talk about where she's been, where she's going, and how she brings color and beauty to everything she touches.
What led you to where you are today? I have always been an artist, my degree is in fine arts, now I paint faces instead of canvases. In college and right after, I worked for a short time as a model and quickly realized I was way to shy and self deprecating to be in front of the camera but loved helping others feel confident about the way looked and felt. Makeup is sometimes so much more than it seems. We should all feel comfortable in our own skin but a little help with something that makes us feel insecure is a wonderful thing. So I became a makeup artist.
Years later I decided to start a cosmetics line. Why? Easy. I am a sweaty girl. Not only am I active in the gym and outdoors but I do it here in Austin, Texas. Sometimes just walking to the car feels like a sauna. For me, no makeup is not really an option; I like to wear makeup. I think I look my best when I’m wearing makeup, which makes me feel my best, but that was hard to do. With my busy, active life, I usually ended up looking like a hot mess. I realized I was not alone, there had to be a better option. Well, now there is: Rae Cosmetics was specifically created for hard working, fun loving, active and athletic women looking for beauty as well as performance from their cosmetics. The heat, humidity and perspiration resistant formulas won’t crease, cake or smear, even when you sweat.
What's your favorite thing about operating a business in the 2SD?
Well, selfishly my favorite thing is that I live about three blocks from my studio, my office and the Rae headquarters. But the 2nd Street businesses are really like a small family, a group of really great, fabulously original boutiques, salons, restaurants, hotels and people. We all want to provide exceptional service and products and we want every one of our neighbors to as successful as we are.
Any cool news, events, etc coming up this spring that you'd like potential clients/customers to know about?
We just released a new lip plumper that is fabulous, but at Rae there is always a new product or color coming out, especially for spring. We launched our Bunny Kisses line of Lip Lust lipsticks recently and will be adding new colors this spring.
We just recently started offering lash extensions, lash and bow tinting, full waxing services, facials, dermaplaning, mobile tanning service and medical cosmetic procedures such as botox, juvederm filler and skin pen.
As for events, Easter is coming up, so we will definitely be planning a party with our personal Rae bunny, Evan -- but stop by the studio anytime to say hi and give Evan some bunny love. Rae Cosmetics is a cruelty-free makeup line, we would never test any of our products on animals. We believe you don’t have to be cruel to get a killer look!
Visit Rae Cosmetics online here or in person at 237 West 2nd Street.