Makeup Studio Thrives On Compassionate Customer Care
Glam Spot NJ, located at 12-45 River Road, opened its studio in late August of last year.
Celebrity makeup artist and Glam Spot NJ owner Heather Polyi may be based in Fair Lawn, but her impressive assemblage of clients and connections keep her ahead of the curve on the big city's latest fashion trends.
Polyi's artistic expertise has landed her gigs on television, film and music video sets, magazine photo shoots and even back stage during Fashion Week. But she's just as comfortable working with brides to be, prom dates and bat mitzvah celebrants.
As Polyi likes to describe her budding Glam Spot NJ makeup studio, "We’re red carpet artistry in your neighborhood."
"It's kind of a new way of looking at us," she said. "We’re like your hometown girls with a downtown flair."
Glam Spot, which opened a small studio at 12-45 River Road back in August, is Polyi's first entrepreneurial venture. Since her founding partner and chief marketing officer, Kate Harvie, left the company in February, the bubbly makeup industry veteran with a background in business has gone it alone.
Polyi said she's already learned a great deal in her approximately seven months in business. Namely, that growing a small business takes time and that it's important to temper expectations.
"Kate and I kind of had the anticipation of having us grow really fast, really quick, and it’s not really the industry in which that’s possible," Polyi said. "Someday, I would like Glam Spot to be some place that’s got multiple locations and is the go-to location for brides or parties, or whatever the case may be, but for right now we’re just a little makeup artistry studio."
While Glam Spot's growth trajectory may have changed, its customer-centric focus has remained decidedly dead set.
From the beginning, Polyi has aimed to distinguish her studio from other cosmetic counters through compassionate customer service.
"We're really more about people than we are about the product," Polyi said. "[We've] created a place where all genders, all races, all ethnicities can feel comfortable and welcome and beautiful."
Glam Spot's accomodating atmosphere is intended to present a stark contrast to the impersonal experience one might encounter at the makeup counter of a high-end retail store.
"In many stores they sell on commission," Polyi said. "Maybe all I want to look at today is lipstick, but you’re showing me lip liners and lip gloss and every other thing to go with it. And it’s not because I need those things…it’s because you have to have a specific average unit sale and you have to have a specific items per transaction in order to be looked at for positive review."
At Glam Spot, Polyi said, the focus is squarely on the individual and catering specifically to their wants and needs.
"I want to be a human being working with other human beings," she said, "to make them feel more beautiful and glamorous."
A large part of Polyi's motivation for becoming a makeup artist stemmed from the opportunity it gave her to take people at their most vulnerable and give them a renewed sense of confidence in themselves -- something that, from the beginning, Glam Spot has made its goal.
In August, Glam Spot co-founder Kate Harvie described the studio's mission as getting clients to "know us, like us and trust us," so as to provide them a meaningful experience.
"For us to give people the confidence and the skill to be able to look in the mirror and actually see what’s there, embrace it and love it," Harvie said. "That’s what we’re here to do."
Polyi, who was loathe to name any of the celebrities she's done makeup for, said when people ask her that question, she doesn't answer.
"It's irrelevant," she said. "What matters is, do you trust me?"
Glam Spot also separates itself from other studios by catering to any and all prospective clients through its custom blending offerings.
Polyi's expertise in custom blending allows her to match anyone's skin tone.
"I can 100 percent match somebody’s skin color, no matter who walks through that door," she said. "It’s yourself at your best, perfection just perfected."
Since opening in August, Glam Spot has slowly, but surely been building a name in the city through doing makeup work on actors in films, artists in music videos and models in beauty pageants.
Its biggest clients this time of year, however, are brides.
“I’ve got some amazing weddings that are coming up," Polyi said. "We were just discussing how we need a whiteboard just so that we can stay organized, because we’re literally in some cases going to have three weddings going on in one day. It’s crazy. It’s exciting, but it’s going to be a little scary to manage it all."
For now, Glam Spot takes clients by appointment only because Polyi spends much of her day doing makeup on set in New York City. But in the future, she said she'd like be able to have a storefront with a roster of empathetic and caring employees so that they can accept walk-ups. Glam Spot currently has five artists on staff in addition to Polyi.
As someone still new to small business, Polyi said she's found the best approach to growing her business is getting out and pounding the pavement.
"Everybody that I see, run into, every opportunity, I’m handing out my card and telling them come to Glam Spot, give me a call," she said. "Anything you need."
Polyi's enthusiastic and endearing approach has earned her both new clients, and more importantly, new friends.
"We always say it’s like the Glam Fam," she said. "Once you’ve worked with me or my artists or the people that are part of Glam Spot, it’s an experience. You feel something when you walk away. You become part of the family. And I kind of like to think of it as what Glam Spot has become is a family that keeps growing. It's like the friend you didn't know that you wanted."
In the coming months, Polyi said she's looking to develop her own line of makeup, livestream various Glam Spot functions and host True Blood-inspired "Glamor Me" events, which involve "getting your makeup done, drinking wine and watching [HBO's]True Blood," in the Glam Spot studio.
"It'll be a fun time," said Polyi, who also recently began teaching personal makeup artistry classes and workshops.