Chanel and Seventeen magazine selected Gabrielle Miller's glittery-pink shade of nail polish and lip gloss from thousands of entries in their 2004 Colour of the Year contest. Miller, a 20-year-old UA economics student, used the $1,000 award to put together a line of eye shadows, lip glosses and rouges under her own Cry Baby brand name. Her flagship store, whimsically decorated in a Cyndi Lauper, '80s-girl-punk style, opened in November. With shades named "Tattle Tale" and "Beam Me Up Scottie," Miller said she's trying to create an array of cosmetics that are "innocent yet sultry, classic yet punk." The Weekly sat down with her over cups of hot chocolate at Cry Baby Cosmetics, 2508 E. Sixth St.

What's the hardest part about being a young entrepreneur?

The hardest thing is definitely trying to manage everything, because, on one hand, I really want to keep my grades up for whatever I want to do after I graduate. But then at the same time, you have to keep the business running. And so, a lot of times, it's hard to keep your priorities straight about what you should be putting more time into. But, then, (there's) what you want to take precedence at the moment.

That's understandable.

Another thing is that a lot of my friends aren't as busy as me, so, like, I feel like I have to keep up with them with school.

What else has been difficult?

I guess the hardest thing has been how to market it. But I've used my mom for information on how to do that kind of thing. ... She knows how things work. She's been in business a long time, and she gives me a lot of advice.

What kind of customers do you get?

Really, everything. We get a lot of university people, but then we get women all through their mid-50s, I'd say. It's really a wide range, and that's the way I'd like to keep it, because you can't really rely on University of Arizona students.

Why is that?

I wouldn't say they're the most loyal customers. Not that I don't like having them as customers, but you need to have more, because they go on and graduate, and they're not around for very long. But when you get other women coming in, they're more loyal. So it's important to have a wide range of people coming in.

What do you sell here?

We have the Cry Baby eye shadows, lip glosses, rouges, foundations, a whole line of skin care. Yeah, we've got lipsticks, hair pieces, jewelry.

What process did you go through to come up with all this stuff?

I knew after the contest, there was a real limited amount of time that I could use that (publicity). Because if you waited too long, it kind of wears off. So I have to go off of, I guess, the kind of attention I got from the contest. ... And so I looked into how you actually make your own cosmetics, and I did a lot of experimentation. I was able to figure out how to make my own eye shadows and find labs to produce my other things.

How did you get interested in cosmetics?

My mom's always been in the business, and, you know, we had this little space (Miller's shop is attached to her mother's makeup salon). And I've just used everything that I've learned from my mom. We're a team, really.

Whose idea was it for all the store's decorations?

It was both of ours. We did all the painting ourselves. We've done everything on our own.

What do you think about fashion at the university? What do you think about UGG boots?

(Laughs.) I feel like before I went to the U of A, I thought that the people were really fashionable. I don't know if it's just because I was younger, and it's because they were older. But I really think that it's gone downhill. I think that everyone looks like a slob. When I worked here when I was younger, we would have sorority girls who would come in, and they all looked really polished. But now I feel like when I'm at the U of A, it's like they roll out of bed, throw on some UGG boots (and) don't take a shower. Yeah, so I think it's really going downhill, and I don't know if it's just me or it really has been.

How about the designer sunglasses?

(Laughs.) I guess I don't have a problem with those.

About The Author

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment