Christina Loftis Welch goes from Watermelon Queen to makeup magnate with Stella Louise Cosmetics
One Upstate company is aiming for the heights claimed by high-end cosmetic lines such as Bobbie Brown, Estee Lauder and Laura Mercier. A Simpsonville native and Greer business owner, Christina Loftis Welch has held many titles: Miss Simpsonville 2003, Miss Greater Greer 2004, Miss Poinsett Downtown 2006 and South Carolina Watermelon Queen 2007, where she was also second runner-up in the National Watermelon Queen competition. However, her newest title is entrepreneur and founder of Stella Louise Boutique and Cosmetics. Welch talks about her journey from contestant to cosmetics maven.
How long have you been working as a makeup artist? Who are your usual clients?
I have been working as a make-up artist for the past 10 years. I have received training and worked for numerous nationally known makeup and skin care brands. My clients have included Miss South Carolina contestants, competitive dancers and bridal parties; however, I was trained to do everything from natural, everyday makeup and photography to stage makeup and extreme, dramatic and colorful creations.
How did you get into makeup artistry?
My experience in makeup artistry began with my own journey as a competitive dancer and pageant contestant. I began dancing at the age of 2, competing at age 7 and teaching other dancers by age 18. I came to Greer as a dance teacher after graduating from high school and have choreographed and directed competitive dancers in the Upstate of South Carolina for the past nine years. My makeup artistry skills were put to use by holding classes for dancers and parents to learn the application techniques of stage makeup. I also consult and coach pageant contestants on overall appearance, stage poise and talent.
What inspired you to create your own cosmetics line?
Having my own line of cosmetics has been a dream of mine since I started working in the beauty industry 11 years ago. The endless possibilities of utilizing my creativity are very appealing to me. For years, I carried around so many different brands for makeup applications because there were different products I liked from several different cosmetic lines. I finally decided that it made more sense to have my own line including all of the products I loved and to actually give my clients the opportunity to purchase the products from me.
What makes your cosmetics line stand out against its competition?
This line has something for everyone! There are great products for people who prefer a more natural look as well those who like a little more color and dramatic effect to their makeup.
Where did the name Stella Louise come from?
I named it after my grandmother who passed away a few years ago. She was always a huge inspiration to me when it came to beauty and fashion.
Have you seen a lot of success with Stella Louise?
So far, Stella Louise has had great success. As soon as someone sits in my makeup chair to try it out for the first time, they are usually hooked.
Do the girls and women you do makeup for prefer your line to others?
Yes, the color pigment in my line is stronger than most makeup. Therefore, less product is needed to achieve their desired look. My clients also love the personal attention they are given when looking for new products. When conducting a skin-care or makeup lesson, each client leaves with a personalized “how-to” guide, so there is no guesswork to recreating their new look.
Is the line best for pageants and formal wear, or can it be used every day?
Stella Louise cosmetics can be used for both. The products are versatile enough to easily suit any desired look. With my history in stage makeup, I wanted to have the ability to cater to those who would like to have products that they could use for any occasion without the need of multiple brands.
Why did you choose to set up your boutique in the Upstate?
Specifically, I decided to open in Greer because it has always been a special place to me. I lived in Simpsonville until moving to Greer a few years ago. I took dance and went to church in Greer as a teenager and started teaching dance in Greer after high school. I then had the honor of being crowned Miss Greater Greer in 2004. During that year, I had the privilege of providing over 830 hours of community service to the Greater Greer area and loved every second I was able to spend with the citizens of the community. I knew at that time that I wanted to open a business in the Upstate, starting with Greer.
What is your vision for the future with Stella Louise?
I plan to continue growing the line by adding more products and making the brand well known to a more broad area of customers. I would love to eventually open multiple boutique locations to make the products more easily accessible for everyone.