Fresh look at lip service
Bajan make-up artist pushing Free Spirits
She’s young; she’s fabulous; she’s free; and she lives with no inhibitions.
Whom are we referring to? The beauty that is Leandra Goodridge –– make-up artist, entrepreneur and free spirit!
Leandra became a make-up artist in January, and it was this that led her to create her now popular brand Free Spirits Cosmetics.
“. . . I decided to expand my horizons.
“Every time women came to get their make-up done they would request taking the lipstick with them; and I would tell them, ‘But I only have that one lipstick; you can’t have my lipstick’. So I came up with the idea on a job, a month after being a make-up artist.
“I researched a couple of factories; and after going to two or three to see what they had to offer, I decided on one; and then had to deal with the process of customizing each case and putting my name on it, choosing different colours and textures . . . ,” Leandra explained.
And how did she come up with the name?
“It was simple. It’s a reflection of me,” she said with a bright smile. “The name Free Spirits represents me in a sense. My friends always say, ‘Leandra, you are so crazy’. I just believe I’m very spontaneous. I’m a free spirit at heart,” she added with a flick of the hair.
Chatting with Bajan Vibes at her beautiful home at The Rock, St Peter, Leandra said that so far life had been amazing and she was loving her new brand, which she calls her “baby”.
“It has been a dream that I had –– not for all my lifetime –– but I’m grateful to God that He blessed me with the idea to come up with such an amazing line and brand. The lipsticks are of great quality.”
At present, Leandra has three different textures and 45 shades, all of which she named herself, she divulged proudly.
“I named some after some of my friends from Instagram, just to make them feel special. Some were named very spontaneously. I also tried to tie in my Bajan roots. I named some Bajan Night, Rum Punch, Pink Star –– after the restaurant in Baxters Road.”
The feedback has been nothing short of amazing.
“The response is crazy, to be honest,” Leandra confided. “I’m really grateful to all the Bajan ladies who supported me and my brand. What warmed my heart the most is having people I don’t know support me . . . . Everyone knows me as being Rihanna’s best friend, but to see people coming to me genuinely felt really good. Even people that I have never had a conversation with became my friends.
“[Free Spirits] helped me to meet new people. It has been a really good experience so far,” the proud make-up artist said.
Leandra recounted when she first held her very own lipsticks.
“When I first saw them and held them in my hand I actually cried, because it made me feel a whole set of emotions. I was missing my Daddy –– he recently passed away; it was three years ago, but it feels recent to me –– and his not being able to share the moment with me, not knowing that I actually accomplished it, because I was going through the
process for a while . . . .
“Having it in my hand made it all feel real. I really love them. I feel as though they are my babies.
“I started off with 2,500 lipsticks; I feel as though I have 2,500 kids. I just look at them all the time; make sure they are in the correct order, keeping them in my AC all the time. I just try to take very good care of my lipsticks,” she said fondly.
And the lipsticks are not just for the Bajan ladies –– although Leandra made sure they were “sorted out first”.
“After selling out in Barbados, I restocked; and then I did it internationally. Initially I only wanted to do an online brand, but then I felt it wasn’t fair because girls in Barbados love to dress up. I think we dress up more than any other Caribbean island. So I was like Bajan girls have to get this before anybody else. So I made sure that Barbados was sorted out first. Then I started to ship internationally . . . .
“Still living in Barbados, even though my business is registered in the US, limits me in shipping stuff. So my friend, she lives in DC, so I send stock to her and she does the shipping for me. It’s international shipping; so people have been messaging me from Dubai and Australia, that already have their lipsticks.
“The response has been really good online; but, in my opinion, it’s been way better in Barbados,” the former Coleridge & Parry student said.
Leandra loves everything about make-up and she isn’t shy in commenting when she sees others in her lipstick. She believes everyone woman should be made to feel beautiful.
“It just really warms my heart seeing girls wearing my lipsticks. Sometimes I would be out and I would see someone putting on a lipstick, and it would happen to be mine. And I’m like, ‘Wait, she wearing my lipstick. It’s a really good feeling.”
And since her business has taken off, doing make-up has had to take a back seat.
“I still do make-up, but it clashes with the business. I’ve got a girl I send my customers to when I can’t do the appointments. I taught her well; so I feel comfortable sending the clients to her. So it would be selfish to turn down a job when I know someone who can actually do it.
“I still do make-up, though just not as much. I think the demand for me to do make-up decreased after I started the line. I didn’t have time to check my make-up page. My email got messed up. I missed out on a lot of emails. People probably don’t think I do it any more,” the beautiful free spirit said.
Given the success of her brand, Leandra knows for certain now that she made the right decision, abandoning her studies at university to become an entrepreneur.
“I went to the University of the West Indies. I studied sociology and psychology, and I dropped out. I was like: what am I going to do? I like being in control of every situation. I felt as though I wasn’t focusing enough at school and I was just wasting my time and my mother’s time; so I left and became an entrepreneur,” she explained.
She enjoys the support of her family and a few close friends. She is especially thankful for her mother Linda Simmons, who is her main investor.
Now, Leandra is looking to all the future has to offer.
“I plan to do everything make-up. I started with lipsticks and lipglosses. I just recently added a new texture last week. Eventually I will have powders and foundations. When I get to that point, then I would have a store. My business is still a baby.
“. . . Everything is going to be the bomb. Everything is going to be good. I’m not the type of person who would sell you a pig in a bag. I will sell you things that are of good quality. It’s a process and I plan to go through the full nine yards,” Leandra told Bajan Vibes with a smile that could light up the National Stadium.