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Conversations with Mandi Neuhardt

Hi Mandi, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My name is Mandi and I am the owner of Beauty Brigade, an onsite hair and makeup company. Although, I didn’t just wake up one day and start a business. There has been quite the journey to get to where I am today, and it all started in high school. My passion for hair and makeup really began when I was 16. I constantly tried new haircuts and colors and would spend the majority of my lunch money on makeup products from MAC Cosmetics! I would find looks in magazines and online that I wanted to recreate and I would just go for it! This was before Pinterest and YOUTube so I didn’t have much direction on how things should be done, but I had a general idea. Once I gained a little more confidence in my skills, I began practicing updos and makeup applications on any of my friends who were willing to allow it! After graduating high school, and a few years of indecisiveness later, I decided my passion was going to become my career. So, I went to cosmetology school and obtained my license in the state of Florida. In 2008, I moved from Ormond Beach to Orlando to begin work in a hair salon. I was so excited, and ready to cut, color, and style my way to the top! However, many salons would not hire without experience, so I had to change my plan of action. In 2009, I obtained a job as a freelance makeup artist at MAC Cosmetics, and in 2010, I began working for another onsite hair and makeup company in Central Florida. I learned so much and am forever grateful for the opportunity that was provided to me! By 2012, I began to branch out on my own. I was a one man show, operating as Makeup by Manz (a nickname of mine). However, during this time, I wasn’t solely focused on actually growing a business. I was also a student (again) who was studying event management at UCF and a full-time employee at a 9-5. With so many other activities happening, let’s just say makeup and hair came more as a hobby, than a career at this point. After I finished school in late 2017, I began the job hunt in the event world, and that didn’t go as planned. It was then that I decided it was time to make moves, utilize my skills that I had been perfecting for over 10 years, and create an actual business. By the beginning of 2019, I did what I set out to do-I created a business and a brand that I am unbelievably proud of. Although 2020 is only our second year in business, and Coronavirus has decided to thwart my plans of quitting my 9-5 by December, I am still fully committed to making Beauty Brigade a known brand in the local beauty industry and have so many goals to reach in the near and distant future!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road, and I am sure most small business owners would agree. But it is the flaws and struggles that I think actually make Beauty Brigade a better business in the long run! I am constantly changing and adjusting aspects of the business to keep up with the world around me. COVID has definitely been one of the largest challenges of 2020. Luckily, we have adjusted and are now able to resume performing beauty services for our clients.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Beauty Brigade is a team of licensed beauty professionals, who travel to our clients to perform hair and makeup services for special events, such as weddings, photoshoots, engagement shoots, boudoir shoots, and more. Myself and my team are most known for performing makeup services that appear to be more natural! Although, we can execute a full glam makeup as well, we prefer to enhance our client’s natural beauty as opposed to covering it. I am very proud of the team of artists I get to work with. They are professional, timely, and knowledgeable. I believe it is our customer service, combined with our beauty industry expertise that sets us apart from others.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
Aside from a cosmetology license, I also have my bachelor’s degree in Event Management.

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Image Credits

Josie Brooks Photography Bri Cibene Emotive Photo PB & J Studios Janira Photography

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