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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Niala and Tia Howard of Magnolia Makeup

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There are a few of us at IntheNOLA who love makeup, no…LOVE makeup. Blush, lipstick, eye shadow, and foundation. If it has something to do with making the face look more beautiful (or applying war paint as some husbands and boyfriends see it), we know it, got it, wear it, and surely don’t leave home without it.
So, imagine our utter excitement and elation when we met sisters Niala and Tia Howard, two of the most beautiful and colorful women in New Orleans who own and operate their very own makeup company. Yes InthekNOwlians, you heard it right. Move over MAC, Sephora, Clinique, and L’Oreal…make way for our new Local Entrepreneur Spotlight, Magnolia Makeup, New Orleans’ very own makeup company.

Like most women, Niala and Tia have had a long-term love affair with makeup. Niala explained, “I was always a makeup fanatic. I would buy tons and tons of makeup and I would always have to go home and tweak it because it wouldn’t show well on my skin color. On top of that, I have very, very, sensitive skin, so I couldn’t wear some makeup and I found that makeup for sensitive skin usually wasn’t as fierce, and I wanted that fierce look.”
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Magnolia Makeup | New Orleans Entrepreneurs |
For Tia, their mother was a source of inspiration. She added, “I would say that my love of makeup started as a little girl watching my mother put her makeup on. I loved the colors and the technique it took to make them work together.”

So in 2008, the Howard sisters decided that something had to be done with all this makeup love. “In 2008, after spending two years doing product research, we launched Magnolia Makeup,” said Niala. “We tested and perfected the products on ourselves first before we started developing them for consumers. We started making eye shadow colors first, and then added foundation colors. After we figured out the perfect foundations for us, family members started asking us for things and our products just grew from there.”

And grew they did! While shopping in the French Quarter one day, Niala and Tia were approached by the owner of Voluptuous Vixen, a clothing boutique downtown. Within 3 weeks, the store picked up the entire line of Magnolia Makeup to be sold in their store. Add that to their very successful online store, and you'll find Magnolia Makeup wearers all over the world! As Niala noted, “We send things all around the world and it all started right here in New Orleans.”
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Magnolia Makeup | New Orleans Entrepreneurs |
And not only do we InthekNOwlians recognize the greatness that is Magnolia Makeup, but also seasoned professionals. “We recently traveled to New York and had the opportunity to meet a lot of celebrity makeup artists and really big professionals in the industry and they complemented our products," Niala said. "We actually met Oprah’s makeup artist and he pulled us out of the crowd and took a picture with us. I just couldn’t believe it!”

She added, “That motivated us so much and then I met these bloggers online who encouraged us to attend a makeup show in Chicago. We did the show in May and June of this year, which was a huge success. Since then, we’ve had constant sales and Magnolia Makeup is just continuing to grow.”

The products of Magnolia Makeup are just as dynamic as Niala and Tia. They consist of eye shadows, foundations, blushes, mineral veils, face illuminators, lip colors, glitters, and much more. Every solstice or equinox, a new line of products is released. Tia added, “The line is really influenced by New Orleans. We have colors like Roux, Felicity, Creole Tomato, and the very popular Who Dat. We also have collections called Big Shot and Bywater, our most recent collection. Before that, we released collections called Garden District and Neutral Ground.”

In addition to creating new product lines, Niala and Tia also hold makeup classes and demonstrations teaching makeup techniques from very basic to advanced. In the future, the sisters would definitely love to have a storefront where all their products are made and sold.
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Magnolia Makeup | New Orleans Entrepreneurs |
As you can see directly from their product lines, New Orleans is one of the most important ingredients in creating their makeup.
And with a name like Magnolia Makeup, you can’t help but think of New Orleans and all her beauty.

Both history lovers, Niala and Tia love the history that is ever present in every thing you do and everywhere you go in this city. “New Orleans is kind of in a transitional period where we’re still keeping the essence of what’s old, but at the same time moving forward,” said Tia. Niala added, “There’s always something new, but the old is never completely erased, it’s just changed up a lil’ bit.”

And Niala and Tia are surely changing up the makeup world. Their great spirits and fantastic products in an awesome city is a recipe for success. Niala and Tia could truthfully be anywhere else in the country (world for that matter) and they choose to be here. Thank you, Niala and Tia for making New Orleans’ faces more beautiful than what they already are.

For more information about Magnolia Makeup, please visit their website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

UPDATE: Magnolia Makeup has recently moved into their own storefront! Please be sure to visit them 612 Julia St.


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Last modified on Tuesday, 07 August 2012
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