Film, Brows, and building an Empire. Q & A with Calgary Actress & Cosmetic Tattoo Artist Shawna Welsh

Shawna Welsh is not your typical small town girl with stars in her eyes, and a dream to make it in the big city. Before the age of 30 she has successfully launched a film career, business, and product line. Adding the titles of Actress, Designer, & Entrepreneur to her resume.

Born in Richmond British Columbia, she moved from the coast to the prairies 5 years ago and ambition was the driving force. She secured her first break into the film industry and was working alongside recognizable talent such as Helena Bonham Carter, Callum Keith Rennie and renowned director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.  

This left a lasting impression and further motivated her to continue down the rabbit hole into the exciting world of TV & film.

As many know, the journey into the entertainment industry can be more of a marathon rather than a sprint. Given the options, a typical 9-5 job was not on the tables.

Shawna started Studio Skera in the back spare bedroom of her house with only a chaise, some lash supplies, and newly obtained certification. What started as a modest income helper to accommodate the pursuit of her dreams turned into a full fledged successful business. She expanded her skills to include Semi-permanent makeup tattooing, Microblading, collagen induction therapy, waxing, hair extensions, etc. eventually moving into a 1000 sq/ft Studio and booking months in advanced.

After working for several years in the beauty industry, lashing thousands of eyes, and developing a self proclaimed brow obsession, Shawna saw a disappointing lack of quality in the products offered to lash and brow artists that wished to provide their clients with not only exquisite service but luxurious quality as well. Hence, the birth of Skera Pro. Officially launching April 1st.

We reached out to Shawna to discuss the newest beauty trends, including the explosion of microblading’s popularity, and what projects she’s currently working on in the Alberta Film Industry.

Tattooing vs. Cosmetic tattooing, What’s the difference?

Both are used as expressions of individuality. The main difference in terms of application is depth. Cosmetic Tattooing goes into the upper layers of the dermis, hence the term “semi-permanent”. In terms of expression, Cosmetic tattooing is definitely a softer approach, I like to think Im enhancing beauty vs. altering.

When you started Microblading, was it something fairly new to the beauty industry? Where do you see it going?

Oh for sure, it was basically a whisper in the industry, it was hard to even find out where to buy supplies or to receive training. Like most beauty trends, it was brought over from Asia. It’s definitely exploded in popularity over the past couple years and its unreal how many people are offering it as a service in their own studios now too. I don’t really think it’s a “trend” and that it’s here to stay. I’m already seeing it evolve further, Ombre brows and the newest method is something I like to call “Blade & Shade”. Basically your shading in between the brow strokes to give your client the best of both worlds, the look of natural 3D hair strokes and the look of powdered/makeup brows.

Walk us through a typical Brow tattoo consultation?

Ok! Now we’re getting to the fun part! After all paperwork has been filled out, I go through the clients expectations such as wants, thickness, lifestyle, color. I love it when they bring in  selfies, Instagram inspiration, or even their favorite brow pencil color. After I have a pretty good indication of what their dream brows look like, we start to pencil in the shape of their brows based on their natural parameters, bone structure, and face shape. Once I have a shape that the client is happy with, we move on to color matching.

What is a common problem you encounter in the beauty business?

I feel bad saying this, but it’s definitely bad work. There has been so many (too many) times that I have had ladies come in with bad work. Whether it’s clumped and glued together lash extensions that have been improperly applied, a botched brow tattoo, or discolored pigment. I have had ladies call me over the phone crying asking for help to remove painful lashes or if there is any hope to restore their brows. It’s scary and I think it’s partially because the beauty industry is constantly changing, its almost impossible to regulate all the new services that are popping up. Luckily I have received really great training and so far, I have been able to help every client that has called. There’s nothing I love more than turning a negative situation into a positive one.

In your opinion, what is the next big thing for the beauty industry?

The beauty industry has basically existed in one form or another as far back as we can find evidence of humanity. There really isn’t anything new, it’s more or less a constant evolution. I think the future of beauty will focus on marrying a combination of exterior treatments with internal health. Collagen therapy is amazing for your skin but drinking lots of water can have an amazing affect on your skins health as well.

Were you surprised at the rapid growth of your Studio?

To be completely honest? Yes! (laughing) I was not expecting the growth of my business to happen so quickly, I am incredibly grateful and it’s been amazing. I love meeting new clients and catching up with my regulars at their fills or follow up appointments. It’s my girl time.

Tell us about and what your aspirations are for your product line?

Skera Pro will provide innovation in an ever changing industry. Offering Elite beauty products to a growing community of artists looking to provide high quality products at affordable price points to their own clientele. It became my mission (mild obsession) to source out the highest quality products on the market and bring them to the growing network of artists in the beauty industry. I’m really proud of the philosophy behind the products and I hope that it’s well received within the industry.

From Profession to Passion, what are you currently working on and where do you see you film career heading over the next year?

The Alberta Film Industry has always been good to me. I have worked on several products in the industry in both Canada and the States, and like any artist, you thrive on the amount of time you are gifted to be on set. I have recently been given a dream role on a locally filmed western. We shot the teaser and the producers are currently going into fundraising to secure the remaining budget to shoot the rest of the production. I’ve also been cast in a film called Mesopotamia set to shoot the beginning of 2018 in Turkey. I can only hope that the film industry continues to grow in Alberta. We have so much to offer here in terms of talent, scenery and our wonderful crews.