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Lovingly handcrafted and Canadian made, Vanessa Melanson has poured her heart and soul into Hedo Cosmetics – and it’s paying off! Cruelty free and vegan, not to mention buttery and highly pigmented, each pan is created by Vanessa from the concept to the palette. Infuse sat down with Vanessa to get a glimpse into her journey in the ever growing, and ever competitive cosmetics industry.

What made you want to start your own brand?

As a makeup artist, I had reached a point in my career where I wanted to make it possible for my business to support my art as opposed to my art supporting my living. Toronto is a great city, but its focus for makeup is most popular in bridal, commercial, and film. Being predominantly a beauty and fashion artist, I knew that I would have to branch out and expand my skills to succeed in the industry. I thought to myself, instead of picking up other styles of makeup, why not focus on the product side of the business? It’s a route that not many people take, it would allow me to network with other artists and continue working with people. I would have the satisfaction of learning something new, and it would still relate to the industry that I love. I could build a brand that encompassed my values and inspiration, and have something that people could relate to. And if I could build this business into something truly successful, I could in the future leave it behind for my family to benefit from. The idea of being able to not only help my own career, but of being able to help my younger family members as well was a big motivation.

Hedo palettes are themed after elements in nature.

How long have you been doing makeup, or been in the industry?

I’ve been a makeup artist for nearly 15 years! It was a bit of a slow start as I am completely self-taught, and it took me years to build up a portfolio. I’ve learned a lot over the past decade, but I’m learning even more since I started this venture. 

Do you do the pressing, color naming, and formulas yourself?

I sure do! Hedo cosmetics is literally a one woman show, and I take care of all aspects of the business, from the formulating and colors, to the graphics and photography, to the packing and the shipping and everything in between. This brand truly represents me and my aesthetic. This in itself makes it very difficult sometimes to stay on schedule, and setting aside available time has become my biggest concern while running such a large project on my own.

What makes HEDO unique in the cosmetics industry?

With so many big established brands out there, Hedo went back to the roots of makeup by focusing on making artisan handmade cosmetics. It may seem like a bit of an old world approach, but people are now more than ever, eager to support small brands and to invest in craft items. My brand maintains all the standards of other professional brands, but my focus on quality handmade items that rely on being as eco friendly as possible set the brand apart from others. Hedo items are cruelty-free and vegan, and are free of questionable and controversial ingredients. And because I do not source from private label makeup companies, the colors and formulas are unique.

Makeup art using Hedo products by Vanessa Melanson, founder.

What is HEDO’s biggest achievement so far, and whats next?

HEDO is still a young business but it’s definitely growing! The biggest achievements so far are managing to carry off vending at some of the bigger markets in the city, which is always a lot of hard work, and now in addition to this I have built our first retail partnership with Hocus Pocus on Queen West and have set up our first retail store fixture in their establishment! Very exciting! I’m pushing to get more representation in other fashion boutiques and independent beauty stores and in the coming year want to set up more retail locations where people can find the brand. 

Check out more from Vanessa at @HEDOCosmetics and http://www.vanessamelanson.com

Images from website of Hedo Cosmetics

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