Aesthetic Ambitions: Inside Carla Balzano's Vision for Beauty and Business

Aesthetic Ambitions: Inside Carla Balzano's Vision for Beauty and Business
Credit: Ck Media Co. Provided courtesy of Creative Contour By Carla.

Carla Balzano is a Boston-based makeup artist and esthetician. In her interview, Carla shares her journey from playing with makeup kits as a tween to pursuing her passion as a career to starting her business, Creative Contour By Carla. The makeup artist believes in using makeup as a tool for self-expression and empowerment, and she finds joy in helping her clients enhance their natural beauty and feel confident in their own skin. Read more about Carla’s inspiring path to creative entrepreneur.

At what point did you realize that you could turn your makeup artistry into a business?

This is such a great question with an interesting story! So we’ll have to go way back to my preteen days. When I was in middle school, I regularly played with those little makeup kits for kids. My mother would buy them for me for Christmas and my birthday, so I was always playing and dabbling in makeup. I kept playing and enjoying myself as time went on. It wasn’t until I was well into high school that I discovered that being a makeup artist was a career option. I researched all of my options, and Bobbi Brown and Kevyn Aucoin were my favorite makeup artists at that time. Once I knew that’s what I wanted as a career, I did everything to make my dream come true! It wasn’t until I turned 21 that I decided to become a licensed esthetician and learn the basics of makeup artistry. Fast forward to 2017, and I jumped into the deep end and started Creative Contour By Carla!

Credit: Creative Contour By Carla.

How do you define success for your creative business?

I define success for my business as involving a few key aspects: the freedom of being able to create my own schedule, doing something I love and being paid for it, helping people love wearing makeup and helping their true beauty shine.

Where do you find inspiration?

In continuing education—I love diving deep into learning new techniques, new products and more.

Credit: Keleigh Michelle Photography. Provided courtesy of Creative Contour By Carla.

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you first started your business?

You don’t need to have it all figured out to start. Just start and try your best! You’ll grow and learn along the way. Be open to feedback and learn how to apply each piece of feedback.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start selling their art or creative product?

Lean into that spark that ignites you to create. It will be the part of you that enjoys your art ten years down the line.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m tiny but strong!

Credit: Francielle Santo Photography. Provided courtesy of Creative Contour By Carla.

As creatives, we can continuously refine our art. How do you handle perfectionism?

Perfectionism is really hard on creatives. I feel that we constantly try to achieve it and heavily compare ourselves to others. Social media certainly doesn’t help with imposter syndrome. I feel that, as creatives, we need to learn to set boundaries with ourselves regarding our crafts. We need to be honest with ourselves from the start and validate our experiences. We also need to give ourselves time to rest and recoup. Not creating for a week will not set you back, and it doesn’t make you any less of an artist than others.

What’s something that surprised you about running a creative business?

How easy the actual business side is. We are always learning. Once I learned how to run my makeup business effectively, it was easy!

What advice would you give to someone about handling the highs and lows of running a business?

Give yourself a pat on the back and remind yourself that you have come so far in this amount of time. Celebrate the good times and give yourself compassion in the hard times.

Credit Genevieve Photography. Provided courtesy of Creative Contour By Carla.

Has someone ever criticized your work? How did you handle it?

As a makeup artist, there is always criticism on all levels. I try my best to communicate with each customer to work together to achieve their best makeup look.

What’s a cause you are passionate about, and why?

The Love Life Now Foundation. This organization helps domestic violence survivors of all ages and genders with everything. I’ve volunteered at their events for the past four years and met so many wonderful, loving people.

Can you share the name of a supplier or vendor that you use for your business that you just love—one that makes running your business a bit easier?

I love to amplify small businesses. Here are two of my favorite small beauty brands: Esteli Body has beautiful skin and body care with ingredients derived organically. Marlyns Vanity is a small, woman-owned company that sells handmade lip gloss.

What brings you joy?

I have a list! The things that bring me joy are sunlight filling the room I’m in, listening to my favorite songs, a warm hug, daydreaming, and sharing a laugh with someone I love.

Thanks, Carla! You can learn more about Creative Contour By Carla at

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