{un}convention San Francisco: Introducing Slingin Pretty!

brandon kirk and marita cardenas of slingin' pretty

Brandon Kirk and Marita Cardenas are Slingin Pretty, a powerhouse team out of Richmond Virginia serving up the freshest hair, makeup, and lifestyle looks for modern brides + grooms (and beyond.) Their signature blend of sass and class make them one of our favorite businesses EVER. They have been at every (un)convention thus far (Richmond '14, Brooklyn '15) and are completely jazzed to be crossing the country this time for our San Francisco event! ALL ATTENDEES will get free headshots with hair and makeup touchups by these babes. Yeah, you're welcome. Learn more below!

What’s distinctive about your brand/company/work and where did you get the idea?
We are relatable. We are real live people. We have a personality- we are funny and sassy. We know trends and set trends. We care. We are really into what we do. We are in to each other too- like we are actual real life besties! Our brand/logo comes from the trend of the hashtag and our company name means exactly what you would think! We sling it all together and make our client look pretty. It’s pretty simple. And that’s our approach to beauty, to customer service, to contracts, to our personal style- simplicity. Even our business cards and website reflect that. Simple. Black and white and some grey. Effortless, like us. We just show up and the pretty happens!

Did you have a background in your industry and if not what emboldened to do it
We both previously worked in high end salons for years. But, working for “the man” in this industry, often stifles your creativity (and your money making power- lets get real).

When did you know you wanted to own your own business?
When the owners of the last salon we worked for suddenly closed up shop and we realized we had clients on our books who would be left stranded (including a bridal party of 10 in two days!)… we knew we had to do something. We made it our mission to do whatever it would take to take care of clients, especially this bride and her family.

What were the main steps between having your idea and making it a reality?
After finishing hair and make up for that bridal party, looking at our work we did outside the salon, taking inventory of what exactly it took to pull this off - to make ourselves available, to travel where our client is, lug our tools and cups of coffee and and kick ass attitudes with us… we went to Panera for lunch. And, over a doughy turkey bravo sandwich (with chips NOT an apple… who gets the apple?!) we decided to start a business. We thought, this can’t be that hard, right? We just offer our services and be flexible and completely mobile. This had proven to be key in our success!

What are the biggest pleasures of your job? What could you do without?
Seeing our client’s face when they look in the mirror and they realize, “I am f*cking hot!”  Their posture, presence and awareness of their potential completely changes in that moment and gives us that instant affirmation that we did what we were supposed to do.  Also, not going to lie, we have the coolest clients.  At first glance, our clients may not resemble our personal ride or die crew but then we hear their clever wedding hashtag, they start their email off with “Greetings Slingin’ Pretties” or someone drop the F bomb and Brandon and I look at each other and think, “I’d totally hang out with them.”  

We could do without the pleasantries sometimes.  Meaning - if you don’t like your hair or your eyeshadow, just say you don’t like it.  While we always appreciate working with kind and polite people, no one is doing anyone any favors when a client is so worried about not offending our work.  As much as we appreciate the thoughtfulness, dancing around your dislike for something hinders us as professionals to deliver what it is you really want.  Clear and honest communication is the fastest way to getting what you want.

Has failing at something or quitting ever lead to success for you?
Totally!  Brandon and I started #slinginpretty when the salon where we were working suddenly closed.  Based off of our experience, we naturally went to work at another salon fairly immediately because we had to maintain some sort of income while exploring our own business venture.  After a few months and with the participation in the first {UN}convention, inquiries just began pouring in.  We realized that we couldn’t commit to someone else’s business that conflicted/competed with our own.  Quitting our salon jobs allowed for us to accommodate more clients, participate in more creative projects and nurturing professional and personal relationships that have only bolstered our confidence in our brand.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Marita: A pop star. Or a spy. I pretty much just wanted to be a Bad-ass.
Brandon: This is really full disclosure here… I wanted to work for Donald Trump in New York City in Trump Tower. I grew up in the 80’s and would see Trump on tv shows like, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and was obsessed with rich, 80’s big hair and shoulder padded affluent New Yorkers. Now, I squirm with ickyness and shame just thinking about it! 

What’s your drink of choice? No one said it better than Biggie Smalls. Now we sip champagne when we thirsty - Juicy

Pictures from slingin' pretty's past work