Christi Miller just loves makeup and skin care and big, chunky, funky pieces of jewelry. (Did we mention makeup and skin care?)
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It’s not easy having a conversation with Cristi Miller. It’s not that she isn’t loquacious. Glitzy phrases like “Laura Mercier,” “European-themed apothecary” and “Stephen Dweck jewelry” fall loosely from her effervescent tongue.
The thing is, she’s got other things to worry about, like her people—her makeup people.
“The best thing about all of this is interacting with my customers,” she says, between praising the adooorable dress as one of her faithful swishes in, then commenting on how fabulous a job one of her makeup artists is doing on a client at her Houppette in Greenville. “The cosmetics industry is such a happy industry.”
Obnoxious? Try exceedingly refreshing.
“I’ve always wanted to have my own boutique. That environment of personal service and a unique selection of products have always been special to me,” Miller says. “Whenever I shopped at high-end department stores, of course, the things are beautiful, but where’s the individualized style? That’s what I liked.”
She traded in flasks and test tubes for Bloomingdale’s cosmetics department when, at 19, she ended her pursuit of a chemistry degree and moved to the Big Apple.
Her self-confessed “product junkie” persona—even as a child—readied her for a gig giving makeovers at Bloomie’s on 59th.
“I was one of those girls who only cared about Barbie’s head, doing her makeup and hair,” she says with a laugh. “I loved my first experience in this dynamic, exciting world.”
Miller stayed in New York a year and a half, then made her way to Delaware and a job at Ellie before heading back to school, this time to the Fashion Institute of Technology, an institution tailor-made for her interests. One fashion merchandising-cosmetic marketing degree later and, hello, Houppette.
“I really loved Greenville,” she says. “I looked at it as a department store and asked, ‘What’s missing?’ It had a great place for shoes, great linen and china at Enchanted Owl, great clothing at Ellie—everything except cosmetics.”
Page 2: Cosmetic Splurgery, continues...