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How Celebrating Diversity and Uniqueness Made This Makeup Bar Unforgettable

Hear from founder and owner Alex Bradberry about how her focus on diversity and uniqueness makes her shop so memorable.

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Behind the Review host and Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week’s episode of the podcast.

Courtesy of The Sparkle Bar

Starting a business with the primary goal of making people feel special can be hard to pull off. The Sparkle Bar, a makeup studio in Scottsdale, Arizona - through hard work and intention - has managed to pull it off. In this week’s episode of Behind the Review, we hear how The Sparkle Bar makes the in-studio experience so special and what other businesses can learn from it.

Alex Bradberry, founder and owner of The Sparkle Bar, focuses on culture above all else:

“It's definitely about building that culture. We really believe that it’s just like the Maya Angelou quote: ‘People may forget what you say, they might forget what you do, but they will never forget how you made them feel.’ And it is with that principle that we lead at The Sparkle Bar.”

And that isn’t lost on her customers. This week’s reviewer, Kimberly Vickers-Martin, is a retired flight attendant who typically loves reviewing her travel experiences, but one particular encounter inspired her to leave a Yelp review for a completely different type of business . Kimberly went to the makeup studio ahead of a wedding and was impressed by every single step - from the booking to the post wedding reception, where her “fabulous face lasted well into the night.”

While culture and a top-notch experience are important parts of running a successful business, there is another extremely important element that we dig into with Alex: creating a space that celebrates diversity and uniqueness.

“We use a number of products to ensure we have something for everyone,” Alex said. “What makes people feel super comfortable is when they see that we carry an extensive amount of shades. We want everyone to know that we have something for you. As a woman of color, a black woman, I have had experiences where my makeup wasn't the right shade or matched appropriately, and it was with that in mind that we made it a point to ensure we source product from everywhere to ensure that would never happen in the studio.”

On that powerful note, we’ll leave you with a few key takeaways from episode three:

  • Creating an energetic and positive culture goes a long way - from your staff, to your customers, it emanates
  • Celebrating diversity and uniqueness is always a winning strategy
  • When your business is a service, rather than a product, focus on the way you make people feel - they’re much more likely to remember you

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Alex and Kimberly, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Emily Washcovick

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As Yelp’s Senior Field Marketing Manager and Small Business Expert, Emily is responsible for building a thriving network of local business owners, operators and marketers through education and networking events (now, exclusively virtual). She hosts events and webinars to provide business owners with resources that help them succeed and grow in the world of online reviews. Emily’s expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management and all things digital marketing. Her knowledge encompasses countless industries and through thought leadership and speaking engagements, she’s able to share insights that business owners of all kinds can leverage for the future of their business.


Emily is also host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media that features conversations with business owners and reviewers about their experiences—whether positive or negative —giving listeners behind-the-scenes insights and real life learnings.