Those who have spent time with Marissa Harrington (now Marissa Berrini!) of Bourbon & Goose, likely realized they were in the presence of a friend. Her laid back vibe and willingness to embrace adventure is simply part of her genetic make-up—we’re sure of it.
Of course, if you follow her on Instagram, you already have a glimpse into the way she sees the world: as an endless string of opportunities to create bold work, nurture communities of likeminded people and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis.
We recently had a chance to follow up with her about her work as an art director in the beauty industry. Read on as she shares what it’s like working creatively in the constantly-evolving world of cosmetics and beauty products, a few things we didn’t know about being an art director and the mantras she uses (and that we’ll be using as our own from here on out) to keep her cool.
We know you from your work as a photographer and creative director through your studio, Bourbon & Goose, but you also work in LA, as an art director in the beauty industry. Will you tell us more about your role?
My younger self always dreamed of being in the beauty business thanks to Miss Erica Cane from All My Children. Luckily I found my way into the field using my design skills. Today I focus on two different brands that fulfill my creative needs: one brand lets me explore my conceptual side while the other allows me play with bright bold colors that I’m obsessed with. It’s inspiring and filled with challenges that keep me happily entertained. The added bonus: I work with a team of collaborative individuals who inspire me daily.
In terms of the work, my day ranges from developing creative concepts, being on press checks for displays and catalogs, working with the team on new packaging designs, organizing and scheduling photo shoots and so much more. It’s hard to put it all down on paper, and frankly some of it isn’t all that glamorous. At the end of the day, a job has its pretty side and it’s paperwork side (read: working on contracts, forecasting budgets and answering emails).
What is it about the beauty industry that keeps you inspired to be creative?
This one is easy: innovation and trends! It’s one of the many parts that I love about my job. Seeing how a little thing could spark a big idea and being part of that community keeps me on my toes. I’m lucky to work with a team of people who believe in research and development, which stimulates the creative process. It’s the brainstorming and creating together as a team that keeps the creativity fresh.
Art direction can take on a lot of different forms—and that means you tend to wear a lot of hats. What are three things people might not know about being an art director?
You’ve got that right! Art direction does require constant wardrobe changes! That’s the fun in it, though. I can guarantee you’ll never be bored in an art director this role. Here’s why:
- Art directors aren’t just artists, we’re also managers and customer service professionals. While art direction has its sexy moments like picking the perfect Pantone color for an upcoming color collection (that’s sexy, right?), you also have clients, vendors and a team. It’s important to be able to juggle and remember that communication plays a key part. Being able to handle all personality types serves this position well. I credit this to my time working behind the counter at Nordstrom for Clinique. Being exposed to a variety of personalities has really helped me manage difficult situations with ease and confidence.
- Art directors must be able to sell and think about what’s best for the bottom line. Remember all those critiques in art school? Well, looking back, I realize that was my practice run for selling my ideas and work to someone I may not know at all. How I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to practice my pitch! Every day I need to be able to present an idea, design and/or talent and sell it to my boss or client. Not taking it personally is crucial, as well. Knowing when to pick your battles when it comes to your work plays into that. An example: if you know that foil stamping is going to increase cost and effect the bottom line, sometimes you might have to sacrifice it. Don’t worry, though: you can have your foil once you make that bottom line!
- Art Directors are connectors. While we may be juggling a ton of items, in the end we are connecting people, ideas and opportunities. This is by far my favorite part of the job: selecting talent that will help to execute a campaign. The reward for me is seeing the team on set creating the vision. It’s the reason I got into this business.
You also make a point of being really involved in the community—you've even launched a few of your own events and happenings in L.A. and beyond. Why is it so important for you to continue to build connections both online and off?
I love my community online and offline. They both play a crucial part in my creative process. My online community is filled with people doing amazing things and living crazy adventures. It’s an outlet that keeps me inspired! Plus, one of my favorite things to do is meet my online community. That’s where the pop up events and hashtags come in. Being online I get to see what’s going on outside of my community and pushes me out of my comfort zone.
Here at Clementine Daily, we do our best to celebrate the little things in life while always striving to learn and grow. How do you find yourself relating to those goals?
Love those goals – the idea of celebrating the little things makes one more aware of their surroundings and blessings. I have a similar one that’s easy to achieve: laugh every day. It’s really not hard if you have access to YouTube!
Finally, will you share a mantra or two that you like to live by?
I’m all about mantras! My tried-and-true mantra comes from Gabrielle Bernstein and I say it everyday: The Universe has my back. The moment I heard it, I knew I would have a conscious shift and boy, did I!
Other favorites: Invisible doors will open for me. This one is so magical, how could you not love it?
And finally, I found this on a random Facebook post by an older gent named Walter. I wrote it down on a post-it 8 years ago and still have it today: Every day is a good day. That’s what you should think about. Every day is a good day and make it that way. Pretty great, right?
We love them all, Marissa!
p.s. Interested in hearing Marissa’s full story? You can listen to her recent interview on the Creating Your Own Path podcast!