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Making her mark: Freshman opens own flagship cosmetics shop

Taylor House/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Pre-business freshman Gabrielle Miller, left, talks to radio talk show host Jennifer English, who was the master of ceremonies at a press conference to launch Miller's new line of cosmetics, Cry Baby, at the Cry Baby Cosmetics store, 2508 E. Sixth St., on Friday night. Also pictured are, from left, Miller's mother, Moni Miller, and finance senior Ryann Hackett.
By Seth Mauzy
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 21, 2005
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After winning contest, makeup sold out in stores nationwide

A UA student took her first leap into the glamorous world of high fashion and cosmetic design by unveiling her full line of cosmetic products and the celebrating the opening of her flagship store on Friday.

Gabrielle "Gaby" Miller, a pre-business freshman, embarked on her career a year ago when her Cry Baby gossamer and nail color was picked out of tens of thousands of entries to win the Chanel and Seventeen Magazine Colour of the Year contest.

Miller received $1,000 and a trip to New York, and got to see the shimmery pink shade she created featured as part of Chanel's 2004 line.

Now, after the original Cry Baby color sold out in stores nationwide, Gaby has put her winnings into the creation of a full line of Cry Baby Cosmetics, including lip gloss, eye shadow, nail polish and blush, and the opening of her own store in which to sell them.

"Once she had a taste of the top, she liked the view," said Moni Miller, Gaby's mother and owner of Moni's Skin Care Salon, which sits next door to Cry Baby Cosmetics.

Miller spent more than a year readying the store for Friday's unveiling, doing everything from painting and decorating in shades taken directly from her cosmetic creations to managing the financial aspects of making her business a separate entity from her mother's salon.

"The hardest part of all of this has been time management," Miller said. "I try to keep my classes in the morning so I could be at the store all day, but I have so much fun doing all this so it doesn't seem like work."

Her dedication and enthusiasm paid off, as more than 50 elegantly dressed women, champagne flutes in hand, packed into the brightly decorated interior of Cry Baby Cosmetics, 2508 E. Sixth St., to celebrate Miller's success.

"This is not just about young entrepreneurship, this is about being a showcase for young talent," said Jennifer English, a talk-show host for the Food and Wine Radio Network who was invited to be the master of ceremonies at Friday's unveiling. "Yes, this is about fashion and beauty, but it's an opportunity to give these talented young people a voice."

Miller has been mixing her own cosmetics since she was a little girl playing in her mother's salon. She said when the time came to create a color for the contest, the creation of the sparkling pink shade that became Cry Baby came easily to her.

"There was bit of experimenting that went into the color, but it really only took me two or three tries to get it right," Miller said. "Once I knew what I wanted it came really fast."

Miller also said being on campus immersed in modern fashion gave her insights as to which colors would appeal to young fashionable women.

"I knew I wanted something really pretty that also had a lot of versatility," Miller said. "I felt like I knew what colors girls would wear as a result of being around UA students."

But despite the line's youthful flair and its teenage creator, Miller insists that her product line is aimed at a wider demographic.

"The line is really vibrant, but I think it can reach a broad spectrum of women," Miller said. "No matter what age you are, you can still be a crybaby."

Miller cites her mother's influence as the main inspiration for her cosmetic creations.

"I've learned everything from her, since she took me to her salon when I was a week old," Miller said. "She's been a huge source of knowledge since she's been in the (cosmetics) business so long."

Also featured at the event were two local clothing designers whose creations will also be available for sale at Cry Baby. One designer was Luca Rassenti, a systems engineering sophomore who began designing clothing about five months ago after being dissatisfied with what he was seeing in men's fashion.

"I just got tired of seeing everyone wearing the same stuff," Rassenti said. "My line is all about unique style."

Rassenti introduced his line of men's jackets, called simply "Luca." Each Luca jacket is a unique creation handmade by Rassenti, and each is embroidered with a different expression on the back reflecting the style of the individual jacket.

"I like words and what words can say," Rassenti said. "There are a lot of dimensions one word can express."

The slogans, which include "Valor," "Vivify" and "Privilege," set his creations apart from other brands and "really get people's attention," he said.

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