From Small-Town Girl to Vegas Businesswoman

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Monique Boule selling her brand at a street event. Photo taken by Shayon Nejati.

As a high school senior, everyone gets the same question: “what is your next step?” Some go off to college while others stay and join the workforce. For Monique Boule, it was moving to Las Vegas.

Boule grew up in the small town of Plattsburgh, New York. While she loved being near her family and friends, she knew that staying was not what she wanted.

“I always wanted to move west and when I turned 18 I chose Las Vegas because it was far away and affordable,” Boule said. With the ambition and motivation of any young soul, Boule set out to find her calling.

“I didn’t move to Las Vegas with the intention of starting my own makeup brand, it kind of just happened,” Boule said. Her passion stemmed from a love of makeup that started at the age of 12. She talked about how she wore some of her mother’s makeup to school one day. The outpour of positive comments made her try different colors, and soon, she was hooked. “People would tell me that they looked forward to seeing my makeup every day, which made me feel special.”

Now 22-years-old, Boule has been running her own brand of vegan eyeshadow palettes for the past two years. She named her brand EmbyBoutique. Each palette is themed, Boule’s inspiration for each ranges from the colors inside, like the “Princess Pallet” while others are themed with a little hidden secret such as “the UV palette” that glows under black light.  Each is handcrafted by Boule herself, no matter the palette.

Boule designed for what she wished she could find in stores. Bold pigmented colors, but for reasonable prices. Found inside each palette is just that: a large range of bold colors, all reasonably priced. Boule said that she found loose pallets to be the best for bold colors, but because they were loose, they made a mess. After some research, Boule found a way to make her makeup a mixture of loose pigmented colors, but also chemical-free by using mica and pressing her own colors.

“Making my own makeup feels amazing and is very therapeutic. I love having a Sephora in my living room,” Boule said.

Because the brand is vegan, she does not use “carmine” a common ingredient in makeup derived from crushing the cochineal beetle. While she admits carmine does create a beautiful red color, the thought of rubbing crushed bug on her face was enough motivation for vegan makeup.

“It’s safer for sensitive skin too, and being vegan is what’s in,” Boule said.  

Boule’s personal favorite from her collection is the Princess palette, which is also most popular. It’s her favorite because of its colors.

“It’s all the girliest colors,” Boule said. Pink, blue and purple pigments with glitter to complement each eyeshadow. “I love sparkles.”

Boule also favors her “Tropical Pallet.” Each color is infused with its own unique fruity scent.

The UV palette is one of the newer additions to her collection. All the colors glow under UV lights for those who are looking for a little extra something in the dark. In addition, Boule has started making matching UV lipstick for those looking for an extra pop to their lips.

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Halloween makeup on Monique Boule. Photo taken by Monique Boule.

“I hope that my makeup makes both girls and guys feel confident, beautiful and surprises them with unique colors they’ve never seen before. I want to inspire more girls and guys to wear bold colors and not be afraid to get loud with their looks,” Boule said.

Even only being in fruition for a short time, Boule’s brand has already expanded.

“I only sold online at first,” Boule said. After meeting her current boyfriend, he suggested that Boule sell her products at comic cons and other local street fair events.   

“The summer is a slow season for makeup,” Boule said, making about only 10 palettes this summer on her Etsy, but she explained how selling in person helped her sell a lot of makeup at street fairs. However, from September to May, makeup season is in full swing, and Boule says she can crank out 30 palettes a month for her Etsy, not even including the amount she sells in person.

“The money I make goes back into the business in one way or another,” Boule said. She uses most of all her revenue to sign up for the next convention she plans on selling at or even ordering new colors for future palettes in the works.

“Sure when I have a good day, I go out to eat and see a show, but I am always ordering new materials for my makeup,” Boule said.

Boule hopes with the future that her business will take off to a self-sustaining brand where she can use the profits to invest in other opportunities and help others by donating to reputable charities.

“My makeup business gives me purpose and most importantly makes other people happy. I believe there’s something everyone is good at they just need to find it,” Boule said.

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Photo of Monique Boule. Photo taken by Monique Boule.

If interested in purchasing your own palette, check her out on her Etsy, and visit her Facebook or Instagram at EmbyBoutique. Use code “VEGAN” for 10% off your order, courtesy of Boule herself.

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