Powder Studio opens in downtown Ames

Annie Cassutt

After opening a makeup studio in Des Moines, young entrepreneurs Joshua Duchene and Kelly Kasper saw the need for a makeup studio in Ames.

On Oct. 17, Powder Studio opened its doors at 301 Main Street in downtown Ames, located right next to the Sheldon Munn building.

Duchene and Kasper felt a makeup studio was needed in Ames because college students, and millennials in general, focus a lot on personal aesthetic.

“Look at your demographic- look at your Instagram and the selfies,” Duchene said. “All that stuff is so cosmetic based, and it’s for you guys.”

While the Des Moines location is home to hair and makeup products and services, the Ames location focuses primarily on makeup and makeup services. Duchene also owns hair salon Valor and Violet, which is located across the street from Powder Makeup Studio.

“We really felt like there was a need for the cosmetic part of things because at salons it’s always just put on the back burner,” Duchene said. “They’re all the rage right now- you see the Sephoras and Ultas, but we really wanted to break it down and make something more boutiquey that really just specializes in cosmetics.”

Services offered at Powder Studio include full-face makeup applications and bridal makeup, but Duchene and Kasper also plan to have other fun makeup related events.

“We want to do fun things like ‘fix your profile pics’ and we’ll do everyone’s makeup that day, take pictures, they can update their profiles,” Kasper said. “Just fun, cool things that will bring people into here.”

Duchene and Kasper take pride in their Main Street location and are interested in collaborating with surrounding businesses in downtown Ames.

“We like to support our other local businesses,” Kasper said “We do shoots with boutiques on this street. We borrow clothes, we do their hair and makeup and we bring in ISU students or models to wear the clothes, get their hair and makeup done, and then we’ll shoot them here on Main Street because it has such a cool aesthetic.”

Duchene and Kasper also felt the residents of Ames would benefit from a makeup studio so they would not have to travel all the way to Des Moines in order to fulfill their makeup needs.

“I would always have to plan my trips to Des Moines to pick up what I need, and now there’s a place where other people can get what they need too,” Kasper said.

Powder Studios carries Smashbox Beauty Cosmetics, a makeup brand based out of Los Angeles. They are one of three freestanding makeup studios in the Midwest to carry Smashbox. In order to supplement some products that Smashbox does not have, Powder Studio also carries Sigma brushes.

“They have the best brushes on the market, and you can only get them online, unless you are going to Minneapolis,” Kasper said.

Powder Studios also carries natural, organic and cruelty-free skin care products, and manufacture their own high quality, reusable lash line.  

Duchene and Kasper emphasized they want Powder Studios to be a service business, much like a hair salon where people come in often to get their makeup done.

“We really want to pave the market to make it a service driven industry, so service will be a key point here,” Duchene said. “We want people coming in here every three months, seasonally, see what’s new, see what they should be doing, see what they should be wearing, booking those appointments, coming in for service.”

Both Duchenne and Kasper know customers most likely will not come in frequently for touch-ups, but they believe customers should be trying out new trends as seasons change and makeup expires. Duchene and Kasper also want to hold events to get people to come into Powder Studio.

Duchene describes the studio as a “feminine barber shop with a twist.”

“You know all kids mess around with photography now, you guys can come here…and you can use all of our stuff,” Duchene said. “If we don’t have something you want and we’re behind date on that…we’re willing to invest in that for you guys.”

Kasper also talked about how they love to teach customers how to do makeup.

“We always do free demos showing people the latest trends − contour, highlight, how to fill in their brows, how to make a perfect cupid’s bow lip line,” Kasper said. “It’s really something where you can take a piece of information that day, take it home and practice, and when you’re ready for more, come back in and there is always new products to try.”

Powder Studio has their grand opening on Thursday, Dec. 7 on 301 Main Street Ames. Duchene and Kasper said anyone interested in makeup is welcome to come, as well as anyone who just wants to see the studio space.

“It’s a playground for anyone that’s really interested in beauty and fashion and everything that relates,” Duchene said.

Follow Powder Studio on Instagram at @powderstudioia and like them on Facebook at Powder Studio-Des Moines and Powder Studio-Ames.