For Brooke Fleetwood, owner of BB Makeup, spending her life doing anything other than makeup was never an option. “My mom told me to explore being an esthetician,” Fleetwood says. “When I learned I could combine studying skin and makeup, there wasn’t any doubt. I wanted to do what I love.”
Now she’s known for her pink obsession and glamorous style, both of which stand out in the more traditional Midwest. In addition to 19 franchised BB Makeup stores, with locations in Hudson and Menomonie, Wis., Duluth, Seymour, Ind., and more, she also has her own makeup line. These successes, according to Fleetwood, grew out of struggle and a little luck.
“I worked as a medical esthetician for a place that closed six months after I started, leaving me jobless,” Fleetwood recalls of one of her earliest jobs. “I took every single interview I could possibly take and after a while decided, ‘I’m done; I’m going to do it myself.’ ”
She started BB Makeup with unemployment money, and the business continued to grow; she says she realized her potential when a bride who saw her work online flew her to Mexico for her destination wedding.
During the week, Fleetwood and her employees, the “BB dollz,” provide an array of services, from the increasingly popular brow micro-blading and lash extensions to makeup application and lessons. When the weekend hits, she switches gears to a larger scale: makeup for wedding parties and events.
“I love changing people’s lives and the way they think about themselves,” she says. “That’s the most rewarding thing ever, that first look in the mirror.”
But one of her most famous makeovers is, surprisingly, her own house. While she draws some inspiration for makeup from Instagram, the design of Fleetwood’s "pink castle" is all her own.
“I’m obsessed with pink,” she says. “But I never thought I would own a pink house. My husband found it online and was the one who suggested I paint it pink.”
Fleetwood went to check out the house on Vine Street in Hudson, and after living in a hotel for two weeks with her family and working out the home-sale logistics, they moved in and began decking it out. From zebra print accents to a pool filled with colorful inflatables to anything and everything hot-pink, the “doll house” screams fun.
“It’s not normal,” Fleetwood says with a laugh. “But everything I do is not normal. It’s bold and bright and happy. I always want to be at home, because I love everything about my house. I did what I wanted to do and not what is usually expected.”
To answer the question of how long the process took, Fleetwood says, “I’m still working on it!” The first fantastically pink level is complete, but she and her husband John Stern still have more finishing touches for the second floor and plans for the attic. As a departure from the bubblegum factor of the first two levels, she’s planning something a little more Midwestern.
“Because I can’t get away for the weekends, I want to still be able to go to the cabin,” Brooke says. “My ‘cabin’ will be the third floor. It’s going to be totally cabin-themed, and not what you would expect from the rest of the house.”
She hopes to take part in the November Hudson tradition of the Holiday Tour of Historic Homes in 2018, to share her space with the community. She also welcomes photographers for photo shoots and has even been asked about weddings, although she hasn’t hosted one yet: “I realized that I’m at work every day," she says, "so why not open my home and let people enjoy the inside, since it’s so far from normal?”
bb Makeup cosmetic bar
510 Third St., Hudson
Open 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tue.–Sat.,
and Sun.–Mon. by appointment