Phoenix/Team Black Productions: Featured Brand

Phoenix: Cosmetologist and CEO of Team Black Productions

Can we start with how you got started as a make up artist?

Actually, I am a hair and makeup artist. I consider my self a true Cosmetologist. By definition I’m a Dr. of all things beauty related. On my about me on my website, I say I am a makeup artist with strong emphasis on skincare. I began at 15 in Chicago, being trained by top salons. Makeup came naturally; I worked as a makeup artist to pay for Beauty School.

What are three beauty items woman shouldn’t live without?

Three items a woman should never leave without is mascara, moisturizer and fragrance.

What are you favorite Fall/Winter 2015 beauty trends?

My fave beauty trends for Fall are skin, skin, skin. I hate when women wear a lot of makeup. I think it best to channel and devote that time and money into great skin rendering products like DECLEOR. A great color trend on lids is smoking your eyes with various colors from neutral to pastel to kohl.

Can you tell us what it is like to work in the industry?

As a Black Italian trans women, working in this industry has had her beyond nasty share of missed opportunities and having to work harder than anyone else. However, this has been a blessing from God and the Universe. I have also had to learn more than my peers. Which has led me to launch TEAM BLACK PRODUCTIONS. I have also channeled my triumph and wisdom to participate in widespread activism work. Mostly geared towards our future Trans Generation.

Let’s transition to your production company…

What influenced your production company to open?

TeamBlackProductions, is a collection of me and my business partner, Hadriel Gonzalez’s, hard work and various previous titles in the industry. Mine being director of an Israeli Modeling agency in Miami and Editorial Art Director of a magazine. The response of a Hybrid Production HAUS, has been astounding.

We launched May 19, 2015, 11:20 p.m. Our first ELLE Magazine editorial was out the following day. Followed by an international campaign for COCO JEWELRY, a Canadian Jewelry co. 4 months later. We have an ELLE Cover, 3 campaigns, certified and my working the Givenchy SS 2016 show. What influenced my launching of TBP was my magnificent mentor, role model and godmother, Tamera Fair. Who believes in me and taught me ALL things hard work and business. Most importantly, as a Trans Woman CEO, the lives I could inspire and potentially change. Gave me the strength to keep going at all cost.

What services do you offer?

What Team Black is an ALL in HAUS photography, retouching, casting, location and permits, visa & international travel arrangement, hair & makeup, wardrobe styling, video/editing. We also, provide comprehensive branding, which includes strategic synchronized social media uploads via high activity in various time zones.

What is next for the production company?

What’s next for us is another commissioned ELLE and Cover and my co producing the next issue of CRUSHFANZINE and the launch of American Numero!!!

To keep up with Phoenix and Team Black Productions, be sure to check out the website.

Melody Edmondson: Featured Artist

Melody Edmondson is author of THE SPACE OF THE WAIST

                A series of guide books about how to dress according to a women’s waist placement

How did you get your start in the fashion industry?


I decided to become a Buyer for High-End Retail Ladies Apparel Stores when I was in College at CMSU in the year 1970.

My favorite store was Swanson’s on the Plaza in Kansas City Missouri. I wanted to do my internship at Swanson’s and I was able to secure this position right after college at the age of 19. This internship lead to the HR Manager, Betsy Metzler, and the President, Bernard Zindler, hiring me as the Better Junior Sportswear, Coats and Suits Assistant Buyer. I did well and within 2 years became the Buyer. This was the beginning of a long career in Retail Buying and followed with careers as VP of Merchandising and VP of Fashion Directions and VP of Product Development in NYC at Specialty Stores Buying Office as well as in Chicago at Charles A Stevens.

When did you decide to become a fashion author?


I enjoyed the NYC Shows, the glamorous night life, the beautiful tall thin women and all the beautiful clothes. I also enjoyed seeing everything FIRST and deciding what our stores would carry for any given season!! It was very hard work very exhausting but very exhilarating as well. I have to admit, I loved being able to purchase my clothing wholesale, in some cases also I was given the option to purchase the sample sizes which back then were size 8 and I was a size 8 (now no doubt they are 000 sizes). My nearly 20 year career ended when I decided to get married and begin a career as an Abstract Expressionistic artist/painter. I eventually, after many moves with my C.E.O. husband, went back to school. We lived in many cities including Chicago, Southern Ca., D.C., San Antonio, Ct., Northern Ca. and eventually settled here in retirement in Az. Where I decided to go back to school to receive my Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Metaphysical Science. I was forging a new career again in LIGHT WORK and Healing and TAROT READING (which I had actually begun 31 years ago and continued with), when I was suddenly on my way through the Dallas Airport on a trip to see my cousins in Austin, and my Mother was on another flight through Houston, when a tornado was headed toward the Dallas airport! We were told to take cover in the bathroom stalls at one end. We all took cover. I asked myself, “If I were to die today what would I regret?” I said to myself “ not writing the books about the SPACE OF THE WAIST.” Why? Because I wanted women to have their individual books with all their individual informational in one place and complete with a Shopping List of Silhouettes in their Key Classifications of Merchandise.

Can you tell us your process for writing books?


I began to develop the books in a different manner than I had once before when I began a book about Fashion at another time. This time I wanted TO SKIP THE Glamour, THE TRENDS and THE FASHION AND GET DOWN TO WHO IT IS WE ARE DRESSING IN THE REAL WORLD. In my career I had had many years observing models in NYC as well as real women’s body’s in all of my many retail stores. I had also developed apparel for these women throughout the U.S.A in our member stores, at Specialty Stores Association action (SSA) while in NYC, as well as for Charles A. Stevens when in Chicago. I knew first hand that there are many women with Short Waists and many women with Long Waists. These women have varying Body Shapes. They have very specific challenges and I saw a huge void in the information as well as the Silhouettes by classification in the stores themselves. It also made me very, very aware that it was more about the WAIST than the WEIGHT.

How did you come up with the idea and content?


I have noticed you can Google about anything but you really are unable to receive, as a woman, the straight story about Body Shape AND WAISTPLACEMENT at the same time. I lexicon waist placement as ONE word to insure its ease of recognition in my 19 book series in which a person will ONY NEED to purchase 2 BOOKS. The Lexicon is in Book 1, you will need it in order to understand the words, phrasing and capitalizing and slant prints I use throughout the books. There is a Fashion, Retail, Wholesale language not found in Webster!!! The Book to purchase first is Book 1: Your Fashion Guide Based on the Body Shape and The SPACE OF THE WAIST™. After discovering your Body Shape and Waistplacement according to my slightly different measuring techniques, you will purchase your Body Shape by Waistplacement Book especially prepared just for your Body Shape and Waistplacement. As for example I will purchase Hourglass Short Waist after I read Book 1: Your Fashion Guide.

The SPACE OF THE WAIST IS available for order on 8/23 for the paperback and 9/1 for all EBooks, Kindle and other electronic book forms.

Jeff Tomsik: Featured Artist

Jeff Tomsik is an international model with small town Midwest roots

How were you discovered? What was your first big job? 

I would like to answer this question by adding a link. My discovery… [Viewable on the right] in this video it explains my being discovered by Bruce Weber, as well as being able to shoot Hollister as my first Campaign.

Favorite Modeling Moments?

This is such a great question. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences through this crazy world of modeling. I’ve met amazing people from all over the world. Everyone from the art director mom at Sears in Illinois, top models, designers, and photographers of the world. I think my favorite moments* would have to be the ones I spent with models who became my friends through the years. Getting to hear their stories and watching them grow as individuals in this crazy business. When you run into another model at the airport or on set, and they have amazing news about their life or career. Those are my favorite memories and moments. Getting to hear about other people’s success is always amazing.

What was it like working with top photographers, designers, stylist, and models? 

I always thought it was such an amazing experience to be around such well rounded, cultured, and forward thinking minds. It was such a privilege every time I was hired for a Job. I would be flown to amazing and exotic places to shoot with some of the most wonderful people. Bruce (Weber) was always telling me about his past experiences and educating me on the business, working with Kate Moss was an eye opener in the sense of being taught the lesson that being humble and working hard still pays off. The lessons I learned from the people I worked with the light and sound guys all the way to top models and photographers will serve me through the rest of my career and life.

If you weren’t modeling what would you be doing? 

You guys don’t make it easy do you? Well I started out as a garbage man (boy), but I truly have no idea. My whole life (all 29 years) I was never sure what I wanted to do, and I was so lucky to fall into this crazy industry. I will answer this question by saying what I think I would have been good at if I knew what I know now. My entire life I’ve been an avid sports viewer and player. I love watching sports as well as listening to broadcasts by sportscasters. If I wasn’t modeling I would have gone to school to do broadcast journalism and try to find a way to be a sportscaster. I never saw myself as someone who could stay in an office doing a redundant job. I need a changing story and new people to tell it to me.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with Jeff Tomsik on many occasions. Always a pleasure and I guarantee he will make you laugh all day! Jeff is represented by Chosen and has a long list of clients. Click here to see his campaigns and clients.

Thompson and Co: Featured Brand

Kayla and Bobby Thompson, Owners of Thompson and Co. Salon Parlor

Tell us your story. When did you two decide to become stylists? I (Kayla) am from a small town in Eastern Iowa called Cascade. I went to cosmetology school at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis before moving back to Iowa. I always had a passion for hair from the minute my mom let me get my hair colored for the first time.  I will never forget the experience and I said to myself that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!  Originally from Chicago suburbs Bobby came to Iowa City after High School and graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in health promotion in 2006.  After agreeing to get into the salon industry with his friend he started at La James International College in 2008.  We met at La James International College in 2009 as I (Kayla) had to attend a few months to get my license in Iowa.

We have both been working the past 6 years in a salon.  Kayla working at an Aveda salon in Iowa City. Bobby working at Blaze in Coralville, Cedar Rapids, and William Wesley Grand Salon in Davenport.  We both have a wealth of education and experiences over the last 6 years and really feel blessed on our beginning careers. Bobby has traveled the country a lot working and teaching with many different salons and stylists. Teaching is something that he really loves to do and we will continue to get more involved in.

What services do you offer? Thompson & Co. is a full service hair salon.  We also have an esthetics room, which we are looking to fill a position for at the moment.  What is unique about our location is that we have a space for both men and women to feel comfortable.  We have a beautiful space for cuts and colors in the front half of the salon and then in the back half we have a barbershop feel to cater to our male clientele where they can watch TV, talk, and relax with their stylists and fellow patrons. We do also offer makeup services and we use Jane Iredale Cosmetics.  Our products that we have are Davines, which is a line out of Parma, Italy. They are plant based eco friendly products that are designed to perform and we really feel that they do just that!  Our color line is also made in Italy as well, it is called Artego and we love this line and all that it has to offer.

You recently opened a new salon together; tell us about it. We opened Thompson & Co. Salon Parlor on April 21st, 2015.  We always talked about opening our own salon, but never really took any initiative on it until this past fall, when everything just kind of fell into place.  We just had our son, Logan, in September of 2014 and we also have a daughter, Lola, who will be 3 this September and we felt like it was time to set some roots down and call Iowa City home, where we can raise our family.  The space and location is something that we just couldn’t pass up and we just felt like it was now or never.

What is your favorite thing about being a stylist? Photo shoots, clients? What we both love about our job is that we can meet so many people in one day and really connect to our community though them. You meet people from all over and get to know them and that is what we really strive for is to connect with our guests and make them feel comfortable and at home with us. In the first 4 months we have been open we have been so blessed to work with a ton of amazing and talented people. We love to be involved in community events and community artists whether it is fashion shows, photo shoots, fundraisers, blogs we just can’t get enough of it all!  We currently have an amazing staff of 5 but are definitely looking to expand and grow our team!

Where do you see the salon going? Any other locations, or cities? We are really excited about the future of Thompson & Co. and can’t wait to see where it takes us.  At the moment we don’t have any plans of expanding, but its something that we would keep and open mind to in the future.

For your full service salon needs visit and book an appointment.

We have had the privilege to work with this team on multiple occasions. To see a few more images of their talent…

click here.

or here.

and here.

Also, as mentioned in the Q&A, community is a big deal. Check out all the amazing hair-do’s supplied for the Almost Famous Fashion Show.

Thompson & Co Salon Parlor

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