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Pearls from Nikki: jewelry designer Nikki Feldbaum branches out to the beauty business.

emerging from a 10-year marriage, jewelry designer Nikki Feldbaum holds to this mantra: "Don't wait for someone to give you flowers--plant your own garden." For the 41-year-old mother of two, that means expanding her horizons to include Les Perles, a Palm Avenue salon dedicated to skin care that also offers Nikki's exclusive line of Les Perles cosmetics.

Why the name Les Perles? It connects the two things I love best in fashion--jewelry and cosmetics. I always envisioned packaging cosmetics with a freshwater pearl centered in a nest of sterling silver-spun threads on lipstick tubes and compacts. The products look absolutely beautiful, like art.

What advances are you incorporating into your line? Sunscreen protection in foundation. Lip pumice ($15) that you use daily to exfoliate the dead skin from lips and around the mouth. Eye shadow ($18) that doesn't cake. And I'm crazy about mascara primer ($17), a filler and smoother that gives you double volume. Many men with thin lashes love this product.

Are more men using cosmetics? Men are much more serious about skin care than women realize. If you give them a five-minute regimen to follow in the morning they will stick to it. They also like exfoliating products, the lash primer and concealer or foundation to give them better color and hide imperfections.

What makes your make-up different? Simplicity. Our products are easy to use and give great results. Our colors are the finest and most extensive. We advise, demonstrate, we'll even custom blend foundation to achieve exactly the right shade. I've used the best ingredients, and prices are competitive with department stores.

What's driving this new venture? My mom was a model, and I was in my first fashion show at age six. When I was 15, I lied about my age to work at a cosmetic counter in a department store, and years later I was a fashion director for Burdines.

What's next? This venture, coupled with my expanding jewelry-design business, will probably keep me busy for many years. I love creating beautiful things and I can handle the marketing. Finances are not my favorite part of the job, but I have a good accountant and I'm learning to be more efficient. Even in a bad economy the cosmetics industry holds its own--a woman will always buy a tube of lipstick as a pick-me-up.

Parting beauty tips? After applying lipstick, make a circle with your lips. Push your finger through the circle and pull it out. The little bit of color that your finger picks up means there won't be any lipstick on your teeth when you smile.
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Title Annotation:Street talk: news, views and faces from the city beat.
Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 2003
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