Are You a "Preppy Gyrl?" Profile of Chicago's Preppy Gyrl Boutique

By Essence McDowell


Makeup chef. It’s two words that are possibly inconceivable until you see LaToya Ausley at work. She greets you with a warm smile when you walk into her pink deco Preppy Gyrl Boutique.  

There are fruit drinks called “Punky Brusters” in martini glasses as you have a seat at the makeup counter. You sip and relax and begin by telling Ausley about what types of cosmetics you’re interested in. It feels like you’re chatting with a close girlfriend, not realizing Ausley has already transitioned into cosmetic design mode.  

The process is intimate and entertaining wrapped in make-up bliss. The basic consultation transpires between you and Ausley in the form of a conversation. Together, you start off with Preppy Gyrl’s all-natural signature blend and decide on the basic shade that you feel best highlights your own unique style and taste.

Based upon your specific preferences, Ausley strategically mixes in the textures, frosts and flavors of your choice to formulate the perfect personalized lip glosses, eye shadows and bronzer. 

The entire experience is individually customized so that you create exactly what you want. Each ingredient is added or subtracted based on your own selection. During every step, you are able to try on the product in order to give you a better idea of what best fits you.


Ausley has managed to turn what was the department store cosmetic counter into a fun and personal experience by providing customers and clients the opportunity to make their own makeup. Her company specializes in working with women of various complexions and skin types to develop one-of–a-kind makeup creations. 

In the final step, you get to put the final touches on your product by creating a name for it. Throughout the process, Ausley is keeping a track of your custom-made recipe so that it’s on file. You’ll never run out of your favorite product again because it will be available for replication whenever you return to Preppy Gyrl.

“I love listening to my clients. It’s all about what they feel will bring that inner beauty to the surface,” said Ausley. “Too much quantity can take away from quality; it’s important that we can create something exclusive for each customer.” 

The phrase “necessity is the mother of invention” now applies to cosmetics. Owner Latoya Ausley had a favorite lip gloss that was discontinued by a popular cosmetic company. Instead of going on a long search to find a similar brand, Ausley researched how lip gloss was made. Realizing the process was not difficult, she began to combine ingredients to create her own unique lip gloss. 

girlsAusley’s exploration into lip gloss helped her discover some of the dangerous additives used by cosmetic companies. (See sidebar below) As a result, she decided to only use all natural products such as jojoba and macadamia nut oils, instead of talc’s, dyes and scents.

When her friends saw her wearing a variety of eccentric glosses like “plaid plum,” they all wanted their own. So Ausley set up shop in her home. She branded her line Preppy Gyrl as a reflection of the sophisticated yet empowered women that were not only her friends, but her customers. 

Through word of glossed mouths, her friends were approached by other women complimenting Ausley’s products.

“What woman wouldn’t love to have something created especially for her every time,” said Dana Hunt, cosmetic designer at Preppy Gyrl. “This is what gives us the competitive advantage.” 

As the requests increased, clients set up appointments to have Ausley come to their homes and host lip gloss parties where ladies could buy four to five lip glosses at once. As the brand gained momentous popularity, lip gloss parties had to be booked three to four months in advance. This was around this time that Ausley realized the home visits weren’t the best way to market her product. She decided to open a boutique in her hometown of Chicago.  

After the grand opening of Preppy Gryl, Ausley was blown away by the company’s overnight success. She had added a fashion line of T-shirts designed with the slogan Goody 2 Shoos on the front, and Embrace who you are on the back.  mi

“After the grand opening, I sat in the boutique and looked around like, Wow. My Goody 2 Shoes line sold out in an hour. All I could think was this is real, this is truly something I created,” said Ausley.

Four months later, the brand continues to build momentum. Ausley was contacted by WGN-TV’s Chicago’s Best. The weekly half-hour show spotlights local food, lifestyle and entertainment. They had received rave reviews from women about the cosmetic line and featured Preppy Gyrl as Chicago’s Best on July 4. The growing success of the cosmetic line was unexpected by Ausley. Just two years ago, she was focusing on her 9-5 as a Student Loan Coordinator, helping students stay out of default. However, it’s possibly in her genes to have blossomed in the entrepreneurial realm: With a mother who is a clinical psychologist and her father owning a motorcycle company, business savvy comes as second nature in her household.

Over the past year, Preppy Gyrl went from a one woman show to a boutique with a staff of four trained makeup artists.  Her line has gracefully advanced from custom lip gloss to include eye shadow and newly launched bronzer. Within recent months, Ausley incorporated additional custom made t-shirts and earrings. 

According to Ausley, the future holds limitless potential. She hopes to include a line of foundations and blushes. Meanwhile, the boutique is preparing for a surge in clientele after its début on Chicago’s Best.


Sidebar facts on dangerous makeup!

One of the most alarming chemicals used in makeup are Parabens. Paradens are a class of chemicals widely-used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. It has become highly controversial because studies have shown that parabens are absorbed through the skin and can encourage cancerous growth.

Also, there’s a problem with make-up products that are usually heavily laden with petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of oil drilling, and when you spread it on your lips, you end up eating it, which is essentially the same as drinking gasoline. Add up the amount of lip gloss the average woman uses (and consumes) over a decade, and it equals seven pounds!


Visit Preppy Gyrl Boutique at , or stop by: 9507 S. Wood St. Beverly Hills, Chicago.

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Essence’s Facts: Essence McDowell is a freelance writer for GlossMagazineOnline and recent graduate of the Masters in Journalism program at DePaul University. She can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .