Black History Month Spotlight: Sip and Slay



Tyra Hughes, Editor in Chief

Everyone has their humble beginnings in their love for fashion. For West Orange Resident and entrepreneur, Nicola Hampson, it began with a black winged eyeliner and red lipstick in the sixth grade in Montclair.

Nicola Hampson in 1987

With a lifelong passion for beauty, Nicola Hampson always sought out creative ways to use fashion and makeup as a form of self expression. As a teenager, some would call it creative expression but others, including her Guyanese mother, deemed it a sign that her daughter was growing up too fast. 

Although Nicola Hampson was unable to attend her dream school (FIT), she sought other ways to pursue her love for fashion while also working full time at Prudential Center. As Nicola noticed that she was behind on the latest makeup trends, taking inspiration from the Sip and Paint concept of painting while purchasing beverages, Sip and Slay was created. 

“I was getting my makeup done by a makeup artist every time I had to go somewhere and I noticed that I was still doing my makeup like in the 80s, 90s. They had new techniques and I was like I want to learn that! One day I thought if they can do Sip and Paint why can’t we use our face as our canvas and do Sip and Slay.”

Sip and Slay, which launched in early August last year, provides older and younger women with an opportunity to sharpen their makeup skills in classes that start at just $27 on Groupon.  With the ever changing nature of fashion and beauty, anyone can learn how to do makeup through Youtube videos. But nothing is better than attending a real class to learn how to do makeup.

Sip and Slay attendees working on a new makeup look!

Nicola Hampson offers a wide range of classes on Groupon including a Back to Basics class, Holiday Glam, and even a course dedicated to the mastery of Eyebrow and Eyeshadow.

While these classes offer a lot of information to its attendees, they also provide a learning experience for the young makeup artists that lead them. Sip and Slay classes are a fantastic way to highlight the work of up-and-coming makeup artists while also providing them experience on how to teach others to do makeup.

“I look for more passion in makeup artists because I think when you’re passionate about something you can actually speak about it and it comes out well to people.” 

Hosting these events has also taught Nicola Hampson a lot of new skills as well. Typically being an introverted person, this experience allows her to become more outspoken in order  to easily meet and interact with new makeup artists. 

“I work at Prudential and I’m always really shy. It’s hard for me to interact with people unless they approach me. But now that I’m doing this I find myself being able to approach people more.” 

The best thing about Sip and Slay is that it includes a unique social aspect that makes the art of learning makeup even more fun.

A mother and daughter duo attending a Sip and Slay class together

EventBrite gives attendees the opportunity to have group parties for just $35 dollars per person in events like bridal showers, birthday parties or a simple Girls Night out. Fortunately for the younger crowd who can’t purchase the alcoholic beverages available during these classes, Sip and Slay makeup classes have no age limit. People as young as 14 years old have attended classes in the past (without purchasing alcoholic beverages of course).  

Nicola Hampson in the 90s.

Sip and Slay is a great way to learn new makeup techniques before purchasing higher end products and trying them at home. During classes, Nicola typically provides smaller brands like Maybelline and at the end of classes she gives each attendee a brochure with higher end brand recommendations with instructions on the techniques. 

Over the course of the past 6 months, Sip and Slay has grown a lot as a business. Nicola Hampson recently opened up her new venue, Entertain the Idea, in West Orange which allows her to have a lot  more creativity in hosting events. In previous venues such as SuzyQues BBQ, hosting events had a lot more limitations as it required Hampson to accommodate the schedule of the venue owner. 

The new Entertain the Idea venue in West Orange New Jersey

Entertain the Idea and Sip and Slay are just two of many ways that Nicola Hampson expresses her love for fashion and beauty. The entrepreneur revealed some of her makeup faves including Maybelline Fit Me Foundation and the classic MAC lipsticks.

“I know everyone is into Fenty Beauty, personally I’m not a big fan. I tried the lipstick but it felt extremely dry and cakey… What is all the rave? I think it’s because it’s Rihanna.”