The Gilded Girl emporium is a delightful little beauty boutique in
Lawrenceville, selling a fantastic mix of beauty products from all over
the world.  Liz, the owner, has created a beautiful homely oasis filled
with antiques from around the world, and as soon as you step through the door you
feel like you’re being welcomed into someone’s home, it’s enchanting! 
Liz has a wealth of beauty knowledge and won’t settle for anything less
than the best when it comes to the products she sells, which means that the collections she has
curated are second to none.  Each and every product has had to perform
fantastically and contain only the best ingredients in order to earn a
place on her shelves.  It was a pleasure to meet Liz and I highly recommend popping in to up-date your beauty bag!

In our interview below, Liz talks about the support she had from the community when she was setting up The Gilded Girl and she shares her top three beauty tips, it’s a great read so scroll on down to find out more about Liz and The Gilded Girl!

 Sadly my photos really don’t do this place justice, you must pop in and see it for yourself!

Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to open The Gilded Girl Emporium.
I have always been interested in make-up and skin care’s ability to absolutely transform an individual. Yes, it happens externally to various degrees, but it’s most interesting to watch how it can change a person inside. It may seem silly to some people, but it’s amazing to watch a person put on a great red lipstick.  All of the sudden, they carry themselves a little taller, head a little higher. Or, on a more significant level, when a person who has struggled with a skin issue for much of their life finally finds the regimen that works for them. That’s a real game changer when it comes to self-esteem and confidence.  It’s beautiful to watch.

In Chicago, from where I moved, I owned my own one-woman skin care spa called Le Bon Visage. I loved participating in the transformation.  But, after nearly a decade of facials, I needed a new challenge.  I started toying with the idea of a retail store, but it wasn’t until late last year that I decided to actually take the plunge.   Now, I can help more people find their style, find their confidence and, hopefully, have a lot of fun in the process.

The store is beautiful, where do you get your inspiration from for the décor and how do you choose which collections to carry?
First of all, thank you! The style of the store was really informed by the name and logo. I wanted the store to feel like The Gilded Girl’s home. The concept is that The Gilded Girl travels the world  and finds the best, most interesting, most effective beauty products and brings them to Pittsburgh. Decorative pieces from her travels also dot the store, like some elephants from India and porcelain Henry the VIII salt and pepper shakers from the UK. I wanted the store to feel warm and lived in.

As for choosing the collections, I really rely on my years of study to find the ones with effective ingredients, great pigments,  the ones that are really innovative.  I also focus on lines that are beauty editor darlings, but that have been unavailable for purchase in Pittsburgh, or in some cases, Pennsylvania.  (And in one case, the United States). I feel that Pittsburgh is ready for new, forward-thinking options and not just the same old mass market cosmetics, skin care and fragrance.  Brands like Indie Lee, Meow Meow Tweet, FACE atelier, Smith & Cult,  and Rituel de Fille are making some amazing products from some interesting ingredients.  Some are pushing the envelope with what can be achieved  through more natural means, without some of the nasty chemicals that are pervasive in larger, mass produced lines.  I’m happy that I’m able to bring these products here, so that they can be experienced first hand.

Mai Couture Foundation, highlighting and blotting papers


Smith and Cult – Nail Lacquer

Pittsburgh is a city that really seems to support local businesses, it’s one of the things I really like about the city. Tell us a little about your experiences setting up your boutique in Pittsburgh and what plans you have for the future.
I had nothing but positive experiences setting up The Gilded Girl. Other boutique owners, such as Emily Slagel from Mid-Atlantic Mercantile, Alyssa Martin from Pavement, and Deirdre Kane and Dora Walsmley from the 52nd Street Market were incredibly generous with their advice, professional referrals (such as accountants, attorneys, etc) and all around moral support.   Lawrenceville, in particular, is a great space for new businesses to establish themselves. The commercial community is incredibly supportive of one another here.   Customers are wonderful in Pittsburgh. They are curious about anything new and they are very smart about their purchases. They really support local business.
As for my plans for the future, I intend to have a second location open up within 3 years. Probably somewhere in the suburbs. A larger flagship store is definitely in the plans for the future. There are just so many brands that I want to introduce to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is ready for beauty beyond the mainstream brands and I am excited to be the one to introduce it to them!

What are your top three beauty tips for a novice like me?

  1. Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate – your serums and moisturizers will  be more effective and your make-up will lay smoother if you don’t have extra flakes of dry, dead skin.
  2. If you only have time for one make-up product, make it a lip color. A lip color alone can brighten your face, make you looked polished and put together, and even can make your smile appear whiter.
  3. Never forget sunscreen. Even in winter. The cumulative sun damage that occurs from year round incremental sun exposure is equivalent to frying at the beach for a week.  Sunscreen is the best thing you can do for your skin.

What are the biggest beauty trends this season? 
The look right now is clean but with a modern twist.  For eye make-up, lining the waterline (the area between the lower lashes and the eye,  reverse smokiness (where a metallic shadow is lightly smudged under the eye while the lid is kept clean), and tons of lashes are what was seen on the runways this season.  Lip gloss is back in a big way. As is a clean, even skin tone with just a light blush. Gone is the heavy contouring and the “Kardashian” cosmetic-heavy looks.

Where are your favorite places to shop in Pittsburgh?   I like to mix it up a little and shop in both malls and independents, how about you?  Do you have any favorite boutiques?
I am similar to you. I love the usual suspects, like Nordstrom and Anthropologie, but I also love the independent boutiques around town. Here in Lawrenceville, we have a few of my favorites. Places like Number Fourteen, Pavement, and Mid-Atlantic Mercantile. There is always something new and cool to be found in each of those stores. You can tell that the women carefully curate their offerings. And all three are very different from one another, so I make sure to hit up all three when I’m looking for something interesting.

What do you think about Pittsburgh’s style, and how would you describe it?
Eclectic, for sure. I think the perception among outsiders is that everyone here still has a non-ironic mullet and wears sports jerseys 365 days a year. While that certainly still exists, I think that stereotype has become atypical. There are plenty of men and women wearing creations straight off of the runway, along side innovative individuals mixing and matching from every price point to create a signature style.  It’s a fun time to be interested in clothing and style here!

How about your own style? Describe your personal style, what (or who) influences it, and why it works for you?
My style icon for the last 2 decades has been Shirley Manson of the band Garbage. I remember the first time I saw the “Only Happy When It Rains” video and being entranced by her hair, dark eye make-up, short dress, and knee high black go-go boots.  I find her style fierce and sexy. 
The way she mixes high fashion and thrift store finds also appeals to me and is something that is definitely emulated within my own closet. I’m not a slave to labels.

What’s your most treasured item in your closet?
My gold Samantha Thavasa handbag that I purchased while on honeymoon in Japan. It’s has a heart shaped  gold metal handle and is fun and over-the-top, while still maintaining some semblance of taste.


If you’d like to check out the other stylish Pittsburghers I’ve
interviewed, and find out more about #stylishpittsburgh campaign then
head over here!

if you’re a local boutique or style-obsessed Pittsburgher and would
like to be featured, or maybe you know someone who you think deserves to
be featured?  Get in touch!!