Q&A with Mary Winkenwerder, CEO of PUBLISHED PROJECT

Tell us a bit about PUBLISHED PROJECT.

PUBLISHED PROJECT is a philanthropy project that publishes the finished work of hair and makeup artists in my blog, ULTIMATE REPORT.

PUBLISHED PROJECT is exclusive to UR, a lifestyle blog. What makes this so unique? We are not an industry publication. There is never a charge to have professional finished work published in UR.

What gave you the idea for your business and how did it start?

My raw passion and interest in cosmetics of all sorts, art, business, and the ability to help transform the appearance of others through the use of skincare and makeup. For many years, I worked behind the cosmetic counter and fashion as a business manager. While I enjoyed the business end, I absolutely loved the creative aspect of those cultures. I enjoyed helping the many who sought trend updates, skin care solutions, and personal transformation. At times I would secure a few wedding gigs, or print work. I wanted more of this type of work and did not know how to get it without it coming to me; the alternative was to buy ads in hopes of generating new business interest and I did not have the means to purchase ad space anywhere. I had been in my then present career field for about 20 years and it was time to take on a new and exciting challenge. Someone I knew at the time suggested I go into public relations and business development.

Fast forward to two years later. I transitioned from working in retail to representing spas and salons in Chicago’s top five neighborhoods through public relations and business development. This brought with it new and exciting challenges, one of them being building the clientele of new and existing service providers. The one challenge I had was booking high end clients with new and upcoming talent. If a client who visited from out of state wanted to have the total “Chicago” city experience, they would go to one of the salons downtown with celebrity talent and the clientele to match. The reason? They wanted to work with talent who had work that was published. This included magazine, news studio work, commercial work, etc. At that time, professional web presence was just taking root and not readily available to everyone. On top of all of that, in order to self publish, you had to take the time to learn something new and everything that this encompassed. It could be very confusing and take up a lot of time. I was able to help some of the talent regularly but not all of them.

Fast forward to two years later. 2007-2009. I moved from the Chicago market to a smaller market. It was the polar opposite of where I had been. On the advice of someone I worked with in the Chicago market, I started and developed my blog. We started out with beauty reviews, tips, etc. At first I wanted to stick with covering smaller subject matter, things I knew about solidly as the whole online publishing world was new to me and I shook everytime I logged on not fully understanding what I was doing. I quickly learned that this was an arena that was constantly evolving due to competitive ranking and technology. I would never get to a point where I would know it all. It was time to establish a new point of growth and move forward. After years of building a presence and publishing finished work on occasion over the years, it was officially time to help others.

Fast forward to 2015. PUBLISHED PROJECT was officially established through a soft launch in August 2015. I reached out to around one hundred or so salons, hair, and makeup artists by phone and email. No one was interested. When I started my initial phone and email campaign I believed that I would meet resistance as there are so many scammers who take advantage of those who work in the industry. It was a tough pitch as I was not an industry publication, I was a lifestyle blog. Finally one of my social media friends, someone in Washington state, took interest. We published our first series of before and after finished hair work. Pleased with this milestone achievement, it was time to elevate this project. In September 2015, we established monthly covers. March 2016, we officially published our first PUBLISHED PROJECT work as cover art. It was so exciting! Since then, we have published artists’ work on monthly covers. We continue to seek these types of creative collaborations. These include single published works, series works, and monthly cover art. Single and series published works are accompanied by an interview. If a creative agency, bride, producer, or anyone in a position to offer work sees PUBLISHED PROJECT work, I want them to know about the artists and their ability to coordinate and their acumen. Some of the artists have upped their game and when they turn in finished works, I proudly list them as Creative Director for that particular project. It’s wonderful to see that level of confidence and growth.

We have established a vehicle that publishes the finished work of hair and makeup artists. This includes artists who are starting to build a professional portfolio, those who create an editorial series, single editorial works, those who want to maintain consecutive month status by filling in the gap for months they have not secured elsewhere. Why? The marketplace is competitive. Having work published consecutively month after month can greatly work in the favor of an artist. If someone wants to build their chair business, having work published regularly lets potential clients know that their talent has been widely recognized.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

Connecting with creative professionals who want their finished work published and understand the value of having it published. When an artist shares appreciation after pressing their work. When an artist returns to have their new work published. When I see new work that is ready to be cover art. When someone shows an interest in producing their own photo shoot, asks, and accepts my advice. Inspiring artists to take their work to the next level by hosting show in an art gallery. Yes, some of them are THAT good. Building my blog and brand to be able to continue PUBLISHED PROJECT.

What are your keys to making yourself productive?

Pure passion. Creative drive. Desire to help develop others creatively, professionally, and legitimately. Organization…as much as possible. Nutrition, treats, coffee, and chai tea.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

Continue to develop my brand so that I may continue to help others grow.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

Be able to trust the people around you. Be kind. Educate when necessary. Effective communication is necessary. Learn how to listen and listen. Focus. When someone shows you who they are, believe them. Be flexible.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

First thing, learn basic computer skills and continue to keep on top of them always. If you are busy on social media, dedicate a separate phone for that purpose alone. Finesse your communication skills. Always produce. Be of service where and when you can. Volunteer. Work with people who believe in you and want to see you grow. Learn something new as often as possible. Decide the type of person you want to be and be it. Measure your growth and be proud of milestones achieved. Always move forward. If you have to draw boundary lines, do it. Learn the basic laws surrounding your work and keep learning them as they evolve. Never compromise your values. Be thankful. Be grateful.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?

Be with my family. Cook. Eat. Movies. Design…anything. Sew. Write. Create. Save money. Learn. Listen to music. TV. Walk. Light nature hikes on occasion. Yoga on occasion. Feed the local wildlife. This list can go on for a very long time…

Name a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend to readers.


Lately I have been actively enjoying BusinessInsider.com, Forbes.com, Picktochart.com. For years I have tweeted TV talk with Starry Mag @StarryMag on Twitter and continue to do so.

Make-Up Artist Magazine. Fashionweekonline.com.

ULTIMATE REPORT website:  http://www.ultimate-report.com/