Wedding makeup and hairstyling business under fire for allegations of ghosting brides, not paying workers

Some makeup artists say they are owed more than $4,000. A bridesmaid says a groom went on a lash-run since nobody showed up to do their makeup on the wedding day.

SAN ANTONIO — Dozens of brides and bridesmaids say they were ghosted on or before the wedding day.

Cosmetologists and hairdressers claim they didn’t get paid.

Those are the allegations being made by brides and freelance hair and makeup artists against the owner of local business Love Lipstick & Lashes. The company specializes in bridal and formal event makeup and hairstyling.

KENS 5 interviewed four freelance workers, a bridesmaid and a bride-to-be who say they’re still waiting for their money.

A San Antonio bride who did not wish to be identified will marry the love of her life New Year’s Eve.

In April, she booked the Selma-based company Love Lipstick & Lashes to do makeup on her big day for 12 people.

“She came highly recommended from my venue,” said the bride.

A quick visit to popular wedding sites The Knot and Wedding Wire show mostly raving reviews about the company, too.

The bride said she confidently sent a deposit of about $200 to the owner of Love Lipstick & Lashes, Laura Gorman.

“Because it is a holiday, I was already skeptical about the timing. She was like, ‘No, don’t worry, I’ll get five or six girls.’ I’m like, Oh, that’s actually unheard of,” the bride recalled.

Fast forward to November, the bride excitedly commented on a post on the Love Lipstick & Lashes Instagram. She went to bed filled with hope, not expecting what would happen days later.

“I woke up Monday morning to, I can’t even tell you how many messages. People had DM’d me on Instagram, there’s like 40-something comments responding to mine stating that she did a no call, no show two times in a row.”

The comments referred to Laura Gorman.

The bride-to-be says she tried to call the business owner, but no answer.

The final straw before canceling her booking was when she learned heartbreaking news from a friend.

“It wasn’t until a girlfriend of mine actually hired her for her wedding and she didn’t show up for her wedding.”

The bride claims even more attempts to reach Laura went unanswered.

“Once I started hearing all this and she wasn’t responding to me, I had one of my bridesmaids reach out to her to tell her that she’s interested in hiring her for her services. She responded immediately. So it was really upsetting.”

In an e-mail sent to her last week, the bride was promised a refund by the business owner herself.

She is still waiting for her money.

“My sister-in-law told me the day of the wedding, that morning at around 8:00, that she had been ghosted,” said Michelle Hight.

Hight’s sister-in-law booked Love Lipstick & Lashes for her wedding which took place November 19. 

She says they sent the full payment, as required, two days before. $700 for a bridal party of eight.

“As soon as the payment went through, there was no more communications,” said Hight, who is speaking to KENS 5 on behalf of the bride and groom — her brother and sister-in-law.

Hight says all calls to Laura Gorman went to voicemail.

“I started calling and I think I believe I called her 16 times. My sister-in-law, the bride, actually called her about 18 times.”

At the last minute, Hight said the bridal party did their makeup themselves.

“My brother had to actually go buy lashes for us,” she explained. “Even though it was a stressful part of the day, we could be angry the next day. That day we needed to be happy.”

Hight says when Gorman answered their call several days later, they demanded a refund.

She says her sister was refunded all but her deposit by Venmo after she filed a report last week.

“[Laura] had mentioned that she was in the hospital. Of course we’re going to be compassionate about that,” said Hight. “However, we had left reviews saying that we had been ghosted and the reviews were removed and there was multiple different platforms we tried to contact and the comments were removed.”

In a Service Agreement shared with KENS 5 by business owner Laura Gorman, it says “…In order to secure the client’s requested date and time, a signed contract is required, along with a deposit, prior to the day of. The deposit is non-refundable and non-transferrable.”

Hight believes there should be an exception if her sister-in-law never received the services in the first place.

“I believe there was a communication that it wasn’t a refundable deposit,” Hight explained. “But I mean, common knowledge is that those are whenever the services are rendered and we received not even a word that the services wouldn’t be rendered.”

Local makeup artists and hair stylists are also speaking out to KENS 5.

“She’s used excuses of her being in the hospital, excuses of her getting into a car accident. She’s used COVID for so many excuses for her not paying us,” said Melody Ortegon. 

Ortegon and her daughter, Jocelyn Osteguin, worked with Love Lipstick & Lashes for one year beginning October 2021.  

“She owes us over $4,000. The amount is like $4,250 that she owes us,” said Ortegon.

In a spreadsheet they created, Ortegon and Osteguin documented 18 events they serviced without getting paid.

“Naively, we continued going and continued trusting her word that she was going to pay us. It ended up building and building and building up,” said Ortegon. “We aren’t able to pay our rent. We’re not able to pay our bills.”  

Ortegon says they’re still saving brides who were ghosted over these last two months.

“We’re covering two weddings for two brides that Laura and her company, Love Lipstick & lashes, ghosted. She collected full payment for their full weddings and then hasn’t returned any of their phone calls,” said Ortegon. “We really just want to bring her to justice…We care so much that she doesn’t take advantage of other artists as well, but the brides on their most important day of their lives. It’s so sad.”

The mother-daughter duo has since stopped working for Love Lipstick & Lashes and started their own company, Studio Bleu Bridal.

Other makeup artists who KENS 5 interviewed shared similar experiences about pinching pennies due to non-payment.

“My phone bill got cut off one time because she was going, promise me she was going to pay me, and I made a payment arrangement for that exact date,” said Eliza Rose Vincent. “Verizon doesn’t play games. If you don’t make that payment by that date, they’re going to cut your phones off and they cut my phone off.”

Vincent was hired by Laura Gorman in March. She says after her first job for Love Lipstick & Lashes, she only got paid half of what she expected.

“I should have just stopped working with her right then and there, but I’m a mom and I’m a makeup artist, so I needed money,” said Vincent.

She says she is owed more than $1,000.

“She had comped two of the weddings that I was an artist at, when I’m like, girl why would you comp them? I need to get paid!” Vincent explained. “It was an 18-party wedding. It was 18 or 19 girls.”

Vincent says she stopped doing makeup for a brief period of time because of the stress and frustration with her experience. 

“I stopped doing makeup for two weeks. I had clients and I canceled them,” Vincent explained. “I was like, ‘I’m not really in the right headspace right now’, but after I took those two weeks off I’m like, ‘I’m not going to let this woman ruin my passion.'”

She expressed a bit of relief knowing others were feeling the same way. 

“I’m grateful for the experience that [Gorman] taught me because I wouldn’t have had the confidence to open up my own business if it wasn’t for her and treating me that way,” said Vincent, who has since started her own business: Sinclair Beauty Co. “I have been trying to help other artists that have also been affected by Laura. I would tell them, ‘Hey, come join my team.’ A couple of them have. We’re all a little team. We’re all banding together.”

Felicia Fahey says she met Laura Gorman at Sephora. She says Gorman was a trainer for Benefit Cosmetics at the time. Fahey says she began to work for Gorman around 2018-2019 when Gorman started her own business.

“I had known her for a long time before. The money was pretty good in the beginning and it was fun,” Fahey explained. “I got to go to different venues and working with her, I found my wedding venue.”

Fahey said she often was sent to bookings last-minute.

“I would get calls [from Laura], ‘Oh, I’m not going to make it. Can you go to this trial and it’s in an hour?’ or, ‘I can’t make it to this wedding. I need you to go instead’.”

Fahey claims she wasn’t paid because she was late to a wedding that Gorman sent her to last-minute. She says she’s also short about $1,000.

“Honestly, if I don’t see a dime, I am okay with that,” said Fahey, who is now working for One Love Beauty. “As long as now the story is out. People just need to know.”

Laura Gorman responded to our request for an interview. She sent this statement via e-mail:

On 11/16/22, a concerned friend called EMS after I had called her to say goodbye. I had attempted to take my own life. I was taken by ambulance to NE Methodist hospital, where I remained until the next day, at which time I was transported to Methodist Transplant & Specialty Care Hospital, where I remained until 11/22/22 I begged for my phone while at this facility for 3 days straight before I gave up asking. I tried explaining to the staff that I own a business and it was absolutely necessary that I get in contact with my artists & clients, given the situation. I got nowhere.

   On 11/22/22 I was discharged from Methodist Transplant & Speciality Care Hospital. Upon being released, I was inundated and harassed at all hours of the day and night with what ranged from semi-polite inquiries about refunds to absolutely horrific, hate-filled texts, voicemails, social media posts and comments, and emails, all full of accusations.

   On 11/25/22 late in the evening I received a comment notification from a woman I’ve never met, in which she said “nothing can save you now”. This same individual directly followed up with saying on my Facebook page (which unbeknownst to me was public) that I had blocked her phone number, which I had not done, given that I do not know this person. What ensued after that was more hate-filled speech online, and a lot of support too, which I am grateful for.

  On 11/26/22 I received a text message from a groom that got married on 11/19/22.  His wife had booked my company, but never had a trial or consultation beforehand with anyone from my team, including me. While I’m heartbroken that we were unable to take care of her, this couple has told me in their own words that I’m “using the suicide card”, that “no one cares about my suicide attempt”, and that I am “a broke b***h”. On 11/26/22 beginning early morning he continued to threaten me via text (the previous night he also had looked me up online and started commenting on a post of mine from 08/16 of this year, in which I had been nominated for a feature In Voyage Austin online magazine) until I asked him to stop texting me. Both his wife, a bridesmaid, and his mother have been refunded in full.

   It became clear to my that these individuals were not going to stop, as I put it that morning, “until I was dead”. I felt the most hopeless and powerless that I’ve ever felt in my life. I did, in that moment feel that life would be better for everyone if I wasn’t on this earth.  On 11/26/22 I was taken by transport  to Laurel Ridge treatment center.

  I would like to close by saying that I have never stated that I would not refund a client, quite the opposite actually, in the event that there was a no-show, or that they weren’t notified, due to the circumstances.

   All I am kindly asking for is the time to process all requests, and for grace. I will do the right thing, because it’s who I am. I also will say that I’m asking that my family and loved ones not be harassed any longer.

   I thank you for your time, and the opportunity to come forward. I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and I do send my love to all. ✨❤️✨

As of Wednesday, December 7, Gorman says she has refunded more than $10,000 and is continuing to do so in the order of requests.

A former police officer and paralegal who caught wind of these allegations online is helping figure out exactly how many people are owed money. She says several victims intend to show up at the Selma Police Department with evidence and demand action. As of Wednesday afternoon, she says she’s personally identified 89 victims owed a combined total of nearly $50,000. She says any other victims are encouraged to email her at [email protected] or file a report with the Selma Police Department and reference case No. 22-293377. 

We inquired about Love Lipstick & Lashes with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Senior Regional Director, Jason Meza, tells KENS 5, “As of this morning, BBB is processing a complaint from a Kassandra Gutierrez with no response from the business. Our resolutions process window will close in the next few days as No Response/Unresolved and this will affect the business’ letter grade.”

The BBB recommends any complaints be filed in a claim with them, including any information about the alleged removal of bad reviews. 

For the employees or contractors, they should reach out directly to Texas Workforce Commission for resolution.