About Our Speakers/Teachers

Alexis Lawson

Keynote Speaker

SofTap Inc Vice President

I never set out to create a company for permanent makeup.

A lot of people have asked me how I got into the hand method. I am the second generation in my family to be in the beauty industry; my journey into this field began with my parents; Spiros and Irene. My mother and father were both at the top of their field and won many awards for their innovative contributions to the beauty industry. As a little girl, I grew up seeing them demonstrate and speak on one stage after another.  They had enough trophies and awards to fill up a small room. 

Because of the influence that my mother had over me with her fabulous makeup background, I naturally was intrigued by permanent makeup. While I have seen very nice work with machines, I personally fell in love with the hand method.  It felt natural to me because I always loved working with my hands and I love the creativity and detail of something made entirely by hand. I have often laughed when I say that I will definitely use my dishwasher to clean most of my dishes, but the delicate fine china is done by hand even though my dishwasher has a setting for that. The face is delicate too, and needs special detailed attention with precision hand tools. 

With that said, in 1988 I started using the hand method.  At that time, bamboo sticks were being used to attach loose needles with dental floss.  I didn't like that idea, so I came up with the method of using an Exact-o type holder instead. This is still used in the industry today. I felt very limited by the sparse needle sizes available and color options at the time, and so I created new ones; to date, we have 21 different needle variations and 62 colors, specially formulated for the melting pot of skin types in the SF Bay Area. We developed a unique 19 step manufacturing process for our pigments which gives them the stability, safety, high performance capability, and ease of selection that our colors are known for today.

As I stated before, I only set out to improve my own personal products that I used on my own permanent makeup customers.  But very quickly I started getting phone calls from practitioners, hairdressers, makeup artists, nurses, doctors, and more who saw my work and either wanted me to train their staff, or wanted to buy my needles and colors. They were not for sale, nor did I want to sell them. However, I kept getting calls for more and more requests for products and training. My husband, Mike, encouraged me to take this leap of faith and so in the early 1990's, we started training people with our system and selling our products to others. One thing led to another, and eventually we filed for the first of many patents on our unique needle design that gives maximum comfort for the client. The calls have never stopped and I can honestly say that I never could have planned such a journey, even if I tried to. Today, our company is known worldwide for the highest quality, purity, service, and performance in the industry. 

It has been very interesting to see our industry evolve into what it is today.  I remember doing a lecture back in the early 1990's and asking the audience if anyone uses the hand method-- No one raised their hand.  Now, almost all hands go up when I ask the same question.  

Today we continue to create and innovate, and now our children who grew up in this business are in charge of it. They have a lot of great ideas and we are very pleased to see this strong, creative, and dynamic team help move our industry forward with fresh progressive ideas. It's very exciting to watch them improve the lives of others around them. 

Finally, no history of a company can go without saying thank you to our many fans and supporters over the years.  You all know who you are.  We love you and appreciate the long and fabulous relationships that we have with you. We are looking forward to many more.

Carmen Melo

Skin City Medi-Spa CEO

Official SofTap Trainer in Petaluma, CA

At a young age I developed a passion for makeup that led me to professional make-up schools in Los Angeles and San Francisco 22 years ago. After a short time, I landed professional makeup shoots, and traveled doing makeup for runway models and private events. After realizing that makeup only looks good if the “canvas” looks good I went to Beauty College to become an Aesthetician and furthered my training in clinical skin care. 
After opening my business in Petaluma, CA in 1998, my work was discovered by a prominent wedding coordinator. She went on to hire me for high-end weddings in wine country, Napa Valley. My work went on to land me in “Town & Country” magazine. After exceling in my career I decided I would like to add to my portfolio and education by learning permanent cosmetics. I had then discovered SofTap and received my certification in 2004.
My journey in the beauty industry had flourished tremendously. After many years of performing my artistic abilities, I was craving for more. I then went on to become a proud trainer of the SofTap method.
As of recently I’ve broaden my knowledge in European tattooing as well. My love for brows, eyeliner, lips, and camouflage led me to start working with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stanley Poulos in Green Brae, performing reconstructive Areola tattooing. 
I have come a long way in my journey. Being affiliated with board certified plastic surgeons has helped excel in my career and achieve the highest level of work. I have been fortunate enough to be able to continue to run a successful business that keeps expanding nationally as well globally. I enjoy passing on my knowledge and skills that I have gained over the past 20 years by training students in the SofTap method.

Chrystal Earle

Owner of PMU by Chrystal

Official SofTap Trainer in Yuma, AZ

I was a successful medical transcription business owner for 19 years, and turned to permanent makeup for a drastic career change. With the support and encouragement of my husband and three girls, I risked it all and joined the permanent cosmetic industry.


In eight short years, countless hours of research, dedication, and passion led me to change thousands of women's lives, not only through permanent cosmetics, but also with areola restoration services and scar revision. With the support of the SofTap family, I have mastered the SofTap line and performed over 8,000 procedures on clients from across the Continental U.S. In those eight years, two of my daughters also became SofTap technicians because of this passion.


In 2015, I obtained my SofTap Instructor Certification in order to  help other women do what I love most--changing lives!

Claire Dottin

Owner & Lead Aesthetician, Fabulash Barbados Aesthetics Boutique

Official SofTap Trainer in Barbados

After several years in the advertising industry as a graphic designer, I decided to take a leap of faith. I married my love of the beauty world with my formal art training and opened my own trendy boutique spa specializing in Novalash Eyelash extensions and SofTap Permanent Cosmetics. Subsequently, with several years of continuous practice and constant training, I became a trainer for the SofTap corporation, hoping to share what I've learnt as well as encourage others in their similar pursuit to enhance their client's quality of life as well as their confidence through permanent cosmetics!

Deanna Melillo

Permanent Cosmetic Specialist, Lead Aesthetician, Let's Talk Makeup

Official SofTap Trainer in West Palm Beach, FL

Since I was a young teenager, I have been in the beauty industry. I grew up living and breathing everything there is to know about SofTap Permanent makeup, I owe my experience all to my mentor, Michelle Mirizio, SofTap Certified Distributor and Trainer (who just so happens to be my mother). It felt like I apprenticed with her forever until I became a Certified SofTap Technician. That was not enough for me and I wanted to train, so I became a Certified SofTap Trainer about 2 years ago under the recommendation and tutelage of Alexis Lawson.
Now we teach together and we love working together. The students love it as well as we get great feedback always!
I am also a full Specialist and a left-handed technician.

Photo Coming Soon

Gustavo Guisa

President /Founder of “Nuevos Conceptos en Belleza/ Micropigmentodo"

I served as the Chairman of the First International Conference of Micropigmentation in Mexico (1997), and author of specialized articles in PMU Marketing. My belief in “every technician has a debt to our society,” moves me to promote volunteer’s paramedical journeys to do nipple and areola reconstruction for breast cancer survivors.
I am Distributor of SofTap products in Mexico as well as a lawyer. Thanks to my background in both the legal and permanent cosmetics fields, I was able to participate in the law-making process to regulate the PMU practice in Mexico, and since 2010, have co-authored the professional certification standard in Mexico along with the government committee. Education and good practices may save lives. Therefore, I continue to lecture at international conferences in Latin America and the US.

Irene Kennerley

SofTap Inc Artistic Director, Senior Chemical and Processing Engineer, Author

Official Trainer in Livermore, CA

I am the eldest daughter of SofTap® founders Mike and Alexis Lawson, and senior process engineer for SofTap® Inc. I grew up hearing the famous tapping sound that implants such soft and beautiful color into the skin, unaware that it would shape my life as permanently as it graces others'. My parents developed SofTap® in my early childhood; they always worked with a colossal ethic and boundless energy, and yet always managed to make time for their family. I am the eldest of five children, and although SofTap® was large part of our lives, we always felt that we were the first priority. I learned how to perform permanent cosmetics when I was 18, while studying chemical engineering in college. I found it a welcome diversion from my collegiate work, which was very rewarding but also very difficult. I graduated at the age of 21 from San Jose State University in Chemical Engineering with an emphasis in Biomaterials. Typically my degree requires a five year program, but I did it in four, while working on any days off and apprenticing with my mom on the weekends.

The spirit of hard work seems to run in my family. After college I got married, and found my professional home at SofTap®, where I began to improve products and services. I felt right at home! I redesigned softaps.com in 2010 and again in 2018; I developed all of our brochures, updated publications, designed online classes, and created some new products. In between trade shows and daily activities, I also authored Infection Control for Body Art in 2014, with the excellent and irreplaceable help of Alexis and Athena. This book has quickly become the industry standard for safety in permanent cosmetics, and I couldn't be happier to bring such a helpful resource to my fellow technicians.

In 2017, I had a baby boy, and I am expecting another boy right before the SofTap® Conference! Like my parents before me, and like many of you, I regard my children as my greatest achievement. I am finding my work-life balance to be a reasonable challenge, (which I love) and a privilege that I adore. I hope to bring many new and exciting twists to SofTap,® and as always I hope to bring you a bright and creative future in permanent cosmetics!

Julia Dziuk

Owner of Pigmenta

Professor of Cosmetology

Official Trainer in Boston, MA

I am the president and founder of Pigmenta Permanent Cosmetics. I received my clinical esthetics license in Hamburg, Germany in 1986, and I practiced as an esthetician throughout college while studying business. After graduating, I opened and ran my own clinic. In 1993 I was introduced to the art of permanent cosmetics and started to offer services as a permanent cosmetic artist until deciding to relocate to the U.S. in 1995.

I was quickly hired as a Technical Director of Esthetics at Blaine, a renowned group of cosmetology schools in Massachusetts, where I managed three locations and many instructors. Eight years later, I was appointed Cosmetology Department Chair at North Shore Community College, overseeing the entire cosmetology, esthetics, and nail programs.

I created Pigmenta in 2004 and added other long lasting cosmetic services to my repertoire to meet client demands. I am currently one of the only licensed practitioners and approved instructors for permanent cosmetics and microblading in the City of Boston. Pigmenta has clients who travel from all over the world for its services.

To date I continue to educate professionals in the beauty, tattooing and medical industry; I offer a 100 hour SofTap®/Pigmenta Fundamentals Permanent Makeup and Microblading course as well as other innovative and advanced classes. My goal is to pass on the skill set to the next generation of beauty professionals.

In response to the global explosion of permanent cosmetics demands and the enormous success of the Pigmenta model, I have decided to expand and will soon be franchising my brand.

Karly Rose

Owner, The Art of Permanent Cosmetics Academy

Official SofTap Trainer in Lynnwood, WA

I began my cosmetician career in 1989 and quickly rose to the top of the field in sales and recruiting.  I have over 30 number-one certificates and set records in the company. Being a decision assistant rather than a sales person was always my goal and it set me apart from my peers.  I became the president of two different franchises within the Cosmetics company and led them to awards for top 5 in the USA for fastest growth.
I heard from my clients daily that no one could put their eyebrows on the way I did and that opened an interest in Permanent Cosmetics.  SofTap® Permanent Cosmetics was the first method I learned and practiced solely for over a decade. I also had certificates from the Daria Chuprys Microblading Academy, Stardust Brows, Eyes and Lips Certification, GirlzinkColor Theory Certification, Naturalines Advanced Hair strokes Certification, Monica Ivani Advanced Hair strokes Certification, two A+ Ocean Removal certificates and SofTap® Areola certification along with many more. I am committed to constant learning and personal growth. My proudest achievement was training with Alexis Lawson to become one of the less than 100 SofTap® instructors worldwide.
Daily focus in life and business is to be an example of H.O.P.E!  Helping Other People Excel. That is accomplished through my training academy and studios in my home town area of Lewiston, Idaho and satellite office outside of Seattle, Washington.  The Seattle studio was started in 2011 and won its first Best of Permanent Cosmetics awards within 24 months.  
I have also won four National beauty pageant titles since 2011 and am an international speaker on the subject of Healthy Minds = Healthy Lives.
I consider being the mother of three children and Nana to six as my greatest legacy.

Kelly Hemmerich

Owner & CEO, Permanent Makeup by Kelly

Official SofTap Trainer in Chicago

My name is Kelly and I am a Permanent Makeup Artist. I am very proud to announce that I have opened a new and larger location in Geneva IL a little over a year ago. My first eyebrow tattoo was at the age of 18 in Holland. I lived overseas from the age of 11 until 21, falling in love with the permanent makeup world right away!  After moving to California, I had the opportunity to be trained by SofTap® Permanent Cosmetics in 1998. In that same year I moved to the St. Charles, IL. Soon after settling in and having a child I was ready to tackle this exciting world. I have been tattooing part time since 2002 and full time since 2012.  Now, being a Certified SofTap® Trainer I am excited to announce that I train others and have the ability to pass along extensive expertise.  My specialty happens to be SofTap® eyeliner. I have always had an eye for fashion and art. Being able to do what I love on a daily basis is not only a blessing to me but very gratifying as well!

Long story short, it looks like all my hard work is all finally coming together and I’m so excited to continue my journey in the PMU world.

Kinga Kowalczyk

Owner & Founder of Professional PMU Products

Official SofTap Trainer in Poland

I am a certified cosmetologist associated with the beauty industry in Poland for over 10 years. I have been the only SofTap® company Trainer in Poland since 2016. Since then I have introduced SofTap® technology and products to Poland and several other European countries. I am also the founder of the PMU Professional brand, which I successfully promote in Europe and around the world.
I am recognizable for creating very natural effects  such as powder, ombre eyebrows and non-outline or "borderless" lips. I am also a specialist in removing and lightening unsuccessful/unwanted pigmentation. I am involved in social support for cancer survivors as well.

Photo Coming Soon

Lina Haralambous BS, CPE, MPS, CDT

Owner: A Better Image

Official SofTap Trainer in Glastonbury, CT

Taking the appropriate time to ensure that the clients feel cared for, calm and comfortable is my greatest priority. This goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide exceptional, quality care. All patients at my business receive a FREE CONSULTATION prior to procedure as it is my job to help them make informed well advised decisions. It is important for clients to be fully educated about their procedures prior to my performing them. To determine the best course of action in relation to the patients aesthetic goals, patients want to know that their specific goals and expectations are understood, and I can deliver the expected results. Once I treat a client I want them to know I'm here for them for life. I ensure the patients receive the best possible care with the highest regard for SAFETY AND AESTHETIC EXCELLENCE.

Merav Swissa

Owner: Dermocolor

Official SofTap Trainer in Paris, France

I discovered permanent make up in Paris in 2001.

Impassioned, I decided to continue my apprenticeship in Los Angeles with my aunt, Ruth Swissa, and later in San Francisco with Alexis Lawson. Curious to learn more about my passion, I travel around the world to meet famous permanent make up artists and tattoo artists.

Empowered with knowledge, I created a unique hybrid manual technique mixing art and micropigmentation. I founded the company Dermocolor and the Artist Academy permanent makeup in which the true essence of my schooling is Art.

Michelle Mirizio

Owner: Let's Talk Makeup

Official SofTap Trainer in West Palm Beach, FL

The beauty industry has been my life. I started working in a spa when I was 17 years old.  I owned and operated a highly successful full service salon in New Jersey for 12 years, and I was a trainer for a nail company for 8 years. I am currently a trainer for Novalash for the past 12 years. As you can tell already, my passion is training students. I became certified with SofTap® in 2004 and became a trainer in 2008. I own my own studio in Palm Beach Florida for 7 years, teaching and offering SofTap® Permanent Makeup.This spa service that I offer is due to my extensive education. My passion for sharing my expertise and for student satisfaction inspires me to be a leader in the beauty industry. 
You can also find me at Beauty Trade shows throughout Florida.
I have been featured in Magazines such as Salon Today, Eyelash Magazine, Modern Salon, Beauty Launchpad and more!

Paige Pozos

Owner: Forever Flawless

Official SofTap Trainer in Wyoming and Montana

I am an entrepreneur, cosmetic tattoo artist SofTap® Instructor. I have been fortunate enough to be trained by some of the best and world recognized permanent make up trainers in the industry, such as Irene & Alexis of SofTap®, Taryn Darling of Girlz Ink, Mary Richardson, Will Anthony, Toni Belfatto, Taryn Quinterri, Steven Gritzer, Chrystal Porter Earle & Liz Cook.

I have performed well over 5,000 procedures as of May 2016. I am a licensed tattoo artist in two states. I also am a sponsored artist by Prestige tattoo supply. I am a member of the SPCP, studying for my CPCP exam / Train the Trainer for Spring 2018.

I regularly attend paramedical and cosmetic tattoo classes due to my dedication to providing the most up to date permanent cosmetic services & techniques that meet my clients & students need: whether it is corrective or a produce quality education & a look that meets the most appealing results possible in today’s world of beauty.

• SofTap® Permanent Cosmetics Instructor / Cosmetic Tattoo Mentor

• Certified Cosmetic Tattoo & Microblading Artist

• Certified Paramedical Tattoo Artist

• Scalp Tricopigmentation Specialist

• Licensed Tattoo Artist

Roberta Ferretti

Owner: SofTap-Italia

Official SofTap Trainer in Rome, Italy

Beauty specialist, make up artist and PMU artist since 1989
I have always pursued his passion for color, which is still a prevalent part of my work as a pmu artist. Teacher of the subject since 1998, I collaborated with various Italian brands until arriving in 2009 to SofTap® Inc, for which it is proposed as a teacher and distributor of the method and products for Italy. From that moment, I deepened the manual technique in order to better convey to students the beauty and complexity of this methodology applied to the cosmetic and reconstructive tattoo. Since 2014 I collaborate as an expert in manual technique at an international level and am happy to do so.

Ruth Swissa, CMM

Owner: Ruth Swissa Professional Permanent Makeup and Skin

I am a professional permanent makeup artist and skin care specialist whose family has been in the aesthetics field for three generations. I studied at a fine arts school abroad for eight years, completing extensive courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, calligraphy and photography.

First and foremost an artist, I chose to specialize in permanent makeup (also called micropigmentation), using only the most organic ingredients to give patients the most natural look. I pride myself on lengthy experience, state-of-the-art techniques (hair-stroke method, microblading technique, hand-held applicator), color artistry (pigments), and good judgment.

I also work extensively with plastic surgeons, who refer patients for medical micropigmentation procedures such as areola re-pigmentation (the area surrounding the nipple of the breast), scar camouflage, and vitiligo treatment. I am especially gratified by my work with breast cancer survivors, whom I have helped recover not only physically but emotionally. Many  clients report that they have a renewed sense of self-esteem and confidence thanks to my artistry and compassion.

I also work closely with the Grossman Burn Center, using my astute color-matching skill to camouflage the discolored skin of burn survivors.

I am is also renowned for expertise in the careful art of correcting permanent makeup mistakes done by other less qualified facilities. This includes color correction and microblading color correction.

I am a member of the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, the American Academy of Micropigmentation, and a contracted provider for the Cedars-Sinai Medical Group. My professional, private med spa ensures discretion and confidentiality.

Since the expansion of my practice, I have been featured on networks such as KTLA, E! Entertainment Television, ABC, KCAL, Univision, NBC, Fox 11 Good Day LA, and CBS.

I have been featured on televised programs, including The Oscars: Countdown to the Red Carpet, Gina’s People, Lisa’s It List, Health Alert, and Dr. 90210. Additionally, I have spoken at multiple conferences and symposiums including the American’s Society of Plastic Surgeons Beverly Hills Conference, Cedar-Sinai Breast Cancer Network Provider Colloquium, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Benefit, and Grossman Burn Foundation Press Event.

A number of recognitions include Allergan’s Patient Care and Medical Aesthetics award, Lifetime Member of the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, and Grossman Burn Center Primary Medical Tattooing endowment.

Dr. Sandra Cardona

Owner: PB Tech Corp, Buypermanentmakeup.com

Official SofTap Trainer in Union City, CA and Colombia

I am a medical doctor and surgeon who has practiced cosmetic dermatology and aesthetic medicine since 1994.
I have been one of the top SofTap® instructors since 1998 for the USA and Latin America and have worked with determination and dedication so that the SofTap®Technique is recognized as the number one in this industry. I have contributed to the development and promulgation of the SofTap®technique by providing instruction, leading workshops and conferences in many countries, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Perú, Panamá, Costa Rica, Mexico among others.
I am very proud of my students and enjoy seeing their personal achievements and successes by applying the SofTap® Permanent Makeup teachings.

The subject of my conference is: "Beyond the Technique". During this conference, I will talk about relevant topics, including medical aspects, that are involved in the permanent makeup procedure which affect the final result.

Tiffiny Luong

Owner: Tiffiny Luong Beauty Academy, Author, the Brushes

Official SofTap Trainer in Arlington, TX

I am the owner of Tiffiny Luong's Beauty Academy based in Arlington, Texas. I was the first Asian-American woman to be featured in Asian Success Magazine, and was voted 10 Shades of Success in Dallas. Over the past 34 years, I have gathered a wealth of business and professional knowledge in the beauty, wellness, and fashion industry. I currently own and operate several thriving businesses. My tenacity is never more evident than when working to coordinate and/or perform in various hair, fashion, and beauty shows for civic, social, and professional products & workshops alike. I possess a unique commitment and love for my profession. I demonstrate my true passion and talent in each class setting while mentoring students individually. Dedications to my crafts and superior skills have garnered credentials which have allowed me to not only teach others but to also help them learn. As a Master Celebrity Hair & Make up Artist, my clients have included A-List Celebrities. I am also an Elite International Trainer for Motives (by Loren Ridinger) and am a business & life motivational speaker, as well as the founder of Sculpting Brows. Catch me on my TV and radio show, "Beauty & Lifestyle with Tiffiny”. You can also read my story in the published book, The Brushes: Beauty Life & Success 7 Secrets To A Successful Life which focuses on my journey to living my dream career in the beauty industry.

Photo Coming Soon

Victoria Velazquez

Owner: Glam 240

Official SofTap Trainer in Mission Viejo, CA

I am a Licensed Esthetician and Permanent Make-Up Artist with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Make-Up Design from California State University at Long Beach with over 28 years of experience in the field of Make-Up Design, serving as a Consultant for Permanent Make-Up Corrective Restoration for Paramedical Plastic Surgery Patients, with extensive Fashion Make-up for Bridal, Film, Video and Print application. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and relocated to Southern California in 1979 to complete my art education. My passion has always been in the creative arts so my career in Beauty, Wellness and Anti-Aging techniques and product offerings became a perfect fit. As my profession developed, so did my desire for beauty and wellness. I have suffered for many years with severe food allergies and was finally diagnosed as Celiac. The world of Gluten Free products and leanings has become a secondary passion as feeling healthy and looking good go hand in hand. I am the owner and co-founder of Facial Concepts Training Academy and Color Glam Love Studio located in Mission Viejo California, offering Professional Permanent Make-up Training, Beauty Enhancement Services, Wellness Products and Practices.I hold Advanced Technique Certifications from the following:
• SofTap® Inc
• The International Institute of Permanent Cosmetics
• The International Dermal Institute
• Sally Van Swearing Academy

Conference: Platinum Package Ticket

Conference: Platinum Package Ticket

Price: $998.00 The most comprehensive ticket for the best value available. Includes:Continental Brea..

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