Your Dream Job Awaits

Hair stylist, makeup artists jobs

If you are a licensed esthetician or cosmetologist (or will be after completing school and passing your exams) and you are looking for a job doing wedding hair and/or makeup in RI or MA, have I got the blog post for you!

I own Allison Barbera Beauty, a beauty services company based out of Newport, RI. I have been in business since 2008 and currently have 11 regular Independent Contractor hair stylists and makeup artists on my team, primarily for wedding and event services. Thanks to my talented team, the fantastic people who refer us and our stellar reputation, we have more business than we can handle. I am always hiring for Independent Contractor hair stylists and makeup artists and I have a strong need for at least two more makeup artists and one hair stylist at this time. Like I have work for you right now. Seriously!

Because the wedding industry is seasonal in New England, this is a part-time job. But it can be a very lucrative gig that requires little of your time. If you love doing wedding hair and/or makeup and want to make money on some of the weekend days during the spring, summer and fall, this could be the right fit for you.

I realize there are a ton of companies in the area who hire Independent Contractor hair stylists and makeup artists. I don’t know the inner workings of these companies and really, it’s none of my business. What I do know is what I can offer you as an Independent Contractor for AB Beauty. From what I can see and what I’ve been told, this combination of things is not available at other companies. Interested in what AB Beauty brings to the table? Read on.

I’ve Got It Covered. I get all of the jobs and handle all of the client communication from initial inquiry to photo posting and the million things in between. I do all of the scheduling, trial coordination, invoicing, follow up, etc. I am organized and detail oriented to a fault. I will tell you where you are going for a job and make sure you have contact numbers, know where to park, which hotel room to go to,  if there is a certain elevator to use, etc. If you work for AB Beauty, my goal is to make sure you get to do what you love without stressing about locations, schedules and other details.

I Will Bust My Ass For You.  I work seven days a week. I have no kids, no husband, no pets, not even a houseplant that I need to water. My energy is put into making AB Beauty run smoothly and grow exponentially. I want to get my artists and stylists as much work as possible and I want them to enjoy working for me. I am always open to feedback and doing whatever I can to make the job easy for each artist and stylist. When someone on the team contacts me, I respond as soon as I see the call, email or text. I refuse to hold up people’s lives by making them wait a couple days for an answer or information they need. This is not a side project or hobby.  This company is my life and I take it very seriously.

I Mean Business. My favorite game as a child was a little something I made up called “Small Business Owner.” No joke. I come from a business background. I opened my father’s real estate business with him when I was 15, and went on to be an Office Manager at other small businesses. I graduated with a degree in American Studies and a concentration in Business. I take business webinars, frequently consult with other business owners and am always reading at least one business book. I have great relationships with my accountant and attorney, so everything at AB Beauty is run as it is supposed to be. I constantly network, promote and make valuable business connections. You might not think this matters, but trust me, it does. And you may not realize that until you work for someone who has no business background. They could be the nicest person ever with an impressive makeup kit and an jealously-inducing hair portfolio, but if they do not know how to run a business, they will inevitably crash and burn. If you are working for them when that happens, your income is immediately reduced. Someone can be an insanely talented hair stylist or makeup artist, but that doesn’t mean they can run a business. And do you want to work for a business that is not run effectively or efficiently? I’m going to bet that you don’t.

Do Your Thing. As an Independent Contractor, you are legally allowed to work for other companies. I have had people who work at salons, spas, makeup counters and beauty supply stores as well outside of the beauty industry at office jobs, restaurants and even as a dental hygienist. I understand that as an Independent Contractor, you have to piece together your work. I hope to someday have full-time employee positions with benefits and trust me, I have plans in the works. But until then, you can work other jobs and work for AB Beauty, building the schedule that you want.

I Respect Your Time. When you work for AB Beauty, you will always know your schedule for a wedding one month in advance. If any change requests are made by a client after a wedding schedule has been finalized, I first ask you if you can accommodate the change–even if it is only by ten minutes–before committing to it. I know that as an Independent Contractor, you may have other clients scheduled before or after a wedding, and the jobs for those clients are also part of your livelihood. I also recognize that people have personal commitments and childcare arrangements to consider. I would never want you to lose out on one of your own clients or be late picking up your son because I didn’t confirm a schedule or forgot to tell you it changed. I am also an Independent Contractor (for corporate and commercial work) and I often don’t know get schedule until the night before a shoot. That makes it hard to plan anything, but that’s part of that world. However, I can prevent that from happening with jobs you do for me not only because of the nature of weddings and events, but because of the policies I have for AB Beauty clients.

Experience Is The Best Teacher. There is nothing like experience and I’ve got over eight years of it in the wedding beauty industry. (Eight years of weddings also means we have a huge and steady referral base from past clients.) I also have almost 20 years of overall business experience, as I mentioned above. How does that benefit you? The client interacts with me and is always responded to quickly and clearly. There is no confusion that spills over when you are doing their hair or makeup. That means you walk in to work with a happy client, not one who is mad that I neglected to tell her about hair extensions pricing until that day or never sent her invoice. I frequently get asked about Bridezillas, but I’ve never encountered one. I think that’s partly because angry, high maintenance clients can be created when they consistently get confusing answers or a lack of information from their vendors. I long ago figured out what clients want and need from their wedding beauty service provider and I built my company around those wants and needs. That knowledge and experience is invaluable and impossible to find in a company who hasn’t experienced it yet. AB Beauty has done hair and makeup for hundreds of weddings and events. I don’t remember the last time I got a question that I had never heard before. There are some things that no matter how a good a new company is, they just have not experienced yet. Do you want to work for a company that has already been through it all and worked out the kinks, or one who is still figuring things out?

I Got The Dream Team. My current artists and stylists are the best. Everyone gets along, helps each other out and has fun. We don’t do that gossipy, catty thing the beauty industry is unfortunately known for. Everyone looks out for the other people on the team, and that’s not something I have ever asked them to do. But when you have a group of good people working together, it happens naturally. I have seen AB Beauty artists and stylists exchange tips and techniques, and I do that with them as well. Everyone on the team is friendly, welcoming and happy to help each other out.

Our Reputation Is Killer. Check out our WeddingWire and TheKnot reviews as well as the testimonials on the Allison Barbera Beauty Weddings Facebook page. We currently have the highest number of reviews in RI on WeddingWire with an average 5 star rating. We have fantastic SEO–we are within the first few organic results for several relevant wedding hair and makeup Google searches. We also get tons of referrals from clients, vendors and venues we have worked with before. Along with the artists and stylists on my team, I have worked hard to create an experience that exceeds clients’ expectations. Doing that has given us the kind of solid reputation that ensures success not only for the business, but for the artists and stylists who work for AB Beauty.

As owner, my goal is to get my artists and stylists as much work as possible while making that work as easy as possible. I see myself as an agent. I basically get the jobs, offer them to you, and work out every detail so you can work with happy, informed clients. You do what you are passionate about then bill me for it. I take care of everything else.

If you love doing hair and/or makeup but do not love the business side or the responsibility and years it takes to build a profitable business–something that is becoming much more difficult as the market becomes saturated with beauty companies–we could work really well together.

If you are interested in joining the AB Beauty team, please email me at Info@AllisonBarbera.com. I look forward to adding more rockstars to the team.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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Being a Boss, Part 3b: The Good Outweighs The Bad

Sullivan's Island
Me in Charleston, SC, where I’ll be spending my winters. I couldn’t have ever done anything like that before I was an entrepreneur.

It’s the finale! I’m going to miss writing these. If you’ve enjoyed reading these half as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them, then this series has been a success. If you haven’t enjoyed reading them, then what are you doing back? I’m sure there are some Buzzfeed “articles” out there waiting for you.

So let’s finish out this Pros and Cons of entrepreneurship list. After reading these four posts, you should know exactly what you want to do with your life. I’m playin’! But if something I say kicks your ass into gear, then I can and will take the credit. 😉

Job Satisfaction

Pros: You get to do something you enjoy. If you start a business, you hopefully choose a career that involves something you enjoy. Being passionate about something–or at least being very interested in it–is way better than working in a field you have zero interest in. There may come a point when you stop doing what the popular business book The E-Myth Revisited calls the “technician” work–in my case, doing makeup–but as the entrepreneur, you are still in the industry you want to be in. In my experience, working in a field you love makes everything considerably easier. I’ve had my company for 8+ years and I still love opening a new mascara, knowing it could become my new favorite. I still love watching YouTube makeup tutorials and learning different techniques. I still love discovering a new use for a product. And I really still love the feeling I get when someone looks in a mirror after their makeup is done and genuinely smiles. I didn’t have that kind of passion about real estate, air quality testing, the administrative side of education, food service or any other industry I previously worked in. But the beauty industry? That’s my jam.

Cons: It can take away some of your passion. As an entrepreneur, particularly if you are doing a lot of “technician” work, you may find that after a while, you like that part of your job less than you did when you started. It’s probably not that you really like it less though. It’s more likely that you feel weighed down by the business side of entrepreneurship, which requires a lot of energy. I think particularly in creative fields, having enough energy to both create and to manage, market and grow your brand can be very challenging. Speaking for the hair and makeup industries (and I think this example can be adjusted and applied to any creative job), it takes a lot of energy to listen and understand the ideas a client has and successfully execute those ideas so they are happy with their look. A lot can be lost in translation, but a good makeup artist or hair stylist can sort through it. When you give your all to creating what the client wants and then repeat that several times a day, you’re likely drained when you’re finished. But as a business owner, you probably have emails and calls to answer, invoices to send, products to order and a million other things to do after you finish with clients. For some people, that takes the joy out of doing their creative work. Everyone has their own balance they can handle, and the key is to figure that out. In the creative field, you can sometimes find a way to do more technician work than “business” work by working for an agency or as an Independent Contractor for a company. In those situations, you still have to build your brand and do some business work, but the agency or company you work for will offer you the jobs and coordinate the details in varying degrees. (If you hire others though, you immediately step into a managerial role unless you hire a manager.) If you want your business to grow, you will eventually have to find people to do most of the technician and managerial work, but eventually, you’ll have to spend more of your time on being the big picture entrepreneur. (I’m again referencing The E-Myth Revisted. Anyone who owns a business or is thinking about opening one should read this.)

No Supervisor

Pros: You don’t have to answer to anyone. If you have a great idea, you can implement it without being impeded by policies or waiting for approval from your supervisor. No one is going to ruin your day by giving you a shitty yearly review or declining your request for one telecommuting day a week. You set your dress code, you do any hiring and firing and you decide how to handle every situation. You don’t have to worry about your boss’s micromanaging or hot and cold personality. When you own a business, you (hopefully) learn from your mistakes–because you will make plenty–instead of worrying those mistakes will get you fired. No more heart-dropping-into-your-stomach feeling when your boss says they need to talk to you. I’ve had some great bosses and some horrible ones, but the one in the mirror–even with her shiny t-zone and thin upper lip–is hands down my favorite. She lets me do what I want and blasts DMX when she’s angry, so I know we understand each other.

Cons: You have a bunch of mini bosses. Each client/customer is your boss in a way. (This may be more applicable if you offer a service.) If they book services or buy products from your company, they are essentially hiring you. And if they decide to no longer use your company’s services or buy your products, they are essentially firing you. You could have several mini bosses at a time and it’s literally your job to please all of them. You need to be disciplined. It’s easy to slack off when no one is over your shoulder. If you are not self-motivated, your business will crumble. Sorry, but it’s the truth. You may find it’s easier to be self-motivated when you are interested in your job, but if you still think you would need a constant push or the threat of someone who could fire you, stay away from entrepreneurship. This rarely happens now that I’m in my mid-30s, but in my 20s, I caught some crap from friends when I declined invites to go out on weekend nights. I very much wanted to be with them, but I also owed it to my clients to show up to their wedding awake, not hungover and sans shaky hands (never a good thing when applying eyeliner). If you are the type of person who will not only consistently go out the night before an early job but will stay for “just one more drink” each time, your business will feel like a 5 star hangover. Except instead of killing your Sunday with its headache and nausea, it will kill your whole company.

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. And that’s okay! There is no shame in being an employee. You can be fulfilled and happy with your career whether you work for yourself or someone else. If what I describe as benefits don’t sound that great to you, or the bad seems to outweigh the good, then this probably isn’t your path. If you hate your current job, it doesn’t mean you should quit and open your own business. You may just need to be in a different industry. If your heart is in music but you work in banking and are miserable, see what steps you need to take to break into the music industry.  It might take a while, but so what? Here’s where I insert one of my favorite quotes: “Don’t give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

Personally, my worst day working for myself is still better than my best day working for someone else. In the years I spent as an employee before I knew what I wanted to do for a career, I felt a great sense of despair. I knew what I was doing was so far from what I enjoyed, but until my friend Caroline suggested Esthetics school, I didn’t know how to take something I loved and turn it into a job. In the two years I spent working for other people after I had opened my company, I felt frustrated. I so badly wanted to be out on my own but couldn’t do it yet financially. Now that my company is established and I’m financially stable, I feel hopeful, excited and determined. There is a lot of opportunity and I have big plans. I have days that I’m angry that my website is down or annoyed that I can’t get an answer that I need from someone, but it’s rare that I stay like that for the entire day.  I think the difference is that I don’t dread my job now. I don’t wish away days. Sure, there are some jobs or clients I know will be more challenging, but nothing is ever so bad that it makes re-think my whole career.

I love that I can basically do what I want. To get to that point, I did have to do a lot of what I didn’t want–doing unpaid shoots early in my career to build my portfolio, working 14 hours on set then four hours running my business when I got home, fighting with my accounting software–but the longer I am in business, the more I can turn down work I don’t need or want and hire other people to do the things I don’t like. (In fact, I have stopped doing or outsourced all of those examples.) And that’s not a hedonistic tactic. Freeing my time of the things other people can do–just as well if not better than me–is smart. It allows me to focus on expanding and growing the company, coming up with the big ideas and then making them happen.

I think it comes down to what you value. An important value for me–which you may have picked up on–is freedom. I need to be able to create a life I want without being held back, and entrepreneurship is the only way I could see to make that happen. Things might have been easier if I loved my previous jobs or not felt this deep need for freedom, but that’s not how it worked out. I know without a doubt that I’m happier as an entrepreneur than I could have ever been as an employee.

In the Usher/Lil Kim collabo “Just Like Me,” Kim raps “If I had one wish in the world, I swear to God, it would be for girls to rock pearls, straight out the oyster.” I don’t feel that strongly about pearls, but I do feel strongly about career satisfaction. Work takes up such a huge chunk of time for most of us, so I truly hope that you have found or will find what makes that time the most enjoyable, lucrative and flexible for you, whether it’s as an employee or entrepreneur.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Being a Boss, Part 3a: The Good Outweighs The Bad

Entrepreneur, freelance, girlboss,
In the studio, poppin’ bubbly.

Psst, come here. I have to tell you a secret. Closer, closer. Whoa, not that close! I don’t know you like that.  But your pores look very clean. Ready for it? There is no perfect job. I hit you with some mind-blowing shit on this blog, so tell your friends. I’ll let you compose yourself before I continue.

Are you doing okay? Yeah? Then it’s time for some real talk. The truth is, you would be hard pressed to find a job doing something you love that provides benefits and as many days off as you want along with a stable, high income, no liability or responsibility for the company plus complete control of your schedule and location. I’m sorry if I just shattered your dreams like Big Pun. (If you got that reference, please leave a comment with your favorite cocktail so I can take my new best friend out for a drink.) But let me make you feel better. I do think you can check off many of those things if you have success and several years in business as an entrepreneur. However–here’s where I knock you back down–even if you form a corporation and the legal liability is still personally off of you, you are ultimately responsible for the reputation and success of your business. My point is that leaving a company you work for to open your own won’t solve all of your problems, nor will closing the doors of your own company to work for anyone else. As someone who has been an employee and a business owner, I can speak to both sides.

That paragraph was an emotional roller coaster ride, wasn’t it? Get ready for more of that. Also, be warned that this might be a 10 minute read. But the best 10 minute read you’ve ever had, baby.

I am approaching this post from my perspective and particular experience, seeing as though I can’t get inside anyone else’s head. (Once they develop that technology though, my first stop is inside Lil’ Kim’s head to find out whyyyyyyy?) I currently run my business as a sole proprietor, soon to be an LLC. I have no administrative assistant or office manager. I do this job full time, which I believe means 70+ hours a week. My company provides services, not products. I require specific talent and professionalism in my service providers, so it’s not something I can cheaply outsource like you can do with some product-based businesses. I am not part of a franchise, so I can’t speak on that. I have Independent Contractors–not employees–which is not necessary or appropriate for all industries. So a two person partnership running an S-corp that sells products and has employees, including an administrative assistant, may have a completely different view on things. (If you are that person, I’d love to hear your views on entrepreneur life. Hit me up.)

I’m going to address some of the big factors in a Pros and Cons fashion. Because who doesn’t like that format? Probably only sinners and people who read magazines back to front. I will be heavily generalizing employee jobs here. I realize they are all different and depending on the position and company may have some of the entrepreneur Pros or Cons I discuss. My knowledge of employee jobs comes from the seven jobs I had before I opened my company and the things I have heard from family, friends and clients about their jobs.

Aight. Let’s do this. I have to break Part 3 into two posts because although I’m aware of the benefits of long form blogging, I’m not sure it’s what my readers want. You’re welcome.

Schedule

Pros: You can make your own hours. Dentist appointment next Monday? You don’t need to use sick time. Want to leave for a trip on Thursday afternoon instead of Friday night after work? Go for it. Your cousin wants to meet for breakfast? Tell her to name the time. Schedule flexibility is one of the huge entrepreneur benefits in my book. Even when it comes to simple things like going for a run at 12:00pm in the winter instead of after work at 6:00pm when it’s dark out, or going to the grocery store during “off hours” to avoid the crowds of people who don’t understand how to move their cart of the way, I am grateful. But the best part is being able to see my family and friends when I want (as long as I’m not booked, anyway.) I live in the same town where I went to college, so I have college friends who will make a quick trip here if they are in the area. Sometimes they can only meet for lunch or for a coffee before they get on the road. When I worked at other companies, I couldn’t dip out for a 2:00pm Stoli Doli* date with my friend who I otherwise might not see for another year. I also couldn’t do things like going to my parents’ house a few days early to help with our giant Italian family Thanksgiving prep. (A table for 40 doesn’t set itself.) I couldn’t have left work to bring my father to doctor’s appointments an hour and a half away. But now? I don’t have to ask anyone or pretend I’m meeting a client. I just fucking go. This control of my hours–essentially control of my life–is one of the greatest advantages to me. This is the only Pro for this category because it’s such a big one and encompasses a lot.

Cons: You’ll work crazy hours. I work more now than I ever did as an employee. Most of this is related to the business owner part of my job. I have a very particular way that I approach my business with policies, same day responses and regular followup, which is time consuming. I have a strong dedication to my business, which is reflected in my hours and what I prioritize. So the amount of hours I work–which I think falls under the “schedule” umbrella–is often double what I put in when I worked for other companies. I don’t take full days off because I don’t have anyone else who can answer my emails or calls, but this will change as soon as I can hire a full-time, rockstar admin assistant who I can trust with this important part of the business. You don’t necessarily get to choose all of your exact hours. When I’m doing makeup, I get to choose whether or not I take a job but I don’t get to choose the start time for a wedding (I started one at 5:15am last weekend) or a film shoot (4:42am is not my favorite call time, but I have had to report at that time before). Those early wakeups can feel brutal, but still better than having to wake up at 6:00am Monday through Friday for the rest of my working years.  There is no clocking out. I remember practically jumping up from my desk and cartwheeling out the door (psych, I can’t cartwheel) at 5:00pm or whatever time my work day ended when I was an employee. I never had the type of job that required me to do work after business hours and this was also before people had email access on their phones. Those hours from 5:00pm until whenever I went to sleep were mine and work did not follow me home. If you are someone who likes a definite end to their work day and a complete separation of work and personal life, run the hell away from any thoughts of entrepreneurship. The first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do before I go to bed is see if there are any work emails or texts to address. If they are urgent or time sensitive, I have to respond. Again, this will change once I have an admin assistant, but I think it’s something that every entrepreneur will experience to some degree.

Responsibility

Pros: You run the show. When you own a business, you call the shots. You decide how to market your company, what service(s) or product(s) you will offer, which clients or customers you take, who (if anyone) you hire, where your location will be (if you own a brick and mortar business) and a million other things. I am someone who generally likes and does well with responsibility. Some may call that “having control issues,” but this is my blog, so I get to decide what to call it. (See how I worked that example in?) I have always been the planner for family and friends–I have a group of friends who would still be waiting to see The Fast and the Furious in 2001 if I didn’t coordinate it–so that part of my personality lends itself well to the responsibility involved with planning, coordinating jobs and running a business. You earned it. I feel a great sense of pride in my company. It has by no means done well solely because of me–I wouldn’t be where I am with my awesome Independent Contractors, my supportive family and friends, my clients and those who have referred me–but I can give myself some of the credit. I am proud of what my company has become and it’s a really good feeling knowing I had a part in building it.

Cons: You’re accountable for everything. Your specific legal liability will depend on the business entity you form and insurance you carry, but unless you are in a partnership, your business is all you. Someone who works for you angers a client? You take the fall. Water damage at your business location? You may have some help from your insurance company (and landlord if you rent), but you’re dealing with the cleanup, the phone calls, rescheduling appointments, replacing any damaged items, etc. If you go away on vacation, you have to either arrange coverage or be available for anything that comes up. If you’re an employee and someone sues your company, you might be out of a job if it causes the company to close–which is recognize is a risk–but I think that is pretty rare. If you are a business owner and someone sues your company, even if you’re an S-corp, you’ve got many sleepless nights ahead thinking of ways to recover your business (if possible), what you will do if you can’t, how to pay for the legal costs and some added anxiety if you have people working for you who depend on you for their livelihood.

Income

Pros: You have unlimited income potential. Like Biggie said, sky’s the limit. When you own a company, your next raise is only one killer idea away. That idea doesn’t have to be groundbreaking. It could have to do with bringing on more people, improving or creating a new product/service, going after a different market, etc. Unless you are an employee who works on commission, you probably won’t have the same opportunity to increase your salary.  You may be able to get promotions or raises, but in many cases, you can only get so far as an employee. Entrepreneurship allows you to potentially make as much money as you want. I am not rich–yet–but I am considerably better off financially than I ever was as an employee. I’m not a big status or “things” person, but having a good income and no debt a) Eliminates the stress I used to feel about being able to pay for things and b) Allows me to have certain experiences I couldn’t have before. I had to turn down a lot of invites from friends–a Chelsea Handler standup show, a girls’ trip to Vegas, several birthday night out celebrations–in my early years as a business owner. It was a sacrifice, but I knew I had to invest my “extra” income into advertising, marketing and better beauty products. Those things were necessary to grow my business and bring in the income needed to never have to say no to an invite because of my bank account.

Cons: You’re going to go through broke stages. No one opens a business on a Monday and is rich by Friday. It normally takes a while to turn a profit. There are variables–whether you have a brick and mortar versus an online business, how you obtained your startup funds, which industry you are in, how saturated the market is, etc.–but the average amount of time needed that I have heard and found in my research is two years. Even when your business becomes profitable, you are probably “ramen profitable” at first. That means you make enough money to cover your business and living costs with just enough money left for ramen noodle-level meals. (To my gluten-free peeps: Consider this “Larabars profitable.”) Again, the amount of time you are financially limited will depend on your living costs and business expenses, but it’s safe to expect you will be struggling at some point. If you are a freelance boss, you’re going to have slow months where you get few (or no) job calls until you build up your business and reputation. If you offer a product/service people want and know how to run a business–unless you are putting in minimal effort and spending your money foolishly–this is likely a temporary stage.

I’ll leave you there, in anticipation of Part 3b. I’m sure you can barely stand it.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

*A Stoli Doli is pineapple infused vodka. Drink it on the rocks if you’re gangsta like me.

Being a Boss, Part 2: Making It Happen

The face of an entrepreneur who didn't expect her company to grow so fast.
The face of an entrepreneur who didn’t expect her company to grow so fast.

You might not think it by looking at me, but I get giddy. And when that happens, it’s best that I am by myself because it’s a ridiculous reaction. When a thought about something I’m really happy about first comes into my mind (or an old school jam I haven’t heard in a while is on the radio), I get so overwhelmed with how good it is that I break out into a giant smile and I squeal. Yes, squeal. Picture a 6 year old on Christmas morning, but make them a few inches taller and wearing a Biggie shirt and red lipstick.

This giddy feeling hit me on the daily mid-winter of 2011 when I became a full-time business owner. I felt a freedom that I had never felt before and I was elated. But I was also terrified, because my entire income came from my business and I had to actively bring it in. I had always put my all into every job I ever had, but part of me knew I could have put in less effort and I still would have gotten a paycheck. That’s not the way I do–my genetic code won’t allow me to half-ass anything–but I think I would have had to really mess up or consistently do small, crappy things to get fired. I knew that when I opened my business, I would have to work hard to earn every penny someone paid me. That was a less scary thought when I had a regular source of income from a day job, as I did for my first two and a half years in business. But in winter of 2011, shit got real.

When I left you last, I jumped from my decision to open my own business to the fact that it took 2+ years to do it full time. That gap of time, although somewhat financially stable, was tough for me because I knew what I wanted to do full time but couldn’t do it yet. That’s a frustrating feeling for someone with an ambition addiction. I had opened my business without taking out loans, receiving seed money or grants and I as mentioned in Part 1, no sugar daddy (or sugar mama, unless you count my friend Julie who used to cook me delicious meals and let me use her washer and dryer because I couldn’t afford the laundromat). I had no savings because the “extra” income I made went towards college and Esthetics school loans and the credit card debt I wracked up as I built my business. I had no roommates because I don’t play well with others, so no one to split living costs with. I also had no business partner with whom I could divide responsibilities and startup costs. I was running my business nights and weekends when I was not at my day job, but I was making only a supplemental income from it. It would have been financially foolish to quit my day job and go full time with my business during the first 2.5 years. So I (impatiently, and with much bitching to my family and close friends) waited until the time was right.

In 2011, I started hiring Independent Contractor hair stylists and makeup artists because my company was growing too much to be a one woman show. This was a huge turning point for me. I actually didn’t start out intending to build a company. I wanted to work in film and do wedding makeup on the weekends (which I now realize is an absurd plan). I thought 5 or 6 years into it, I could bring on another makeup artist and maybe a hair stylist. I now have 11 rockstar artists and stylists and am hiring. The Weddings component of my business grew so quickly that it demanded too much of my time to be on a film set for 12+ hours a day. Without purposely intending to, I pulled away from building a career in film (something I only did on a small level) and went full force into running my company. Around 2013, I stopped feeling like a freelancer and starting feeling like a business owner (both are boss status in my book though, as I mentioned in Part 1).

When I got enough work that I could go full time in 2011, I was beyond excited to be out on my own. But it was a struggle to exist financially. I never defaulted on my bills or paid my rent two months late, but I lived what Oregon Trail would call a barebones lifestyle. I rarely went out to eat, never bought clothes, didn’t go on any trips (unless I had miles and a free place to stay) and freaked out when it came to Christmas gift buying time. There were times when money was so tight that I felt paralyzed. I remember once getting towards the end of a tube of toothpaste, looking at my bank account and thinking, Shit. If I had lived with someone or didn’t have even half of the debt I had, it would have been a completely different story. But I made choices that put me in that situation, so I dealt with it the best I could. Sometimes that meant getting in my bed and crying, but it mostly meant working harder to bring in more business. By 2014, I started pulling in the income I needed to make me feel like a real adult. Fast forward to current day, where I am completely debt-free and will be living in a warmer location for the winter because I can. And I can buy as many tubes of toothpaste as I want without even glancing at my bank account. Straight out ballin’. Although I struggled hard for a few years, I am now in the best financial position of my life. I’m no millionaire–that was never my goal–but I don’t have the financial stress that weighed heavily on me for so long. It’s an amazing feeling.

But yo, the workload! To this day, some people assume I have the day off if I don’t have a wedding or a shoot. WRONG. The majority of my time is spent running my company. Emails, contracts, schedules, invoices, advertising, accounting, managing my team–that’s me. From the smallest errand to the biggest decision, it’s all my responsibility. Out of printer ink? Staples run. Need a new logo designed? I have to find the right person, hire them, come up with ideas, look through proofs, approve and then pay for the work.  A bridal trial with one of my hair stylists and makeup artists? I coordinate everything. That’s a location, date and time that works for all three parties. I now coordinate 100+ trials per wedding season. Plus the logistics of every wedding, photoshoot, corporate shoot and event we do. As the owner, I’m also responsible for coming up with the big ideas, which I’m not even going to hint at because I’ve got so many things in the infancy/prep work stage. I am growing a beauty empire here, my friends. If all of that is your version of taking a day off, then you’re a weirdo.

Luckily, my passion for makeup and my desire for the type of life I personally can only get through entrepreneurship keeps me going. I still love the transformative power of makeup. When someone looks in the mirror after I do their makeup and says “I love it!,” I have to keep my giddyness under control. And the lifestyle entrepreneurship has given me–control over my schedule, which allows me more time to see my family and friends and financial freedom, which makes everything a little bit easier–is something I wouldn’t change for the world.

When I started my company, I knew my freedom and business success would bring me the confidence I needed in life. Confidence was not something I had in my teens or most of my 20s, but my intuition told me my business would change that for me. And it did. I realize part of that could be just growing up, getting infinitely wiser by the day. But I believe the confidence and self awareness I have now comes from opening and successfully running a company. I have learned a lot about myself–both good and bad things–since opening AB Beauty.

I am a goal-oriented person. You know what tastes as good as a Three Olives Cherry Vodka, club soda and a splash of cran on a hot summer day? Accomplishment. I love reaching–nah, crushing–goals. I revel in it, I celebrate, then I move on to attack the next one. There is always a next one (or 50) and they are on my To Do list, waiting for the sweet sound of pen hitting paper, crossing a line through something I slayed. I’m guessing most successful entrepreneurs feel the same way. (And by “successful,” I mean an established business that grows each year. I don’t think you have to own a Fortune 500 Company to be considered successful.)

I didn’t start my company to be well-known or filthy rich. Those things don’t motivate me. What motivates me is efficiently running, constantly improving and growing a company. I strive to provide my team with as much work as they want and give my clients the kind of service that makes them hug me. My goal has been to create a career that I not only enjoy, but one that allows me to spend time with the people I love. I’m not the perfect business owner by any stretch, but I do my best and I’m happy with what I have. I am very thankful for my team, my clients, people who refer my company and my family and friends who have supported me. I recognize that I have something really good here and for that, I am immensely grateful.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

Being a Boss, Part 1: The Inception

Entrepreneur, girl boss
Me at 24, pictured here not having a panic attack.

I believe life is too short to wish time away. We get a limited amount of time here and it’s a damn shame to hope all of the days until the weekend/a vacation/a move fly by. I mean, it’s natural to look forward to something you’re excited for, but I don’t like the idea of consistently living life like that. Yet that’s what I found myself doing before I owned my company. When I worked at other jobs–no matter how flexible my boss was or how awesome my coworkers were–I always found myself hating Mondays and living for the weekends. I wanted to hit fast forward on the hours between 9-5, Monday through Friday, and I wanted my nights and weekends (except for time spent at the gym or running) to slowwwwwly pass. Unfortunately, this is not how time works. I knew if I wanted to be happy, I had to find a way to take back my time, but also make an income because Daddy doesn’t fund my life and I’m not cut out to be a sugar baby. (I would rather wear rags that I paid for than a Versace dress that someone else bought for me.) So I opened my own business, which means not only do I no longer wish away days of the week, but I seldom even know what day it is. That’s the short story.

This is the longer story, which you’ll need to know to understand what I’m going to throw down in this series of posts. I moved from New England to south Florida solo after graduating college. I spent two years there, mostly getting tan and avoiding palmetto bugs. I worked as an office manager at two companies, something my 7 years working for the small business my father owns had prepared me for. While I made some fantastic lifelong friends in some of my coworkers, the jobs I was doing were not making me happy. I did, however, learn some valuable customer service skills and admin systems that I use now. I also saw examples of how to be a bad business owner–screaming at your employees, writing angry emails to clients, jetting off to Miami for three days and neglecting your business–which I subconsciously filed away and remembered when I opened my business.

The summer I moved back to New England was a tough one. I luckily found work as a full-time school secretary and a part-time admin at my father’s company, but neither job was what I wanted to do. The problem was, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I could only pinpoint the fact that if I was going to spend the majority of my hours working, it needed to be something I enjoyed. What did I enjoy? Writing always came to mind. I had harbored fantasies of being an author since I was young. That summer, I signed up for the equivalent of an online writing course (this was actually done via the mail, because I’m old), but it was more as a hobby than in preparation for a career. I knew making a living from writing was a rough path and I was still at the point where I needed stability and consistent income. So what should I do?????? This question was the cause of my daily freakouts. (Other causes: stupid boys, gaining one pound, having debt, stupid boys, thinking a friend was mad at me, bad hair days and stupid boys.)

This big question was eventually answered by my close friend and bombshell Italian actress lookalike, Caroline. You would think I would clearly remember this defining moment of my life, but what I have instead is a vague memory of what I think happened. I believe we were sitting in her driveway on lawn chairs, having a wine party. (She lives on a dead end and her husband is too nice to run us over, so we were safe.) I was hardcore venting to Ca–as I still do–gearing up for another freakout about what I was going to do with my 24 year old life. She reminded me how much I loved makeup– something I had been into since I was 5–and suggested becoming a makeup artist. We talked about Cosmetology school, but I wasn’t interested in doing hair. She then mentioned that our friend Lauren was looking into Esthetics school, something I had only first heard of earlier that summer when a psychic told me I would be going to Esthetics school. (Did you just get the chills?) I didn’t make a definitive decision then, but this is the first memory I have of thinking, I could do that and like it. I may be wrong about the details (Paesana, please correct me) but when I think of how this whole career of mine started, this is what I go back to. The moral is if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, have a driveway wine party and let one of your best friends figure it out for you.

So I jumped into action the next morning, right? Nope. Because first, I had some serious shit to address. I had been feeling sick and exhausted for a while and when it got to the point where walking from one desk to another in my father’s office was taxing, I knew I had to do something. But doing anything was so hard, because I had zero energy. Luckily my parents stepped in and got me an appointment with Dr. Qutab, a naturopath and MD who approaches health issues from an Eastern medicine and ayurvedic perspective. I had been to plenty of Western medicine doctors who would run a few tests and say that I was fine. After extensive testing with Dr. Qutab, it turned out I was in no way “fine.” I had several health problems–from hormonal to un-diagnosed allergies to pre-cancerous issues–and we immediately began to correct those with diet changes and supplements. To say that he changed my life is a giant understatement. I am telling this part of my story because I know that if I hadn’t gotten help with my health issues, I wouldn’t have had the energy to take the steps to start my career. I firmly believe that if you don’t physically feel well every day, you won’t have the emotional and mental energy and the motivation to make big changes in your life.

Even though I was feeling a million times better and shedding that weight I had been struggling with for years–turns out some of the issues I had were keeping that from happening–I wasn’t a complete Suzy Sunshine ball of energy. I had struggled with depression in college and I was, at this point of my life, much more of a pessimist than an optimist. Not feeling horrible every day certainly helped, but I still had intense worrying sessions. How would I pay for Esthetics school? (Sallie Mae.) Would I like it? (At times.) What if I failed the state licensing exams? (Oh, please. No math is involved.). What would I do after I got licensed? Work at a spa? Makeup counter? For a cosmetics company? (It’s going take you a bit to figure that out, but “no” to all of those.) I don’t know if it was that I was in my mid-20s and everything feels hard then, or if my Type A personality made it that way, but I certainly was not carefree and confident in my decision.

Because I had, at some point, made my decision. I would move back to Newport, RI–the town I had fallen in love with when I went to college there–and enroll in the closest Esthetics school. I would work an office day job and go to school on nights and Saturdays. I did move to Newport, but I ended up going to school 8:00am-4:00pm Monday-Friday and waitressing nights and weekends. I graduated and got licensed in July of 2008 and embarked on my new career. A few years before, I had been adamant about never owning my own business, as I had worked in several and seen how hard it was and how much responsibility fell on the owner. But I realized that because of my stubborn,  independent nature and my desire to not be stifled creatively if I wanted to enjoy my work–the whole reason I went down this road–I would have to go out on my own.

It would take me two years of working at full-time jobs not in the industry to do that, but I got there. That’s for Part 2, which I’m sure you are dying to read.  That will explain my early years in business, because this post is already too long. Part 3 will be a comparison between entrepreneurship and working for someone, as I see it. So if you are considering making the jump into entrepreneurship and are more of the analytical type, you may want to wait for Part 3.

I want to be clear about one last thing before you leave me for Snapchat. When I use the word “boss,” I mean because I am my own boss. I am technically not the boss of anyone who works for me, as they are all independent contractors. I’m more of their agent, procuring work and setting it up so they can do the magic they do. In my view, one person doing freelance is as much of a boss as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. If you are making all of the decisions for your career–the jobs you take, the hours you work, the way you market, etc.–and the responsibility of it all ultimately falls on you, you’re a boss. So go on with your bad self.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow palette

 

In theory, choosing an eyeshadow should be simple. Pick the color you want and apply it. But like deciding where to go for dinner when you are with a group of people or coming up with a response to that cute guy’s initial text, it’s not easy. Too bad you don’t have a professional makeup artist who loves to give unsolicited beauty advice at your disposal…

I want to make your life less confusing–the opposite of what that cute guy texting you seems to be doing–so let me walk you through eyeshadow terms you have probably heard or might hear in the future.

 

FINISHES

matte eyeshadow

Matte: Flat with no shine or sparkle. Matte shadows do not reflect light. They typically give the highest color payoff, but a cheap matte shadow can be patchy.

MAC Phloof

Frost: Frost shadows have light reflecting particles that give off a shiny effect. Great for highlighting the center or inner corners of the eyes, but can draw attention to wrinkles and creases.

satin eyeshadow, eyeshadow finishes

Satin: Matte with a little bit of sparkle shot through it. The tiny light reflecting particles in satin shadows give off a sheen, but the effect is very subtle. It’s like the kitten heel of eyeshadows. If you like some shine to your eyeshadow but don’t want to accentuate crepey skin, a satin shadow might work for you.

Motives eyeshadow

Pearlized: Satin’s big sister. Pearlized shadows aren’t quite frosts, but they pack more of a punch than satins.

Metallic gold

Metallic: These shadows are meant to look like actual metals–gold, silver, bronze, etc. Their light reflecting particles are usually larger. Because of this, they can’t be as tightly packed as matte shadows, which means they are more like to cause fallout.

Shimmer eyeshadow

Shimmer: Contains light reflecting particles. Shimmer is a broad term that encompasses pearlized, frost and metallic finishes.

Velvet eyeshadow

Velvet: This finish is very soft and buttery. It can contain no shimmer, a little shimmer or full-on shimmer. Cheaper velvet shadows may not adhere well to the skin.

 

 

FORMULATIONS

Naked palette

Powder: The most common type of eyeshadow. It can come as a single shadow, a duo, trio, quad or larger palette. Powder eyeshadows are usually applied with a brush.

Chanel eyeshadow

Stick: Creamier than a powder and easy to apply. You draw it on, then blend with a brush or your finger. Some stick shadows are very sheer, “slippery” and wear off easily, others are more opaque and long-lasting.

Waterproof eyeshadow

Cream: Cream shadows typically come in a little jar. The can come in any finish. Cream shadows, like stick shadows, can be slippery and wear off easily. Some companies make long-lasting and/or waterproof cream shadows. You can apply them with a brush or fingers.

Eyeshadow pigments

Pigment: Pigments are loose, highly concentrated powder eyeshadows. A good pigment will give you strong color payoff with minimal product. They adhere best to the skin when placed over a cream shadow or primer. I find them easiest to apply with a brush.

I hope I have answered all of your burning questions about eyeshadows. Have a beautiful day 🙂

My Beauty Philosophy: Part 2

Allison Barbera makeup

I love putting makeup on my face. Always have, and I suspect I always will. It accessorizes my outfits, allows me to express my mood and has the power to turn my outlook around. You’ve read Part 1 (unless you’re the kind of non-conformist who starts in the middle of a series and works backwards), My Beauty Philosophy as it relates to others, so here’s your chance to read about my personal beauty philosophy. In other words, it’s your lucky day.

I think each of us has a multitude of makeup looks that we can technically pull off (meaning the makeup is applied in a flattering way with colors and textures that work with our skin type and overall coloring). But we all have our preferences within those looks, and this post is about mine.

My Big Three. All of my looks fall under one of three categories–Work Makeup, Minimal Makeup or Cocktail Makeup. Do I always stick to these guidelines with no exceptions? Hell no. But since I made the rules myself, and I only hold myself to them, they don’t feel restricting.

Since my career encompasses different types of jobs as well as meetings, Work Makeup has subcategories. They are: Corporate or Film Job Makeup (conservative–no bright colors or smokey eyes), Wedding Job Makeup (full on, long-lasting makeup with a pop of color on the lips or at the lower lashline), Photoshoot Job Makeup (can be more creative, depending on the photographer and the client) and Meetings Makeup (like Corporate/Film, but often with a stronger eye or red lip).

Minimal Makeup is what you will find me wearing on the days when I don’t have any clients or meetings, but am working from home and will leave the house at some point in the day (probably at 5:00pm, when I’m starving and craving a burger with goat cheese, no bun). Minimal Makeup is undereye concealer, powder to set that and mascara. This is the amount of makeup I need to not scare myself when I walk by a mirror. Seeing my dark circles immediately makes me feel tired, and seeing my bare lashes just makes me sad. My Minimal Makeup is like coffee for my soul–it perks me up and gives me the energy to answer emails, phone calls and do the tasks that are essential for running my beauty empire. It also only takes a couple of minutes, which is perfect because I need all the time I can get when I’ve got my Business Owner and Manager hat on.

Cocktail Makeup is my term for the makeup I apply before any type of social engagement. A summer afternoon out with a friend, a birthday party, Happy Hour–they all get the Cocktail Makeup treatment. I call it that because unless I have clients or work related appointments after my social plans, I have a cocktail while doing my makeup. One of my greatest pleasures in life is listening to Hip Hop BBQ on Pandora while sipping a vodka-and-something drink and creating a killer makeup look. This ritual started in college (the soundtrack was provided by Napster then) and like the student loans I also acquired during college, has stuck around since. For me, sometimes the best part of doing something social is the getting ready process. When I have the chance, I love to take 45 minutes to do my makeup. Like really do it. The exact look changes depending on the event, my mood and my outfit, but there are no restrictions.

Italian to the Core. I don’t always have the time to do a full makeup on myself, but when I do (and this is really only for Cocktail Makeup), I like to go hard. I’m not afraid of wearing makeup and I’m not afraid of people knowing I’m wearing makeup. Sure, a natural look may work great on other people, but I like dark eyeliner. I like a shit ton of mascara. I like foundation…and blush…and bronzer or a light contour. I’ve been to Italy twice and I noticed that the women in Florence, Rome and Milan are like me. They don’t try to pretend their blush is just flushed cheeks and their eyelashes are naturally that long and thick. These women are done up–hair, makeup, nails–and driving motorini in tight pencil skirts and heels. THESE ARE MY PEOPLE. We are not afraid to look like we spent time doing our makeup, because we did. I find that to be much more honest than the “effortless” (another post coming about that one) thing that some people do. Why spend an hour applying your makeup to look like you didn’t spend time applying your makeup? I don’t get it and I don’t think I ever will. Now pass me my kohl liner and a red lipstick, please. Grazie.

Mood Makeup. I use makeup as a tool to help me get into the mood for whatever I am doing. Giving a presentation about my business? My makeup is going to be polished and full on, because that helps me feel more confident and ready. Freezing cold and hating New England in February? That’s when I do bright or beachy makeup to lift my spirits and trick my brain into thinking summer is not far away. Going out on the prowl with one of my single girl friends? Now, I’m quite sure this is something I have never done. But if it was–and this is purely hypothetical–there would be some kind of smouldering eye makeup and bronzed-but-not-overdone face going on. My point is, makeup helps me get into the role of whatever part of my personality I am bringing out that day. (There’s a reason actors use hair, makeup and wardrobe to “get into character.”) Whether it’s Girlboss, Warm Weather Optimistic or Heartbreaker, there is a makeup look I can do that shows on the outside what I’m feeling like inside. This is one of those magical things about makeup and a big reason why I love it so much.

Not My Chair, Not My Problem.* I mean this in the nicest way: I don’t really care what you think I should or shouldn’t be wearing. I don’t care if a HuffPost article tells me men don’t like women who wear bright lipstick (in fact, that makes me want to wear it more). I don’t care if you think I shouldn’t be wearing a teal and navy eye makeup look at 9:00am on a Tuesday morning. I’m not interested in some magazine’s “Do’s and Don’ts” rules for what I put on my own face. If it bothers you, you can close your eyes while you are talking to me. Just know that I will absolutely use that opportunity to stick my tongue out at you.

So now you know where I stand. (I’m sure you were dying to find out). If you don’t already have your own beauty philosophy, I encourage you to create one. Stand by it when challenged, but change it as you want. It’s your philosophy, and there is no right or wrong way to approach what you use makeup for. If anyone tells you otherwise, stick your tongue out at them…

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

*10 virtual beauty points if you get that reference.

My Beauty Philosophy: Part 1

Wedding makeup in Newport

“Do you ever look at a woman walking down the street and see things about her makeup you want to fix?” I have been asked variations of this question for as long as I have been doing makeup. And the answer is “no.”  Every makeup artist has their own views on makeup and beauty, and I’d like to tell you mine. This is going to be a two part blog post. Part 1 is about my beauty philosophy in regards to others, and Part 2 will be about my personal beauty philosophy.

This is how I see it.

Focus on the good. At the core of my beauty philosophy is my opinion (which I actually consider to be more of a fact) that everyone has something beautiful about their face. When I look at someone, I don’t zone in on a blemish, thin lips or uneven eyebrows. I see gorgeous bone structure, glowing skin, pretty green eyes, crazy thick eyelashes, etc. What stands out to me is what is naturally beautiful about their face. And what I like about makeup is that it can enhance any of those features. When a client is in my chair, I apply their makeup in a way that brings out that feature or features. I’m not huge on corrective makeup. You won’t find me contouring the hell out of people’s faces or packing on foundation to get a “flawless” finish. (I have used the word “flawless” before but I don’t like it, hence the passive aggressive quotes). I cover what I think needs to be covered to make the person feel comfortable (they often start by saying “I have such dark circles!” or “I hate that I woke up with this zit today,” so I often know what they dislike from the get-go). I look at covering or correcting areas that bother a client as the technical part of my job and bringing out the beauty as the artistic part.

Do you. You don’t want to wear makeup? That’s cool! I am a big believer in doing what works for you. I have lots of clients who are nurses or teachers (props to you ladies, by the way–your jobs are so important) and they have told me it doesn’t make sense for them to put on a full face of makeup for their jobs. And there are some people who are just not into makeup. I think that’s great! Whatever makes sense for your lifestyle and whatever you feel comfortable doing is what you should be doing. I’m not the type of makeup artist who thinks everyone should wear makeup. I say wear as much or little as you want, and rock it with confidence. Yes, I write how-to blog posts and give makeup tips, but those are for people who want to learn or experiment. I don’t think anyone has to wear makeup or has to do it my way, or Bobbi Brown’s way, or some YouTube artist’s way.

Bringing out inner beauty. Sounds super cheesy, right? But let me explain what I mean. Overall, I feel good. I am generally pretty optimistic and consider myself to be a happy person. I try to be a great friend and daughter/sister/niece/cousin. I’m no saint, but I would like to think I’m at least kind of a good person 🙂 I’m feel lucky to have so many awesome people in my life and I feel grateful that I have been able to create a lifestyle that I love. All positive things, right? But on the days when I wake up with dull looking skin or darker-than-usual-undereye circles, I feel like my exterior does not match how I feel. So my current favorite foundation and some concealer, and maybe a bright lip color or pretty cream blush perks me up so when I look in the mirror, I think “Now this all makes sense.” And that is what I try to do for my clients. I meet so many wonderful people who have inner beauty in spades (along with some naturally beautiful features, of course) so I think it’s also part of my job to help show that inner beauty on the outside.

Self expression, man. Imagine if we all had to walk around with the same hairstyle, same outfit and no makeup. Of course there would be other ways of expressing ourselves, like with, I don’t know, interpretive dance and poetry. But isn’t it nice that that scenario is not real and we have makeup we can play with? (And you can dance and write poems while wearing makeup!) Maybe you wear a bright pink lipstick on the first nice day of spring, because you’re excited for warm weather and the anticipation of your favorite time of year. Or you’re feeling badass, so you line your eyes with kohl liner and dare someone to mess with you. Or you’ve been into watching old movies, so you take some inspiration from Audrey Hepburn or Sophia Loren and do a retro makeup look. All of those things allow you to express yourself in different ways via the magic of makeup.

So that’s where I stand. I don’t judge anyone for the makeup they wear or don’t wear. My job (and my passion) is to give people a little confidence boost by bringing out their natural and inner beauty and to encourage self expression. Makeup may literally be on the surface, but it’s not a superficial thing.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

Photo Credit: Rebecca Arthurs Photography, http://www.rebecca-arthurs.com. Makeup by Allison Barbera.

Meet The AB Beauty Team HAIR STYLISTS

You met our makeup artists last week, so now it’s time for me introduce you to the hair magicians of Allison Barbera Beauty.

Alexandra Eisemann, Hair Stylist

Oceancliff hair and makeup

 

I can’t say enough about Alex’s work. She is so talented and the styles she creates are Pinterest-worthy. She is a master of not only duplicating styles from inspiration pictures, but creating a look for a client who doesn’t know what they want. Alex is in super high demand for weddings, and she does a lot of photoshoot work. She has done StyleWeek Providence, and her work has been featured on The Rhode Show. She also has her own one chair salon in Warwick, where she does cuts and color  for many loyal clients. Alex is so easy to work with and all of our clients enjoy having her around. She is reliable, flexible and hard working–the kind exact type of person I want representing my company. Alex is a huge asset to Allison Barbera Beauty, and I am so thrilled that she is on the team.

Ana Araujo, Hair Stylist

Ana 2

 

Ana has been with AB Beauty for longer than anyone else in the company–she was the second person I ever hired. When I got her resume, I noticed that she had worked at a salon where another stylist I knew worked. So I contacted that stylist, and she gushed about Ana. That was absolutely justified–you can’t say enough good things about Ana. She is a consummate pro–there is nothing she can’t handle. Braids were a huge wedding trend for a while, and Ana was the queen of that trend. She is meticulous with her work and listens intently to her clients’ wants and needs. Many of our reviews about Ana mention how she is such a calming presence at weddings. It’s so true. If Ana gets frazzled, which I doubt, it certainly doesn’t show! Ana’s portfolio is beautiful. Any time a potential client looks at it, they are sold. In addition to working for AB Beauty, Ana has a steady stream of clients at The Hair Studio, the salon she works at in Tiverton. You can’t go wrong booking hair services with this superstar.

Emily Buffi, Hair Stylist

RI bridal updo

Emily was with AB Beauty for a few years when we first started and quickly became very popular with brides. She also did a lot of photoshoot work and became a photographer favorite. Emily wowed everyone with her ability to create anything from beachy waves to 1930s Hollywood Glamour looks to elegant updos. She left for a while to focus on her jewelry company, That Hippie Chic (thathippiechic.etsy.com or follow on Instagram at thathippiechicaccessories) and is now back with us for this wedding season. I was SO excited when Emily said she would like to re-join the team. Besides being mega-talented and professional, Emily is laidback, easy to work with and fun to have around. There’s a reason people were still requesting her a year after she left! I’m so excited to see more hair masterpieces done by Emily this year. (Photo credit: Peter Silvia, http://www.petersilvia.com)

Kerri Bakalalis, Hair Stylist

Ashley 4

 

Kerri came highly recommended by another beauty pro, so I knew she would be a good fit. Kerri joined us last fall and she has been a great addition to our team. She is the ultimate polished professional, and could not be any nicer. Our clients always love the beautiful hair styles Kerri creates, and they always say “She was so nice!” Kerri is dependable, genuine, easy to work with and super talented. She really takes the time to listen to what each client wants and works with them to make sure they are 110% happy. It’s obvious that Kerri takes her job as a hair stylist very seriously, even though has another job as a dental hygienist and is a mom (When does this woman sleep?). Since Kerri is new to the company, I don’t have any pro pictures of her work yet, but the one above was taken at a bridal trial. I’m psyched to have Kerri on the team and look forward to seeing the hair styles she creates at the many weddings she is already booked at this season.

Lindsay Cardinale, Hair Stylist

Lindsay Cardinale
Photo credit: Julie Furtado. RI

 

Lindsay also came highly recommended from another beauty pro/salon owner who I have known for years. Lindsay loves weddings. Loves loves loves them. Whether it’s 6:00am or 1:00pm, Lindsay shows up happy, energized and ready to work (this is especially impressive when you learn she has a young child at home!). Lindsay is big believer in making the wedding day hair services a true experience. She often gives her client a shoulder massage while chatting them up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a wedding job where Lindsay was already with a client and thought “Oh, she must know that person.” Nope! She is just super friendly and makes everyone feel at ease. Besides creating gorgeous wedding styles for AB Beauty, Lindsay works at Newport salon, Natural Creations. (Photo credit: Julie Furtado, Rhode Island)

Liz Tucker, Hair Stylist

Liz

A couple of years back, I was having trouble finding a new hair stylist. I asked around and a hair stylist/fellow beauty services company owner I know recommended Liz. I saw pictures of her work and was sold. Liz is confident, experienced and efficient–all musts for wedding and event jobs. She makes creating the perfect updo or “Oh my God, I love it!” downstyle look effortless. There are many times I have been beyond impressed with Liz’s work, and one time was this past summer. It was a rainy, humid July day and the mother of the bride had naturally curly, frizzy hair. Liz gave her a super sleek blowout and it stayed the whole day (I saw the pictures that prove it). Liz is a great communicator and easy to talk to. When not with AB Beauty, Liz works at Eden XO in Cranston, where she has a loyal following of regular clients. Liz is a true pro and a definite asset to the Allison Barbera Beauty team. (Photo credit: CC Design Studio www.ccdesignstudio.com)

I don’t know how to create the gorgeous wedding styles Alex, Ana, Emily, Kerri, Lindsay and Liz do, but I know enough to recognize how talented they are. It is not easy to design a hair style that works with a client’s hair type, length, color, face shape and their dress, but these stylists do it every time.

For more pictures of the AB Beauty team’s hair styling work, check out www.allisonbarbera.com

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Meet The AB Beauty Team MAKEUP ARTISTS

In the early years, Allison Barbera Beauty was Allison Barbera Makeup Artistry (Facebook still won’t let me change the damn name). It was a one-woman show–just me, just makeup services. By the end of my third wedding season, I was turning down more weddings than I was booking. Why? Because due to unfortunate quantum physics restraints, I can only be in one place at a time. Also, brides were booking larger and larger groups–an average of eight people at that time–and some did not want to start as early as I would need to to do all eight services myself.

It broke my entrepreneurial heart to have to turn down business because I couldn’t do two weddings at once and to lose clients who just wanted another makeup artist. So I hired Marissa, a makeup artist and hair stylist. Hair stylist, you say? So I could accommodate more brides–the ones I was losing because they wanted to book hair and makeup with the same company? Done. (Marissa is not with my company regularly anymore, but still does a few weddings with each season. She is a fantastic artist and stylist who has a great sense of humor and had a lot of patience with my changing policies as I figured out how to grow the company.)

I now have a top notch team of professional, talented, punctual artists and stylists who are passionate about what they do. They are all independent contractors–which means they have other jobs outside of AB Beauty–so they book up very quickly. All of my artists and stylists get along well and work together seamlessly. There is no gossip or bad blood. I would like to think I have good intuition, and I know from the first interview whether or not an artist or stylist would fit in with the team. If I have even a little bit of doubt about that, no matter how talented they are, I don’t hire them. I want the AB Beauty artists and stylists to enjoy working with each other. If they don’t, clients are going to pick up on that and possibly feel uncomfortable. That’s just not something I am willing to risk.

If you like our Allison Barbera Beauty Weddings Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AllisonBarberaBeautyWeddings?ref=hl , you have probably seen statuses about and portfolios of the artists and stylists. But I think they deserve a proper introduction. Each artist and stylist has their own style and techniques, but they create beautiful work across the board. I’m going to break this down into two posts–one featuring the makeup artists and one featuring the hair stylists. I’ll start with the makeup artists.

Ready to meet them? Here we go!

Alexis Frankian, Makeup Artist

Rhode Island wedding makeup

 

Alexis is a talented, highly skilled makeup artist. She has 13 years of experience and her beauty product knowledge is obvious to anyone who speaks to her for even five minutes. She got her start at CMU College of Makeup Design in Toronto, and later worked for Shiseido and Estee Lauder. She was an assistant instructor in Makeup Design at John Robert Powers and did training with Dany Sanz, founder of Make Up For Ever. Alexis currently works as a Beauty Consultant and Fragrance Expert at Sephora. Alexis is a huge believer in skincare products and always recommends what she thinks will work best for our clients. She is honest but tactful and really wants to help people not only while she is doing their makeup, but before and/or after the service. Although she is very modern in her approach to makeup, Alexis loves vintage clothing and retro makeup looks. Alexis also offers airbrush makeup for our clients. If you want a knowledgeable, polite and professional makeup artist, Alexis is your girl!

Ashley Onges, Makeup Artist

Airbrush wedding makeup

 

Ashley is a triple threat in the beauty industry–she is a makeup artist, a nail tech and an esthetician. Beauty is in her blood–her mother is a salon owner in MA. Ashley does beautiful work and can handle a high volume of clients without blinking an eye. She really loves doing weddings, and it shows. She is friendly, easy to talk to and always on top of new trends and techniques. Ashley also offers airbrush makeup for our clients. Besides doing wedding work with AB Beauty, she works at a JF3 Salon at Celebeautique in Newport. Ashley has been with AB Beauty since 2011 and I’m so glad she is a part of the team.

Jennifer Smith, Makeup Artist

Newport RI wedding makeup

 

Here’s a true success story. A few years ago, I was looking for another makeup artist to join the team. I was interviewing, interviewing, interviewing but no one fit the bill. I finally put a status up on my personal Facebook page, in the hopes that someone would know of a makeup artist. A contact of mine, Caitlin, said that she knew a girl named Jennifer who wasn’t a professional makeup artist but seemed to do great work. Caitlin gave me Jen’s Facebook page, and after I saw her pictures, I contacted her right away. Talk about natural talent! This girl has it in spades. I got in touch with her to see if she would be interested in training with me then working as a makeup artist for my company. Turned out that was her dream job! We did about four months of intense training, and then Jen started doing bridal parties. Everyone, from other artists to clients to photographers, was impressed with her work. And me? Blown away. Jen was born to do this. She has a serious passion for makeup, always trying and buying new products and researching makeup classes. And how’s this for full circle? She did Caitlin’s wedding makeup last summer. I can’t imagine not having Jen on the AB Beauty team.

Jessica Puleo, Makeup Artist

Newport RI bridal makeup

 

When I describe Jessica to someone, I always say the same thing: She is really good. Not really good, but really good. The first time Jessica did a wedding for me, I was contacted by a bridesmaid from that group the next week–she wanted Jessica to do her wedding makeup. That bride already had a hair stylist, and Jessica did the wedding makeup at that hair stylist’s salon. Soon after that, the salon owner contacted to me ask if Jessica could come in to teach makeup classes for their clients. And that is how things work with Jess! Her talent speaks for itself. She worked for MAC Cosmetics for several years before leaving to pursue a freelance career. Jessica has done weddings, films and photoshoots and I have no doubt she will succeed at any other area she decides to pursue. She is a kind, funny, free spirit and a true artist. Jess left AB Beauty at one point to work for Laura Mercier, but now she is back with us and I couldn’t be happier. She also does astrology charts and readings (she did mine–it was great!) so if you are interested in that, I would be happy to connect you. If you are a looking for flawless makeup done by an experienced, well-loved makeup artist, Jessica will not let you down. (Photo credit: Peter Silvia, http://petersilvia.com/)

Shaley Teeter, Makeup Artist

Indian wedding makeup

 

Shaley came to me while she was in esthetics school. She sent me pictures of some makeup work she had done, and I could see her obvious talent. I don’t know if it is in her gene pool–both her mom and uncle work in the beauty industry–or if she taught herself, but she just has it. Shaley trained with me for several months before doing weddings for my company, and although she was already very good when she started, she has become an awesome makeup artist. Shaley does beautiful makeup in a natural, modern way and her personality makes her a blast to be around. When I hear someone laughing at a wedding job, usually I turn around and see that they are getting their makeup done by Shaley. And she is not just a great makeup artist and funny girl–she’s also a fantastic singer! Shaley is a vocalist in a band, Dr. Slick, that does shows in Rhode Island. They are really good (I’ve been to a show) and of course Shaley’s stage makeup is always perfect 🙂 (Photo credit, Armor & Martel, http://www.chris-martel.com/)

I feel lucky that I have such a kickass team of artists. They all bring a lot to the table, and I think their other jobs and interests only enhance that.

To see more photos of everyone’s work, check out www.allisonbarbera.com

Have a beautiful day 🙂