The Bank Account Blues

 

You’d look better with some more weight on you.

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh, money. We need it, but damn, it can really make life hard for an entrepreneur (or anyone, but you’re in business owner territory here). So let’s talk about it.

This was originally part of one really long blog post, but I split it up into two. If you want to read what became the first post, the rest of this might make more sense to you.

Everything is going beyond great now, but that wasn’t the case in January and February. I hit a real rough patch financially, and I was not expecting it. Happy New Year to me, right? I wasn’t bouncing checks or not paying bills or anything, but I built myself a lovely little psychological prison where the bars were made of Fear and Sadness and the ruthless guard looked suspiciously like me. (Spoiler alert: It was me.)

What I picture the building of a psychological prison to look like, courtesy of Marshall Mathers.

I’ve owned my company for ten years and have grown it from a one woman, part-time gig to a seventeen person, full-time-and-then-some-for-me company. I’ve never been shy about the fact that the first five years were a struggle financially. But I knew I had to push through those and get into the part of entrepreneurship where you not only make a profit, but you can do things again. I turned down countless invites over my first five years because I knew I had only enough money to pay for my business expenses and barebones personal expenses. And when I got through it, it was glorious. (The other post goes into details about just how glorious it was, and how I view money.)

If you are a new reader (in which case, welcome!), let me first tell you about my ridiculous life. From April until January, I live in Newport, RI. That’s my college town, and as my friend Amanda and I say, that’s where my soul is. It is where I have lived for the bulk of my adult life, and even though I didn’t grow up in Newport, it is my home. In the winter–and I am not retired or a trust fund baby–I live in Charleston, SC, which is where Amanda and I decided my spirit is. (My heart is in Nashville, if you’re wondering.) Living in Charleston during the winter is one of my favorite things about my life, but it is not cheap.

That’s okay though, because I know how to save and budget. I don’t buy a lot of “stuff” for myself, because I’d rather put money towards the perfect winter apartment and plenty of spending money for grits and Bloody Marias. I did my first snowbird winter in January and February 2017, and although my rent was so expensive I almost lost my lunch when they told me the price, it worked out perfectly. I had saved enough for both rent and spending money, so I was completely fine.

Gimme that.

This past year, I leased an apartment in a way better Charleston location. And even though it was a 3.5 month lease, it ended up actually only costing a few hundred dollars total more, taking all expenses into consideration. I had saved like crazy again in 2017 to prepare for snowbirding in 2018, but the perfect storm of expenses hit me hard at the worst time.

About three weeks into my 2018 snowbird winter, I noticed that my bank account was looking very lean. It was normally 5 – 10x larger (depending on the time of year) than it was this past January. At first I thought Oh, we just need to book five or six more jobs and things will be normal, but it was a quiet month in terms of booking and big month in terms of expenses. I had to dip into my savings–something I haven’t had to do since I started even having a savings account four years ago–to pad my account. And that killed me.

How could this happen to me?, I thought. I’m the person does a monthly budget and knows exactly when each dollar goes out. The person who use pro discounts and coupon codes and could make a dress out of the CVS Extra Bucks coupons she has used. Sure, I spend money on going out and treating my friends, but that’s not every day (or even every week) and I don’t spend a ton when I am out. I realize paying for three rents (Newport apartment, Newport beauty studio and Charleston apartment) during my snowbird winters is crazy expensive, but I had pulled it off in 2017 with zero issues, so I assumed 2018 would be the same.

CVS Extra Bucks would be my WuTang name.

After some thinking, I identified a few causes of my bank account blues. It came down to a lethal combination of unexpected expenses and timing. My attorney increased her rate right before I needed some legal work I didn’t anticipate done in December, so that was a big chunk. My website domain cost jumped up and my studio rent always increases in January, so even though I knew to budget for one, I didn’t know that the domain would increase by so much. I also had a sizeable security deposit for my Charleston apartment temporarily out of my bank account, which is something I didn’t have to pay during my previous snowbird winter. And, I had taken my “Find a Winter Home” trip to Charleston in November plus another trip in mid-December to get my keys and get my apartment set up for my drive down in January. The previous year, I only took one trip before January, and I had stayed with a friend. In November, I stayed in a hotel, and it wasn’t cheap. The costs from that trip had to be paid in December, which is typically not a high revenue month for my company.

But still, I was surprised. It’s not that I go around spending money on whatever I want, but I really hadn’t had to worry about my bank account for a while. I’m talking for several years. Sure, I had some expense-heavy months in the past few years, but there was always enough cash moola, baby, to absorb those hits. I looked at my company’s wedding bookings in January, worried that maybe business wasn’t as good. But it was great! We actually had more weddings and other jobs booked for 2018 than we had in January of 2017 for that year. The difference was that for the 2017 season, the bulk of our bookings starting coming in in December 2016 and January 2017. For the 2018 season, the bulk of our bookings started coming in in September of 2017.  So although business was better, a large amount of payments hit the bank account during my snowbird winter in 2017 but before it in 2018.

Also, when comparing our 2017 numbers to this year, we had more corporate work in January of 2017. Most Januarys are not that busy for corporate work, so 2017 was kind of a fluke. But between that and all of the December 2016 and January 2017 payments, the beginning of the previous year had nice little cushion, which allowed the normal expenses and the Charleston expenses to land nicely. It just wasn’t the case this year.

How I felt the winter of 2017.

This year, January was the perfect shitstorm of high expenses and a lower income month. Either one on their own would have been fine–and looking back at 2017, I had encountered those exact factors without even really noticing, since previous months had padded the bank account–but together this January, they made an impact I actually felt. All bills were still paid and I wasn’t late with anything, but I did not like the way my business bank account was looking.

So, I did the only thing I thought I could do–I starting a spending freeze (for non-essential items). I only know how to do things in extremes, you know? And I am well aware that the the small things add up. Dropping $50 on dinner and drinks may not seem like anything when I compare it to my regular income, but that was equivalent to my electric bill in Charleston. I held off on going out to eat, meeting friends for drinks and buying anything I didn’t absolutely need. It was a huge bummer, but it felt foolish to me to spend when things were lean. I still don’t take full days off when I’m snowbirding, but in 2017, I was able to take a decent amount of half days off and I loved it. My Charleston life is generally a little slower paced, business-wise, so that I am able to take half days off more often. But for the first six weeks of 2018, I didn’t do much socializing because of the freeze, and that really bothered me. It felt like I was wasting my snowbird winter, but my financial state made me feel paralyzed.

Maybe this all sounds crazy because I was not technically broke. I had money in savings and room on my credit cards (since I pay them in full every month) if things got really bad. But the savings money was my Charleston in-case-of-emergency-fund (the emergency being a slow business year that didn’t leave me with enough to snowbird off that year’s income) and I had worked so hard to get out of that credit card debt. So while those solutions kept me fed and housed, I was still scared. I kept having this irrational thought of What if we stop booking?. Not completely, as that’s highly unlikely for a company that’s been in business for ten years with yearly growth. But I started thinking What if we start booking half of what we usually do? What if I burn through my savings and wrack up credit card debt? Then I would be the 2012 Allison who constantly checked her mail for client payments and reluctantly maxed out her credit cards because she had no other choice. She lived with constant financial stress and fear that one big unexpected expense could wipe her out.

2012 Allison on Halloween, secretly stressing about how much that cocktail behind her cost.

On top of the stress of waiting for a higher income month to balance out the bad months and replenish my savings, I also felt embarrassed. How could I be in this position after a decade in business, the past four of those years being virtually financially worry-free? I thought I was a better business person than that. I really beat myself about that, and it felt so shitty. A lot of it came from this fear of being back in the true broke days of my early years in business, when I carried around so much financial stress that I’m surprised I didn’t fall over. When that stretch of bank account blues ended, I was elated. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I told myself I would never be back in that position again.

On my rare good days (more like scattered hours) early this year I thought, Maybe it’s actually impressive that I had such a good four year run of no financial stress. I don’t know what other small businesses encounter in terms of profit and loss ebb and flow, so I started to think what I was experiencing could be normal. That thought sent me on a search for stories of other established small business owners who had been in this position (and ideally, a happy ending of them getting out of it!), but I couldn’t find many that went into detail about how they felt during their rough patch. They were mostly information on how to solve the problems (which is valuable, but not what I was looking for) or quick mentions of bad times/failures that were overcome prior to great successes. So the idea for this post was born.

When I’m in any type of shitty position, just knowing that other people have been in my shoes helps me feel better. Since other entrepreneurs may also be looking for financial struggle stories that they can relate to, I this could maybe make one person feel better.

As if any adult could fit in my weirdly small child-sized shoes.

It’s not considered polite to talk about money, right? Then fine, don’t read this. (Too late if you’re already this far into it, you weirdo.) But I think especially as an entrepreneur, it is important to talk about it. Unless your business is in the accounting or financial advising industry, money might seem scary and confusing to you. But if you run a business, you have to really understand it. And it’s hard to understand something that many consider tacky to talk about, since that can prevent us from asking for help and advice. If you are an entrepreneur without a good grasp on finances, I think it’s easy to make a lot of mistakes. It’s also easy to feel like you are the only business owner going through a financial struggle, but honey, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I started this post in mid-February, as I was emerging from my spending freeze, and am finishing it now in June of 2018–a record-breaking month for sales for my company. This is likely going to be our best year ever, breaking revenue, booking and company size records. It started out rough, but has completely turned around. Having the rough patch happen forced me to take a really hard look at my monthly income fluctuations and expenses, and I now understand them in a way I didn’t before. That is an extremely valuable realization. It’s allowed me to devise a new plan to prevent anything similar from happening next winter, and I feel confident that it will work.

It’s shaping up to be record breaking year for AB Beauty.

If you are an established business owner going through a rough patch financially, I feel your pain. I feel your fear, your anxiety, your stress and your embarrassment. If you can figure out the causes of your financial rough patch, there’s a good chance you can correct them and/or prevent them going forward. In the meantime, try to recognize the fact that it’s probably just a tough couple of months. Business ebbs and flows but unless we are talking about some disaster that hit your business or a disruption in your industry that negatively affects your company, you are going to be okay.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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Beauty Guru Makeup Techniques: The Real Deal

It’s amazing how quickly my brain will make connections between a movie I’ve never seen–like “The Love Guru–and what photo I should put into a blog post.

There are professional makeup artists and there are beauty gurus. Sometimes a person is both, but that’s not who I’m referring to here. I’m referring to the beauty gurus who do Instaglam makeup (which they often do on both Instagram and YouTube), primarily on themselves but sometimes on others as well. I’ve been looking through some of their Instagram posts and watching as many of their tutorials as I can handle, and I feel compelled to make sure everyone is aware of what is really going on a lot of the time.

This post is for those of you who follow gurus on Instagram or subscribe to their channels on YouTube. How things look in photos or on camera can be very different than what they look like in real life. Like shockingly different.

This post is also for beginner makeup artists, because after a decade in this industry, it is my duty to make sure you know the difference between beauty guru makeup techniques and professional makeup artist techniques. It’s fine to know how to do both if that’s what you like and you have a clientele who likes beauty guru makeup, but you have to know when to put on your professional makeup artist hat and when to do the typical guru type of makeup.

I’m going to go through some of the techniques and behind the scenes stuff so you know what’s really up. I can’t watch every video or story and comment on every technique, but these are the ones I see most often.

Baking. Baking is a drag makeup technique that calls for copious amounts of a lighter-than-your-skin loose powder to be placed onto areas you want to highlight. It is then left on the skin for 20 minutes to “bake.” This is HEAVY makeup (if you didn’t pick that up when I said “drag makeup.”) Mario Dedivanovic did this for a while on Kim Kardashian, but cautioned that it is not an everyday technique. Here’s the thing about powder: it sticks to texture. Dry patches? It’s grabbing onto them. Pores? It will happily fill them in and announce their presence to the world. Fine lines? Treats them just like it does pores, but has the fun effect of adding years onto your face.

Drag queens can get away with baking because they are performing, so they are far enough away where you can’t see any skin texture. But if you are baking your makeup then sitting outside for a lunch date with your friend at 1:00pm? She’s going to see everything. Unless someone has no visible pores or fine lines–so basically, infants–that much powder is super obvious in person. Most clients who sit in my chair tell me they don’t want their makeup to look caked on, which is why I stay away from baking.

Makeup baking
Baking leads to caking.

Tip of Nose Highlight. This highlighter craze has gone TOO FAR. This particular trend drives me insane, because it’s really common with beauty gurus, and it is bad. I believe it started because some gurus said it would make the nose look upturned and like, so cute. And I’ve seen some people say they do it because they have a bump on the bridge of their nose, and highlighting the tip makes the bump seem less noticeable in comparison. And others say it makes a flat nose look more narrow, which makes zero sense. Highlighting anything will make it stand out more and look bigger. Do you want the tip of your nose to look bigger or bulbous? I didn’t think so. Plus, part of this trend is to use shimmery highlighter, and shimmer makes things shiny. When did having a shiny nose become desirable?!?! Lastly, shimmer particles fit very nicely into pores, and many people already have visible pores on their nose. Why would you want to point those out? If you insist on doing this technique, fine. Just know that it is obvious and not flattering in person.

Tip of nose highlight
It’s hard for me to not powder this picture.

Tip of Nose Blush. This shit is baffling. It’s not unusual for a pro makeup artist to use some bronzer or blush across the bridge of the nose when doing a sunkissed or beachy editorial makeup, but tip of the nose? I don’t get it. I’ve always applied makeup to cover red or pink tones on the nose, not bring them out. Blush is meant to meant to mimic the natural flush you get on your cheeks, not your nose. A red or pink nose used to mean someone was sick, crying or had rosacea. I don’t know the reasoning behind this one, and I don’t want to.

She’s stunning, but I can’t get down with this trend. (And this looks like a tip of nose blush and highlighter combo.)

Contouring for One Face Shape. If you look up contouring and highlighting tutorials, 90% of them will be for an oval face shape. That’s great if you’re an Oval, but what about the Hearts, Diamonds, Triangles, Rounds, Oblongs and Squares out there? And what about those with features that they are better off not highlighting or contouring? If you are going to venture into the world of highlighting and contouring, you have to first identify your face shape then learn how to contour and highlight for that shape. If you are a Square with prominent cheekbones and you contour like you’re an Oval, you’ll be putting the focus exactly on the areas you don’t want to draw attention to. For more on face shapes and how to sculpt your’s in a flattering way, check out my Shape Up series.

If you’ve got a small forehead, prominent chin or full cheeks, this technique would not flatter you.

Product Dripping. I don’t know what this technique is called, or if there is even a name for it, but I’ve seen it in several tutorials. This is when the guru takes a liquid production (foundation, luminzer, primer, etc.) that comes in a bottle with a pump or dropper and dispenses product directly onto the face. I’ve been doing makeup professionally since 2008, and I had never seen anyone do this until recently. The pro artists I know will dispense product onto their hand or a palette before applying (as do I). I can’t imagine what the benefit would be of applying it directly from bottle to face. And in many of the tutorials I’ve seen with people who do this, they use a ton of product. When I use Armani Luminous Silk or Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundations, I dispense one pump–sometimes a pump and a half–to do an entire face. I’ve seen gurus use 4-6 pumps on themselves. That is bananas! That’s a crapload of makeup, and it’s completely unnecessary. There is zero chance of that much product not caking up on the skin, especially after powder is applied. And good luck blending! The skin can only absorb so much. It’s also a giant waste of product. Please do not do this.

WHY

Emphasizing All Features. I went over this in my Which Team Are You On? post, but here’s the recap: editorial makeup (and pro makeup in general, up until social media) focused on one feature, but Instaglam makeup does them all up. Full coverage foundation, heavy contour, blinding highlight on several features, cut crease eyeshadow, winged liner, thick brows, false lashes, overdrawn lipliner and matte or intense lipstick colors. It is essentially drag queen makeup, which I love when done well on actual drag queens. But drag queens are men who transform themselves into ultra-feminine women. Women already naturally have some of the features and bone structure drag queens emulate, so putting extra emphasis on those features can backfire and make a woman look masculine. (Fine if that’s your thing, but I have a feeling it’s not what those following beauty gurus are going for.)

I see a beautiful woman there, but what stands out? Skin? Highlight? Contour? Eyebrows? Eyeshadow? Eyeliner? Lipstick? Lashes? Or all of it and therefore none of it at once?

So Much Product. With the emphasis on all features, beauty gurus are already using a lot of different makeup products. And the actual amount of product they use is insane to me. Let me break it down.

  1. I’ve already covered drip foundation, and this triangle-of-concealer-under-eyes application makes no sense, as Wayne Goss explains. Every good pro makeup artist I know works in thin layers of concealer and foundation, which allows them to blend easily and use only as much as they need to blur any imperfections and let the skin show through.
  2. The amount of powder used by many gurus–whether or not they are baking–is borderline obscene. Powder is meant to set foundation and minimize shine, using the least amount of product you can. Lots of any kind of powder product is guarantee to cake up on the skin.
  3. You don’t need to use three contour products and a bronzer. If you want to sculpt, a cream contour and a powder contour are the absolute most you would need to use. I’ve seen gurus use concealers, stick foundations or contour sticks, powder contour and bronzer layered over each other. Unnecessary!
  4. If you think layer upon layer of glittery highlight will look like anything other than a stripe of shimmer on your face in natural light, you are mistaken.
  5. Overdrawn lips plus lipstick plus lipgloss plus highlight over and under the liplines? Again, drag makeup. If that’s your goal, proceed.

If you want to use as much product as many of the gurus do, be my guest. But know that a) It’s going to look super heavy in real life and b) Your beauty product spending will increase, as you are using way more product than you need to.

And now for the behind the scenes stuff. Beauty guru tutorials and photos can be very deceiving. I was talking to a friend of a client at a bridal trial recently, and she said she went to a meet and greet for a well-know guru, and could not believe how much makeup she had on. I wasn’t surprised at all! It’s because of those things I just mentioned, as well as:

Lighting. I’ve worked on a several films, commercials and television shows over the years.  So I can tell you from experience that lighting makes a huge difference. If a person is lit well, their skin will look smoother, younger and more even toned than it really is. You can absolutely manipulate lighting to be mega-flattering and soft on camera. But beauty gurus don’t have a lighting crew on set! you say. True, but many of them use ring lights, which can make even the most hack blending job look gorgeous on camera. If they did the same makeup in your bathroom that has those yellow lights you hate, things would look at lot different.

Lighting it up.

Filters. You probably know about Instagram filters, and the editing you can do there. There are also digital filters that many beauty gurus use to make the skin look impossibly smooth and perfect in videos. Don’t feel like reading anymore about this? Then watch Wayne’s video on what he calls live Photoshop.

I call bullshit on some of y’all gurus.

Editing Out Steps. A full face of makeup–especially the way some of these gurus do it–often takes way more time than the length of the video. Application steps, blending and product absorption time can easily be edited out. Sometimes a guru will tell you that, but other times they keep it to themselves. A winged eyeliner alone can take the length of some of these tutorials, so don’t think that you’re doing anything wrong if you can’t do a full face and lashes in 10 minutes and 19 seconds.

Some things take time.

If you are aware of all of these factors and you love guru/Instaglam makeup, then do you, babygirl. I’m not trying to dissuade you from doing looks you like on yourself. I just want you to know the reality of what you see so you don’t think you’re doing it wrong when it looks heavy or unflattering on your own face.

However, if you are a pro makeup artist and you try to do this type makeup on a commercial, film or at a corporate shoot, you’re probably going to get fired. If whatever you are working with is filmed in HD, heavy makeup is going to be magnified and it will not look good. Think back to the last movie or show you watched. Did you see obvious contour? Tons of disco ball highlight? Heavy, dark brows? Nope. You have to know how to do clean makeup if you want to work in on those types of shoots.

I could go on and on about this topic, but I think I’ve covered the basics. If you’ve got questions or comments, you know what to do.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

2018 Game Plan: Checking In

Remember when you said that?

Accountability. You have to have it as an entrepreneur, since you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck. But it’s also a valuable thing to have in your personal life as a motivator to get things done. My 2018 Game Plan post consisted of both personal and business goals, and now six months later–when most New Year’s Resolutions have long since gone to shit–I think it’s time to see how I’m doing. You, my dear, dear reader, are my virtual accountability coach and this is my progress report.

BEAUTY GOALS

Mask Appeal. My goal was to regularly use face masks. I did really well with this in January, then trailed off a bit in February when I ran low on masks. I got a bunch of mask samples from Sephora in March, but didn’t love any of them. I’ve been using the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm as a mask once a week or so since April, so I’m getting better.

Lotioned Up. My goal was to be more consistent with applying body lotion, and I failed miserably in January and February. I think that was because my bathroom in Charleston was cold, so I wanted the shower-to-towel-to-clothing process to be as quick as possible. Now that I’m back in RI and have two lotions I love, I’m doing better with this. Savannah Bee Company Royal Jelly Body Butter Tupelo Honey and Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter in Vanilla Apricot make this easier.

Massage Envy. I’ve been killin’ it with this goal. I do my own facial massage once or twice each week, and my skin has been looking glowy. Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil is my go to for this. If you want to know more about facial massage, check out this tutorial from Lisa Eldridge.

Brush It Off. I’ve also done well with dry brushing, which is good since I slacked off with the body lotion for a while. Dry brushing is quick and easy, but skip it if you’ve got a spray tan or self tanner on, as it will exfoliate off some of your fake tan.

Tame Those Claws. I would give myself a B+ with nail maintenance. I had been filing and buffing almost as much as I should until I got back to RI in April. I even painted them myself one time, which I never do! (By the way, Revlon Nail Polish lasts a good four days without chipping, which I found impressive.) Once wedding season started in April, I slacked off, but writing this post might kick me back into gear…

BUSINESS GOALS

Get Blogged Down. Knocked this out of the park. I love writing and I love sharing tips, tricks and product reviews (as well as the self indulgent posts like this–no shame). I’ve been stockpiling posts and publishing 1 – 2 times a week for all of 2018. This definitely got more challenging once wedding season started, but I’m making a serious effort to keep it going.

Template Time. I reviewed and revised all of my business templates in January and February, which allows me to efficiently provide clear, updated information to my clients and my team. Score.

Socialize. I’ve taken some social media classes and have learned a lot, much of which I have already put into practice. I do Instagram stories a few times a month so I need to get better with those, but I don’t love them. I’ve also updated all of my social media profiles as well as this here blog. I’m far from a digital marketing maven, but I am improving.

Be a Teacher. In Charleston, I did one full makeup lesson and one mini-lesson (lipstick only), plus had one scheduled that the client had to cancel. I did better than winter of 2017, but I’d like to do more lessons this year.

Grow, Girl. I had a plan for expansion that I had been working on for a while, but after three months of trying different potential options, I discovered it’s not going to happen this year. I was super bummed out but I have some other plans in the works. I can’t shake this ambition thing…

No need to tattoo this on my body. It’s ingrained in me with no ink.

PERSONAL GOALS

Give Thanks. I hit a real rough patch in late January–three big shitty things happened at once–but got through it. (Nothing devastating, thankfully.) I haven’t forgotten how great my life is though, and if you played a drinking game where you took a shot every time I silently said “Thank you!” for something in my life during the day, you would be tore up by noon.

Love It or List It. I’m still planning on giving my bedroom in my Newport apartment a makeover. I inherited a plain white comforter from a friend who stayed with me in Charleston the first week of January (she bought it because my apartment was cold due to the unexpected low temps, and I hadn’t brought enough extra blankets with me), and since I want to my updated bedroom to be mostly white, I’m considering this a start.

My dream bedroom.

Overreact Much? As mentioned, I got hit with three shitty things in a row in January. I actually did pretty well reacting to the first one, but lost it when the second, most pervasive issue came up. Then I got sick of myself being so worried and bummed out, so one day I woke up and thought, I’m done being like this. And no lie, about two hours later, things related to that second problem started improving. Then a few days later, I got a big boost with something else related to the second and third problems. Now, I know I’m being cryptic here, but I have to be. The moral of the story though is that either it’s a coincidence that things started improving when I decided to change my mindset–which could be the case–or my mindset somehow helped. It certainly didn’t hurt, so I will try to remember that next time a shitstorm or two makes an appearance in my world.

Listen Up. Uh oh. Not sure I’ve made a lot progress here. I have been trying, but as an entrepreneur who communicates with her clients and team mostly via email and text, sometimes five or six hours go by where I don’t speak a word to anyone. Then when I see someone…I can’t stop! But I am really trying to shut up and be a better listener. I’m more likely to be a listener with clients, but when I see a friend and they ask me about something I feel strongly about (so most things), I tell them everything I’ve been thinking. But, I do ask questions and check in with my friends often, because I want to know what’s going on with them. Still, I could definitely improve here.

Zip it, Allison.

Win Big. I made sure to enter the HGTV Dream Home Giveway two times a day (the max amount you can enter) while it was happening. I didn’t win, but I’m okay with that.

I think I’ve done pretty well overall! I’m on a constant quest for self improvement because although there are a lot of things I can’t control (much to my chagrin), there are some things in my life that I can make better. And those seemingly small changes can make a big difference. I’ll keep working on this stuff for the second half of 2018.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Makeup Artist Dreaming: Who’s the Boss?

Do you want to be an Angela or a Tony?

Once you have gotten educated/licensed and decided which area or areas of makeup artistry you want to focus on, you’ll have to decide if you want to work for yourself or for someone else. If you want to work for yourself, as a freelancer, you will be responsible for finding your own jobs (and jobs for others, if you hire anyone). If you work for a company, the jobs will be provided for you, but you will have certain guidelines to abide by and possibly a specific product line or lines that you are required to use.

There are benefits and disadvantages to both approaches, but there is nothing that says you can’t change directions if you feel that particular setup is not working for you. Some artists who work for other companies have a tremendous degree of freedom and creative choice, and some freelancers may sometimes work as independent contractors for other companies. Initially going down one of the two paths will give you some direction to start with, but it doesn’t mean you career path is set in stone.

If you want to work for yourself, it’s up to you to be organized, disciplined and responsible. When you work for yourself, you don’t get sick days, paid vacation time, or someone to cover for you when you are unavailable. A freelancer makeup artist’s schedule is typically wildly unpredictable, which makes planning things in your personal life difficult. It is hard (and frankly unwise) to turn down a job because you want to go to the beach for a day when you don’t know when your next job will come in.

If you have some business experience, you will find that knowledge very helpful if you decide to work for yourself. You will be responsible for your own advertising, marketing, billing, ordering products, client communication, etc., so any experience in these areas will be beneficial. If you don’t have any business experience, try to find someone you know who can help you with the basics. Or consider taking a business class for entrepreneurs.

Another huge part of being a successful freelancer is keeping yourself motivated. No one can fire you if you decide to sleep until 11:00am every day and take off three days every week, but you will never build your business by doing that. You have to hold yourself accountable and get things done, and especially when you are starting out and don’t have a client base, it can be difficult to stay motivated. But it is critical to your success, so whatever inspires you to work hard—maybe it’s motivational quotes, books by successful entrepreneurs, or goals you want to accomplish—keep them at the forefront of your business. Working for yourself has its challenges, but it can be extremely gratifying. It also gives you the most creative choice and allows you to run your business the way you want to. This is a good path for makeup artists who are independent, motivated and organized.

If you want to work for someone, you have several avenues to explore. You can work at a salon or spa, for a cosmetics company, as an independent contractor for one or more companies, or at a makeup counter. Depending on the position and the company, there are varying degrees of scheduling freedom and travel available. With some of these jobs, you may have a regular schedule and possibly some benefits. You may also be collaborating or working with a team, which is a plus for those who work best with others.

Keep in mind that working for someone else also comes with certain rules and guidelines. The owner/your manager has the ultimate say, which can stifle creativity in some cases. Depending on the company, you may have to use only their products. This is great if you love every single product they make—especially if they give an employee discount, which many companies do!—but if you don’t like the line you are working with, it can make your job difficult.

Most the successful makeup artists who have been in the industry for a while end up as freelancers. Some started that way, while others worked for someone else until they felt ready to make the move. Don’t force yourself to do what goes against your nature and personality type, but also be open to making a change if you realize the situation you are in does not work for you.

Best of luck with your adventures in makeup artistry!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

 

Thoughts On Social Media For Business Owners

Is this a closeup of brain cells in 2018?

If you’re a business owner or freelancer and you’re ignoring all social media platforms, it’s going to be hard to survive. (Not impossible, but very difficult.) Like it or not, a strong online presence is necessary for your company. 89% of consumers do online research before buying a product or booking a service. You can’t ignore that number.

My company website has great SEO and I keep the site updated, but one of my goals for this year has been to improve the Allison Barbera Beauty Instagram, our two Facebook pages and this here blog. I’ve been taking classes and consulted with some great companies who specialize in digital marketing, because there is only so much this tech-challenged boss can figure out on her own.

I understand why there is an emphasis on digital marketing and specifically on social media because it can be a great way to reach a lot of people, but if I’m being real with you, I don’t love it.

Let me explain. I’m approaching this all from a small business owner standpoint, so some of this doesn’t apply to some people/companies you may follow (and this post has nothing to do with people’s personal accounts). I’m all for social media as a marketing tool used to promote books, shows, podcasts, tours, etc. My issue is with our society’s focus on social media and the deception of some people’s professional online presence.

I’ve got two main issues with social media, and I am ready to vent.

What About The Business? I am not negating the importance of social media, but I think some people forget that you also have to be good at running your business. A ton of Facebook likes or a beautifully curated Instagram feed doesn’t mean a business provides great services and/or products. A person or company could have 21 million followers but if they can’t answer an email and make it to client appointments on time, are they worth hiring? (By the way, you know a lot of people buy followers, comments and likes, right? Keep that in mind before you get impressed by what you see.) I would love to see some of the focus shifted back to how good a company is at the work they do instead of how pretty their feed is or how much they tweet.

The cool thing about online presence for a business is that you can make it as good as you have time (or money) for. But that’s not the entirety of a business. How is everything inside the business? Is it organized? Are there systems? Are employees being paid on time? Are taxes being done? Are client calls and emails responded to promptly? Are followups sent? How are those invoices coming along? Has an attorney reviewed all legal documents? What are they doing to improve the business? Are there plans for growth? I don’t care if a Facebook post has 1.3 million likes–if a business is not doing what people hire them to do, they are not a good business. Put that in your feed and Like it.

Are you spending hours putting filters on your photos instead of taking care of essential business tasks? If so, you, it’s time to rethink your priorities. #youcantonlydothefunstuff

Show Me Your Credentials. There are social media influencers in all industries. If someone is true working professional and expert in their field, then more power to them! My problem is with those–and we see this a ton in the beauty industry–who pass themselves off as professionals when they are not. Speaking again about the beauty industry, I’ve seen influencers who do hair/makeup on themselves that I know would look horrible in person. But through the magic of filters and retouching, they make it look good (or what many of their followers consider to be good). They often have no training, no professional license and no experience doing hair or makeup on anyone else. But they can Facetune the hell out of their photos and videos, then buy some followers to get their fan base going. New followers see these people with a huge amount of followers, so they assume the influencer knows what they are doing/talking about. But so often, they don’t and people think that what they are seeing/watching/reading is expert advice. Nope! They’ve been duped.

In the beauty industry, it’s easy to find out if someone is a real professional, like Lisa Eldridge, or what my father would call a “phoney baloney.” Check their website portfolio and/or IMDB page and you’ll figure it out.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not jealous or hating on anyone. Even with a team of 17 people, my company still turns down work weekly. We get that work from a decade of providing excellent service that has lead to five star reviews and a pipeline of client referrals that #cantstopwontstop. We have fantastic SEO, thanks in part to my website creators but also because people click on our site after putting in certain search terms and find what they need, which is key for high rankings in a Google search. So I’m not sitting over here, upset that my company isn’t getting business but my competitors with better social media are. We are doing very well, and I do consistently post on Instagram, Facebook and right here, dawg.

The thing is, it really doesn’t matter that I think too much emphasis is put on social media. I would never hurt my company by being a dinosaur and refusing to utilize social media. I’ll continue to post consistently and try to stay on top of things. I’m aware of what I could be doing better, which I will continue to try to improve. But if I have one hour to work on something, I am answering current and potential clients before I post a story on Instagram. Because if I don’t answer that new potential client then, but I post a story then answer the client hours later when I have time again, they very well may have booked with another company. (This could be specific to my industry, as a bride is 8x more likely to book wedding services with a vendor who responds within 15 minutes than one who responds four hours later, but I’ve found it to be the case with corporate and commercial inquiries too.)

You get this, or you’re under 35.

I don’t care what anyone says–I’m not willing to give up decent chunks of revenue and hurt our reputation as the most responsive beauty services company in RI because there might be 300 people out there who want to view a behind the scenes story. I will get them their story later, after actual real time clients have been responded to. My clients come first, but I don’t ignore social media. I prioritize clients and time sensitive issues, but it would be ridiculous to use that as a reason to ignore the social media platforms my client base uses.

Likes, follows, re-tweets, etc. are great, because they give you exposure. They certainly may evolve into clients/customers, and my company has benefited from that. All I’m saying is please don’t equate pretty pictures, likes or follows with expertise, excellent service or high quality products. Anyone with the knowledge or budget to pay a good social media company can make it look like they do well or know what they are talking about. But a true pro will sniff them out, and an annoyed pro will write a blog post about it…

There are companies who do a fantastic job running their company and their social media and to them, I give mad props. That’s an impressive accomplishment and one day in the near future I hope I’ll have the budget for a social media coordinator so that AB Beauty can knock it out of the park there too. But we will continue to provide excellent service not only the day of a job but before and after the services have been performed. Maybe we won’t have 100,000 followers, but if my team is happy, the business is growing and clients are still taking the time to leave us 5 star reviews, what does it matter?

I had to write about this because I have both heard about and experienced lackluster service from businesses who have beautiful and consistent social media. (I’m talking within and outside of the beauty industry.) As an entrepreneur and as a consumer, I’m not impressed by a person or company’s social media game if they can’t answer an email, return a call or provide great service. You can filter the hell out of that Instagram post, but if you dropped the ball on a time sensitive the project I hired you for but I saw two Facebook posts and an Instagram story while you seemingly ignored my question, you’re dead to me. (I know posts can be scheduled so it doesn’t mean someone is actively ignoring me, but it can feel that way.)

I’ve always felt I had a lot in common with Don Vito.

I want to be clear that I’m not knocking companies who provide social media services. I know a few who are awesome at what they do, and I recognize that social media has an important place in a small business’s marketing plan. I’m just saying, let’s not forget that a beautiful feed doesn’t mean a business is good, and a lot of followers doesn’t mean an influencer is an expert.

And with that, my vent is over…for now.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Makeup Artist Dreaming: Narrow It Down

Makeup artistry career
Is this your dream or nightmare type of makeup job?

There are many directions you can go in as a makeup artist. You can specialize in the fashion industry/runway makeup, film and/or television, red carpet/celebrity events, theatre, bridal/events, special effects, editorial, or corporate work. You will most likely work in a few fields, especially at the beginning of your career. Doing so will give you experience with different types of makeup applications, and will allow you to build your income while you are starting out.

At the same time, having some focus will give you direction and allow you to plan your next career steps more easily. Many of the fields overlap (for example, most special effects makeup is for film, and red carpet/celebrity events and bridal makeup have similarities), so even if you have a general idea of what you want to do, that will help you.

If you are interested in the fashion industry/runway, you will need to live in or near one of the major fashion centers of the world. New York, London, Milan and Paris are the four biggest cities for runway, but you will find runway on a smaller scale in any large city. But if you want to make runway your main focus, choosing one of the major fashion centers will be most beneficial to you.

To get started in the fashion industry/runway, you must first assist an artist who creates the looks for the shows. This is matter of networking, perseverance and patience! Do your research to find out which makeup artists you would like to assist, and learn as much about their style, past work and clients as you can. Keep in mind that runway shows are very fast paced, so you must learn to work quickly and, while you are assisting, be able to duplicate the look that has been created by the lead makeup artist. The fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris are one week long each, and are held twice a year. While there is prep work that goes into the shows, doing runway only will probably not provide you with enough income for the year, so you will most likely need to supplement your income with other jobs (perhaps working some of the smaller fashion weeks for other cities, or doing editorial work).

Film and/or television makeup is a popular career choice for makeup artists. While Los Angeles and New York tend to host films and television shows regularly, they are not the only areas where you can work. Because of tax breaks for the film industry, places like New Orleans, Louisiana, Atalanta, Georgia and Boston, Massachusetts have become popular places for film work.

To get in to the film/television industry, most artists start out working on small (usually unpaid) student films and independent films. This is how you learn set etiquette, script breakdowns, look continuity, how to interact with directors and different departments and how to network. After you gain experience and make the right connections—which is how you will get new jobs at first—you might want to consider joining the union for makeup artists in the area you work in. Most big films and television shows are union production, so this is something you’ll likely need to do.

If you work in film/television, be prepared for long days. It’s not unusual to work a 14 hour day on set. If you work in television, depending on which show you work on, you may work at one location every day. Working in the film industry typically requires more travel, both in the sense of traveling for different films and during the actual filming (it is unlikely that every single scene will be filmed at one location).

If you form a relationship with a celebrity, you may be able to break into the world of red carpet/celebrity events. It is important to really understand how to do makeup for photography and film in this industry, as your client could potentially be photographed and filmed at the same event. You have to learn to collaborate with their hair stylist and wardrobe stylist, and be ready to change direction if a hair style or outfit changes after you have planned out a look.

Doing makeup for red carpet/celebrity events requires that you are up to date on the current makeup trends. It also requires a degree of creativity, as celebrities will often debut a new look at an event. It is important that you know your client’s likes and dislikes well, but you also want to present new ideas to them.

Theatre makeup definitely requires specific training, as the type of makeup that is often used is not traditional makeup. Doing makeup for theatre requires that you understand lighting, costumes, characters and scripts. Because theatre productions often include large numbers of actors appearing onstage at the same time, usually the lead artist creates the looks for the entire cast, but they only work with one or two of the lead actors. It would be difficult (and probably not cost effective for production) to hire one makeup artist for every single actor, which is why the actors in smaller productions usually learn to do the makeup themselves.

Working in theatre is lively and fast-paced, but keep in mind that it may not be something you can do full-time at the beginning of your career. If you want to focus on theatre, you should definitely assist a makeup artist who is experienced in that field. Living in a city with a prominent theatre scene, like New York or London, is probably the best choice for you.

Weddings are a huge industry in the U.S., and the majority of brides get their makeup professionally done. You can do bridal makeup anywhere, but there are certain cities that have a lot of weddings. This changes each year, but the U.S. cities that usually make the “The Popular Wedding Destination” lists are Boston, MA, New York, NY, Las Vegas, NV, Miami, FL, Charleston, SC and Napa Valley, CA. Doing bridal makeup in these areas gives you access to more work, but also more competition.

Bridal and other event makeup requires you to work closely with the client to create a customized look for them. Along with the normal factors in any makeup application—skin type, skin tone, eye color and hair color–you have to take their dress, hair style and any cultural factors into consideration. Unless you are working for a salon or beauty services company and someone else does the administrative work, bridal makeup in particular is not just about showing up that day. You have to keep contracts, invoices, schedules and other details organized and you must be good with consistent communication and followup.

Breaking into the bridal industry is easier than breaking into runway or film, as you don’t necessarily have to assist anyone first and you don’t have to start with unpaid jobs or join a union. If you have the technical skills and business sense, you can start building your contacts from people you know. Think of how many women you know who get engaged each year—they could potentially all be clients! It takes a while to build a clientele and reputation, but it is generally a quicker process than building your career in other areas of makeup artistry.

Special effects makeup is most frequently done for films and television, but there is also some need for it in other areas. Special effects makeup is much different than beauty makeup, so you will need some training from a school, course or mentor. If you are interested in this kind of makeup, you will probably find the most work and resources—at least when you are starting out—in California. Because special effects makeup is primarily a subcategory of film and television, your way in will be the same as explained for that industry.

Editorial makeup—makeup for print work—is what many people think of when they think of makeup artists. The makeup you see in magazine spreads is typically done by experienced makeup artists who often work for an agency. The bulk of editorial work is based out of New York, but it is a job that allows for a lot of travel, as magazine shoots are done in different locations.

As with anything that is being photographed, with editorial makeup, you must understand lighting, wardrobe, hair styles and locations. For these types of shoots, it is vital that you understand the vision of the client, art director and photographer. You must be ready to make adjustments as you go, as sometimes the visions will change. If you are working with actress instead or a model, you must take their preferences into consideration as well (as long as they line up with everyone else’s).

To get started in editorial (really in any area, but especially editorial) you will need a portfolio. You can build your portfolio by doing test shoots, aka trade shoots, with a team of photographers, hair stylists and models. In these shoots, you will learn how to collaborate with your team, how to do makeup for photography and how to work with different personalities. After the shoot, you will receive images for your portfolio. Test/trades shoots are unpaid, but building a portfolio is essential and therefore valuable.

There are opportunities for corporate work in any area that has businesses. Real estate companies, insurance companies, universities, hospitals and other organizations sometimes hire makeup artists to work on company commercials, promotional photoshoots, business card photos and events. Corporate work can  consist of doing makeup for 50 employees being filmed for short segments, or for the owners of a company being photographed for their website, or for instructional videos to be seen by company employees. As a makeup artist doing corporate work, you will usually be responsible for hair grooming too. This doesn’t mean cutting, coloring or even full hair styling, but just making sure that the person’s hair looks presentable on camera.

Doing corporate work sometimes means that you have to work quickly to get through large numbers of people. It also means that you have to style and dress yourself in a way that is business-appropriate. Makeup artists are creative people, and this is often also reflected in hair styles and clothing choices. At a runway show or editorial shoot, you can let your individuality show through, but when you are with corporate clients, it is to go with more of a conservative look.

Corporate jobs are usually 8 hours or less, and tend to happen more on weekdays than weekends. It can take 30-60 days to get paid for corporate work, which is something you will want to take into account when doing your budgeting. Once they find a makeup artist they like, corporate clients will often use the same person every time, so it is important to form and maintain good relationships.

You don’t have to decide right away what you want to do, but hopefully this overview has helped you narrow down your interests a bit. You will have to do research, make connections and build a portfolio for any of these fields, but focusing on two or three areas that interest you will help you while you are starting out in your career.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Things I Love: The Spring 2018 Edition

Heart eyes emoji, cinnamon in coffee

It’s Spring! I just got back from living in Charleston, SC for three months, so the recent 30 and 40 degree temperatures in RI don’t feel like spring. Surprisingly, I’m okay with that. (More on that later.)

In honor of the fresh start vibes of a new(ish) season, I want to tell you about my recent favorite things, both beauty related and non-beauty related. Let’s get to it then, shall we?

BEAUTY

Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara. It’s thickening, dark black and I love a big mascara wand, so I am feelin’ this one. I’ve been layering it over my Diorshow for crazy volume. It doesn’t get smudgy on me (in fact, they claim that it is a “no smudge” mascara), but I know there is always someone out there who finds every mascara to be smudgy. This is the first Bobbi Brown mascara I’ve ever used, and I am impressed.

I like big wands and I can not lie.

Moroccan Oil. I used Moroccan Oil years ago when I wore my hair curly, but stopped for a reason I can’t remember. (“Being broke” was my main reason for a lot of my decisions in my 20s, so that was probably it.) The South Carolina humidity–which is nothing in March compared to August–made my hair frizz this winter, and since I try to only get Brazilian Blowouts twice a year (for the summer in New England), I asked around for the best anti-frizz hair products. AB Beauty hair stylist, Emily, suggested Moroccan Oil and it has made a big difference. (Thank you, Hair Magician!) Now I put it in my hair pre-blowout, and apply the tiniest bit on my dry hair when it’s humid, and I’ve been frizz-free.

Moroccan Oil, frizzy hair
My anti-frizz weapon for medium level humidity.

Savannah Bee Company Tupelo Honey Royal Jelly Body Butter. I had been on the hunt for a good body moisturizer that also has a scent I like and doesn’t irritate my skin for a longgggg time. That’s a tall order, but I found my holy grail moisturizer at the Savannah Bee Company store in Charleston. The Tupelo Honey Royal Jelly Body Butter smells amazing, makes my skin feel soft, absorbs quickly, doesn’t feel heavy or sticky and comes in the cutest little jar. What’s not to love?

Savannah Bee Company
It’s cute and works well!

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10. Don’t hate me, but I don’t get a lot of blemishes. It’s part genetics, part skincare. But when I do get a zit, I always go after it with a spot treatment. The spot treatment I’ve used forever is a Clinique salicylic acid spot treatment, and it usually works well. But I recently grew a second head, I mean cystic acne spot, out of my neck, and it was not responding to the sal. So I went to CVS in search of a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment. BP kills bacteria (while SA removes dead skin cells that are clogging pores), so I consider it the stronger of the spot treatment options. I tried this BP for the first time one night last week and woke up to see a blemish that had shrunk by at least 50%. That’s a spring time miracle! Persa-Gel 10 is effective, easy to use and under $10. A win-win-win.

Persa gel, acne
The zit destroyer.

Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow Duo in #3 Tansoleil/Bettina. I love a good cream blush. I got this one as a gift, and the shade on the left (which looks coral in person–both shades appear darker in this pic) has been my new go-to blush. It blends well so I use it both after foundation and as a final touch after I powder my skin. The shade on the right doesn’t pop on my skin as a blush, so I often layer it over lip balm. It is a peachy, light nude on my lips (might look different on other lip undertones), so a great compliment to a heavy eye makeup look. It’s also a small compact, so I appreciate that it doesn’t take up a lot of space in my jam-packed personal makeup bag.

Kevyn Aucoin cream blush
A dynamic duo.

THE OTHER STUFF

Cinnamon in My Coffee. I believe it was my mother who suggested putting cinnamon in my coffee this year (and if it wasn’t, she’ll still take the credit) and I’ve been doing so on the reg since. It’s supposedly got a lot of health benefits–click the link to read all about it–but I really just like the taste. Do I get mad at myself when I forget to sprinkle that magic in even though I purposely leave it next to my coffee maker so I’ll see it? Damn right I do. But during my “on top of my shit days,” I use it and I love it.

Male tears mug
I don’t drink my coffee out of this, but I do own this mug.

Theo Von This Past Weekend Podcast. I watch some kind of comedy–standup, video podcasts, interviews with comics I like–every day. And when I discover a new (to me) comic I like, I’m psyched. I got into Theo’s podcasts in January, and I laugh my ass off whenever I watch an episode. My favorite is when he talks about people from his hometown of Covington, Lousiana. He’s quickly made it onto my Top Ten List of Comics, which is good because I had to knock a few off after the crap that came to light recently.

 

Theo Von
Worth the laugh lines.

Grits. Grits aren’t new to me, but I don’t think I’ve talked about them in my any of my Things I Love posts. Which is strange, because I really love them. I have to impose a weekly “grits limit” on myself when I’m in Charleston, because without one, that is all I would eat. I haven’t tried grits at every restaurant in Charleston–I would have to live there for six months straight to have the time to do that–but I have two favorite places to get them: Eli’s Table and Poogan’s Smokehouse. If you think I would consider ordering grits anywhere in New England, you trippin’. I have to (impatiently) wait until I’m back in Charleston to have my favorite food again.

Grits, I love grits
And now here’s a mug I don’t have, but should.

Hatch Tribe Members Circle. Owning a business is one of my favorite things. I’m really lucky that my brother and father own businesses, because they know what it’s like. But other than them, for most of my career, I didn’t have many other people in my life who own businesses. And that can be a very lonely feeling. Last winter, my Charleston friend, Mairin, told me about Hatch Tribe. They are a group for women entrepreneurs, but not just for networking. They offer classes, events, resources and a supportive community–something I was really missing before. Hatch Tribe created the Members Circle this year, and it is the bomb. There’s so much to it that I’m going to do a whole separate post about it, but if you are a female entrepreneur, you should really check it out. The Members Circle has a new theme each month featuring experts in different fields, and so far those themes have helped me up my social media and content game and improve the way I talk about my business (even down to body language and movement). The support and advice you get in the Members Circle is unbelievable. I’ve posted tons of questions about things I was stuck on, looking into, needed referrals for or just wanted input on. Every time, I’ve gotten super helpful responses. I’ve also made a lot of new friendships with like-minded women, which is awesome. (I think it’s hard to make new friends in your 30s, especially when you spend most of your day working from home, solo.) The Hatch Tribe Members Circle has improved my business and given me the opportunity to make a bunch of new friends. So, you know, only two of the most important areas of my life…

Hatch Tribe, women entrepreneur group
Some Hatch Tribe truth.

Charleston Bold & Spicy Bloody Mary Mix. If you had told me three years ago that a Bloody Maria (that’s a Bloody Mary with tequila) would be my go-to drink, I would have told you had the wrong chick. At that time, I was a Three-Olives-Cherry-Vodka-With-Club-And-A-Splash-Of-Cran-Girl, with the occasional Stoli Doli or glass of prosecco if I wanted to mix it up. Now I’m a Ryde-Or-Die-Tequila-Girl, and my tequila drink of choice is a Bloody Maria. My favorite pre-made mix, which they use at a lot of bars and restaurants in Charleston, is Charleston Mix. Other mixes pale in comparison, so I’m psyched that I can buy this stuff online. I always had a bottle of it in my fridge while I was in SC, and I’ll continue that trend in RI.

Charleston Bloody Mary mix
Looks like a month’s worth to me.

Being Back In My Apartment. I can’t say that I love Charleston, because that would be an understatement. It’s more like a part who I am now, and snowbirding there is the realization of a dream I had when I opened my business a decade ago. Charleston is where I live for part of each year, and it feels like home to me. What didn’t feel like home this year was my actual home. All I wanted was a small, quiet space in a safe neighborhood where I could work from home and be in walking distance of downtown. I nailed the neighborhood part (or my Realtor did) but the “quiet” part was ruined by three months of loud, lacquer fume-laced months of renovations on the unit below mine. I didn’t take it well at all. But now I’m back in my RI apartment and it’s so quiet I could cry tears of joy. I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and even though the weather is crap–which would normally really bother me–I’m so happy to be out of the construction zone that I don’t even care. I will never take a peaceful work and home situation for granted again.

Renovations meme
Me, every weekday for three months.

I hope you have lot of things you’re loving this spring. And if you are being affected by renovations, I feel your pain. I found that numbing it with a Bloody Maria works well.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

 

Makeup Artist Dreaming: Get Schooled

Makeup school, makeup certification, makeup artist training
Education is key.

If your state requires that all makeup artists are licensed Cosmetologists or Estheticians, you will have to go to school for the required amount of hours. If you don’t need a license to provide makeup services in your state, you may still want to strongly consider getting your Esthetics or Cosmetology license, or getting a makeup certification. Having a license or certification in your field when you technically don’t need to will give you training and credibility.

If you decide to go to school, depending on your state, you may have to making the choice between Cosmetology or Esthetics programs. Cosmetology programs are typically more hours, and while the subjects of makeup and skincare are covered, the majority of the time is spent on hair styling, cutting and coloring. Esthetics programs normally focus on skincare, waxing, makeup and sometimes other spa services like acupressure, body wraps and various body treatments. Some states may not require makeup artists to be licensed, but they may require some kind of makeup artist certification.

You may live in a state that does not have any education or licensing requirements to be a provider of makeup services, but getting some kind of training will be beneficial. Even an informal course with an experienced makeup artist can help you gain the experience, credibility and confidence needed to start your career.

If you do need to or decide to go to school, get a certification or take any type of makeup course, do your research! Find out what the school or course will provide for you in terms of hours, education and materials/supplies. Visit the school (or meet with the instructor if you will be doing private lessons) to make sure it is the right fit for you. Speak to current and past students if possible.

Verify that the school is accredited, if necessary. Find out what the cost will be, and if they offer student loans or payment plans, if that is something you would need. Confirm the length of the program, the schedule of classes and if there is a penalty for taking a leave of absence or going past the contracted date (some Cosmetology and Esthetics schools have these hidden charges). Get everything in writing and make sure that you fully understand any documents before signing. If your questions are brushed off, or you are made to feel that your questions or silly or you are asking too many, consider another school or course.

The proper education and training will set you up for a successful career, so choosing the right school or course is an important decision.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Makeup Artist Dreaming: Make It Legal

Makeup artist licensing
You don’t need to do heavy research to find out if you need to be licensed to be a makeup artist in your state. This step should be pretty easy.

You have decided that you want to be a makeup artist. Congratulations! Now it’s time to figure out what you need to do to legally provide makeup services in your state. Get ready to do some research and find out what the laws and regulations are in your state. Do you need to be a licensed Cosmetologist or Esthetician? Is there a makeup certification or permit you need to get? Or can you just set up shop and start your career? Check with your state Board of Health or licensing board to ensure that you will be in compliance.

It is extremely important that you start your career off right, and finding out what you need to do legally is absolutely necessary. It’s fine to ask other makeup artists what they had to do, but make sure you verify any information. Laws change, and what a makeup artist in your state was required to do 10 years ago might be different than what is required now. It is your responsibility to find out what your state requires, and a few phone calls and/or Internet searches should give you that information. It won’t be a huge research project, but it is absolutely essential to starting your career as a makeup artist.

So what are you waiting for? Get researching!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash

 

 

 

Makeup Artist Dreaming: The Intro

How to be a makeup artist, makeup artist school
Is this your dream job?
Photo: Trevor Holden Photography
Hair: Alexandra Wilson for Allison Barbera Beauty
Makeup: Allison Barbera

 

You like makeup. You like applying makeup on yourself, and on family and friends. You like reading about and trying new beauty products. Does this translate into a career as a professional makeup artist? It can!

In this “Makeup Artist Dreaming?” series, I’m going to go over all of the basic info you need to figure out if makeup artistry is your dream job and if so, what you need to do to get there.

To figure out if makeup artistry might be the right job for you, I would first ask yourself these questions. (I will expand on these topics individually in future posts.)

  • Do I need to get licensed or certified in my state? The legal requirements vary from state to state, so your first step is to find out the laws where you live. Don’t be afraid to contact your state Cosmetology Board or Health Department with questions.
  • Should I go to school for Esthetics or Cosmetology, or take a makeup certification class? If you live in a state where you do not legally need to be licensed or certified, should you do it anyway? Keep in mind that while these programs cost money, they can make you more credible as a makeup artist. If you decide to attend a school or course, do your research, make visits, and of course, get everything in writing.
  • What kind of makeup do I want to do? Wedding makeup? Film makeup? Editorial makeup? Special effects makeup? There are many different areas of makeup artistry, and having a basic idea of what you are interested in will help narrow your focus and make starting your career easier. You can decide now and change your mind later, but having an idea of what you like best will give you direction.
  • Do I want to work for myself or for a company? You can work for yourself as a freelancer, and/or open your own company (and hire others to work for you). Or you can work at a salon or spa, a makeup counter, or for a beauty products company. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these options, and a lot of it comes down to personality type and what kind of business environment you want to be in.
  • Am I truly passionate about makeup? If the answer is no, then don’t do it! Makeup artistry is a highly creative career, and it is my personal opinion that if you don’t love what you’re doing, it shows up on your client’s face. If you look at makeup artistry as just something you do to get a paycheck, and you count down the hours until you have to leave each day, you will never advance in your career. Your passion for the job has to be clear, because not only will that allow you to create quality work, but it is one of the components needed to book further jobs.

If you have answered these questions and think you are interested in becoming a makeup artist, stay tuned for further posts.

Have a beautiful day 🙂