We’ve had a fantastic, busy, fun, record-breaking wedding season this year! And it’s not over yet–we’ve got two more this month.
In honor of our lovely clients and the stellar work my team has done this wedding season, I’d like to share a few great photos. I am still in the process of getting professional photos from this season so we have a lot more to come, but since this year is just about over, it seemed fitting to do this now.
Thank you to every bride, bridesmaid, Jr. Bridesmaid, mother, grandmother, aunt and Flower Girl we worked with this year. Thank you to the wedding planners, venues, past clients, friends and relatives who have referred us. Thank you to the photographers who have let us share their photos. And as always, thanks to my rockstar team. For the 2018 season, that was hair stylists Alex, Ana, Ann, Candie, Emily, Jen G., Kerri and Liza and makeup artists Ainslie, Alexis, Candie (pulling double duty), Chantal, Emma, Jen S., Katie and Kristin.
An August wedding we did in Middletown, RI was featured yesterday, and it’s too gorgeous not to share! Click here, then nod your head in agreement.
Beautiful bride, Jenny, and her group were a blast to work with! Jenny played Biggie for me and one of her Maid of Honors gave me a recommendation for a psychic, who I later had an awesome reading with. This was a great wedding 🙂
I haven’t shared any of of our wedding work on this blog for a minute, so the feature on Style Me Pretty came at the perfect time.
Oh, this post? This is for all the brides who are going to Charleston, South Carolina for their bachelorette party. I live in Charleston during the winter months, and I think it’s fair to say I’m madly in love with my second home. Like you might expect from your (Type A) girl, I keep a list of restaurants and bars I like, and I’ve passed this list on to who are going to The Holy City. I’ve shared this list with many an AB Beauty bride, and now it’s time to share it here.
I haven’t been everywhere in Charleston, but these are the bars and restaurants I recommend:
The Rooftop at The Vendue. Charleston has a lot of rooftop bars, but I think the one at The Vendue Hotel is the best. It’s got great cocktails, an awesome view, and two levels of rooftop-ness. It’s right on East Bay Street, near a bunch of other bars, restaurants and Waterfront Park, where you’ll enjoy plenty of photo opps with your girls.
The Ordinary. Talk about a cool spot! This restaurant and bar is in an old bank. The knowledgeable servers, ambiance and perfect cocktails are what keep me going back. The Ordinary’s bar is big, so there’s space for a large group. It’s on King Street, right in the middle of downtown, so it’s a great starting point for your evening. (It opens at 5:00pm.)
Prohibition. Another cool King Street spot with AWESOME cocktails. This place was modeled after a speakeasy. They have live music six days a week, and swing dancing lessons on Sundays. It gets pretty bumpin’ in Prohibition at night, so this could be a fun after-dinner spot with your girls.
82 Queen. If you can get on the patio for brunch, dooooooooooo it. They have delicious food and drinks. I love the Queen’s Salad, but people I have been with who don’t have food allergies have raved about the She Crab Soup and Southern Tomato Pie. 82 Queen is right around the corner from Lower King Street, so if you feel like eating then shopping, get yourself to this (reportedly haunted) spot.
Basil. Great Thai food right downtown on King Street. I had my first spring roll here in 2017 (I know, how is that possible?). Like with any restaurant in downtown Charleston, if you are going there for dinner on a weekend, definitely make a reservation.
Hominy Grill. This was the first restaurant I went to for brunch when I started snowbirding in Charleston in 2017. The food was awesome, the Bloody Mary was on point, our server was wonderful and it was 70 degrees, so a perfect day to sit in their courtyard. It’s no wonder Oprah loves this place! Hominy Grill is a crazy popular spot and they don’t take reservations, so your best bet is to get there early to snag a table.
Poogan’s Smokehouse. This East Bay Street restaurant is known for its barbeque, but let me tell you, the burgers are bomb too. And the grits. And the service. If you’re looking for a casual lunch spot on East Bay (close to the Market) with great food, this is a solid choice.
High Cotton. It’s a bit on the fancier side, but not stuffy. They have a great brunch (something you also need to make reservations for in Charleston) with live music. If you’re into Bloody Marys, most of the places in Charleston do them really well, and High Cotton’s Bloodies especially never disappoint.
Blind Tiger Pub. Now, allow me to take you over to Broad Street. Blind Tiger was the first restaurant I ever went to in Charleston, so it’s got a special place in my heart. This would be a fun spot to go with a bachelorette, especially if you can sit on the patio in back. Some places in Charleston have what I consider weird hours–open for brunch, closed for a few hours mid-day, open again at 5:00pm–but Blind Tiger is open from 11:00am – 2:00am every day.
5Church. You’ll end up by Market Street at some point, and this is a restaurant and bar I definitely recommend going to. It’s in an old church, which I think is really cool (and appropriate for The Holy City). I think this is another spot that would be pefect for pre-dinner drinks.
Eli’s Table. I’ve been to Eli’s more than any other restaurant in Charleston. This is my favorite brunch spot and I take everyone who comes to visit me there. The food is delicious and consistent, and they seem incapable of making a bad drink. You’ll find fun, attentive, knowledgeable bartenders and servers at most restaurants downtown, but Eli’s excels in that arena. They have my favorite grits in Charleston, which is another reason I love this place. If it’s nice out, they’ve also got a patio out back.
If you end up on Sullivan’s Island, you have to go to Home Team and get a Gamechanger. But just one! Those things will knock you on your ass, for real. Home Team is a casual BBQ place near the beach. It feels a little Nashville-ish, maybe because it’s always fun and always busy.
Find yourself on Isle of Palms? The Windjammer is your jam. It’s quieter off season, but the perfect bachelorette spot during the warmer months (aka most of the year). If you’re looking for a low key brunch in IOP–maybe if you are staying there and are feeling a little hungover–I recommend The Refuge. They have great food and coffee, and my favorite Avocado & Eggs (with grits, of course.)
Want to go out in Mt. Pleasant? Shem Creek is the way to go. There are a bunch of restaurants in this pretty little subsection of Mt. Pleasant, where you might see dolphins if you are lucky. If you are looking for fun, waterfront bars, check out Red’s and Saltwater Cowboys.
Hopefully this post is helpful to anyone planning a bachelorette (or a trip in general) to Charleston. If you have questions, please feel free to comment.
By now, I’m sure you have read my Wedding Hair & Makeup Help blog post and narrowed down your top picks for your beauty services team. Your next step is to contact those companies to see if they are available on your date. The best way to do that is to send them an email with the information they’ll need to check availability and give you the appropriate rates and information. If they have all of the info they need from you, a good company will get back to you quickly with their availability, so you can then proceed with the process.
My company’s website has required fields for the necessary info, and wedding websites like WeddingWire and The Knot have some of the same required fields. But if you are contacting a company on Instagram, Facebook or via an email address you have, you might not know where to start.
Need help drafting that email? I got you, girl. Here’s how to do it.
Hello, My Name Is. If you don’t have an email signature and your name is not clearly in your email address, you’ll want to let the company know who you are. (Guacamolefreak612@gmail.com may be who you feel you are as a person, but it doesn’t give a company any clue as to what your name is.)
Here’s When It Goes Down. I recommend giving your full wedding date, as established companies are often always booking the current year as well as the following year. And especially if your wedding is not on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you should also provide the day of the week. “Saturday, 7/7/18” eliminates the need for any followup questions regarding the date.
Tell ‘Em What You Need. Do you need hair services, makeup services or both? This will allow the company to know whether to contact/assign hair stylists, makeup artists or both.
Where’s The Party At? If you are using an on-location beauty team, provide the location of where you will be getting ready that day. If you don’t have an exact address yet (maybe because you are deciding between two hotels or a hotel and Airbnb), then at least provide the city/town. It’s important that you tell the company where the hair and/or makeup services will be taking place, not where your wedding ceremony or reception is. They likely need this info to figure out a) who on their team is available and b) if there will be a travel fee. If you tell them your wedding is in Boston but you are actually getting ready at a hotel 30 minutes away, that could affect their pricing and availability.
How Deep Do You Roll? You may not know the exact number of people who will be getting hair and makeup done, but it’s helpful if you can provide an estimate. The reason for this is that many companies who travel have a service minimum, so if you don’t meet that, they should let you know that upon inquiry in case you can find other people who will want their hair and/or makeup done or have to look for another company. On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a big group, the company will probably find it helpful to know that, as they may want to make sure they have enough people to potentially accommodate your group size.
Time It Right. I suggest mentioning your ceremony time in your inquiry. This may also affect the company’s availability. (For example, if you have a 10:00am ceremony–they exist–and the company has other weddings booked on your date but those groups don’t need to be ready until later in the day, they may still be able to accommodate your group.) Bonus points if you also mention whether or not you are doing a First Look, as that affects timing too.
Who’s Your Connect? I always ask clients this anyway, but I (and I would think most business owners) appreciate knowing how someone heard about their company. At AB Beauty, we have a Referral Rewards Program for people who refer brides who book. Those people get a $25 Sephora eGift card after the wedding as a thank you, so it’s helpful to know if someone was a referral. And unless an email came directly from WeddingWire or The Knot, I don’t really know how someone found AB Beauty. So this is not going to affect pricing or availability, but worth a mention.
Still not sure how to craft your inquiry masterpiece? Here’s a sample.
My cousin, Joan Holloway, recommended your company, as she hired you for her wedding last spring. I am looking for hair and makeup services for my Saturday, 7/7/18 wedding. We will be getting ready at the Marriott in Newport, RI. Our ceremony is at 5:00pm, but we are probably doing a First Look. I have seven bridesmaids and two mothers who will likely want hair and/or makeup, plus three Flower Girls.
Are you available on my date? If so, can you please send me your rates* and any other important info?
A thorough inquiry means you don’t have to go back and forth with a company, giving them the info they so they can tell you if they are available on your date. It’s the most efficient way to potentially move forward with your wedding beauty services and cross that task off your planning To Do list.
If you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers, so feel free to holla at me in the comments.
Have a beautiful day 🙂
*Even if rates are listed on a website, I recommend asking for them in case they change after you book and the company increases their pricing. It’s best to have your quoted rates in writing to prevent any confusion.
Allison Barbera Beauty Honored for Excellence in 10th Annual WeddingWire Couples’ Choice AwardsⓇ
NEWPORT, RI — January 10, 2018 — Allison Barbera Beauty recently announced its recognition as a winner of the esteemed 2018 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice AwardⓇ for beauty services in Rhode Island. This is the company’s eighth consecutive Couples’ Choice Award.
WeddingWire Inc., the leading global online marketplace for the wedding and events industry, annually recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals on WeddingWire who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The top local wedding professionals in more than 20 service categories from venues to florists are awarded the prestigious accolade.
Allison Barbera Beauty was recognized as a recipient solely based on reviews from newlyweds and their experiences working with them. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients.
“This is the tenth year we’ve celebrated our top-rated vendors who have helped millions of couples celebrate one of the most important days of their lives,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “This group of dedicated and acclaimed wedding professionals, such as enter your business name, not only make wedding planning simpler for engaged couples, but also serve as a trusted partner in helping to make WeddingWire the go-to place for wedding planning. We congratulate all of this year’s winners on their achievement.”
Allison Barbera Beauty is thrilled to be one of the top beauty service providers in Rhode Island on WeddingWire.com.
For more information about Allison Barbera Beauty, please visit us on WeddingWire.
WeddingWire, Inc. is the leading global online marketplace connecting consumers with event and creative professionals. Operating within a $200 billion industry, WeddingWire, Inc. hosts 10 million monthly unique users across its mobile and web platforms. Consumers are able to read over 3 million vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a database of over 400,000 businesses. Globally, it provides these businesses the technology they need to serve their clients through advertising, marketing and business management tools such as websites, payment processing, invoicing and contracts. Founded in 2007, the WeddingWire portfolio of sites serves couples and businesses across 15 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, making it the worldwide leader in weddings with brands including Bodas.net, Casamentos.com.br, Matrimonio.com and more. The company employs more than 900 and maintains global headquarters in Chevy Chase, MD and international headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.
Hello, gorgeous! Are you a bride-to-be? Congratulations! It’s an exciting time and even though I don’t know you, I’m happy for you.
But let’s be real–wedding planning can be overwhelming. There are SO MANY VENDORS to choose from, and unless you work in the industry or have been involved with planning a wedding before, it’s hard to know where to start. Websites like WeddingWire and The Knot can help with the process, as can a good wedding planner. But when it comes to choosing a beauty services company, it can be tricky figuring out which ones are good and which ones will make your planning harder than it needs to be.
The first thing I recommend is to check out vendor listings on WeddingWire. Pour yourself a glass of wine/cup of coffee/shot of tequila, because this might take a while. You’ll see some basic info and a few pictures from each company and if you like their work, look at their website. (If they don’t have a website, you’re likely not dealing with a very professional or established company.) If their website looks legit and their pricing is in your budget (hopefully it’s on their website), then read through their reviews.
There will probably be more positive than negative reviews, so I suggest sorting the reviews by lowest rating. If you see a theme of the same bad vendor behavior in the reviews, that can be a warning sign. I’m not talking a couple reviews or ones that don’t say anything but just give a low rating. But if you consistently see the same negative comments or low ratings in the same area, be careful.
A few things to watch for in the reviews.
Punctuality. Many of the bad reviews I’ve read start with “They showed up 15/30/45 minutes late.” If you see several reviews that mention artists/stylists being late the day of, bustle your gown so you can run. Wedding hair and makeup professionals are usually the first vendor of the day, so if they don’t start on time, that can have a domino effect and make your whole day run late. There’s enough to worry about with the day-of timeline, so why put the start to your day in the hands of a vendor who dismisses the importance of that?
Responsiveness. Wedding planning is a time sensitive thing, and sometimes you can’t make your next move with one vendor until another vendor answers you. And that should not take days. If you see multiple reviews that say a hair and makeup company was slow to respond or brides often had to chase them down for responses, do not book them. They are guaranteed to add stress to your wedding planning, and that’s the last thing you need! WeddingWire has a specific “Responsiveness” category, so I strongly recommend looking at that in the overall rating for a vendor.
Running on Schedule. An experienced wedding hair and makeup team should run on schedule, so buyer beware if you see a lot of reviews stating a particular company ran late. As long as the people in your group show up on time, know what they want, and don’t get up from the chair during their services, the hair stylists and makeup artists should be able to complete all services in the allotted time.
One Contact Person. Multiple points of contact for any wedding vendor transaction can add a lot of confusion to the process. If you come across reviews that mention this issue, tread carefully. A company with constant turnover or lack of internal structure is likely to add some unnecessary frustration to your planning process.
No Excuses. Most wedding review websites will allow vendors to respond to reviews. If you read negative-review responses that are full of excuses from a beauty services company, I strongly suggestion you move on. Excuses and defensiveness are signs that a company lacks professionalism, and is that really who you want to deal with?
After you’ve narrowed down your choices, you’ll want to ask some questions once you establish that the company has your date available. If they can’t answer some of these questions or seem to be evading certain ones, proceed with caution.
How long have you been in business? Not just the hair stylists and makeup artists on the team, but how long has the company been around? Experience doesn’t guarantee that a more established company will always be better, but being in business for at least five years means there is a good chance the company has come across (and hopefully smoothed out) all the normal issues on the operational side and has learned how to make the entire hair and makeup process smooth and easy for their clients. A brand new business may not be aware of how to handle everything because it’s hard to know how to address issues you haven’t encountered yet. If you have a question they haven’t heard or a situation they haven’t come across yet, that may cause delays and confusion that will negatively affect your experience.
Do you do this full time or part-time? Ideally whoever your main point of contact is (the owner, your hair stylist or makeup artist, a bridal coordinator, etc.) will work full-time. Wedding questions are sometimes time sensitive and having to wait several days for a response because your point of contact only works three days a week can be frustrating and cause delays with your wedding planning process.
Are there any hidden fees? At AB Beauty, all of our charges are covered in the rates list and/or FAQs we send upon inquiries. There are no surprise charges and your rates are locked in once you book, regardless of company rate increases. If a company can’t provide you with all of their rates and charges in writing, don’t trust them. That’s not tinnitus you’re hearing–it’s warning bells.
Do you use a contract? Steer clear of a company that doesn’t use a contract. I’ve gotten several calls from panicked brides over the years whose hair and/or makeup team last minute cancelled on them, and in those situations, the services were always “booked” without a written contract. A good contract will protect both parties, and is also a testament to the level of professionalism that company has.
How much is the deposit? Amounts can vary depending on the services you book, but you should be able to get a definitive answer on how much your’s is. If a company can’t provide that answer for you, or seems like they are just saying a number, that’s suspect.
Do you travel? Let’s face it–it’s way more convenient and comfortable to have your beauty team go to you. It eliminates the level of stress that accompanies having to get to a salon and back, nevermind the chunk of time that takes out of your day. If this isn’t important to you, that’s cool. But it’s something worth asking about if you are even slightly considering having a team go to you.
Do you use a schedule? At AB Beauty, we do an average of ten hair and ten makeup services at each wedding (but have done as many as 22). Without a schedule for hair and makeup, things can get very chaotic very quickly. And do you know what chaos leads to? Things not running on time. We are sometimes booked for just hair services or just makeup services and work with another company for whatever we aren’t doing, and when they don’t have a schedule, it always causes the day to run less smoothly than it would with a schedule.
How do your trials work? If you are going to do a trial–and I strongly recommend you do–you’ll want to find out where the company does their trials, how much a trial costs, if they have certain days or hours they do trials, etc., as some of these factors may influence whether or not you want to book with them. Your point of contact should be able to give you clear answers to these questions without hesitation.
What kind of makeup do you use? There are lot of great product lines out there, and maybe you like specific ones. An experienced makeup artist should be able to name two or three of the lines they use most. I personally wouldn’t recommend booking a makeup artist who has a kit full of drugstore makeup, as it those products overall (with a few exceptions) don’t tend to stay on as long or blend as well as higher end makeup products.
Are false lashes included? If you are interested in false lashes, you’ll want to ask if they are included in the makeup service (they are at AB Beauty!) or are a separate cost.
Will I have the same makeup artist and hair stylist the day-of as I would at my trial? If you are doing a hair and makeup trial, you’ll of course want specific hair and makeup looks, but you’ll also want to make sure you like and trust your artist and stylist. Some companies will put you with different people the day of your wedding and while they may be able to duplicate your trial looks, you may not have the same rapport as you did with your original team. I strongly suggest working with a company who does not switch artists and stylists from your trial.
How many weddings do you normally do each year? If you are unclear as to whether or not you are dealing with an established company, hit ’em with this question. If they tell you they only do five or ten weddings a year, it’s either a part-time or new business and they probably don’t have the type of experience a company who does 50+ a year does. That will likely translate into a less of a smooth process, so I’d keep that in mind.
Do you have any references? If a company doesn’t have many reviews but you like everything else you have seen or read, there’s no reason you can’t ask for references from past brides. If a company can’t or won’t honor your request for this, something is up.
One more thing that’s worth a mention: As you comb through websites and Instagram, you may see some people who call themselves “celebrity” hair stylists and makeup artists. True celebrity hair and stylists and makeup artists don’t usually promote themselves as such, and if they are full-time celebrity makeup artists, they are likely not doing weddings. I have noticed that some people in my industry refer to themselves as celebrity artists/stylists, and they are people who have worked with maybe a couple “celebrities” (and I use that term loosely). I’ve worked with a few celebrities too, but that doesn’t make me a celebrity makeup artist. It’s one thing if someone refers to an artist or stylist that way in an article, but if you see the person promote themselves as one, check out their IMDB page and website portfolio and make your own judgement.
I hope this post is helpful to anyone trying to figure out how to book a professional, experienced and talented hair and makeup team. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment.
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
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 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
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Planning a wedding is time-consuming. And expensive. The venue, the photographer, the flowers, the music, the hair and makeup (call Allison Barbera Beauty for that!) and of course, the dress. The dress is such a key part of the day. Whether it’s a mermaid gown, a princess gown, a retro lace gown or anything in between, every bride has a picture in her mind of the dress she wants to wear on her wedding day.
Now imagine not being able to go dress shopping because you are serving in the armed forces and are deployed. Or your fiance is deployed, and the financial hardships of planning a wedding make it too difficult to buy a wedding gown. Enter Brides Across America.
My friend, whose husband is in the Coast Guard, told me about this organization, and I think it is wonderful. Brides Across America, partnering with bridal salons, holds events twice a year where they give away donated wedding gowns to military brides. If you are a military bride who is in need of a dress, or a woman who has a wedding dress that you would like to donate, it’s definitely worth checking them out.
In an ideal world, I would do nothing but eat pomegranates and watch Shark Tank for the majority of my waking hours. That may seem like an odd combination, but everyone has their thing. And mine happens to be enjoying a low calorie, antioxidant-packed fruit while watching successful, creative entrepreneurs (and some, um, interesting ones) pitch their products/services to the sharks, in hopes that they can win over one of the mega rich investors.
While watching Shark Tank recently, my ears perked up when Jacqueline Courtney of Nearly Newlywed came into the tank. As the owner of a beauty services company that specializes in weddings, I am always interested in products and services that may be useful to my bridal clients. If there is something new or different in the industry, I love to be able to share that with my Allison Barbera Beauty brides. And Nearly Newlywed definitely falls into that “new or different” category.
Looking for a wedding gown? Nearly Newlywed has gowns designed exclusively for them, as well as sample and pre-owned gowns at 50-90% off. Their selections include gowns from designers Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang, Valentino and more. Whichever gowns you choose are shipped to you, which is great for those brides who don’t have the time or desire to visit several bridal boutiques. Nearly Newlywed gives you five days to try on your dresses, and whatever you don’t like, you send back for a flat $25 fee.
Want to sell your gown? Simply take your measurements, send photos and a description of the dress and pay the $25 listing fee. (If you bought the dress from Nearly Newlywed, it is already pre-approved for listing and you won’t pay the listing fee). They handle the transactions with any potential buyers and notify you when your dress has sold. Then you ship it to them and receive 75% of the sale price.
Jacqueline didn’t end up getting a shark to invest, but hey, that’s their loss. As someone with 6+ years in the wedding industry and hundreds of weddings under her belt, I think this is a really smart business idea that will continue to gain momentum. Check out the (very gorgeous) Nearly Newlywed site here: http://www.nearlynewlywed.com/ And here’s the Allison Barbera Beauty site, for all of you brides-to-be: http://www.allisonbarbera.com