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ASK A PRO | Business Manager/Makeup Artist

Professional Title:

Business Manager / Makeup Artist

Can you share your career journey and how you arrived at your current position? Please include education, volunteering, work experience, etc.

I started doing others makeup from around the age of 14. Helping do friends makeup for dances and eventually volunteering to do makeup for the school musical. I went to Sheridan College for Makeup for Media and Creative arts. After graduating I became an on-call artist at MAC cosmetics at one of their freestanding stores. Within 10 months I went from an on-call artist to a permanent key holder. I worked there for 3 years all while building up my freelance business. For 8 years I had my own freelance makeup artistry business which I gave up so that I could move to a new country. After almost two years out of the makeup world I am now back working for another cosmetics company as a manager. Throughout my time post college to now I have worked office admin/finance jobs as well.

What motivated or inspired you to pursue this field?

I always had a love for makeup and the arts growing up. I have always done better at hands on jobs as well. I find being a manager you have structure and growth opportunities as well on the floor selling you are able to flex the creative skills as well. There was a great deal of pressure when I was younger to sort out what I wanted to do with my life that I hated. I took one of my passions and make it into a career knowing I could always start a new journey if I wanted to.

Were there specific challenges or obstacles you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?

The freelance makeup artistry world can be physically and mentally demanding like a lot of jobs. Biggest obstacle is building a clientele but once you’ve done so, you’ll be booked beyond what you can schedule. Networking and reaching out to other artists is the best thing you can do for freelance. I would also say getting into a retail space was key for me as well. You’ll build skills around properly sanitizing, colour matching, customer service, work with all walks of life and learn to take criticism in a safe space. The people you work with will support you and teach you about that specific brand and some amazing techniques. Another perk is getting a discount and you can build your kit in an economical way.

What aspects of your job do you find most rewarding?

Nothing will ever feel better than watching someone’s confidence grow as you do their makeup. If they haven’t been facing a mirror the whole time that moment of handing over the mirror to see the reaction is like no other. I have also gained some amazing friendships from the beauty world. A lot of my best friends who I’ve maintained a close relationship with even from another country are makeup people.

What aspects of the job do you find challenging or less enjoyable?

With beauty you deal with a lot of big personalities and egos. I find if you stick to who you are, avoid the gossip you won’t have issues with this. Clients can also be a tricky one to manage at times, as women are often told we have to be flawless and this just isn’t reality. Learning beauty comes in all forms is important, you’ll have to manage expectations and emotions.

What advice do you have for someone starting in this field?

I would say look at the lifestyle you want to live. What does your ideal work life balance look like? With freelance and retail your big days are on weekends. Doesn’t mean you miss out on life but some sacrifices will be made. If you want to pick and choose your schedule, pick your clients and have a really flexible schedule then freelance is for you! Make good connections with some local artists as well, they will be key in building knowledge of the industry. You will also need to be a dedicated person who can manage their time well. Finally I’d say know your worth, when you’re just starting do not charge the standard local rate. You’re learning and that’s okay! Once you’ve settled and you’re getting busier then raise your rates to the standard or higher! It’s a hard one to charge less to start but that’s how you get more bums in chairs for practice. It’s worth it, I promise.

Are there specific skills or qualities you believe are crucial for success in your profession?

Experience is crucial, this is the only way you’ll build your skills. Don’t think “I’m too good” ever, you need to have the desire to learn and do better. Trends are forever changing in the beauty world and you cannot close yourself off to education. I wouldn’t say I was a big people person when I went into this career as I’m often shy. I think if you have a love for the art and enjoy helping people you’ll thrive.

How do you stay current in your field, or do you engage in ongoing professional development?

As I’m working with a brand currently there is constant education happening. The amount of training and knowledge handed out is substantial. Getting on social media and following celebrity makeup artist and other artists who you like their style is a huge help as well. Staying connected and talking to others is where you stay up to date. As a freelance artist it’s also massively important to take master classes from other artists to up your level of talent and knowledge.

Did you have any mentors or role models who influenced your career choice?

Honestly going into it I followed the popular beauty influencers but it was more to pull inspiration from them. I think my love for makeup really drew me to the career to start. Working in a retail environment I can say the managers and trainers impacted my career progression mostly.

If you could go back and give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Don’t feel like what you choose now dictates how your life will go. Be wise with investing in good makeup and do not over purchase on products because they expire in 6-12 months. Invest in ongoing education instead of mountains of products. Don’t be scared to try, if it doesn’t work you’ll learn from it. Biggest thing is to grow connections even if it’s just online, having a community of support is life changing.

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