Mirror, mirror on the wall, Here are some things to recall.
You’ve got the professional training down pat; your face is permanently on fleek. No one can beat your relentless posting on the gram, showcasing your skills; being a make-up artist means leveraging social media persistently. And you can wield a (make-up) brush like Michelango when he painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Bravo! You’re on the right path to being a make-up artist; the one of your dreams.
But hold on one minute. . .
Remember that book titled, What They Don’t Teach You in Harvard Business School by Mark H. McCormack? Yes, that one. A partial description of it reads thus, ‘fills the gaps between a business school education and the street knowledge. . .Likewise in the facial beauty business. Some things can only be experienced or given as a form of advice from make-up artist veterans to newbies in the business; from one artist to another.
Fortunately, last week’s article was chockfull of useful pointers from real-life, African make-up artists on their journeys to becoming the beauticians they are today. From acquiring hard skills to using certain social media platforms to promote your craft. From emotional quotient attributes to having a signature look that only you can create, the make-up artists dished generously on the road to being one to reckon with in the facial beauty industry.
Though the list was by no means complete, their advice was as rich as they were salient. However, there lies other relevant information you ought to know as you venture into the beautiful world of make-up artistry.
Beyond the glam and the excitement, these seven things ought to be on your need-to-know list about the life of a make-up artist:
- You might start out working for free.
Does that leave a bad taste in your mouth? Don’t let it.
You’re probably thinking right now: I didn’t put in all that hard work to give away my services for free! This phase will not last forever. View it as a beginner’s rite of passage.
Offering make-up for nothing to family and friends during their important days – weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, etc – presents opportunities to showcase your skills on different occasions and receive heartfelt gratitude from loved ones. Throw in test shoots, if you can. People are rarely willing to part with money until they’re certain of getting its worth back and more. This way, you’re also slowly building your portfolio.
And when those results hit social media, getting unexpected likes and inquiries that begin with: ‘Who did your make-up? You look amazing!’, your days of pro bono work would become a blur.
- There will be good days and horrible ones.
Nothing beats being the boss, right? Owning your business. Saying who, what and when bring good vibes and all-around satisfaction.
Sorry to bust your entrepreneurial bubble but there will be busy busy days when you’re swamped with work and hardly have time to catch your breath; and there will others when you watch the hours of the clock go by on your cell phone, twiddling your thumbs because you have nothing to do. Don’t despair.
Being a make-up artist comes with its share of dry spells. Plus, you’re not alone. Even employees have quiet, unproductive periods. Use your downtimes wisely and don’t dwell on the shortage of work.
- That thing about setting your own hours? Sometimes they can, and will, be unpredictable too.
One of the best advantages of this job is setting your hours, choosing your gigs, working when you want and all that jazz. It’s par for the course. The flip side to this is times when things do not happen chronologically or according to your best-laid plans.
You will have to deal with gigs that require unreasonable early mornings and gruelling late nights. Prepare for those occasions.
- You will encounter all kinds of people – the nice, the nasty and the indifferent.
This is a people business, just in case that little fact slipped your mind. As a make-up artist, you’re constantly – literally – in their faces as you prime, contour and outline. You have a front-row seat to their hairline, unblemished faces and, perhaps, their phone screens.
Your clientele will compose of individuals from all walks of life – the bridezilla, the narcissist, the caring mother, the self-important executive, etc. You will connect instantly with some; loathe your time with others; and become instant bffs with yet others.
Let the varied shades of humanity help you become better at your craft and in dealing with people.
- Mistakes will be a part of the job.
A person who never made any mistake never tried anything new – Albert Einstein.
Not all clients will adore your finished work on their faces. It is possible to err with a foundation shade you thought would blend properly or, worse, the overall look may be at odds with what your client envisioned, and this displeasure might be expressed loudly or in strong terms, or both.
First, take a deep breath. Mistakes happen. Occupational hazards are a living thing too in the make-up industry. Apologise, if necessary. Fix the problem. Learn from it and move on.
- It will not be an overnight success.
If you’re lucky to land a client, early in your career, who leads to steady work later, then kudos to you. If that’s not the case, hustling hard for gigs will be a real and present condition for you.
Not due to your lack of expertise but because, like every other profession, there are tons of make-up artists striving to make (up) their way in the industry. Stick with it.
- You could be more mobile than you bargained for.
By the very nature of your job, you’re guaranteed to always be on the move to clients’ locations – be it three minutes or three hours away.
Living in a busy, crowded city, famous for its traffic snarls, can add unnecessary headaches to your journey times. In those periods, let the reason you do what you do keep you on course.