To the Upcoming Makeup Artists

Sometimes I forget that some of you reading this may be makeup artists and beauty therapists in the making and that I have so much to tell you if you are looking at becoming a makeup artist in particular. So today is dedicated to those at the start of their makeup career – perhaps enrolled in a makeup course or working on a counter but hoping to take it further.

A little background for you on my training, I quickly decided after leaving year 12 that uni wasn’t for me (although years later I’m now completing my degree by correspondence), and my mother agreed that I should follow my passion which at the time was makeup artistry. I enrolled in a Certificate IV in Makeup Artistry at The Makeup Technicians in Sydney after attending a number of open days and this college seemed the most dedicated in provided a rounded education (rather than specialising in one area), supporting their students, and most importantly didn’t use or were owned by one particular makeup brand.

My course took a full year to complete, about $15000 in fees, and was scattered with assessments both written and practical and a requirement for 200 hours of work experience before completion.

So to those of you looking to enroll in a course,the first thing you should be doing is your homework – looking for an academy that offers an accredited course (I.e. Your certificate is recognised by the government and the academy is a recognised training provider), at a price you can afford, and as I stated isn’t owned by a cosmetic company or uses one brand exclusively in its lessons. The reason for this is these academies are often looking to fill retail positions in their stores and your education will be by no means particularly…. Good.

For those already studying or perhaps recently graduated, you’re probably having a minor panic attach now about finding work experience, finding paid jobs, actually getting paid, and having a minor meltdown over what the rest of your career is going to look like and whether you actually have the energy to follow it through.

Graduating is daunting. By the end of our course we were mostly all broke, desperately trying to find work, agreeing to any makeup jobs we could whether they were paid or not, and starting to wonder how we were supposed to ‘make it’ in our preferred area (fashion, photography, bridal, film, special effects). So here is my advice:

1) You are going to have to accept your number 1 priority now is selling yourself – no not to prostitution – I mean you are your brand, you and your personality and speaking skills and personal marketing is what is going to get you work. Your skills as a makeup artist I would actually say account for 40% of your success, your own selling skills and personality the other 60%.

2) You need to accept any work in any area and can’t turn down jobs because you’re not that keen on xyz. The more people you meet, the more opportunities will arise and in time you can start to specialise

3) You are going to need a second job. And possibly for as long as the next 10 years. Unless you get really lucky, makeup artists don’t get paid a lot, and every year there are thousands of other students graduating like you looking for jobs. One of my first regular jobs was on a makeup counter at Bobbi Brown in David Jones and it was great. I still had flexibility, we were all makeup artists and could share ideas and contacts and jobs, we got regular training, and best of all a huge amount of free products to stock our kits.

4) Don’t turn your nose up at weddings. Not many artists want to come out and simply be a bridal makeup artist – but there is damned good money in this and if you get referrals and testimonials, you can rake it in for a few hours on a Saturday and Sunday.

5) Finally, follow every option sales wise available to you without fail: you need to blog, Instagram, Facebook, have your own website, business cards a portfolio, sign up for Airtasker or other service websites where people can request jobs, knock on doors, talk to hair salons, leave your flyers in local businesses, community notice boards, gumtree. EVERYWHERE. And then and only then with consistency will you start getting the work and can start to ask for certain pay and conditions, and specialise in your preferred area.

Don’t give up! And always know you can ask me anything if you need more information!

All my love,

L xx

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