The first step in your new career will be to have a solid education in the world of makeup and makeup artistry. There are makeup artistry schools and esthetic schools located all over the world, some are good, some are bad, but most are average. Honestly it’s not where you get your education but what you decide to take from it that matters the most. I have often heard students complain about the education they have received at a wide variety of schools across the world and my answer to them is always the same, “learn the fundamentals, take what you need and then improve upon each skill taught and practice it over and over again until you’re proficient.” Your education is 50% instructor and 50% what you decide to do with the information taught. The first step in your success is to become the best in your field of study and enroll in workshops and continuing education courses throughout your entire career. It is up to you to become the best in the industry and to attend a pro makeup class before setting your goals on a makeup artistry career.
To get a closer look at your options you will first need to understand the who, the what, the when and the where of your business. To do this you will need to describe who you are as a makeup artist, such as your skill level and the market you are trying to target. What your new makeup business does, such as techniques and special skills you possess. You will need to know when you will be open for business, what the hours of your operation are and where your business is going to be located, this could include mobile as well as a brick and mortar studio. Will you have a local or global business? And if it’s global how far are you willing to travel? In addition, you will need to determine what your short and long term goals are for your business future. Where do you see your business headed in 1 to 3 years and in 5 to 10 years? I know this one fact to be true, “if you write your goals down on paper you are seven times more likely to complete them.”
Career Choices as a Freelance Makeup Artist
Here are a few career options for you to consider as you begin to build your plan and get crystal clear on your vision for the future we grabbed from the book, The Business of Makeup Artistry.
Skincare and Cosmetic Counters
Working the beauty or skincare counter at high-end boutiques or department stores is a good way for you to hone your knowledge and skills. This environment will let you work scheduled hours and may even give you benefits that you may not get working on your own. The cosmetic counter at most retail locations are very busy and you will have the opportunity to meet lots of new people and practice your makeup skills. Many cosmetic counters offer hourly wages and commission on retail sales.
Salon or Day Spa
You can bring your new skills as a makeup artist to a local salon or day spa. This may be an option for you but remember in some states in the United States a beauty industry license may be required (esthetician or cosmetologist) but the salon environment is a professional setting perfect for a makeup artist. Most salons and spas are very busy and they usually have an established clientele that you can pull new clients from. Your job is to market your skills inside the salon and be an interacting part of the environment that you are working in, they expect you to create a clientele for yourself and to actively engage with the existing clientele. You can do this by creating a flyer or postcard and have monthly specials, then hand them out to customers as they are getting their hair or nails done. Try giving mini-consultations to clients as they are sitting with color or treatments in their hair. You will never find a more captive audience than in a salon where women and men expect the services you provide. Many salons and spas offer hourly wages and commission on retail sales as well as other benefits.
Bridal Makeup Artist
The bridal business has become a billion dollar industry and the wedding day can be one of the most important days in a woman’s life. As a bridal makeup artist it is your job to enhance the beauty of the bride without changing the way she looks. If you like to travel to different locations and enjoy working in new environments this niche market might be suited for you. It is fast paced and demanding, but the rewards can be huge. Bridal makeup fees can be set very high if you are experienced and willing to travel and if you are doing an entire wedding party it can be a very lucrative business. Promoting yourself in this market is key to your success and word of mouth advertising will get you referrals to your business and build a name in this market. This niche market is great for a skilled makeup artist.
Working as a makeup artist in this arena could be challenging. The film and television community is a tight knit circle and it’s not really what you know but whom you know that can get you through the door. However once you have proven yourself as a qualified and reliable industry professional this opportunity can prove to be a very lucrative career. The key to entering this arena is to volunteer your services until someone recognizes your talents and brings you into the circle. Film industry makeup artists are never without work. In some cities in the United States there are makeup artists unions that will put you on their books for call outs. This is a great way to stay busy and get the jobs you are looking for.
Many makeup artists aspire to be in the fashion industry to work their craft. The world of fashion requires teamwork, flexibility, creativity and innovation along with the ability to change direction in a single second. The world of fashion moves at a break neck pace and keeping up can be exhausting. A fashion show or a photo shoot can take days or weeks and sometimes even months to prepare but the makeup application must be applied in a matter of minutes. Backstage can be hectic, disorganized or what they like to call controlled chaos, but if you are willing to work on your feet at a fast pace and adjust to the whim of a producer, designer or model this career can be exciting and glamorous. Usually the pay is not as good as in the bridal arena but if you like the exciting world of fashion this might be the career for you. It also looks very good on your resume.
Makeup Artistry is not just for the fashion industry. There is a need for makeup artists in many arenas but most certainly in the political world as well as the high powered executive world. These men and women spend a great deal of time in the public eye and on camera and their need for a polished look is in great demand, your skills as a makeup artist can help them to look polished and professional. When looking at freelance makeup jobs never leave any stone unturned and take every opportunity to take gigs outside of the fashion industry box. You never know whom you might get to meet.
Becoming a makeup artistry instructor is a rewarding career that lets you work closely with students who are looking for the same career choice as you. Sharing your love of the makeup artistry industry will be your best asset, as well as the ability to relate to many different age groups of students. This career choice is usually set in a fun and fast paced environment where people skills will be required. Teaching is rewarding and will require you to not only use your creative side but also your administrative side, creating a curriculum and testing is all a part of the teaching environment, you will likely be responsible for creating a comprehensive curriculum based on the books and products your school is using. The pay may not be super high but it will be very consistent and may even give you health benefits.
Today one of the hottest makeup industry careers is blogging and vlogging (which is video blogging about makeup techniques) and from the rising stars on YouTube you can see that this industry has taken off like a rocket ship. I suggest you learn the basics of YouTube and creative writing before stepping into this arena but if your have a good grip on social media and marketing you could have a very lucrative career in the blogging industry. Take the time to learn the inside secrets of social media and get a deep understanding of the platform that works best for you.
Vlogging (which is video blogging about makeup techniques)is one of the fastest growing home businesses in the world and from the rising stars on YouTube you can see that this industry has taken off like a rocket ship. I suggest you learn the basics of YouTube, creative writing, and social media marketing before stepping into this arena but if your have a good grip on social media and marketing you could have a very lucrative career in the vlogging industry. Take the time to learn the inside secrets of todays hottest YouTube stars and get a deep understanding of the platform that works best for you.
Direct Sales Marketing in Makeup and Skincare
Today’s social media environment has created hundreds if not thousands of very successful network marketers in the direct sales industry who are selling makeup and skincare products using nothing more than their cell phones and laptops. These companies are usually very inexpensive to join and most times the joining fee gets you a starter kit and marketing materials to help you get started. Remember to be successful in network marketing of a retail product means you need to have the ability to reach a wide audience and be willing to sell your product through relationship building techniques. If you are not comfortable posting lots of pictures of yourself in the products or doing live videos applying the products this might not be the opportunity for you. But if you are willing to reach outside of your comfort zone and host many makeup and skincare in home parties this may be a great career for those who like to work from home.
Volunteering your services not only looks good on your resume but also can get you the work experience you need and the potential to expose your work to many people. Attend women’s expos, fundraising events, health fairs and any place where you are visible and meeting people. Your skills are in demand and putting yourself out to those who need your services is the best way to build up your clientele.
I personally built my career by volunteering to do the makeup on models for professional photographers. Once you prove you are reliable and quick at what you do most photographers will use you for paid gigs. The best part os your work is shared all over social media by the photographer and the model who will tag you as the Pro Makeup Artist who did the makeup. You may also find yourself listed as the makeup artist in a published magazine or article. Be willing to put in the hours up front to build your reputation and create a connection with those who need your services.