Friday, May 28, 2010

Weddings - Makeup Artist Rules to Live By

I'm happy to announce my wedding business is progressing along very nicely now! I've actually booked 2 weddings this wk for June & July! What sucks is turning down weddings b/c you're already booked that date :( ...come on brides there aren't only 2 dates in the Summer to get married lol.

So I want to give a few tips to the Makeup Artists out there about weddings.


I know this sounds like basic knowledge but you don't know how many MUAs I see that post their prices on craigslist or their site and I wouldn't even leave my house for the price they are charging. Of course understand your area and what you can charge but if you're in TORONTO (like me) this is a major city...charge for it! I'm not quite sure if these MUAs are doing this as a hobby and have a husband at home to support them, live w/ their parents or if they've never actually figured out their costs and what they end up making per hr. Doing a bride's makeup or any of her bridesmaids for under $50/person is NOT acceptable...hell doing a bride for under $100 in my book isn't acceptable but I'll give some room I suppose (btw I'm taking just makeup here, no hair).

Remember when you undercut you're not just hurting yourself you're also hurting the business and all the other makeup artists out there! You'll never be able to raise your prices b/c you'll be known as a budget makeup artist and therefore you'll only attract budget brides. Plus remember you have to travel to the person's house or hotel or your rate needs to reflect this service. Your product costs money and needs to be refilled. You have do pay taxes right ;) You have to pay for your website and advertising. Plus all the time you spend not just doing makeup but cleaning brushes, emailing, networking etc. Weddings are WAY too much stress and trouble to be giving our services away...have a little respect for yourself and your profession!

2. Learn How to Do Bridal Hair

This will open up so many doors for you as a makeup artist if you can offer this service it means more $$$ which is always a good thing in my book lol! If you're hopeless at hair find a hair person to team up w/ and make a go of it together. Brides love anything that makes their lives easier b/c the planning of the wedding can be a very stressful time.

3. Know the Importance of a Trial AND Charge for It!

I see a lot of MUAs giving away trials for free. I don't agree w/ this (esp. when this same MUA is only charging $50/person...OMG). Time = Money and MY TIME is important! Why would I give away my time and skills for free when I could better spend that time making money on another makeup job. I get booked for photo shoots, music videos, print advertising, proms etc. I don't have time to GIVE away my talents when I could be making money for that time. I'm not opposed to charging a bit less for the trial but understand the trial is A LOT of work. Sometimes it can be more stressful then the actual wedding day b/c this is the chance for the bride to figure out exactly what she wants and to assure her that you can help create her vision...sometimes it takes a few alterations that day. Plus it takes a couple of hours...hours I can't book other work during! If a bride went to a salon to get her hair done would the hairdresser do that for FREE...I don't think so. If yes tell me the salon b/c I think I need a trial updo next time I have a night out ;)

4. The Trial is an Interview

So often we think of the trial as a way for the bride to decide if she wants to use our services. It's like an interview/audition of sorts. But you have to remember to look at it from the reverse point of view. Makeup Artist Liz Yu really got this concept into my head - YOU are also interviewing the BRIDE! YOU don't have to take that booking if you get a bad feeling at the trial b/c you think she'll probably be a bridezilla or more stress then she's worth! Truth is if you're good and do your networking you'll probably get another bride inquiring about that same date...someone who might not be worth the headache. This is why it's important to charge for a trial. It shows that you respect yourself, your time and your skills and it also let's you have the power to turn down a wedding if you don't want to take it b/c you don't think it will be a good fit. I'm not saying this will happen often or anything but it's good to be able to say no if you want to.

5. Avoid Bargainers

If the bride is trying to bargain your prices right at the beginning it's a warning sign of bad things to come. I'm not saying it's a guarantee but in my experience ppl that bargain and care more about the bottom line don't appreciate what you have to bring to the table and will NEVER be satisfied w/ your services b/c they don't respect your services in the beginning. These will be the ppl that email you constantly and complain about everything and want multiple trials (free of charge :S ). You want clients that respect your craft and the skills you bring to the table...remember we are ARTISTS!

6. Network, Network, Network!

Bridal business is just like any other makeup business it requires A LOT of networking. Build a good website. If you're starting out set up some mock bridal shoots w/ photographers so you have some nice pics for your website. Contact local wedding photographers and introduce yourself to them...lots of brides ask photographers about makeup/hair artists. Set up a links page on your site and link to vendors that are also willing to link to you. Get your website SEOed! Go on bridal forums and give your opinion or advice about things. Even network w/ other bridal makeup artists...they aren't the enemy or competition sometimes they can help you out! If they are booked they might refer you to the bride and likewise!

I know I've missed some things so let me know what you think is great advice for other Bridal Artists out there!


Deborah said...

Again you speak the truth! Thank you! I'm struggling a bit at the moment because I have artists charging £25 to £35 for bridal make-up. As a result people think I'm extortionate. But no one has a problem paying £1500 for a photographer! gah!!!! I'm just gonna keep going!!!!

Naiyana said...


FACE IT by Jay Anne Cosmetics said...

Thank you for all the great info:))

Denise said...

Amen, indeed. I know I'm in a smaller market but when I hear of places and artists) charging $35-50 for bridal makeup it makes me crazy! I made the decision this year that I will charge what I am worth and if I lose some business because a bride didn't want to pay my rates, well that's business I didn't want anyway.

Amina said...

This post was so helpful! I am not a make up artist but your rules also apply to other careers !!
I always thought that bridal make up was 300 at least...
$50 is too little...that's not even 2 NARS blushes b/c tax is more

labalaba signatures (Ayotunde Adeosun) said...

Wow thanks for sharing this I'm going through this phase right now but henceforth I'm done with my old way of charging brides.thanks I appreciate ur views.

Joanna said...

Hi Jessica, thanks for this blogpost! I really needed to hear the bit about it being OK to turn down the bride after the trial. Although I've been doing bridal (and editorial/ commercial) makeup for years, I've usually just sucked it up and tried to survive the bridezillas. Right now I think it's time I started saying No to those who are going to make our life a living hell. Thanks once again for the great tips!