Melissa is a professional Makeup artist whose career began 15 years ago by working internationally for MAC Cosmetics. Melissa returned to the UK to establish a successful freelance career. She is a newly married mother of 2 young daughters, who is passionate about artistry and is developing her brand to focus mainly on bridal makeup. Find out why relationships with small business or freelancers are paramount to success.
Hey, Melissa let’sts start with asking what prompted you to start a career in beauty?
At school I was without doubt much more interested in art than any other subject, I loved graphic design and modelling from clay or other materials. When I left school I needed to explore the world and spent years traveling through Europe, Asia and Australia.
At 25 I decided I really wanted to stay in one place for a while, I came back to Norfolk and had a real desire to work creatively with people. I had always been interested in makeup, the last few years of my life had taught me to follow your heart so knowing absolutely nothing about how to become a makeup artist I began my journey.
Where did you train?
I put some research into the various ways one could brake into the industry, many courses were on offer all at what seemed at the time like an incredibly high financial cost. So I decided to apply for positions on Makeup counters. I was offered a job with MAC Cosmetics were I would receive full training. I jumped at the chance as not only would I receive the training I wanted but I could also build my freelance kit. It was the perfect opportunity I still today I’m forever grateful they took a chance on me.
Have you thought about developing your own range of make-up?
My love of makeup comes from the beautiful faces that I work on. I get a real satisfaction from scanning a persons face & knowing exactly what shading and shape would work for their eyes, face, lips or whatever has drawn my eye. I love the purity of the artistry. For me I’m happy with that and can’t imagine creating my own makeup brand as I think that would take me away from my brushes. However, if life has taught me nothing: Never say Never!
Where can you see yourself within the next 2 years then further 5 years?
Since becoming a mum 5 years ago I have scaled back my working life to allow myself time with my children. In 2 years they will both be at school and I’ll have more time available to work on my business. An area I need to focus on is marketing mainly through social media, I started to write a parenting blog with a friend who works in social media and it immediately became obvious to me that my knowledge is somewhat lacking. In 5 years I hope to have rebranded and employed other artists to work along side me in the wedding industry.
Have you ever experienced any low points in your career and what did you do to over come the barriers?
The life of a freelancer is turbulent. Feast or famine, Prada or Primark! Yes, I have had times where I’m not as busy as I feel I should be. In the past, I have used this time to work on my website and portfolio. Posting new pictures on Instagram and other social media platforms keeps my business looking fresh and consistent.
Relationships with other small business or freelancers is paramount to success, networking is so important, meeting for coffee or working on a creative projects with other industry suppliers keeps you and your work in the forefront of people’s minds.
What are your favourite beauty trends or seasons?
We are coming up to party season which I must admit is the most exciting for me, strong smokey eyes and smooth highlighted skin is my favourite Makeup to create. I love full brows, so I’m delighted to see the ongoing trend in big statement brows hasn’t been replaced, yet! It will happen to you believe me.
A big trend on the catwalks for AW17 was eyeliner! I adore all types of liners, using a kohl pencil smudged into the lid for a colour intensifying base is so effective. I almost always use a gel liner to line the lash line so I was pleased to see Versace using liner from the inner corners of the eye winged out almost to the temples.
You have worked with some well-respected industry people, who would you love to work with?
I really enjoy working with and meeting new creatives. I would love to connect with some awesome fashion stylists in Norfolk where I live.
How important do you feel it is to inspire other women out there on a mission and how do you feel you do this?
Being a mother of daughters it is very important to me to inspire woman and young adults. Woman get in touch with me asking to advise on Makeup courses and enquiring what route I have taken. I always get back to them advising to think outside the bo2-week makeup course does not turn you into the next Val Garland. Practicing on as many different faces and skin tones as you possibly can is the main building block to start your career.
Do you feel enough is being down to empower and support women starting their own business’s?
When I first became a freelancer I remember going on a course for a woman starting out in business. It was ‘Ok’ if the path you wanted to take was in catering or the type of business that required premises. But to work as a freelancer in the creative industries it didn’t really give much guidance. All that I know now is from what I have learnt along the way. I don’t feel like there is enough support for women starting out.
Can you share your top 3 tips for establishing a career as a Make-up artist for other young women out there?
1.You must practice on as many different faces as you possibly can.
2.Work for a few months for a makeup brand, that way you can build your kit quickly using the Uber discounts they offer to staff.
3.Your reputation is everything, connect with others in your industry, photographers, hairstylist, graphic designers. Make sure you and your business is at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to whatever your field of expertise is.