NOVEMBER BUSINESS OF THE MONTH
Makeup BY Jennifer P
Tell us about your company? When and where did you start?
I am running a freelance makeup artist business here in Bahrain. I have been doing makeup for over 15 years, mostly in Los Angeles and then later on in Europe. I specialize in airbrush makeup, waterproof makeup, brides, editorials, all special occasions as well as teach private and group beginning and advanced makeup lessons.
What gave you the inspiration to set up this business?
I have always loved makeup and cosmetics. My first career is singing and since I was on stage from a very young age I discovered how important it was to have your makeup flawless on stage and in photos and from there the passion developed.
Tell us a bit about yourself, what did you do before setting the business up?
I was doing music my entire life and have been a professional singer since I was basically born. I have recorded albums with the London Symphony Orchestra and some of the worlds top writers, producers and musicians. When I decided to settle down and have a family I realized that that lifestyle would not suit me and needed to focus back on my makeup profession until I am ready again to focus on my music career.
What have been the biggest challenges that you have faced?
I guess the biggest challenges have been moving all over the world alone and making new friends and business relationships in new places. Starting new again, but I also find this the most fulfilling.
How does your company differentiate itself from the competition? Who are your key competitors?
From what I understand as of now I am the only freelance makeup artist from the USA working in Bahrain. Also the fact that I have so many years of experience with cosmetic companies and specialize in airbrush makeup puts me in a different league of some of the artist here in Bahrain. My training and experience is extensive and I am able to please my clients by understanding the individuals needs and wants. Some clients ask for a very natural “western” style makeup which is something I am very familiar with, but I am also able to please my clients who prefer a heavier, more dramatic look. Some artists are limited in different styles due to their training and also the clientele. I feel I will always have much more to learn in makeup as things are always changing and evolving, but I am very happy with what I am able to accomplish as well.
What has been your biggest success or achievement?
I think moving to a new country and building a new clientele only by word of mouth in a short few months is a big success for me.
What do you love about being your own boss, and what (if anything) gets you down?
I love that I can control my schedule and special offers. I am able to work and still spend time with my family. I can chose to use the products I feel are the best available and also allocate time to my clients without having someone over my shoulder forcing me to work fast only to bring in more clients and money. I feel customer service is such an important part of business and the most important thing is having a happy client. When you give the necessary time to a client and answer questions I feel it makes the client feel comfortable and will be a returning client. The only thing that gets me down is if a client is unhappy with my work, which in all honesty I have been very lucky and this is extremely rare. When it happened in the past I really had to find out the reason so I was able to fix it so the client will leave feeling beautiful and satisfied. I am a perfectionist so less then perfect makes me unhappy.
Did you conduct any research before launching your company, to establish if demand was there?
Well I did not spend too much time researching this here in Bahrain as I saw from the first first months living here that makeup and cosmetics is a huge part of the culture here in the middle east. Beauty is a necessity and in high demand and although I did the necessary research about the clientele, prices, needs, etc. for me it was obvious that beauty was a priority here.
How do you manage the day to day workings of your business? Have you employed people to do the marketing, PR, HR, business development areas?
I do it by myself. I spend a few hours a day working on my facebook page, sending and replying to emails, doing makeup orders, booking appointments, as well as doing makeovers and lessons. I keep busy with the day to day activities of work and life.
Who are your target audience?
I would have to say all women from ages 16 to 65, although I have younger and older clients as well. I do not target a specific group as I have a large mix of nationalities which I love because as an artist I get to express myself on each client with something new and exciting.
Is it challenging to juggle family commitments and a career? How do you manage it?
Yes it can be challenging sometimes, I have just learned to be sure to book my appointments when my husband works and try my best to be available for my family when he is off. Sometimes I feel a bit torn because I love being with my son and my husband but there is a VIP occasion I have to work for, but I do not do jobs I do not enjoy to do. There is always a balance and you have to find it in life. I think as a woman who loves to work and create it is very important to prioritize and be sure that you make enough time for your family, and for the work you love to do. It helps you feel complete. I have built a makeup studio at home now which I now do 99% of my clients there and it keeps me close to my family.
What do you think has been the secret of your success?
Hmmm, I think it is a combination of several things. Being passionate about my work, understanding and listening to the clients needs, loving what I do, making my clients feel comfortable, using great products and always being sure the clients leaves happy is a sure way to success.
What can we expect to see from your business in the future?
Hopefully my business will grow and I will get a larger clientele. I have to say the one thing that I lack is exposure and once I can get a little bit more exposure I think my clientele will expand. I do not ever plan on having more makeup artists working for me, I feel this takes away the intimacy between my client and myself and this is what I love the best. It is also a trust issue when you hire someone to do the job you would like to do but are too busy to do. In this case this is what makes my business successful as well, the client always can depend on consistency with me. I would not want a large salon to manage, I love my private makeup studio and so far all of my clients do as well.
Looking back, would you do anything differently?
Nope, I do not think so. I never know where I am headed and this is exciting. If I do want to change something there is always time to do this. I never regret things.
As an entrepreneur, what advice can you give to others wanting to set up a successful business?
I would have to say the most important thing is believing in yourself and your business and do not let anyone convince you of something else. Do not let the fear take over. We never know if we will be successful without at leas trying. Be sure to do as much research as possible first regarding location, demographic, etc. and keep pushing it until you get to where you are comfortable and happy. Never give up on a dream, if you do this will be your only regret.