I get asked quite often how I got started in my career as a Makeup Artist and how I built up my freelance makeup kit. I’ve been doing ‘freelance’ or ‘mobile makeup’ for a little over 2 years now, and it’s something I really enjoy. I already work full time at MAC, but doing people’s makeup outside of work can sometimes be more enjoyable as it is on your own terms and is a bit more relaxed and less rushed than it would be on counter.
A freelance or mobile makeup artist is a professional artist who travels to your location to do your makeup for special events, weddings, or any other occasion. It is a self run business which means you can choose your working hours, set your own prices, and control your income depending on how hard you work.
A lot of clients get confused and think that I am a freelance artist through MAC, and that when I come to them it is the same price or service. This is not true, and it’s important to remember that every artist you come across will have different rates and services that they offer. I am fully trained by MAC and use almost all of their products in my kit, but this is my own business and MAC doesn’t make any profit from me doing it.
Choose your prices, and make sure your clients are getting what they are paying for.
A lot of the time people can be fussy about prices and wonder why they are what they are, but it’s important to take into consideration how much the makeup we are using actually costs (it is not cheap at all), how much time we spend discussing prices & looks with you, how long we are spending doing your makeup, and how far we have to travel. You will pay more money for a more experienced artist, and you will pay more money for someone who has a bigger or higher quality kit. They saying "You get what you pay for" couldn't be more true in this area of work!
If you are thinking of starting to do freelance work, please keep in mind that you will probably not get booked if you are charging £50+ for a makeup application when you are using products which are from your own makeup bag and are cheap quality. Start off small, and as you build your kit then you can gradually increase your prices. If people question why your price has changed, don’t feel embarrassed to let them know you’ve just spent £350 on new makeup to add to your kit.
Make sure you are confident and know what you are doing.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to be sanitary and clean with your kit and brushes. You are taking money from someone for a service which they are trusting you know how to properly do, and if you use dirty brushes or expired makeup and give them an infection (most of the time without even realizing) then you will be held responsible. Not only is that horrible for the client, it looks bad on you and doesn't help your reputation.
You don’t necessarily need a qualification to be a makeup artist, but you do need to know what you are doing. Watching YouTube videos or helping out as a makeup assistant on jobs or shoots will give you so much important knowledge and skills. That’s how I started out and it helped massively! You will grow more confident with each job you do, so take every one that you can get (paid or npt). You should present yourself as a professional and the rest will follow.
This is a very important part of becoming successful, because if nobody knows who you are and what you can do, then you won’t be able to book any clients! I have made myself a Website, Instagram, Business Cards, Facebook Page, and Email for my business and keep up to date on all of them. I constantly post pictures and links to my work, making sure that all the people who follow or like my pages can keep up with what I’m doing. Always ensure that the photos of your work are clear and show the makeup well, and try to avoid filters or editing the photos as this is false adverstisement and will give clients an unrealistic idea of how they will look after your service.
I get most of my bookings through Instagram and my website, so it is in your best interests to either set up a website or set up a separate Instagram account just for your freelance work. That way people can find you by name, see your work, and decide if they want to book you. You can pay to have a website created for you, or you can make your own for free like I did. I used the Wix website creator and did find it quite difficult, but worth it in the end. On a website you can post more detail and price lists, where as Instagram is more visual and is all about the pictures of your makeup looks & clients.
Building A Clientele
Having a large, active clientele is what will keep your business growing and make you successful as a makeup artist. I always ask my clients to post a picture of their makeup that I’ve done for them on social media sites and tag me in them, so that way their friends will be directed to my pages and they can view my work. I also drop off my business cards in local shops and post offices near my house, so people who might be looking for someone nearby can get in contact with me. Networking is so important in this career, so making sure you are professional and kind to every potential client is essential. You are the driving force of your business so treat your clients as you would wish to be treated yourself.
On things like Instagram and Facebook I always try to reply to every single comment & question, as a lot of my followers are people who are future clients or might be a friend of a client who is thinking about booking with me. It pays to be kind and when people view you as friendly (even if it is only over they Internet) then they are more likely to ask questions about your services and potentially book in with you. Being approachable and helpful is always a good idea.
Never put people down or become big headed, as people can be intimidated by you and wont feel comfortable asking questions. That’s a basic life lesson but it does happen to a lot of people and as soon as they think they’re doing well, and they blow off clients can be are rude to people over prices or availability. No matter how successful you are (or may become), you’ve always got to be humble and kind - as you are your own business manager and will only damage yourself by being rude to clients.
Building Your Kit
This is probably the most important & hardest part of starting out as a Freelance MUA, as there are so many different things you need.. And none of them are cheap! Kit building is a very, very expensive thing and you need to decide what you want to invest in (high quality foundation, concealer, waterproof products) and what you want to go cheaper with (cotton buds, eyelashes, and brush cleaner).
You won’t need everything all at once, but if you are going to do it full time then I suggest you save as much money as you can and try to buy it in monthly shops so you have everything you need. There’s nothing worse or more embarrassing than arriving to a job and not having the products you need! I have spent thousands of pounds on the products in my kit, and I’m constantly going through it and cleaning things out I don’t need or use anymore. Don’t ever let your products go out of date or get into a state where they look unprofessional - nobody wants you to use dirty looking products on their face.
I hope you find ths helpful if you are someone who is hoping to start out as a freelance makeup artist, I wish you the best of luck and feel free to ask me any questions!