Ever watch a movie like The Devil Wears Prada and think: I’d love to be a boss like that!
Okay, maybe not as scary as Miranda Priestly but you can’t deny that her girl boss work ethic is admirable. Every day you hear of young people taking on the business world with their brand new start up – but while we love to hear about the success, what happens along the way? What are the sacrifices?
For many young men and women considering starting a business, the questions are endless – so I took the liberty to seek out a woman who under the age of 25 is making a name for herself in the fast paced beauty industry.
Brodie Jenkins, owner of Makeup by Brodie Jenkins first started her business in 2014 – while she was completing her final year of VCE (crazy, I know). Based in Melbourne’s outer-east, Brodie is one of the most popular freelance makeup artists in the area, with a strong social media following and a fantastic work ethic, the 21-year-old has weekend appointments booked out months in advance. I sat down with Brodie to learn exactly what it was like starting a business in the highly competitive makeup industry.
Starting out, were your friends and family doubtful?
At first yes, as a week out from my VCE exams I decided to do a unscored year 12, meaning I get a year 12 pass and completed all my SACs, but didn’t do exams to receive an ATAR score. I know my parents thought it was the wrong decision and were initially doubtful, as well as a few of my friends told me I’d regret not doing exams, but I knew I had the passion for makeup and it would see me through. Now my mum says not completing exams was the best thing I ever did, as during the time I would have been competing my exams I did my first ever bridal party makeup.
What would you say was the hardest thing about starting up the business?
The hardest part of starting up my own business is differentiating yourself from others in the same field, you have to make yourself appealing to others so people want to come to you. Luckily for myself when I first started I was also completing VCE so not looking to be making a steady income, looking back I probably didn’t earn much in my first year of makeup – if I was out of school and it was my full-time job I think it would have been hard to make a decent income from solely makeup.
Another difficult aspect is confidence. When I first started I wasn’t that confident, but once you gain that confidence it assures others you know what you’re doing and they also feel confident in you. Especially in situations such as wedding makeup – I’ve had a bride say to me ‘You’re calm and confident which is making me feel calm and confident.” Your clientele need to trust you, but they can’t trust you until you trust yourself- practice is key!
Why did you decide to go out on your own so young – why not work for an established brand?
The way I’ve personally see it with makeup artistry is: why would you work for a company doing the same thing earning $20 an hour when I could work for myself and earn more than that in an hour? A lot of people start off working at makeup counters to gain experience and confidence to then go on and freelance later on. Most makeup artists’ ultimate goal is to successfully freelance. Personally, I feel if you have the talent and can back yourself up you can go much further with freelance work.
The idea of working for a company never interested me – I always found the idea of freelancing much more appealing. Choosing my own hours, being my own boss, working in the comfort of my own home and being able to develop personal relationships with clients were also a few reasons why I chose to work for myself.
So how much success have you seen?
I experienced higher success after I finished my diploma of specialist makeup services in mid-2015. I never find myself struggling or worrying about not getting enough work as I always seem to be booked out months in advance. Utilizing social media as my main form of advertisement has drawn in a lot of business for me as well as word of mouth.
I’m glad you mentioned social media! How important was it for marketing?
Most of the marketing for my brand has been developed through social media. It is AMAZING how much business my Instagram and Facebook page bring in. When I first started, I offered promotions and did giveaways to expose myself more, then once I started gaining regular clientele, more bookings came from word of mouth. I believe in this era if you want your business to succeed your social media has to have a pleasing aesthetic and you must be active. I’d also like to look into getting a website in the future, purely for professionalism though, as I still think social media would bring in more business than a website.
Tell us about the ups and down, I’m sure there’s plenty!
The best thing about running your own business is the ability to work for yourself and only having to answer to you. I get to choose my own hours, my own holidays, my pricing and work from the comfort of my own home. In saying that, the worst part is the stress that comes with doing it all on your own. The only person to answer for everything and do everything is me – which is good and bad. Trying to juggle and answer sometimes 50 or more enquiries a day, confirm appointments, chase up deposits and actually doing make-ups is more full on than it sounds. And of course like all businesses, you deal with difficult clients from time to time.
Another stressful part of it all is that if I make a mistake it’s all on me and it’s my personal and professional reputation at stake. The anxiety of keeping myself relevant in the industry is also another stress that comes with running my business.
What makes you different? What sets you apart from other makeup artists?
In this era, there are freelancers popping out everywhere! It’s hard and stressful trying to keep yourself relevant with such high competition. I’ve worked hard to get where I am but also believe I was lucky in the fact that when I first starting freelancing there weren’t many other freelance artists working around my area – now that this number has increased it would have been a lot harder to bring business in starting out.
I also try to produce great quality photos with good lighting to showcase my work to my audience. I invested in a good camera and a ring light to capture high-quality photos. In addition, I always post different types of looks – you don’t want people to get sick of seeing the same look over and over. I try to promote that I’m a versatile makeup artist who can cater to anyone’s desire. Makeup is a very trend based industry, it is important as a makeup artist to remain modern and up to date with the latest looks/trends. I find it easy to keep up to date by watching youtube and attending workshops so I never stop learning and growing in this field which is important.
What are your plans for the future?
I personally take each day as it comes! I’m very happy and content with what I’m doing right now, but if I had to set a future goal maybe someday I’d love to open a studio and release my own line of cosmetics. Or even start a YouTube channel aimed at aspiring makeup artists and to teach them how to do makeup on other faces.