Today, I wanted to share with you some information on getting started as a Bridal Makeup Artist and how this can turn into a nice little earner on the side or possibly even develop into a full time profession.
This post is quite long so forgive me in advance, but I’ve got a fair bit to say on this subject! There are also male makeup artists out there, so don’t be put off from reading this guys!
I’ve had numerous different jobs during my working life so far and have tried quite a few self-employed ventures on the side – doing bridal makeup was one of them! Although I’m no longer working as a Bridal Makeup Artist, this particular business is something that I can fall back on and revisit again.
I don’t practice bridal makeup at the moment because since my hubby started his own business which takes him away a lot, I found I often had to pay out for childcare at the weekends. Over time, I realised I just wasn’t making enough profit for me to continue with it. But before I had my daughter, I was making a nice tidy profit for just a couple of hours work here and there.
Why would anyone pay to have their wedding makeup done?
You might be surprised at just how many brides would prefer a professional to take care of beauty on their wedding day. It’s less stressful for the bride, they get to feel pampered and they’ll look great too! Providing you do your job well of course.
How much can you earn as a Bridal Makeup Artist?
In the UK, you can charge between £60-£150 for the bride’s wedding makeup and between £30-£100 for members of the bridal party. It usually takes between 30 mins to 45 mins to apply makeup once you get the hang of it. Most brides prefer to book a trial beforehand so that they can be sure of the look they are getting for their wedding day. This of course is extra money there for the earning.
Trials can be charged at anywhere from £30-£80 depending on who the trial is for. Often members of the bridal party decide to have a trial as well as the bride. If you can also do wedding hair styling, then you will be able to charge more. I’m rubbish with hair so I just stuck to makeup application.
The scope for how much to charge is based on the level of experience you have as a Bridal Makeup Artist. If you’ve done many weddings and have an excellent portfolio, then you can aim to charge the higher rate.
Cost of setting up and ongoing expenses
Setting up this type of business involves a small outlay, namely your makeup kit. I would recommend going for high end brands which are also high quality such as MAC, Benefit, Bobby Brown, Smashbox etc.
You can get a trade account with wholesalers and buy makeup in bulk. I spent around £500 to buy my basic kit and then bought a few bits here and there when I ran out. I made the cost of my kit back within the first two weddings I charged for.
You may also decide to pay for training (although I didn’t do this), a website which can cost next to nothing if you design one yourself in WordPress or Blogger and you will need public liability insurance which should cost under £100 per year.
In the UK, earning extra income in addition to your main job usually means that you will need to register as self employed and you will need to declare your income/expenditure for tax purposes. More information can be found on self employed taxes and national insurance contributions at the HMRC website.
When setting your fees, be mindful about ongoing expenses and how much profit you need to make for a business like this to work. Regular expenses include the cost of makeup used, fuel (unless you charge for this separately), marketing, childcare if necessary and of course your time.
Unlike Media Makeup Artists who work in film, on stage and on photo shoots, it’s actually not compulsory to gain any formal qualifications to work as a Bridal Makeup Artist in the UK. I can attest to this as I didn’t take any formal training and I managed to get bookings. If you wish though, you can undertake qualifications in makeup application at private beauty schools, or part or full time college courses.
Regular ongoing training through workshops, seminars, reading or podcasts is useful to keep up to date with the latest developments in makeup application, however you can research what you need to know about for free online.
I went down the gaining experience route. I’ve always had a passion for makeup and often used to get comments from friends about how well my eyeshadow was blended and I was frequently asked about how to apply eyeliner above the lashes smoothly and without going wrong!
It wasn’t long before I started doing makeup for friends when we going on a night out and then someone asked me to do their wedding makeup. I did a few weddings for free because I enjoyed it and I started to build up a portfolio.
After a while, I decided to market myself as a Professional Bridal Makeup Artist by getting myself a website, business cards and by attending local events. Brides to be looked at my portfolio and some of them booked me! After that, I got bookings through word of mouth as well as through my website.
I soon started offering one to one makeup lessons and I still do the odd lesson now if I can fit it in without having to pay out for childcare. You could also offer pamper parties or special occasion makeup too. There’s definitely a market for offering makeup services for that special birthday bash or Christmas Party!
I toyed with the idea of working as media makeup artist for films and stage. But I had a full time job already and getting experience in these fields takes a lot of time and training (as the makeup application is different to bridal makeup application).
Certain qualifications do need to be undertaken at least in the UK, to work in the media makeup artist industry as well as lots of practical on the job training shadowing other makeup artists. if you’re interested in working as a media makeup artist, you can read all about the job profile here.
It’s a very competitive field with long irregular hours to boot. I preferred doing my own thing on the side as it fit well with my day job and life in general at that time.
The main way to market yourself is to build up a portfolio. This could mean working for free to get a few weddings under your belt. You could also do makeup for friends and then take some nice shots. Word of mouth recommendations go a long way for in terms of getting bookings – every bride to be would rather know that their chosen makeup artist has done a great job for someone else first!
Local wedding fayres are a good way to get your business out there in front of brides. You could offer free demonstrations and competitions on your stall to drum up interest and collect data so you can contact them later.
Adding your details to wedding directories is also helpful, although I wouldn’t spend too much money on doing so. There are many free directories where you can add your business listing.
So what do you really need to get started as a Bridal Makeup Artist?
In summary, there are a few prerequisites to consider before starting up as a Bridal Makeup Artist. You will need:
- Some natural flair for applying makeup either on yourself or someone else.
- A small amount of money in order to set up in business.
- A basic portfolio which may mean that you will need to work for free at first.
Once you’ve decided to go for it, if you can afford to set up and have taken time to build your portfolio, you could be well on the way to making a good extra income on the side.
I really enjoyed my stint as a Bridal Makeup Artist as I got to be part of so many happy couple’s wedding day. It’s really exciting being there on the morning of someone else’s wedding! Yes, there can be pressure and it’s important to get the job done properly but with practice and experience, you can be confident in your skills.
Occasionally you might come across the odd Bridezilla who wants something completely different to what they agreed with at the trial and then asks for false eyelashes with 10 mins to spare! But I’ve found these experiences to be few and far between and at the end of the day, the earning potential is good and I think it’s worth it.
I hope this post has been useful for anyone considering working in this field or those looking for alternative ways to earn extra income. If you need any information on setting up in this business, I’d be happy to help so just drop me an email!
Editor’s note: Eva (from Girl Counting Pennies) and I will be taking a short scheduled break from our regular fortnightly Frugal Feast feature due to various circumstances over the Christmas season. We’ll be back in full swing on Tuesday 7th January 2014!
I’ll be back on Wednesday with November’s Debt Repayment Update post!
If you’d like to be kept updated with future posts, please consider subscribing by email or RSS to make sure you don’t miss them!
*Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos