Melbourne makeup legend Alarna Bell knows all about what it’s like to start and grow a business in the beauty industry. In this series of blogs, we share her story of success. In part I, you read about how Alarna’s passion and hard work helped her succeed in the industry, and in part II, we talked about the ups and downs in Alarna’s career. This time we wanted to know: what’s Alarna’s secret to turning a freelance career in a successful business?
Let’s find out!
What has been the #1 key to success in your business?
“Never give up! You’ve got to keep going, even if it gets tough.
And never take your clients for granted. A lot of makeup artists don’t think about this but in our industry, we don’t have many repeat clients. Not like hairdressers, for instance, where you’ve got to go back to every four to six weeks to get your hair done. Most makeup services don’t get done regularly, and that’s definitely something worth thinking about when starting your freelance makeup artistry business. Brides, for instance, don’t come back. I had a couple that has come back for a second time. But generally, they don’t come back. You constantly need to work on expanding your reach and think about how to get clients. So definitely have something to fall back on in those early years and then, as you build a reputation, you can rely on word of mouth.
And that’s why Stylemee is such a great concept. Without having to do anything, my reach has just expanded to as far as Stylemee reaches. Stylemee is just a fantastic way for freelance beauty professional to reach people we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach.
Also, rely on giving your client a good experience and that doesn’t just come down to painting a face. It doesn’t matter if you paint the face of a regular Joe or the Queen of England, you should treat everyone the same. Be punctual, makeup isn’t something you can just bump to another day or even an hour ahead. Your client needs to be somewhere and if you’re late, they are going to be late too.
And when you visit someone’s house, put slippers on. It shows that you care about their house.
You also want to be presentable. Our main job is to make people look beautiful. So if we don’t take pride in how we look, then why would someone choose us to provide this kind of service? Make sure you dress appropriately, have clean hair, and clean clothes. I’ve worked on many many events and with many clients and the feedback I got from many of them was: “I chose you because you had your makeup nice, and you dressed really well. I know that if you would dress yourself up like that, you’ll do a good job.” Even though we work in the background, we do need to turn up presentable.”
Where do you see the industry heading in the next 5 years, and what is your advice for the upcoming artists?
“I’ve seen lots of changes in the beauty industry throughout the years. When I started, there was no Internet, and it was quite a luxury to go and get your makeup done. When the Internet exploded, more and more people started asking for my services.
And now, people want things yesterday. They want things to be easy and instant. If people want food, they use Uber Eats, if they want to go on a date, they swipe left or right on Tinder. It’s just the way of the world. If you can’t keep up with that, I suggest you probably start looking for maybe something else to do. You’ve got to be able to travel, get out there, and service these people where they want you.
I had a salon for 18 years, and this year, I decided it wasn’t where my core business was anymore. People want me to come to their house, even if the salon is only two kilometres away. I actually just downsized my car, because I’m driving around so much doing makeup!
Our industry is definitely steering towards the mobile path, and people want you to do their makeup in their own home, in the hotel they’re staying at, or anywhere else for that matter.
Therefore, more and more people will start using apps like the Stylemee Pro app, and I think it would be crazy not to jump on board with that. That’s why I’ve come along and joined.
Yes, I’ve got my own clientele and my reach on social media. But there’s also the process of booking, payment, and things like that. The Stylemee Pro app makes all of that easier. It’s one place where clients can book instantly, converse with me, and see all of my previous work. Plus it’s an easy way for me to monitor my bookings.”
This was the last part of our inspirational chat with makeup legend and Stylemee Ambassador Alarna Bell. If you want to see more of Alarna, check out her Stylemee profile for an overview of her amazing skills, and book your makeup appointment with Alarna now.