I can truly say, I'm the happiest I've ever been in my career to date. As my first blog post ever, I really want to share my road to career satisfaction. Where I’ve come from and how I got here, with a successful little business and a brand I am proud of.
I was destined to do something artistic. Clearly, a Bachelor of Visual Arts doesn't set me up for much else. But I guess once I realised that my paintings weren't magically going to fly out the door for 1000s of $ each week to support the lifestyle I wanted to live. I had to suck up my pride, realise that I wasn't going to be the free-spirited hippy, dungaree, birkenstock wearing painter that I always dreamed of. I was in fact perfectly suited to the beauty industry, as my mother (a hairdresser) and my mother's mother (a makeup and nail artist) had paved that path for me long ago.. It felt like that's what everyone expected me to do. I just chose to ignore it. Sadly, and I regret the thought to this day.. I believed that the beauty industry wasn't a well respected choice for a career. I thought the world of nail techs, hairdressing, makeup and beauty was thought to be for "High school dropouts". I couldn't have been more wrong! I don't regret the initial steps I took in the wrong direction, it all helped groom me into who I am today. Let me get one thing straight. Although my mother was in the beauty industry and she just happened to be a “high school dropout”, she never once pushed me in the industry. She was an inspiration! With her own salon at 16, she was also a strong, savvy, young business woman. A great role model. She taught me how to style my hair, do my makeup and take pride in my appearance. She let me shave my legs before all my schools friends, she also encouraged me to do whatever I loved and supported my choices. She's a wonderful woman that I can thank for my inherited skills. I just wished I learnt to appreciate all of that sooner.
I've always liked fashion. People often would mistake me for a fashion student at uni, which quickly lead me to swap out my skinny jeans for brown wide legged, velcro waisted yoga pants, to be accepted by the rest of my fellow artsy class mates. I dropped a few paint covered brushes down the front of them and 'voila'. Lets face it though, I was pretending to be someone I'm wasn't.. I was working part time at Cue on Broadway, known for their corporate suits and feminine silhouettes. What's more confusing for a fashion conscious young female trying to find her niche? I scraped through art school with scathing critiques, tears and no idea what my artistic style was by the end of the final year. All I knew was that I loved coffee, reinventing my clothes into new and different garments to surprise my uni mates and I was addicted to mindlessly flicking through magazines for any kind of artistic inspiration - keep in mind this was 2004, well before blogs, vlogs and Instagram.
Unsure of my next step, I stayed at Cue, in a full time 2IC position, I eventually moved onto Merchandising the stores. I had caught the eye of the management team with my interesting take on the corporate look and how I chose to style it. It was during this time that I had people continuously commenting on my ‘eyeliner flicks’, complementing my makeup, and people started asking me to style them and do their makeup. I never thought much of it, to me it was just "my thing” and it was all self taught.
I finally made the best decision for my career ever. I went to makeup school. I attended a full time, 17 week Fashion Makeup Course at Samala Robinson Academy. I had an amazing tutor, Emily Stewart (Emily Plum), who challenged me and pushed me to achieve the highest standards. This lead to an Excellence Award and eventually the invitation to join the tutor team at the school. This was intimidating for me.. I have a fear of public speaking and slight dyslexia when reading, but I knew how amazing the opportunity was and certainly didn't want to disappoint. I studied and memorised the class lesson plans the night before so I could deliver each lesson with confidence, without needing to read from the notes stuttering and stumbling over them. I believe my weakness’ actually helped me become a better teacher and have the compassion and patience needed if my students struggled with any of the course content. Nothing is more rewarding than teaching others and seeing them succeed. But it became a little heart breaking seeing them succeed in an industry that I felt I had hardly dipped my big toe into. I had become an amazing teacher that could do makeup, I didn't really feel like a makeup artist that could teach. I did most of my growing as a makeup artist in the four walls of that academy. I had to fully believe in what I did and be passionate about it everyday, convincing others that it was the dream job. But I seemed to skip a step, one that left me in admiration of those that I waved goodbye to at graduation, free to pursue their bright future in makeup, whatever that might have been.
5 years, 10 classes and about 120 or so students later, I finally took the leap into full time freelance makeup. It took a lot of convincing to leave the comfort of the academy. It helped to have a partner that was also self employed to remind me of the benefits and calm me down when I had my first week of NO BOOKINGS! My goodness, you would have thought my world was falling apart. I was used to consistent full time income. To have no work booked for a week or 2 and not know when my next paid job was, that’s scary. But my amazing partner, Joe, was always the voice of reason. We soon found out, however, that being in a relationship where we were both self employed, came with is own issues.. It never initially crossed our minds, but try getting a loan from a bank to buy a house when you’re both self employed!.. Sheesh. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that making that decision to go solo is hard! There are always going to be “what if’s”, “that’s too hard”, “ it’s not enough” and loads more excuses. I’m a creative girl, practical and street wise, yes, but the thought of doing the paperwork for my business was daunting, I always left it to the last minute when it was a mountain instead of just a mole hill. It’s always going to be hard at first. A lack of self confidence lead it to take a lot longer for me to grow my business and find my feet. But if I had that self confidence from the start, who knows where I’d be now. I started to believe that I was the real deal once I figured out my ‘brand’, got myself a logo that I loved, that related to what I do and had a website I was proud of. I also believe that just being myself (relatively personable) has helped to grow my clientele. Being able to relate to my clients and build relationships. They are a huge part of my love for what I do. I’ve never gone on holiday and missed work like I do now, because my clients have become my friends too. There’s a reason why they call it ‘Beauty Therapy’ and I love to be there for my clients, impress them every visit and then when it’s necessary, they’re there for me too. The rest is history.
I hope to inspire other creative people to follow their passion, practice it and do it everyday, or make a career out it. If you hope to be self employed or a boss, it’s possible. If you’re driven and can over come those mental hurdles we all face in some way or another, or learn to use them to your advantage, it’s all possible. If you love what you do, it’s usually because you’re good at it, if you’re good at it, you’ll succeed. But more than anything, don’t get discouraged when it doesn't happen straight away. Just ask any successful person.. A lot of blood, sweat and tears have been shed. But there’s a heck of a lot to be said for working for yourself, so it’s all worth it.
In this blog I hope to advise, inspire and entertain to say the least. If you have any questions? Need advice or there’s a topic you think I could write about, please fire away. I’m here to help. I would love to cover all that’s beauty, business or life related.. I might have a little to offer here and there ;) So stay tuned.