The business of beauty

BY DENNISE WILLIAMS
Contributor

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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A tube of lipstick and a bottle of foundation can, in the hands of a professional, make the ordinary into the extraordinary.

That said, it is not everyone that can use make-up for transformation. I am sure you have winced at the badly constructed eyebrow, the awning eyelashes and the face foundation that is a shade wrong or applied too heavily.

So many people try, yet are confused by the various techniques available for applying cosmetics. Enter the make-up artist.

This professional is the person we turn to when we need to look our very best. And the business of beauty is a serious one.

The social calendar of Jamaica can get quite hectic and when ladies need to step out in style, they turn to the professionals.

In the US, a session with a professional make-up artist can be as high as US$1,000 and in Jamaica the rates range from $5,000 upward per face. And so Natalie Roach has been making a business of beauty for over a decade.

We reached out to her to find out what makes the business of beauty work for her and as a small business person, what helps her to keep going.

Dennise Williams (DW): So, Natalie, what made you decide to become a make-up artist and what is your area of speciality?

Natalie Roach (NR): I decided to become a make-up artist because of the love, passion and knowledge of make-up. I specialise in shaping the eyebrows and matching undertones for a flawless and perfect finish. It is my passion to see beautiful faces and the joy that people experience when I complete their look.

DW: Natalie, it is a competitive field with a low barrier to entry. Make-up is an industry where people can watch two YouTube videos, practise on their friends and print business cards as professionals. What do you say about the low standards in the industry?

NR: That is so true. The low standards and mediocre professionalism in the industry about pro-make-up applications have somewhat helped to devalue the the rest of us who focus on delivering quality and not quantity. There is a major misconception about the true value of a make-up artist and that can only be corrected if we all set high bars for ourselves when representing such a fine skill. A true professional is not sitting and watching YouTube. You are out there on the road. A typical day it can start anywhere from 5 to 7 in the morning, and go until midnight, or who knows when? A make-up artist spends a typical workday on the set of a television show, photo shoot, music video, play, runway show or another type of related production. And it is through that level of dedication and hard work that you build your skill set.

DW: What is your mission for your small business?

NR: The mission for my small business is to help create opportunities for aspiring make-up artists and contribute to the development of our creative industry,

DW: How do you stand out in the crowd of professional make-up artists?

NR: Do not become easily discouraged by your challenges and critics and never short-change or dilute quality for quantity. Deliver only excellence. And you have to know yourself and the areas that you excel in.

DW: If you had to mentor a young businesswoman, what would your advise to her be?

NR: Believe in yourself, do not warrant your worth upon outside validation, remember your last impression is your first impression and if you are going to do something just do it right.

DW: In terms of the business of beauty, what is your next step?

NR: The next step for my business is to develop more pigment variety based foundations especially for the forgotten undertones, such as blue and orange, so that we all can feel inclusive in our make-up shopping. The problem I find is that we have such a wide variety of skin tones and undertones and also that the make-up industry is predominantly default white, even in Jamaica. This is where I see an opportunity to create value and grow my business.

DW: Any parting words for people considering the field of beauty?

NR: My parting words to anyone who chooses to be in this industry is to get certified, learn about the various products out there and don't focus on what is highly marketed. Keep practising even when you believe you are great. Make-up artistry is a forever evolving industry. Take pride in your craft.


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