From hawking eggs to boutique owner

Thursday, July 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Sarah in her boutique shop. Photo/PD/JASMNE ATIENO

Marcella Akinyi

What inspired you to get into the make-up industry?

I have always loved art from a young age. However, my interest in make-up art really grew in 2015, but I did not go into business until late 2017.

I wanted to polish up my skills first since I’m self-taught, and also look out for clients. I was inspired mainly by the women in my life, as well as the satisfaction that comes with properly done make-up.

Are you also a medical doctor?

Yes, I’m currently an intern at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital. Make-up is my other hustle. I began the business while in university and I’ve kept up with it.

What’s special about bridal make-up compared to other kinds of make-up?

Weddings are extra special, mainly for the bride and her family, but also for me as the make-up artist. Having someone (in most cases people you didn’t know before) totally trust you to make them look their best on such a big day is not only humbling, but also comes with a lot of pressure.

Being a part of someone’s forever-after in such a significant way as glamming them up is in itself special. My happiness always is a satisfied bride.

What mistakes do brides make when looking for a make-up artist?

Not properly budgeting for the make-up, and sometimes having unrealistic expectations of the services at the price they thought was “enough”. Another thing is not booking a make-up trial. One needs to have a trial to know the look they want on their big day, and also test the skills of the make-up artist.

Failure to that could lead to one regretting their look come the big day. One last thing is having a uniform look with the bridal party. I mean, you are the bride, choose to be different from the rest. That’s what makes you special on your big day.

What’s the trendy look brides are going for?

Most brides are going for a nude bronzy look. However, lately, I see a variety of bold requests, with red lips topping the list.

What are the challenges you face as a make-up artist in this industry?

Being offered unrealistically small fees by some would-be clients, with them having high expectations of me. And also, some clients refusing to pay as agreed, especially for bridal teams.

With all the competition around, how do you manage to be different?

I believe there is enough space for every make-up artist to make their mark in the market, as long as they always give the best services at reasonable prices.

Believing in my business and the services I offer as an artist have gone a long way in helping establish a loyal client base and also attract new clients.

How about some of the blunders make-up artists make?

Well, I can only speak for myself in this case. When I began, I really did not think through the business and was just “going with the flow”. It took me making more loses than I did profits to realise I needed to treat this business like I would any other serious one.

What is the most hilarious experience you’ve had with a bride?

Well, none per se, apart from this one time a bridesmaid asked to be glammed for Sh200, and I found that hilarious.

Advice to upcoming make-up artists?

Buy high-quality products, be the best you can be and be open to growth and criticism. Put your clients first at all times, have a target client base and do not over or undercharge. And most importantly, plan out your business in a way that not only favours the client but yourself as well, to avoid loses.

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