Forced to consider leaving the wedding industry


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Lady Murasaki

Well-Known Member
Apr 22, 2011
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After 16 years of been a professional makeup artist and hairdresser doing weddings, I am gradually being forced to consider leaving the industry due the silly low rates being charged by other so called artists.

I have already been forced to to go from full time to partime and get a full time job as I can not compete with people charging £25 to £35 for wedding makeup.

I am internationally published and have been a featured writer on hair and makeup and feel it would devalue my skills to start charging these rates.

Today I have had 3 cancellations for weddings as they have found someone else cheaper.

I do marketing and advertising, yet all people want to spend is nothing.

Iam retraining in hair extensions as this not a saturated market in my area.

I'm really disheartened and upset as this been my life for 16 years.
Hi Lady

I don't know if this is an option but what about focusing on the media aspect as you've already been published? So more editorial based work - like for clothing photo shoots etc, would that be an option? That way your skills and past experience will shine through and you may even be able to charge more??

Don't give up!! Are you able to hand a brochure of your work to venues that are maybe in a little more affluent area? Or even possibly enter into an arrangement with venues to put you on their list of preferred makeup artists / hair stylist? I know some venues do that! I used to work at a hotel a few moons ago and we held details for stylist and handed their details out in packs to prospective brides!

I think doing extensions is a great idea! A lot of brides have extensions nowadays to enhance their bridal hair look they want so I'm sure you'll receive some new clients just by advertising you do both as I know many people in my area who only do one or the other

Unfortunately there is not a huge demand for photographic work were I live. I did a lot for some of the Nationals up until last year, but again students are coming into the industry and uncutting pro rates.

I did a lot of editorial and commercial work when I was in Bristol, but Hampshire does not have the demand.

Instead I get cold calls from photographers wanting me to work for trade and not pay.

For the preferred list most want you to pay them a few and there is no work guaranteed and brides could say I'm still too expensive!

Wedding fairs around me are a bit dodgy and I got conned a couple of years ago by one event holder, and they all are £100 + near me.

I don't want to be throwing good money after bad.
You may find you're going from the frying pan into the fire.

Having owned a hair extension business for 15 years (which frankly we can't wait to get rid of)- I can tell you it's as competitive and cut-throat as any other part of the industry. Margins are falling left right and centre due to saturation of the market.

Make sure you do your research first.

My advice? Stick to your guns and market your business on quality not price.
I do market my business on quality rather than price, yet people still do not want to pay.

They are so used to discounted services and Groupon that feel horrified by paying full price.

The ladies who cancelled today said, they knew I'm the best of the best I'm my area however they felt it's wrong to have to pay full prices for this type of service so went they someone charging less.

It didn't matter to them that the person they rebooked with wasn't qualified or insured or good give good long lasting results, it's the was that they was charging very low rates and gave discounts.

I am also a qualified marketer too so have done my reach on my area before booking my extensions course.

I already have clients lined up for when I qualify
There's loads of newly qualified hairdressers without any experience behind the chair round my way who are mobile and charging stupid prices. Grinds my gears big time:mad::confused:
What shocks me is that none of these women care about the longevity of the hair and makeup being done or whethe the person doing it is qualified or insured.

They just want cheap cheap cheap

I don't think £45 for a makeup application for a bridesmaid is too much or £45 for a basic up do is much to ask for either.

I charge from £45 for hair up in the wedding day, which is in line with other pros in my area.

For the bride I charge £60 for a makeup trial and £80 on the day for makeup which is normal for some with my skill in my area, I'm not the only pro charging these rates and in know other pros are feeling the pinch too.
Stick to your prices. I'm not a make up artist, but I just wanted to say I paid the same as you charge for my wedding make up. I didn't want cheap, as the cheaper people just didn't have the experience or portfolio of work I was after. I felt by paying more, I would have an artist that valued their own work and time and also valued my time. I was terrified of being cancelled on or rushed. There will always be someone charging less than you and clients wanting to pay less. But there is also the people that want to pay for quality. Maybe look at others in your price range, not necessarily in your area if there isn't any, to see what they are doing to attract the higher paying clients. Look at how you are advertising.
All brochures etc. I'd want to make sure look and feel luxurious. Website needs to make the right impression. Set yourself apart from the rest.
Don't give up on wedding fairs but do your research on them. I know a few girls that do really well from them. As someone else
Previously mentioned, getting on a preferred suppliers list with venues is great- pick your venues carefully. Don't be a preferred supplier for cheap venues.
Also how about setting up shoots with bridal shops and asking them to refer you on. You both get beautiful images to use and advertising for each other. If you use an up and coming wedding photographer to take pictures, it's not going to cost anything. These images can also be used to send into local wedding magazines, if your area has one.

I hope you stick at it :)
There are people out their who will pay for quality. It's the same in our industry. You can outsource it for £99 or get a pro to do it. Swings and roundabouts.

I know Miss Penguin is one who is willing to splash out for her wedding hair and makeup (we get married next year). I know it's a lot because whenever I ask she says 'it's a really good deal..." Or "don't worry it's fine" so it's going to be a lot ha. I'll only know an exact figure when she leaves the invoice on my desk to be paid lol.
Hi Hun, I'm a media marketer and would definitely stick with it! If you would like some help I would love to give some input, we are in the wedding industry too (different section - horse and carriage) so know how it feels as around here a lot of other providers will half the price we quote just to get the bride instead (but we almost always end up with them [emoji23])

It sounds ridiculous but have you considered blogging? Especially on topics like "why should you pay top dollar for a MUA" and "do I need a make up trial"?

Happy to chat on FB and look at your page from an outsiders view??
Also if you aren't already join some local bridal groups on FB they are invaluable
Maybe you need to be reaching a different type of customer? The type who will pay for the quality you deliver?

The fabulous make up artists around here are charging properly & are in amazing demand, booked way in advance

I know of one who doesn't even have facebook or an online presence and to get her number is a real hunting match lol.... but she's worth it and people track her down

So I'm thinking maybe your push really needs to be on how qualified & published you are & that you are a cut above the rest... & reach to the customer who recognises quality always comes first

don't drop your prices
There are people out their who will pay for quality. It's the same in our industry. You can outsource it for £99 or get a pro to do it. Swings and roundabouts.

I know Miss Penguin is one who is willing to splash out for her wedding hair and makeup (we get married next year). I know it's a lot because whenever I ask she says 'it's a really good deal..." Or "don't worry it's fine" so it's going to be a lot ha. I'll only know an exact figure when she leaves the invoice on my desk to be paid lol.


Lol I love how she will leave you the invoice:D my partner wouldn't let me off so easy though:rolleyes:

Lol I love how she will leave you the invoice:D my partner wouldn't let me off so easy though:rolleyes:
haha Yeah well my thoughts are we are only doing it once so just rolling with it all :) Everything wedding related costs double it should anyway lol. Booked a half decent honeymoon for straight after as I'll need that time to get over the cost and recover haha.
Unfortunately for personal reason I can't do Facebook or linkin etc for myself due to my previous occupation before makeup.

I think this is what is also hindering me.

Thank you to everyone offering marketing help, I am anexperienced media and digital marketeer with level 6 professional diploma from CIM ☺️, but your suggestions have been helpful

My about me page is about my career and published work and photos and tear sheets are on my gallery.

I could do a it more about my work on the bridal page so people can see what they are investing in.

All my brides have said how relaxing an enjoyable my trials have been and I have a good wedding day booking rate.

I retail a highend mineral makeup brand and my clients love it and I use only pro products.
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Do you have a recommendation page? Those are always good too
I do on my website
I hear all the good advise regarding advertising/sticking to your guns/keep at it etc....
What on earth are we to do in this industry, the PROFESSION is in crisis.
EVERYONE is doing a course....NAILS, BROWS, SPRAY TAN......all in a day, no previous experience necessary.
The 'Friend/neighbour/mum at the school .......who 'likes doing a bit of beauty' ........
Then begins the Facebook page offering the £5.00 'SHELLAC'!!!

As a salon owner, I do not believe it possible to earn a decent living from this trade...UNLESS, you have been established for many years.
Fortunately, I have a loyal clientele, (I'm an oldie! :p) but since owning my salon, I have found it nigh on impossible to get good staff......o_O
When I manage to find someone, they ALWAYS need re-training......
Then you have the impossible task of building them a client base.
Wages to costs.....retaining staff, who then decide to go off and do mobile.........
It's tough out there.:eek:
Where I am, the extension market is BIG.....lot's are doing this, but notice on here, how many 'issues' they have regarding the 'bartering' client, who demands cheap as chips!
Not sure you'll find this market any better.

To be honest, I've given some serious thought to the idea of, ...... 'If you can't beat them join them.....'
Have you considered running your own training course!:cool:
I have throught about doing my own training, however I do think this solving the problem us professionals are facing.

I have been approached by a reputable training school to do some classes and I'm thing about it.

The industry is a major crisis, as unless regulation happens or there is clamp down on these one day course la in the next couple of years there will hardly any rea pros left.

In North America and Canada you have to have a licensed in the state you want to work in and you can only get a licence through certain state approved courses and can not get insurance without a reg number.

People without these licenses who set up salons or do mobile risk prosecution and fines and mostly only get work from Craigslist.

The general public are aware of these licenses beauty and hairstylists and the system seems to work.
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I'm a makeup artist and I don't charge silly low prices. My rates are similar to yours. In fact a little higher.

I have over 60 weddings this year, 20 confirmed next year & bookings in 2018. Deposits paid so all genuine bookings.

I think it all depends on your target audience. I give a high end service & that's the type of clients I get. I would say around 10% of my bookings are from my home town. With the strength of the Internet, the right client will source you. I do feel that an online presence is crucial in this day and age.
I know you said you can't have a Facebook page due to personal reasons. How about rebranding? Hide behind a name if you feel safer to deliver that way.

When reading your posts, you seem defeated, like you've already given up.
I think it's great that you are looking to build your skills and offer a new additional service to your clients to give the best service possible. But never give up your craft. I have a lot of makeup artist friends too. And they are all busy. We work together to cover each other's enquiries.

I rarely do special occasion make ups. I'm fine with that. There are local girls charging £20 for full makeup. They have their market and I have mine. I'm certainly not competing or struggling in anyway.

When you feel your fighting a loosing battle it can be incredibly hard to motivate yourself. One of the many joys of being a sole trader hey!
But it's going to be even harder to build a completely new business. Try not to put all your eggs in one basket would be my advice.

Hope you choose the right path for you. Good luck.

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