Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A cure for the hoarding makeup artist

As I unpacked my kits from the myriad of traveling jobs I've had recently, I realized I have enough makeup for 4 makeup artists! I also realized I have a tendency to hold on to products that are no longer relevant to what I do, and have such an over abundance of that it's hard for me to keep track of what I really need. As I began the process of purging I understood more clearly there has to be a better way to manage this. If I could simplify what I have, I wouldn't hate packing my kit as much when I have a job. If I became aware of everything I have, then I wouldn't have those moments of panic that I forgot something, and wouldn't need to pack unnecessary things that make my load unbearable.

How the hell did it get this way?

I have mentioned in previous posts how blessed I am to have companies who believe in my work, and believe in supporting makeup artists that will use their product in dynamic ways. I have been so grateful to have companies sponsor me through the years with new products and a yearly gratis. For a long time I'd think "I'll gladly take it all, because you never know what you are going to need" but now I have an over abundance of product from companies like Temptu, Make Up For Ever, OCC, MAC, Royal and Langnickel, Naked, Stila, Bare Minerals, Sigma, Embriolysse, Avene, Mehron, Sephora, Cozzette, Maybelline, Face Atelier, Skindinavia, World Body Painting and more. I collect it all, ultimately using about 70% of it, and now always being able to test my new products right away. Some of you are probably saying "I'm sorry but I don't really see a problem. In fact, I wish I had this problem." Well aside from have too much and not knowing where to put it...Here is the issue:

Stop being a philandering product whore, and make a commitment!

In order to minimize your kit, find products you love and rely on. There must be 500 million red lip colors out there, but it only matters which matte, cream, and gloss versions you can count on. Same with foundation! You probably already know which liquid, cream, and tinted moisturizers you love, so why would you keep looking to add more? Sometime there are holes (I haven't yet found the perfect concealer palette) but once you find your long lost love, what do you do with the old ones? Of course I am always trying new products to know what's out there and popular...but if you are getting products just for the sake of it, you are wasting money, valuable kit/closet space, and creating clutter in your physical and mental space. It's the same scenario as when you have four sets of shampoo and conditioner in your shower because you were dazzled by a shiny new product before you finished the old one, and thus started your collection. So, find your loves and stick to them, and find a system to filter out old products.

"But I don't want to get rid of it because you never know when you'll need it..."

Ok just stop. That tripe is a hoarder's anthem. That same shampoo/foundation/red know  (and I know you know!) will sit there well beyond its expiration date, taking up physical, mental, and energetic space. Yes, you spent money on either use it up before you start something new, or hand it off to a friend, someone who is building their kit, or throw the damn thing out. Abundance is not owning tons of things, abundance is letting go because you know there will be enough. Create a system of what to do with old products. Whenever I buy a new pair of shoes, I promise myself I'll get rid of an old pair. I have been known to have trunk sales and giveaways with friends and interns. Keep the flow of energy moving...that which comes in needs room, so other things must leave.

Get off the "kid in a candy shop" syndrome.

I have learned many years ago, before entering a trade show/makeup boutique/etc with too much eye candy for my wallet and closet to realistically handle, I go in with a clear goal of how I'll come out. I take inventory of what I have and what I need, staying committed to accomplishing a purchase where those needs are met. Research and refine your choices rather than taking something home with a "we'll see" attitude. I imagine this tiny little Baptist preacher sitting on my shoulder as I walk through the aisles "Thou shalt not be tempted! Stay back demon! This is not what you came here for! The path of righteousness is the path of...well just keep do NOT need another f-ing Zuca, you already have 3."

Distinguish what you want vs. what you need

One of the best things I have ever done was sit in a seminar of one of my colleagues teaching kit focus. I learned so much from the minimalism of artist friends like James Vincent or Kevin James Bennett that I could essentially cut my kit in half. As true artists, we can mix and tweak so many products to do more for us, and create less volume in our kit. Figuring out how to dilute containers to palettes and forcing yourself to structure those palettes with the most essential colors, is key to a lighter load. Interestingly enough you could do an entire makeup with a blue, red, yellow, black and white flash colors for any skin tone. Not the preferred way to do it, but it is possible. So what do you really need in your kit versus what you actually pack?

Be ready before you're ready - pack ahead to avoid anxiety

I have been hired to do jobs everywhere from men's grooming to full body paint with fx and hair. Obviously, different jobs need different kits, and you should still be prepared just in case. You know the essentials you will need for a beauty job, and what you would add to that kit if it required tattoo coverage. You also know the add ons needed if a natural beauty look turned creative. I have learned from other artists through out the year to have these kits ready to go so you can easily add or subtract a zip-pack or two and be fully confident you have what you need. I pack for fashion week one week before. Knowing I'll be working with at least three brands, I make sure my must-have essentials are set, compact, and easy to convert no matter what brand I am working with.

In the end, the main remedies to cure hoarding tendencies have to do with editing, condensing, an abundance mentality (in your inventory and in all material things!), a clear purchasing focus, and the ability to pack smarter...not harder. Or is that heavier?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Too much education out there! How do you choose what is right for you?

It has become more apparent to me this year than ever that there is an overwhelming amount of people and organizations offering education to our industry. More than I've seen before, people are tapping into teaching as another way of making money. Since it is easier for people to communicate to an audience by way of online marketing, webinars, YouTube, online deals and easy registration programs, there are less hoops to jump through when producing education events. But this recent surge in educators can be a problem: so many choices in your face at all times makes it hard to choose, and creates a "dime a dozen" mentality, turning education offers into white noise. You may be familiar with the Facebook group called MUA Workshops Workshops, which is a constant rotation of new events, seminars, membership programs, YouTube channels, etc. I know if I post something there, within minutes it will travel far down the thread until someone likes or comments on it.

I often read through the offerings and select what I would actually choose if I were seeking education in makeup or hair, and would like to share how I make those distinctions. Luckily, my dear friend Michael DeVellis, owner of The Powder Group (of which most of us are proud members!) has already addressed this subject; He offers very clear points and questions you should ask yourself before deciding to invest. Be thorough, and make sure - as with anything - that you are getting immense value from your investment.

I've gotten so many messages lately about the huge amount of education out there in our industry these days and how can one tell the difference between what would be a great investment and what is a waste of time. So I thought I'd share a few points to consider:

- Who are the clients of, and what is the experience of, the educator? Do you aspire to have their career?
- Are they a true expert in the area they are teaching in? Check their website, CV and bio for up-to-date, relevant experience.
- When was the last time they worked on a shoot, film, show, project - versus just teaching about it? The industry changes - they need to be current.
- Are they an experienced educator as well as makeup artist or hair stylists. Just because you are a good creative talent does not make you a good educator.
- Does the cost of their program seem fair for their experience and where the event is being held? Are their cancellation policies fair?
- Are they toting an old success story as their entire basis for being a teacher? What have they done lately?
- Do they have a website and proper business set up to produce these events? Are they insured to produce such events?
- It's hard to judge integrity, ethical behavior, good industry etiquette and so on from a Facebook message but do your homework. The worst thing to do is take advice from someone who behaves badly, is negative or uses manipulative means by which to build their business. Learn from those who you want to be like. 
I hope this helps! Happy learning!
Michael DeVellis
Executive Director, The Powder Group

I would not say anything different! The only thing I would add:

- If you have an opportunity to go experience the facilitators first hand (trade show presentation, or a less expensive seminar) feel free to test the wares first. You will energetically know if this person is right for you to learn from, so you feel more confident in investing.

- Also feel free to make a list of what you want to get out of your experience, and if the promotional material isn't clear that is what you will be getting, contact them. Their customer service will also be a great indicator as to whether or not your needs will be taken care of.

In the end, you will learn something from every decision you make regarding your growth in business, so do not let the process paralyze! Keep moving forward! Enjoy the start of your new year.