Ready to start your own bridal hair and make-up business? In the US couples spends an average of $30,000 on their wedding according to Theknot.com. Hair and make-up usually has it’s own line item in the budget. Building a bridal beauty business can be a lucrative endeavor if set up properly. A few simple steps will ensure that you build a bridal beauty business bustling with happy brides singing your praises.
Step 1 : Create your portfolio
The easiest way to book your first bridal client is the have pictures of your work. You immediately build trust when potential clients can view various types of styles that you are able to create. This is one of the top reasons why a bride-to-be will choose you over another hair or make-up artist. Brides want to know that you will listen to their desires for their big day and trust that you can deliver.
Put together a portfolio comprised of pictures of hair and/or make-up you’ve done for other brides or special events. This will show the range of your work and also give the bride hair styling or make-up ideas.
Don’t have any photos? Use clients, students or models who have special events to attend. Style their hair for the event and take pictures of your work. Use the photos as place holders in your portfolio until you can get more professional pictures of your work.
Step 2: Partner up
Once your have your portfolio it’s time to start building your network. Partner up with photographers, wedding planners, florists, caterers, wedding venues, hairstylists and/or makeup artists. Having these connections will prove to be invaluable when building a sustainable bridal hair and make-up business. Model Mayhem is a great way to find other artist to partner with.
Step 3: Trial
You’ve booked your first bridal client. Your first step is to do a trial run. This is a pre-wedding day service where you will collaborate with the bride to create a look for her special day. This is the most important part of the entire process for several reasons.
First, if the client is not a regular client of yours it will give you the opportunity to establish a relationship, build rapport and trust. Second, it gives you the opportunity to work with her hair and skin to determine the best products, shades and accessories to use. Lastly, it will give your bride-to-be an accurate picture of what her hair will look like on the day of the wedding. This step will put both you and your client at ease.
If you are going to be providing hair and make-up services on location be sure to ask these important questions:
-Do you have a wedding planner?
-Where will the event be held?
-How many people will be needing hair and make-up services?
-What time would you like hair and make-up to be complete?
-Will you be wearing a veil and/or blusher
-Are you wearing accessories? Earrings, necklace, or hair accessories
-Will pictures be taken before or after the wedding?
If your client indicates that she has a wedding planner ask for a name and contact info. This one gesture alone will ensure that you stand out from every other bridal hair and make-up artist. It shows that you have a vested interest in making sure that everything is done in accordance with her vision for her special day. Contact the wedding planner via phone or email and introduce yourself. This will be a great contact to have on the day of the wedding when things get hectic. This also goes back to Step 1: Partnering up. Working directly with the wedding planner gets your foot in the door for booking more weddings.
Step 4: Get A Deposit
She loves her trial look. Now it’s time to seal the deal. I highly recommend that all beauty professionals get a deposit for special event styling. The deposit amount can be detailed in a contract that the bride signs signifying that she will work exclusively with you, your salon or your team for her bridal beauty services. The deposits are usually non-refundable and can be a dollar amount or a percentage of the service total. In the event the bride-to-be cancels the deposit will serve as a cancellation fee.
Deposits are important because a wedding party can require several hours of booking time. This means that 4-5 hours of your day may be booked out to focus directly on the bride and bridesmaids. Deposits generally minimize cancellations but ensure that you or your salon will at least generate some revenue in the event that a cancellation does happen. This practice will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Step 5: Game Day
It’s the wedding day! Arrive on time and stay on schedule. There are several things happening all at once. Hair, make-up, floral set up, phone calls, guests arriving and nerves shattering. Your job is to stay calm and professional because on wedding day things can get a little crazy.
Your goal is to re-create the hair and make-up you did during the trial but better.
You knock it out of the ball park and it looks immaculate. Your bride is thrilled and everyone can not stop talking about how beautiful she looks. Pat yourself on the back because you played a huge role in getting that picture perfect photo that she will cherish for years to come.
Step 6: Testimonials
Send a follow-up thank you email or hand written thank you card. Thank the bride for choosing you to be a part of her special day. I’ve found that this creates a lasting impression and generates more referrals than paid advertisements. There are thousands of hair and make-up artists out their that your bridal clients could choose, but they chose you!
This is a great time to ask for a favor. Ask your client if they would be willing to provide a testimonial about your services in addition to any great hair or make-up pictures captured during the wedding.
Also, ask for permission to use both testimonial and/or photos in your portfolio. This is the most economical way to build your wedding hair and make-up portfolio. The best part of it all is that the photos are usually taken by a professional photographer and are of excellent quality.
Step 7: Market, Market, Market
The secret to any successful business is knowing how to effectively market products or services. The easiest way to market your bridal hair services is through your website or blog. If you are just getting started and working with little to no marketing budget I recommend taking advantage of social media.
Build a Facebook page and start a twitter, Pinterest, Intagram, Youtube and Google+ account. Build your following organically and stay active in your new social community. Just like in the real world the social media sphere thrive off of visuals. Upload pictures from your portfolio on your website and on all social media accounts. Be sure that each of your social media outlets include your website so potential clients can learn more about you and the services you offer.
Step 8: Continued Growth and Education
Always remember the more you learn the more you earn. Continue educating yourself on the bridal business. Attend bridal shows, hair and make-up shows, and take classes. Staying current and on trend will increase your confidence and comfort level when dealing with difficult requests. Being proficient with styling all hair types and applying make up to all skin types will distinguish you from your counterparts.
As the bridal business continues to grow there will be a growing need for more bridal hair and make-up artists. You can start today with little to no start up cost. All you’ll need is confidence, patience, punctuality, professionalism, a positive attitude and lots of creativity.
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