Wednesday, 26 April 2006 09:30

How Make-up Can Help Your Aesthetics Career

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There's one thing every experienced aesthetician knows for sure - new clients don't come quickly or easily enough! What with all of the new day spas opening everywhere and beauty schools minting flocks of trained skin care professionals the wait for a large client following can be long and excruciating. Can't afford an expensive advertising campaign or the latest skin-firming device? Not a problem! You have a low-cost and time-proven opportunity available to you that can do much to shorten the client building process while increasing your career income in short order: Make-up services and product sales.

You don't need to be a highly skilled "artist" to succeed in make-up but you will need a commitment to learn some technique and a strategy for making the most of the potential business you attract. My own aesthetics practice was preceded by work as a freelance make-up designer - contracting with major color houses for in-store promotions and visiting homes as a self-styled (and male) version of the Avon lady! I met people, pitched my services, handed out business cards, and counted the new customers that eventually found their way to my waiting facial lounge. It built my career. So, for those of you needing more facial clients (or a little variety in your service day) I offer the following recipe for a rapid path to a new level of success!

1. Take a few make-up classes. There's some real stimulating and professional training out there so get involved in them. Don't worry about mastering stage and television techniques-wash and wear daily make-up knowledge will do nicely. One thing I learned brushing faces at the Shiseido counter, well before I had a skin care practice going, was that most women favored a simple look they can do in a hurry. That fact hasn't changed over the years-time is even in shorter supply now than it was then (1 million BC in beauty years).

2. Go to every department store make-up promotion you can find! Yep, sign right up, sit down and mentally record what the artist/sales representative is saying to you. These people are trained to interest you, the potential customer, in the hottest and latest colors, textures, and techniques. Look, listen, and learn. Have a good time in this free make-up class. You don't have to buy a thing, but if you do purchase something pay close attention to why you made the buy - you'll need that knowledge later when it's you that's doing the selling.

3. Learn to custom blend liquid foundation. This is a product you'll want to master and sell in the spa. The effect of a properly matched foundation is wonderful, plus, it fascinates clients and creates some savage loyalty. There are a number of private label cosmetic manufacturers that'll be only too happy to teach you how to quickly arrive at a perfect ounce of high-profit product. I blended and sold a zillion of these over the years - winter and summer formulas for every customer - and had a lot of fun making them, too!

4. Offer every spa client a complimentary make-up consultation. Yes, free! After all, what are you doing with that empty appointment time on your schedule? The worst thing you can do is going home when there are customers to find and money to be made! Almost any female spa customer is an ideal candidate for a make-up consultation, whether you work with them on-the-spot or plan for a later time. The point is to get them introduced to you and your services. Schedule these consultations for 30-minutes but allow a little more time if you have it available. And if the client isn't already a facial customer you can include a brief skin analysis in the appointment that may very well convince them to become one!

5. Include a make-up analysis for every facial client. It's amazing how many aestheticians among us still ignore the critical effects a client's make-up choices have on her skin. For the second facial I would ask my client to bring in all of the make-up she wears so we could determine the appropriateness of what she owns for her skin type. We then sort the good from the bad and suggest replacement product for contrary items. Works like a charm and clients truly appreciate this additional professional assistance.

6. Schedule seasonal make-up updates. I generally recommend that these happen at the onset of spring and fall - the two most dramatic times for climate and emotion change. Colors need adjustment, foundations will need to be corrected, and fun is anticipated! I ask clients to keep all make-up diagrams that I've created for them and bring them in at the next update (to help guide the new style direction and avoid technical duplication). You'll be very happy with the retail outcome from these visits, particularly since they can serve to prevent clients from straying to someone else's make-up counter!

7. Schedule make-up events at the spa or at a client's home. Small events are best in order to assure that all attendees receive adequate personal (and sales!) attention. My former partner and I built much of our earlier customer base this way. From teen make-up parties to Red Hat Club ladies - all are interested in and use make-up. Your event should be fun, engaging, and educational. Themes are good: The Danbury Street Divas was a successful make-up event held by a single block of neighboring friends. Everyone receives your card, your spa menu, and many will buy products on the spot. Nothing wrong with being paid to advertise!

8. Give away make-up lessons! Now here's an excellent way to bring in new customers, fill those lonely make-up stools, and generate some present and future income as well. This is the p-e-r-f-e-c-t way to satisfy those clients that hound you for charity event donations without having to give up the more valuable and potentially in-demand treatment room hours. I gave these away by the basketful and reaped the reward of a slow but steady stream of new potential customers.

9. Be a guest make-up artist at a hair salon in your market area. One of the best things I ever did en-route to building a successful skin care clientele! I discovered that salon owners not offering facial or make-up services were delighted to have me work with their customers once or twice a month. This enhanced the salon's image while earning income and new customers at the same time. Since I brought in my own cosmetics I would pay the salon owner a small percentage of any retail I generated during appointments. I kept the full service fee. The best part was that I often sold more cosmetics to the working hairdressers on site than to the clients I saw!

10. Recruit others to sell make-up for you! Now that you've mastered the art of everyday make-up application and sales why not start your own cosmetics empire? All you need to do is find a quality private label make-up manufacturer, brand your own line of fabulous products, and then send your sister, best friend, and career-seeking acquaintances out into the field to promote and sell them. You buy at wholesale, mark the products to a new level and then pay commissions on all sales your team generates via the networking and party system. Get your own e-commerce site up and rave about your hip, cool line. Anyone with ambition, a few bucks and the will to work can succeed in the ever-growing world of cosmetics sales. There are lots of rags-to-riches stories about little upstart entrepreneurs achieving great things through scrappy beginnings. When will you be on the list?

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