Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Back to My Future

I got my first face paints from a local face painter on December 31st...just before 2010 turned to 2011. You can see what I got in the photo of the receipt. It was a 90 gm white, 90 gm black and a tiny regular rainbow one-stroke cake, a small glitter and some hydra sponges. It came in a brown paper bag like a pint of whiskey and we met in the parking lot and did the "exchange" before she went in for her New Year's Eve gig. I took a double look inside...can this tiny bag possibly be holding $56.54 worth of product?

Since that fateful night, I've spent THOUSANDS & THOUSANDS of dollars on supplies and tried many new trends in the body art market. I've bought lots of different bags and cases. Tried almost every kind of brush and applicator I could find. I've bought powders and gems, glitters and glues, shirts and wings, gels and cleaners; cameras and a laminator. I've been to conferences and workshops; subscribed to FABAtv and bought magazines and books. Watched ALL THE YOUTUBES and been on forums and Facebook.

So, if I could travel back in time and do a Marty McFly and stop myself in that parking lot and give me advice on what NOT to buy or do, this is what I would tell myself...

"You cannot save money by spending money."
You know those fabulous craft store coupons that beckon you to spend simply because they exist? How can you resist their siren song? DO NOT go to Michaels and Hobby Lobby and Joanns (all within a mile of your home) and browse and feel compelled to buy, only buy if you need something and even then...do you really NEED it?

"You are not a fairy or a princess."
Play to your strengths. Just because someone else is having great success wearing a costume, wig or wings does not mean that you will. I know they are pretty and sparkly and fun but they just aren't for you.

"Do more marketing and follow-up and a little less practicing."
I want you to know that skill alone will not get you jobs so take some of that time you spend doing swirls and curls and market yourself. Marketing is what makes your phone ring, your skill is what makes them pick up your card, followup is what makes them a repeat client year after year.

"Don't buy a Fat Max or other heavy kit containers."
There are many painters that have great success with large kits because they work fairs or large events and can wheel right up and start painting. You, however, only do one fair a year and every weekend have to go up and down front stairs, down to the basements, and into back yards. One time you had to go to the top of an amphitheater. Keep your kit as simple and compact as possible.

"You can live without Glitter Tattoos."
Oh, how you will love glitter tattoos from the moment you see them. So sparkly, so fun and they last days and days. Your clients will actually like them as much as face painting at gigs. BUT...they are expensive, sticky, messy, time consuming and your daughter is going to start college soon and won't be around to help you any more.

"Don't buy cheap brushes or multiples of every brush."
Don't buy 4 of every brush. You will end up with CUPS AND CUPS of used brushes that you don't use any more because you bought too many (and HAD to use the craft store coupon!) Buy a few GREAT brushes recommended by the pros and protect them from water damage and clean them properly. Good brushes will absolutely make your work look better.

"You don't have to body paint."
You've taken several classes on body painting. You bought an airbrush system because you felt that you had to body paint and didn't enjoy using it. There isn't really a market in Utah for it and there is a lot of other awesome artists you can refer gigs to. You are not a failure if you don't want to body paint.

"Good Henna takes time and practice."
Henna is a great business model. It's cheap, easy to pack around, fairly easy to mix up, great profit margin....BUT takes just as much time as face painting to learn properly. You don't have the time to do both well. If you are going to stain someone for two weeks, you really should know how to do it right.

"You don't have time for extra services."
You barely have time to stick a little gem on a face paint. Your fantasy of offering pamper parties with hair foils, foil jewelry, hair chalking and painted nails is just that...fantasy. Having these items in stock for the off chance that you will be called for that type of party is indulgent. You know you are just a crow and want the shiny things...RESIST!

"A camera left at home, no matter how good, cannot capture the moment."
You will love the pictures you get with your really good camera but I wish you had bought a higher end point and shoot because bringing the big, nice one along is difficult.

"Be more picky when picking pay-per-face events."

You've spent so many miserable afternoons paying to paint and not making any money. The tent takes a while to set up and tear down. It's usually hot and lacks shade. You need to follow your gut and only do PPF when
  1. It's cheap or nearly free to rent the booth space 
  2. There is a carnival planned or other entertainment that people expect to pay for 
  3. They aren't greedy organizers and letting just anybody buy booth space 
  4. People are expecting a face painter to be there. 
  5. The expected attendance is 10,000 people per day.

"Stop being late!"
Check on google maps and see how long it will take you to get there and then LEAVE ON TIME! You can stay an extra half hour to make up for it; but, chances are they will only remember that you were late.

I would give myself a big hug, tell myself "You will LOVE face painting!" and invite myself to dinner so I could tell me all the RIGHT stuff to buy and do right off the bat...but that might cause a rip in the time space continuum....so, maybe just dinner and no hug.


Vanessa said...

Thank you Sensei! !!!!!!

Katti703 said...

I can't think of one thing that you didn't touch on Denise! I too made these same mistakes and will have enough one strokes to last me forever, lol! I stopped going to Michaels about a year ago and I've probably saved a fortune. If I attend a convention and visit the vendor room, I look around first and but nothing. Them I go to somewhere quiet and decide what do I REALLY need. I've been using the same kit for a year now and it works. I have the well intended gun case in my basement that I've never done anything with. I'm not sure if I'll ever get to putting that together or not. My husband complains that we're turning into a junk house and is being me to get rid of some of the kits and other misc containers that crowd our basement. No more extra anything for my business, especially if I ever want to turn a profit. Marketing is my next major focus so that my phone will ring more often and I won't have to pay for bids on services that obviously want the least expensive painter they can get. Thanks Denise for having a "painters heart," and sharing with us all <3

DeniseCold said...

Thank you for the kind words. Maybe it will help some other lady in a parking lot whose thinking of face painting. I'm determined to market more this year. I used to actually do this stuff for a real estate company. I don't know why it so hard to market MY business! I did end up selling a ton of rainbows and splits last year to reorganize and get down to one palette. I haven't missed them at all.

Jill Alvarado said...

Just getting started and appreciate the advice. It's helpful to know where best to focus my attention, especially when I want to buy everything, but realize I'm broke. :)