Today’s interview is with hair and makeup artist Jessica Mae of WarPaint International Beauty Agency! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
I have been a professional makeup artist for 9 years and love what I do every single day. I started WarPaint International in 2010 with my husband Sam. We set out on a mission to create an agency of talented artisans specializing in hair, makeup & styling. Our artisans go on location, traveling to our clients to prepare them for battle. We specialize in weddings, events, photo shoots, runway, trend development, education and a night on the town. WarPaint International’s vision is to be recognized as a leader in the beauty service industry nationally. To redefine the definition of luxury by offering convenient and affordable services at your home, office or event. To develop an education platform for consumers and professionals alike, that offers challenging learning tracks and experiential training. To be recognized for excellence in service standards in beauty care. To most humbly serve a culture that increasingly believes that life is a stage and they are the main attraction. Our clients can book our services online (with the exception of wedding clients) with as little as 6 hours notice making us a leader in beauty on demand. We are currently developing a mobile app that is set to launch late 2015/early 2016. Clients have the ability to book us as needed or they can become a member of our Beauty Membership where they subscribe on a monthly basis and receive 2 on location services per month at preferred pricing.
How did you get into the business?
I have been a lover of makeup since I was a little girl. I always played with makeup, which sometimes annoyed my older sister because I was always breaking into her room to put on her crimson pink lipstick and blue mascara (gotta love the 80’s!). When I got old enough to start wearing makeup my mom took me to the Clinque counter at Macy’s, I was instantly in love. From that point on I knew I wanted to be a professional makeup artist. However, I didn’t get my start professionally until I was 20 and got my first makeup job as a counter manager for Benefit cosmetics at a Macy’s store. Kind of ironic. ;-) After 2 years of working in what I call the retail trap, I left in search of bigger and better opportunities. I wound up working at a salon with the intent of going to beauty school. Soon after starting in the salon world I realized that it was a pretty toxic, negative and caddy aspect of the industry and it wasn’t for me. I know all salons aren’t like this but I soon realized that I didn’t want to “work for the man” and be constrained to where my creativity took me. Around that time was when I met my now husband who recognized my talent and pushed me to pursue starting my own makeup artistry business and thus WarPaint International was born!
What’s your favorite part of the job?
The reveal! After the service is complete and I hand the mirror over, the A-HA moment happens. I get a little choked up every time. It makes me so happy to see my clients feeling beautiful, confident and sexy!
If you could pick one unique product or service offering, which would be your favorite, and why?
The day of appointment schedules that we create for our clients is something unique that we offer at WarPaint International and is one of the many tools that has made our weddings successful. The schedule not only ensures that everyone will be done on time, but we build in extra time on the back end to account for any unforeseen instances that may arise that day. Weddings are days to expect the unexpected so we try to plan for that the best we can; aka a bridesmaid gets lost or oversleeps her alarm. Another benefit to the schedule we create is that the bride can simply forward the schedule to the rest of her wedding party. That way she doesn’t have all 8 of her bridesmaids asking her a million times what time their hair & makeup appointment is, where they need to be, or how to prepare for the appointment(s). We include all of that information in the schedule for her.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to others just getting started in your field?
Contracts are key!! They protect you and your client and keep everyone on the same page. In the event something goes wrong you have your policies in writing and a track record of the client agreeing to them. Also never, I repeat NEVER skip the trial appointment, even if it’s a friend or family member. Include the trial price into a package for the bride so she doesn’t have the option not to have one. It will save you so many headaches on the day of. I mean, can you imagine trying to pick out the perfect shade of lipstick on the day of your wedding? I don’t think so. Make a trial required and schedule it 4-6 weeks prior to the wedding. You and the bride will be so much happier.
What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
YOGA! It keeps me sane. I also love to take walks with my husband Sam and dog Vincent. Sam and I love to travel and explore new places. I enjoy reading books and I’m also a lover of wine.
Any great stories from working with a client?
I have several so it’s hard to choose, but I think one of my favorites would have to be from when I was recently in New York City. My team and I were brought in to do hair and makeup at an event called Beautiful Me. The event was focused on young women ages 11-17 and helping them build confidence and inner beauty. One of the young ladies that I did makeup on was so sweet & kind. We had a lot of fun picking out makeup colors she liked and creating a personalized look just for her. When I finished I handed her the mirror, she gasped, started crying and said “ I have never looked or felt this beautiful ever in my life!” I of course started to cry too. It was one of the most rewarding moments in my career. Those are the moments I live for.
Photo Credits: James Stokes, Jody Savage, De La Vue, Noahs Arc, Grinkie Photography
What makes you different from others in your field?
It’s simple. We don’t do drama. We do not tolerate toxic, negative or catty behavior and these standards have attracted the right type of artisans to us. Like attracts like. The way we conduct business is always professional. We treat our artisans and clients with the utmost respect. We are responsive, consistent, talented and reliable.
Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
I love that brides are going back to more color on the lip. It got to be way too nude there for a while, so I love seeing the red, pink and berry shades coming back. The one trend that I would love to see left behind for makeup across the board is the harsh contouring! Just don’t do it ladies!!
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are in the midst of planning their big day?
Make lists! Even for the smallest of things. It will help you keep track of things that need to be done so you don’t forget and you will also feel accomplished when you get to check things off your list.
Thanks Jessica! For more information about WarPaint International Beauty Agency, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Jessica? Add them to the comments below!