Why Are Wedding Hair & Makeup Artists So Expensive?
There’s a question I quite often see bride’s asking on wedding forums and Facebook groups and that is “why are wedding hair and makeup artists so expensive?”. As someone who works in the industry I think it is important to know exactly what is taken into consideration when a hair and makeup artist sets their fees. I know on the surface it’s easy to think all we do is show up for a few hours to pin some hair and apply a bit of makeup, but running a successful bridal hair and makeup business is so much more than that.
So why do wedding hair and makeup artists charge so much for their services? Read below to find out exactly what it takes for freelance wedding hair and makeup artists to run a successful business.
Good training for hair and makeup artistry does not come cheap. When I decided that this was the career I wanted to pursue, I wanted to make sure I was being trained by the best in the industry. I opted for a year long course at the prestigious Delamar Academy where I was taught by leading artists in all aspects of the hair and makeup industry. My course alone cost me almost £17k. Having already been to University to study Fine Art, I had to completely fund the course myself with no student loan.
Updating your skills is also very important when working in this industry. There is always something new to learn and taking short booster courses every now and then is a great way of doing this. As well as practical skills, business and marketing skills are also essential to running a successful business. With constant changes in social media and the way we advertise it is important to take marketing courses to have up to date knowledge on how to expand your business.
As you can imagine, maintaining a top-quality hair and makeup kit is an expensive feat. As well as the constant replenishing of consumables, I spend a lot of money investing in new products and I pride myself on only having the best products in my kit. I have a divan bed at home which is stocked full of replacements such as cotton buds, tissues, wipes, hairspray, heat protector spray, mascara, hair grips….you name it! My kit cases alone cost me £1000 and altogether my kit amounts to several thousand pounds.
Working in a creative industry, I’m sure you’ll agree that a business should reflect this. It should look professional and aesthetically pleasing. But that doesn’t just happen overnight. Most business owners will outsource this and pay a graphic designer to create a logo and overall branding package. Being an artist myself, I have designed all my logo and branding, but this has taken hours and hours of work; tweaking and refining details to make sure my branding perfectly reflects my business and stands out to clients.
Website & SEO
You don’t get far these days without a decent website for your wedding business. This is often the first thing a client will see and so it is so important that this not only looks good but is also user friendly and easy to navigate. A lot of money goes into running a good website. I pay for hosting and my domain name to keep my site online, as well as my SSL certificate and an online forms subscription so I can send my brides booking forms. To design my website, I paid for a “theme” and spent hours perfecting the layout. Many business owners will choose to pay a designer to do this for them – usually another costly expense. As well as the money spent running a site, there is the time element to consider. I am constantly making updates to my site; tweaking bits of information, improving layouts and adding recent images of my work.
The minefield of SEO (search engine optimisation) is very important for any business owner to consider. Without good SEO no one will ever get to find you to see your website! I pay monthly for an expert to improve my SEO rating and help my site rank better on Google.
Marketing & Advertising
Unfortunately, you can’t rely on word of mouth and organic searches alone to book clients. There are many advertising options from blog listings to google ads to wedding fairs, but none of these come cheap. Without paying for advertising it is very hard to get business leads and so is another necessity to running a successful business.
You don’t need me to tell you how important social media is to promote yourself! Brides often use Facebook and Instagram to find their wedding suppliers and I’m getting more and more enquiries via these platforms which means it is essential that I’m keeping my content up to date. It is time consuming creating content, taking photos and making posts. Many business owners also pay for an expert to manage and maintain their account. My SEO expert also helps keep my social media accounts on track. You may also be paying Facebook and Instagram to advertise, creating sponsored posts so that more people see your content and ads.
Like most hair and makeup artists, I pay to insure my kit and for public liability insurance. This ensures that both myself and my brides are covered, keeping everyone’s mind at ease. Some wedding venues require this to even allow you to work on their premises.
I spend at the very least an hour, but usually several, each day on admin. This includes responding to enquiries, sending out quotes, managing my bridal team, emailing clients, preparing schedules, researching trends, sending invoices, creating social and blog content, updating my website…the list is endless! Even though I don’t get paid directly for any of this, it’s still takes up a lot of my time. Work never stops for me; I’m often still sending out emails late at night. If I have a day when I’m not out on a job I always make use of this time catching up on admin.
I have been in the industry for 8 years now and in this time I have done so much to improve my services. I have developed and refined my skills, gained knowledge, improved my customer experience and expanded my business. And in the same way you would expect to be promoted and paid more for a job that you have gained experience in, so do we. Experienced makeup artists charge more because their fee reflects their worth. Weddings can be stressful enough as it is and for such an important day, you will be thankful that you booked an experienced and reliable artist.
Being self-employed means taking care of your own accounts which usually means paying an accountant, and yet again more admin! I also pay a monthly subscription for an accounting and invoicing software to help me keep track of everything. I’m not entitled to any holiday or sick pay. If I don’t go to work, I don’t get paid. Even though running your own business means a certain amount of flexibility, it can also mean working unsociable hours and in peak seasons I often end up working 6 or 7 days a week. If I get a job opportunity and I’m available I will always take it. There are always quieter times when you will wish you’d have taken advantage of that work!
I hope this helps illustrate why wedding hair and makeup artists who are running sustainable, successful wedding businesses like mine charge what they do for their services. There is so much more to it than turning up for a few hours to apply a bit of lippy and hairspray!