You’ve built a great makeup business for yourself and you're getting requests regularly. Fatigue and burn out are creeping in. You start noticing something… you’re turning away work. Rates are good, so maybe it's time to hire a bridal team? But how do you build a bridal team when it's only been you?
In the 18 years, I have owned my wedding on location business, 10 of those years have been with a bridal team. I owe much of my success to having a team and earning my mid-six figure a year salary. If you have the tenacity to handle a team and the business skills, this post is for you!
Today, I teach you some key fundamentals on how to build a bridal team and grow your income and your team with success.
Grab some coffee.
When you should consider hiring a bridal team:
- When you’re turning away consistent work week after week
- When you’re trying to do more than 2 weddings per Saturday
- When you’re sending clients to other artists in your area
- When you need assistance to help you with larger parties
Let me tell you that having a team isn’t for everybody. You really need to ask yourself if you're willing to give up a part of your creative side to run a business.
What to expect when hiring a bridal team:
To manage a bridal team you must be prepared to give up a certain amount of control. Not only your esthetic taste but your brand reputation as well.
Having trust in people you “hire” for your business requires a certain amount of “letting go.”
I'll be honest. It took me a little while to warm up to the idea of having a bridal hair and makeup team, but I also knew I had the personality to let people blossom into their own unique artists.
Is it lucrative to hire a bridal team?
Depends on what lucrative means to you. What is a lot of money to some isn't a lot to others. Can you make money? Sure. Will you get rich? Define your idea of “rich”?? The answer to that question really depends on you. Can you earn a living from it? Absolutely. I'm about to show you how.
Thinking like a business owner (not a makeup artist)
For the first 9 years having my bridal business, I gave work to other hairstylists and makeup artists who were friends of mine. I can safely say that they are now independent artists with very solid careers in the wedding industry. I am sure neither would argue that point.
As I slowly grew my business, I knew I was keeping my artist and stylist friends busy with inquiries and paid work. However, when I stopped to think about it, they were getting MY business and MY clients that I had cultivated through my business. They were making money off the money I was spending to acquire those clients.
Looking back, it wasn't very smart, even if I loved them on a personal level. That said, they are still two very dear friends of mine and now I am happy for their success.
Always remember, this is business, it's not personal.
It’s hard to be in this business and want to do good by others. At the end of the day, being a business owner is a delicate dance. You need to take care of your business and be almost a little selfish. Remember, you need your oxygen mask first before you help others.
Why? Because you have to grow your business so you can offer more jobs. It’s really that simple.
Take Care of Your Bridal Team
Here is something that may or may not make sense to you when building your bridal team. I believe in taking care of my team over of my clients.
If you take care of your team first, they will automatically take care of your clients. In the 10 years I've had a team, it has proven true time and time again.
Tip: Many makeup artists don’t want to be in the business of being the manager and booker. They want to show up and do the makeup and go home at the end of the day. And that’s ok too! There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. They are all types of flavors out, so find a few you can cultivate.
Experience & Pricing
In our bridal studio, we do a pricing structure according to experience.
For example, our artists and stylists who have many years of experience with good portfolios are the more expensive team members to book. With experience comes a higher fee.
For our team, we have 3 levels of pricing:
- Owner Pricing
- Senior Artists
As a makeup artist and business owner, I can tell you that 20% of my time is doing actual makeup. The other 80% is behind the scenes of my wedding and cosmetic business. Running a business and a team is a real commitment. So, be sure you take the higher paying jobs to take yourself away from the business aspect of things.
Tip: Another reason being a good business person is important to your team: they're counting on you to get them work!
Have the help you need
I have been able to afford a full-time wedding coordinator to handle all contracts, bookings, and logistics of this branch of my business. It's worth its weight in gold. (if any of you know me, you know that Bridgit is my right-hand gal).
You will know what you can and can not afford when you start your business, so perhaps you will be the one doing all the bookings and emails when you first begin. The goal is to build up so that you can hire a full time “Bridgit.” 😛
You're The Owner, Charge Accordingly
Once you start to build a wedding team, you will find your time becomes limited to see clients. Because your business requires you to make the important decisions, it’s wise to raise your rate so that your bookings slow down.
While this seems counter-intuitive, trust me, you will thank me later.
When it comes to pricing, here is an easy barometer:
- If you're growing too fast, your prices are too low.
- If you're booking steady your prices are just right.
- When your prices are high, you don’t book as much but you make as much money you would at a lower rate. You make the same amount of money but work less. <—Well, isn't that genius?
Here's some food for thought: I made the same amount of money doing 40 weddings a year as I do doing 20 now. This type of thinking allows me the time do to important jobs to grow the business.
Tip: I always say, you, the owner, should be doing the $500-hour jobs and hire others to do the $15 an hour jobs. Believe it or not, it will actually save you money in the long run.
So take a step back and think about your pricing as an owner. Always be more in demand. Your name is on the door. 🙂
Senior Artist Associates
Senior artists generally have experience with weddings already. These are the ones that know how the wedding day is going to get down. The know the bridesmaids will fight getting in the chair and they have worked with difficult personalities all while smiling and twirling the entire day.
Senior artists also have the speed to do the type of work for larger bridal parties. Senior artists are also reliable and dependable to your business. These are the people you want on your team. These are the folks I say “are easy to do business with” and the ones you want to keep working as much as possible. You love them and they love you.
Senior artists will also actively help build their books, without hand-holding or ass wiping. They will help YOU help THEM. While we chase wedding photographers for our team, a good senior artist will also reach out to do portfolio tests that help us build their books. This type of team effort is key because it helps you book them more work.
Many of my senior artists today started out as associates. However, many had a successful bridal business who didn’t want the headache of managing their schedule or time. Many are stay-at-home moms who are busy taking care of little ones and like the freedom that comes from working on a team. Whatever the case is, there are people out there.
Tip: Many times artists with strong portfolios don’t want to work on a team, but some of them do. The key is to find them. A lot of times, you can promote lower level team members to senior levels once they have proven to you that they are worthy of the title.
Associate artists are your brand new babes in the world. They are still wet behind the ears but have a TON of potential flowing through their makeup and hair brushes.
The new artists need mentorship and guidance but they have zero desire to do all the heavy lifting of owning or have the experience in running their own business. Perhaps they may want their own business in the future, but for now, they want consistent work. Hey, it happens!
Now that you've seen what you need to do, now let's dive in and how to find the best people for the job!
Are you considering hiring a makeup team?
Be sure to have our Independent Contractor Agreement to be sure they show up to their weddings on time!