Monday, February 17, 2014

Handling Shopping Inquiries

We all get them, the shoppers.  The brides that inquire and then you never hear back from them again.  I'm not really sure what exactly scares them away.  Perhaps pricing?  The thought of do they even really need a makeup artist? Timing?  Whatever the case may be, these brides are hard to book.

I personally don't like to pressure anyone into hiring my services.  When I'm hired it's because the bride and I have spoken, discussed pricing, time, location, what she's looking for in terms of look and/or have had the trial run.  She has hired me because she has put her trust in me and my skill that I will make her look and feel as beautiful as she deserves to be.

But how do you cut down on the shoppers?  How do you make these shoppers hire you?  Again, I'm not into peer pressure but here's a few things I have done and changed.

1. List Your Prices
I wasn't a fan of listing your prices on your website for a long time because no two weddings are the same.  It always depended on the size of the party, the location, how far I was traveling etc.  I quickly changed my tune when my email was constantly flooded with "shoppers".  Asking my rate, asking if I traveled, asking what was included in the price and then never hearing from them again.

Once I posted my prices on the site I saw less "shoppers".  My email wasn't flooded with the repetitive pricing questions. They get so see how much I charge right from the start.  If I'm within their budget range, they will email me.  If I'm not, then I get no email and I've avoided the shopper who most likely wasn't going to hire me anyways.

2. Have a FAQ Page
This has eliminated most of the popular questions that I get.  Though I must admit, most don't read it and still ask anyways.  I don't mind it and always still point them in the direction of the FAQ page.

3. Let Them Know They Need You
In my "Pricing" & "Services" page I've included a reason why makeup is essential to their day.  Many brides honestly and truly don't get why our services are just as important as any other for their wedding.  They see it as unneeded expense that they can do themselves.  Tell them, educate them, and explain why you're so awesome.  I've even made a separate blog post about it.

4. Check Up On Them
Send them a little reminder.  Remember, these ladies have so much going on.  With hiring other vendors, getting a dress, keeping everyone on the same page -- they forget.  I was that bride once and even though I had someone to help me keep things on track, I would forget some things.  There was just no way I could think of everything.

5. Give Them A Deadline
In my response email I always let them know that dates are on a "First Come, First Served" basis.  Once I'm booked for a date, the date is gone.  I don't ever hold dates for anyone unless I have a signed contract along with a 50% deposit.

There have been times where a bride has asked if I'm available for a certain date.  If it is, I always respond with "As of now the date you've requested is available".  That way they're aware that right now, this second, its open, but it may not be in an hour or a day or a week.  Basically they can book me now or risk the chance of losing the date to another bride.

At times if Bride A asks about Date XX and then I get another email from Bride B asking for the same date, I'll go ahead and email Bride A and warn her than another bride has shown interest in the same date as her.  She will then have to decide if she's going to hire me or not.  If I don't hear back from Bride A by a certain amount of time, I assume she doesn't want to book and priority now goes to Bride B.  I suggest you do this at your discretion.  Whatever time window you give is totally up to you.  Only you know your business.

Now go out there and make people beautiful!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Importance of Assisting and Testing

Anyone who knows me knows that's I'm a huge advocate for assisting and continuously building your portfolio.  I've blogged about it many times.  How to approach an artist about assisting and what to do when you get there.  But I've never really mentioned why it's so important.

While I've met some artists who never really assisted I firmly believe that it's a crucial part to learning the craft correctly.  And not just about how to apply makeup but about how to properly behave on set.  To actually see how a real set with real working people who actually do this for a living, works.

You will experience and learn different things depending on who you assist.  But one thing is certain. 9 times out of 10 you will not, I repeat, will not be getting paid.  But why, do you ask?  Because getting chosen to assist is a privilege.  Sure you can go to a school and learn makeup till the cows come home but a school wont really teach you how it is in a real working environment.

In the beginning of your assisting "career" you will get coffee, you will wash brushes, you will do pretty much anything that the key artist needs you to do. It's called paying your dues.  Think of it as the "wax on, wax off" of the makeup industry.  Everyone who is in the business and is successful has, at one point, paid their dues.

I'm not saying that you won't get paid ever but don't expect it to be much if you do.  Especially when you're starting out.  Maybe $50.  Maybe $100.  But don't ever expect money.

Test, test, tesssssstttttttt till your arm falls off.  I always say, if you're home sitting on your couch munching on Cheetos, then you don't want this bad enough.  You should be testing!  You should be doing productive things that pertain to getting your makeup career started.  Make your business cards, set up a Facebook page, set up your website.  DO SOMETHING!  Sitting there watching re-runs of ::insert fav show here:: will get you nowhere fast.

Testing is another thing that will not pay.  The point of testing is to build your portfolio.  Gather a team that is also in need of portfolio building and build your books together.  If you don't have work to show, no one will hire you.  Whether it's a bride or a commercial client, people want to know what they're buying.

Testing is also necessary to build your skill. Work on different skin colors, skin textures, bone and muscle structure (that's right people, learn that too cause it's not just about slapping makeup on someone face).  Perfecting your craft no matter how little the detail is key.  Maybe you have trouble applying lashes.  Maybe you can't get eye liner on straight.  Test so that you can work on it.  

Everyone who is testing with you is there to perfect something.  The photographer may be trying out new lights.  The hairstylist may be trying out new products.  Maybe the pictures aren't going to be as good in the beginning.  But one thing is for sure.  You walked out of there and learned something new.

Being a makeup artist is so much more than just applying makeup.  It's learning lighting, bone structure, skin types etc.  Ask questions.  Yes, that's right, ask the photographer why that light, why that position, why that lens.  There are so many aspiring artists out there that would do anything for a chance to assist and learn.  They are eager to soak up this knowledge.  So, when you get there, don't screw it up!  Below are some links to past posts that I've written about the industry.  I hope you find them useful.

And please, any questions at all (there are no stupid questions) please feel free to ask me.  My email is always open and I always respond. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

In MY Kit - Updated

Last time I blogged about my kit was quite a while ago.  Much has changed and many have asked for an update.  This is currently how my kit looks and has looked for about 6 months now.  At this point I don't think it will change much and if it does, I'll just update this particular blog post.  Enjoy the makeup porn.  Lots of pictures ahead.

The only thing that I didn't take pics of were my disposable cause I'm pretty sure you guys know what cotton balls and qtips look like and my Skin Care.  I'm not one of those to carry a lot of skin care items.  I'm a makeup artist, not a dermatologist and don't have any specialty items in my kit.  If my client has a certain skin problem then they usually are already taking care of it and I use their stuff.  I just don't have the space in my kit to carry skin care for every single person in this planet.  My skin care consists of:

Embryolisse 24 Hr Miracle Cream Moisturizer
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels (for Brides ONLY)
Olay Facial Wipes
Elizabeth Arden 8 Hr Cream

As usual, any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section OR you're more than welcome to email me at contact[at]yisellsantos[dot]com.

This here is my main eyeshadow palette.  It's what I use for everything from Catalog to Bridal.  Can you tell that I love FACE atelier?

Every makeup artist needs to have a playful palette and this is mine.  Though not used much I always carry it with me.  You just never know when a client is going to ask for random orange eyeshadow.

My Blush Palette.  The top row consists of a palette I got some time ago by Powder Puff Squad.  The company has since sadly disappeared.  A real bummer too cause these blushes are quite amazing.  Tho, Peach Glaze is what get's the most use here.  Don't let the fact that it looks new fool you.  I've renewed this one twice already (this is my 3rd).

I purchased this when it was first introduced and never really used it much.  It's only been lately since I've been doing more bridal that this started seeing more use.  I love it for Bridal (and so do the Brides).

A Hautelook compulsive buy turned awesome.  It was meant to be in my personal kit but I loved it so much that after using it once I stuck it in my kit, once again leaving me with nothing good in my personal bag.  Oh the life of a makeup artist haha!  I find myself using it a lot when I do makeup for Military Balls (for those that aren't aware, I'm an Army Wife and live near a Military Installation).

After trying to find a palette that had a little bit of everything and failing, I just created my own.  This is my main lip palette and use it for pretty much everything.

I recently purchased this and la la love it for Bridal.

Yet another Hautelook compulsive buy but who could blame me?  They were $6 a pop!  Yes please.  Quicky is my fav for catalog.  Plus they go on so gorgeous.

My Bronze Palette.  Though the Yaby powders are supposed to be "Powder Foundations" I never use it as such.  I love to use them to bronze my darker skinned gals.  FA Mocha I use both as bronzer and blush and the MAC I use mostly on men.

My Highlighters and 2 more Bronzers.  I couldn't bring myself to depot the Laguna, I really love that packaging.  The Uplight I use mostly for photoshoots, the Watt's Up (which replaced the NARS Copacabana Multiple) I use for both personal clients and photoshoots and the KA Candlelight powder I use mostly for Bridal (skin dependent).

No you're not seeing double, yes I have two Sparkling glosses.  I use that one the most from this set.  It just looks absolutely beautiful on everyone.

FACE atelier...That is all!

Great when I have that adventurous Bride or doing a flashy bright lip beauty story.  Scandal is the popular color.

Some other various glosses.  The FA's are both lip and cheek tints.  Arabesque is my fav and used the most.  I realize that I carry a lot of glosses.  Many artist carry one (clear).  I love lipgloss (srsly you should see my personal stash) and I love it even more on top of lipsticks.  It it something.

Lip Pencil booklet.  NARS Sex Machine gets all the use here.  The rest are mostly depending on mood.  But I don't use them as actual lip liners.  I use them as lipstick.  That's right, I fill the whole lip in with them.  I don't like the use of lip liners as...well...liners.

My fav and most used things here are my brow pencils and the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick.  That stuff stays on like a champ!

My main one, only love and obsession in foundation.  FACE atelier!  I could go on and on about this foundation so I won't.  If you use it, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  If you don't use it, I highly urge you to.

Yaby Foundations.  A little more lighweight so I tend to use them more on someone who already has amazing skin such as very young models or prom girls.

My main for TV/Film.  Not that I don't use these for anything else.  I've used these for catalog and bridal as well depending on the skin and look I'm going for but for TV these are key in my kit.

 My go to for my darker gals.  I don't get many darker skinned girls often but when I do I absolutely love this palette.  I mix as needed to get the color I need.  

MUFE Camo Concealer palette #1 & #4 depotted into the Yaby Stackable palette.  I've been using these for years.

Temptu S/B Foundations.  I love the finish and coverage of these.  I've even used them without the airbrush machine.  Fantastic for brides!

My Powders.  I carry all three depending on the look and occasion I'd need them for.

And last but not least, my UD Setting Spray, FA Transforming Gel and Fortunate Face Minerals IntensifEYE Primer.  Cannot live without these in my kit.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bridal Must-Haves

And the question arises again...and again lol.  What are your bridal must haves?  Finally after answering the same questions various times, I decided that its time to make a blog about it.  So here are my favorite bridal must haves that I are in my kit.  Again, I like to remind you that this is MY personal opinion.  Everyone's kit is different and what works for one artist, might not work for another.  But I do always encourage everyone to try it out first.  Go and play!  That's the best part of our job.  We get to PLAY!!

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

These babies are amazing!  I love to keep these in my kit for the bride.  Keep in mind that she's been planning this day since she was a little girl.  Not when she got engaged, not when she knew that boy was the one...since she was a little girl!  Now if you ask me, that's a long time!  Why not help them relax with these eye gels?  They somehow magically remain cool even in room temperature and help relax the skin around the eyes which is the most thinnest and sensitive skin in our whole entire body.  Even if she doesn't have puffiness I still apply them.  Why?  Because it makes her feel special and pampered.  She is the bride after all.  She should feel special.

FACEatelier Lip Putty

Where would I be without my lip putty?  FACEatelier's lip putty is by far the best lip smoother I've ever encountered that does more than one job.  Not only does it smooth lips, but it hydrates, fills in lines and prevents bleeding. If you're the type of artist that loves to use lip tars for bridal, this is for you.  Honestly, I use it under everything from lipsticks to lip tars to lip liners!

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Oil Free

When it comes to foundation primers, this is my favorite.  I've been using it since like, forever!  This tube of awesome primes without leaving the skin looking and feeling too matte, so you still get a nice dewy effect (if that's what you and/or the bride are going for) without looking oily or greasy.  Most brides get married during the summer meaning sweating will happen.  Even if the bride doesn't have oily skin, the weather can hinder the staying power of the makeup and the last thing we want is a melting bride.  And no one wants to see that!  Tip: If I know it's going to be a really hot wedding day, the day before I put it into the refrigerator.  By the time I arrive on location, it's nice and cool and it helps with calming the skin.

Fortunate Face Minerals IntesifEYE

I've spent years trying various eye primers and all have disappointed.  Some didn't hold up, some I just disliked the texture.  I had actually given up on eye primers and just took extra steps to make sure eyeshadows wouldn't crease or fade.  But then I was sent a sample of IntesifEYE and I fell in love!  This stuff is legit.  A tiny, tiny bit goes a long way.  I mean half of half of a pea size is all you need and I love that because I'll have it forever.  If you don't want eyeshadow crease or fade, you need this.  If you want eyeshadow to need this!  This will forever be a staple in my kit.

Urban Decay All Nighter

And the finisher!  The lovely All Nighter setting spray.  I cannot live without this in my kit.  In fact, I could never send a bride down the isle without misting this on.  Even if you've taken all measures to make sure that her makeup wont melt, I use this as a reassurance that the makeup will absolutely not budge.  After the "I Do's" what do brides do?  That's right!  They party!  Meaning they will dance.  Dancing means sweating.  Sweating means melting...and we sure can't have that!  Sure nothing lasts forever and nothing is ever really "waterproof" but I sure can delay the process.

Note: Sweat and tears are not only made up of water.  They are made up of salt, mucous, water and various oils.  So next time your "waterproof" eye liner runs, don't blame the product, it's not it's fault.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sonia Kashuk vs. NARS

Sonia Kashuk "Velvety Matte Lip Crayon" (Top)
NARS "Matte Velvet Lip Pencil" (Bottom)
When I stumbled upon the Sonia Kashuk "Velvety Matte Lip Crayon" while browsing the makeup isle of Target, I couldn't help but buy one because surprisingly it looks almost exactly like...that's right...the NARS "Velvet Matte Lip Pencil."  But how does the SK perform? What's the texture like? How's the color payoff?

I gotta say, they're damn good and absolutely kit worthy.  The color pigmentation is pretty much the same as well as the texture.  I do find that the NARS lasts and stays put longer than the SK one's but that's nothing that can't be altered with a little makeup artist magic.  A good lip base that moisturizes and hydrates will hold it longer.  It's also what I use when applying Lip Tars to avoid bleeding. I like the FACEatelier Lip Putty.

Obviously the NARS has more of a color selection that the SK.  The SK seems to have more of every day natural colors, where as the NARS has quite the color range from Brights to Darks and everything in between.  If SK were to release more of a color range, it would be quite the competition especially in price (SK $7.59 / NARS $25.00).

I'm definitely already loving this for bridal.  Because of the pricing, I would totally put this in their touch up bag.  I would still use my NARS pencils on them (most popular color used in my kit is "Sex Machine") and then give them an SK one.  Though nothing will ever compare to "Sex Machine" (let's face it, that color is gorgeous - and if you don't own it, you totally should!), the closest color I found that kind of matches is "Pinky Nude".

All in all the SK is a really good buy and really nice for bridal, commercial, catalog etc. work.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Professional E-mails & Websites

When I made a blog post about business cards, I briefly touched on having things simple and having your name on your email and websites.  Perhaps I was a bit too vague because I'm still running into emails and websites with "foo foo".

Your email should always be your name.  I cannot express enough how important this is.  If you're starting out and can't get or afford a domain name that will let you have your name as a dot com you're allowed to temporarily have a gmail or yahoo or whatever makes you happy.

And so on...

Anything that isn't your name is absolutely just a NO!

Your name is not sparklesofglitter.  If it's not on your birth certificate, it should not be used in your email or website.

Some may have free websites where you can't help but have that particular websites name all over it.  I used to have bridal site through (that I've left up as an example) but guess what's in between all that?  My name! (It's  I can't help that "wix" is in there but I made it a point to implement my name in there so clients can remember.  For my updated and permanent bridal website, visit

If you already have a domain name that allows you to have your name as a dot com, then that's fantastic!  You're on the right track.  My pro site is www[dot]yisellsantos[dot]com along with my pro email which is contact[at]yisellsantos[dot]com.


The point is, your name is on it!

Please always keep in mind that this is how your client will always remember you.  Don't think that just because you're starting out that this is ok.  That you can probably just change it later.  2 things can happen, you either don't ever change it because now all your clients have this particular email and to change it now will be a pain in the behind OR you do change it and have to email every single client that you've changed your email and we all know that sometimes that doesn't work.  You'll have no choice but to keep the old email just in case someone emails you there.  If you disable it, you could possibly lose jobs and/or clients and no one wants that.  So're managing two emails.  If you ask me, that's just way too much work and your client will forever know and remember you as ghettoliciousmakeup.  This is not professional in any way, shape or form.

If you want to be treated and paid like a professional, you need to conduct and handle your business like a professional.  I find it difficult to take anyone seriously who doesn't have a professional email or site.

Moral of this story:
Act as a pro
Be a pro
Conduct business as a pro
And please, I beg you, stop with the ridiculous email and site names.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Is That a Soccer Ball Under Your Shirt?

I never post personal things in my blog.  I'm a very private person and really only share with those very close to me.  Though, once we're close and you really get to know me, I'm quite the foul mouthed, no holds barred kinda girl ha!  I'm from NYC, whatevah!

Many people who follow me of Facebook , Twitter and Instagram (@yisellsmakeup) know that I'm...wait for it...PREGNANT!  Yes!  I've created life and am now carrying a human in me!  WOO HOO!  I've kind of sneaked in some hints and even posted pictures here and there.  Some noticed my growing belly, some didn't.  I didn't exactly publicly announce it (again private person), but I've decided that since the time is soon approaching for me to take a break from work, I'd go ahead and make it really public.

Mid to ending May marks the beginning of my 8th month (I'm 32 weeks now and due June 30th / July 1st) and man I gotta tell ya, I'm starting to feel it.  I was doing just great - taking jobs, getting up early to answer emails, help other artists with their sites etc.  But lately, my poor little legs and ankles are starting to yell at me if I stand for too long.  Tho, this doesn't impair my work in any way.  I just go home and complain to my husband, he tells me to relax and stop working so much but of course I don't listen and he ends up rubbing my footies for hours. WIN!

My little guy at 27 weeks sucking his thumb
Thankfully as a freelance artist I can pick and choose the jobs I know I can handle and make my own schedule but I've promised myself that after June 2nd (the 1st I have a bride lol) that I will take it easy and put myself on Maternity Leave until I know and feel ready to go back to work.  I'll take that last month to slug around, catch up on TV shows and do last minute adjustments to baby's room.

I love my job and can't ever quit completely. I know the work flow won't be the same again (for a long while) and I'm ok with that.  Traveling for now is out of the question.  I was raised to love being with family and that's what I'm going to do.  After almost 10 years in this business, now it's mommy time.  I started out doing weddings, worked damn hard to get where I am, moved up and did lots of print work and even some TV/Film work.  I've been very fortunate and so grateful to the people I've met along the way.  I've had one hell of a good run.  All I wanna do is make people pretty and be with my family.  And that's exactly what I'm gonna do!  I'm back to concentrating only on bridal (for now) which would only really take up a couple hours of my weekends and the rest of the time I'll spend with the hubby and cuddling with my son.

Now this doesn't mean that I won't post here anymore, share my beauty finds, update on the social networks or give anymore advice.  It just means that I might not be able to respond to your lovely comments and questions as fast as usual.  Please, please do keep commenting and emailing me.  I love to hear from you guys and I love with all my heart to help you and give any advice I can.  You guys are a big part of why I love to do what I do.  Without you, a piece of me would be lost.

And now I leave you with some pics of my belly lol!

Me & BFF of 20+ yrs                     College BFF giving the belly some love                       Me and the Hubby

I love you all, seriously!

Biggest hugs and kisses to all. XO!