My 2019 Bridal Beauty Must-Haves

As the bulk of the 2018 Bridal Season is coming to a halt, I figured now is a great time to take a moment to reflect on my ride or dies in my kit going into 2019. The things I am relying on heavily when it comes to artistry essentials working in the Bridal Industry.

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  1. Outlast All-Day Lip Color with Topcoat:
    The biggest thing when it comes to Bridal Beauty is making sure that your lip color is non-transferable and long wearing. This items hits the nail for that! They’ve got a ton of awesome bridal colors as well, and the price point is unbeatable!

  2. IGK 30,000 Feet:
    Wondering how to get the most impressive volume and texture in your bridal hairstyle? Look no further! This is, hands down, the best discovering I made in 2018. How was I sleeping on this product?!

  3. One of the Kind Hairpins:
    I am absolutely swooning over Blushing Flamingos incredibly hair accessories and am looking forward to seeing more items from them in 2019! Adding a small piece to your hair can completely transform your updo and give it a bit more attention it deserves (Pst, email me about the custom ones I make as well!).

  4. Tartlette in Bloom:
    This palette has been on my favorites for almost 3 years now. The colors are absolutely amazing for bridal looks and natural smokey eyes. So if you’re looking for the perfect romantic palette, you’ve found it here.

  5. Mac Face + Body Foundation:
    I’m all about layering to build vs using a full coverage foundation. I love a natural perfected look and constantly grab for Face and Body to deliver the “icing” on top of the cake. I also don’t use a ton of highlighter on Spring/Summer brides because the NC heat can make you look like a doughnut. This foundation gives you that “bridal glow” without going overboard.

So there you have it guys! My 5 must-have for Bridal Beauty going into 2019. I’m excited to see what I learn and change next year in my kit! What are some of your favorite bridal products?

Cheers to 2019: A 2018 [early] Recap

As we’re wrapping up our 2018 Bridal season, I can’t help but reflect on our busiest, most impact season yet. In March, as my bookings in Raleigh, NC started to grow, I decided to throw in the corporate towel and pour all my soul into growing my own business. I remember a phone call with my friend Amanda, late at night, as I drove home from the latest long work trip. I was exhausted, overworked, and it was putting strains in every area of my life. That rant filled conversation left me blurting out, “What if instead of constantly developing business’ for other people — I actually invested in my own”. Amanda’s response was one I’ll never forget: “I’ve been waiting for you to say this for 6 years. If there’s anyone I’d bet all my money on, it’d be you.”

And thus, after little deliberation from those closest to me, I put in a two week notice and geared up for a total overhaul on my website and brand. I was bound and determined that this year was the year I hit the ground running and made no excuses for not making in the industry I loved.

Over the past year, I’ve felt a lot of different feels about branching out and really trying to find where I fit into this industry. I spent time identifying what set me apart from those around me, who are all unique and offer such incredible services. I even streamlined my booking process and making my business work not just for my clients, but for myself — I remember spending hours and hours responding to emails and buried under piles of inquiries that ghosted me after my heartfelt welcome letter and pricing sheet (worst first date ever, right?). I’d sometimes send out 30 emails a day and get one booking from all that hard work, and well, those are the average statics, right? But the trouble was, I was spending all this time sending out these personalize emails to people who weren’t my people. I was drowning in inquiries and feeling the same feeling of being overworked, and overwhelmed. I had to find more creative ways to find my tribe and pour my personalized emails to them.

I eventually learned how to balance out the time I spent working on location, working in the office, and what’s most important, spending time with those I love without being a giant ball of stress and exhaustion. It took a couple personal setbacks, lots of tears and struggles. But I have to say, as I sit here typing this post, I’m hopeful for 2019. I’m thankful for the time I share with my beautiful clients + amazing family/friends and the fact that every person bet on me, and convinced me to bet on myself to make 2018 MY year regardless of the challenges.

Over the past year, I’ve serviced:

27 Weddings
20 Boudoir Shoots
18 Commercial Gigs
14 Branding Sessions
3 Resources Created
2 Classes Attended
+ Loads of Private Makeup/Hair Sessions

We’ve still got 3 weddings left in 2018, and a handful of boudoir sessions as well.

Needless to say, for our first year as a full-time gig, we’ve really hit the ground running. Most of that came from being open and honest with others in this industry and being welcomed into that community. It’s been an amazing journey, and I’m looking forward to the extensive growth that’s going to happen (because I’m going to make it happen) in 2019!

How’s your year going so far?

5 steps to collaborate successfully

Okay, okay. I know what you're thinking. Ashley, styled shoots are the backbone of amer-uh, the entrepreneurial. Don't tell me they're a bad idea. But, hear me out.

I've been in this industry for some time now, ever growing, ever changing, and you guessed it -- ever collaborating. Most of these collaborations have been amazing, but some, well...they've been learning experiences. Thus, I feel like there needs to be a disclaimer out there so people don't make the same mistakes I made about twenty times too many. They say you learn each time you've been "burned" or wronged, whatever you want to call it. But for me? Oh no. My stubborn thick head kept humming the word yes over and over again.

It honestly took me ages to figure out why collaborations weren't going my way. And once I adapted the below, it's saved me a ton of headaches since. Let me spare you the frustration and disappointment of a collaboration gone wrong by sharing my tragedies and triumphs in these 5 easy steps that will leave you less likely to throw in your creative towel and more likely to feeling confident when saying yes to collaborations aka styled shoots.

successful styled shoot contract

 

1. Tell them what you need.
The first time I signed up a styled shoot, I had ASSumed that all the experts around me knew what I needed. Whether you're a photographer, florist, or like myself, a makeup/hair artist. You need to be clear with your collaborators on what you all need to feel like everyone walked away serving their clients/business.
 

2. If it isn't your style, don't say yes.
You'd think this would be a given. It isn't. You'll find yourself looking for anyone who will snap some images or dust on some makeup that's willing so you'll have something, anything, to post. But if it's not going to serve your portfolio or your social media feeds, than don't say yes.

3. Share your ideas.
You're being asked to collaborate because someone liked what you can do and trusts your vibe. They've given you an idea, but don't be afraid to tweak, share your ideas for changes, or talk about what can be realistically accomplished, they're coming to you because you're an expert in your craft. They're trusting you as a pro, so be it and them 'em what you can offer.

4. Share ALL the vendors.
If the person who has coordinated the shoot didn't collect the social handles for the vendors collaborating. Take it upon yourself to do it. I've been so disappointed watching a large project I collaborated on get posted with credits going out to only a few of the larger vendors and forgetting us little guys. I've been guilty of the same. Don't be afraid to kindly reach out and let them know they forgot to tag you. You collaborated with these people because you felt you could cross your clientele!

5. If you're unhappy, say it.
You can be respectful and share your opinions. If a project you collaborated on, and followed the above 4 steps, turns out to be crap. Tell them. Am I saying send them an email saying, "Hey, this is garbage, here's an invoice". Absolutely not, conduct yourself professionally. There's no need for hurtful words or pitchforks. But if you worked hard and when you get the gallery back, you see it was edited all very dark so your work doesn't show through, or your floral arrangement was pictured from so far away no one can tell if those are roses or, uh, lillies, or um...who really knows. Or the makeup/hair artist used blue eye shadow and the vibe you were hoping for was natural so you had to spend 80 forevers editing out frosted blue shadow. Don't trash the idea, but let someone know when they've fallen short of their expectations. Most people would rather hear it from you, than hear it through the grapevine about them knowing it was you who said it.

That's it. It took me years to understand that standing up, saying no, and being firm in what is expected wasn't "rude" (thanks southern hospitality mind set) but actually a form of good professional communication. You should never walk away from a Styled Shoot with any vendors feeling like they've missed out or wasted their time. I've done it before, but you can certainly prevent it.

 If you're ready to go the extra mile, I even have a Styled Shoot contract that I've made available for download in my Etsy shop, use the code "BLOG10" for 10% off.