Raleigh NC's On Location Hair + Makeup Artist specializing in TV/Film, Weddings, and Commercial projects.

Raleigh NC On Site Hair and Makeup - Ashley Watts Beauty

Learn more about Raleigh, NC’s Premier On Location Hair and Makeup services provided in Apex, Cary, Morrisville, Chapel Hill, Sanford, New Hill, and Pittsboro.

Posts in Business
2019: Half Year Recap

I feel like 2019 is just starting, but in reality we’re moving into the 7th month — meaning we’re over half way done with this year. If you recall, last year was my first official year doing only freelance makeup artistry. So you can only imagine how exciting this year has been.

Business Highlights:

Personal Highlights:

  • Moved into a brand new apartment with Viv.

  • Visited San Deigo with Ethan.

  • Primitive Camped in Angeles National Forrest.

  • Spent tons of time outdoors near bonfires and with friends.

  • Finally feeling a rhythm to living in a new city.



I’m looking forward to working towards my goal for the later half of the year. Those include traveling to Atlanta, DC, and possibly back to LA again in the winter for some transitional things. Also, focusing on being more present in motherhood and enjoying the place I am at in it. Building and cultivating relationships with like-minded individuals. Continue to grow my beauty work in my portfolio while working on new projects with friends. Focus on separating weddings into a whole new section of my business.



Do you guys have any goals for the rest of the year? If so, I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to comment below, or drop me an email at ashleywattsbeauty@gmail.com.

Successfully finding your Client

This is a question I get asked a lot. And if you know me, you know I am all about uplifting and empowering those on both sides of this game. I truly feel like all of my clients choose me based on what how much of myself I am putting into my business and truly perpetuating a vibe that only attracts those who can resonate with will “buy” into.

successfully finding your client.png


1. DEFINE WHO YOU ARE.

It’s important to make note about what you’re looking for in clients. That’s not an invitation to say things like, “to buy services for me”, to “not care about price”. Because honestly, they’re usually on your site because they’re interested in what you’re serving, and there’s not a person in this world where price doesn’t matter — especially if you’re a millennial who only has money for ramen and rent.

You need to really think of what your business means to you, and what you want to offer your clients. What makes you a unicorn in the middle of a horse pin. Both are beautiful, but a majestic unicorn is certainly going to stand out.


2. BUILDING PERSONAL CONNECTIONS

The Makeup industry has grown a million times more populated since I started almost 10 years ago. It’s honestly crazy to see how many people are popping up each week with little to no experience and totally killing the game! I’m probably one of the only people you’ll run into that’s 10 years into their formal makeup career who thinks the wave of new comers is incredible for the industry. I learn something new from gals at Sephora all the time.

This loops into the first point, but it should stand on it’s own. Build connections with your clients by asking their history/experience with makeup. The average person doesn’t know what they’re looking for regardless of if you’re speaking to DP’s or private clients. They’re looking to you for guidance. Be exactly that! Ask questions, take criticism, and be mature enough to understand. You need to know what your client’s comfort level with makeup is, or the DP’s expectation of makeup (is it for corporate, who is the character you’re creating).

3. BE FLEXIBLE

You’re never going to find a normal set of hours as a MUA. You’re always going to be all over the place in this industry. It’s not like a salon, or stereotypical beauty counter work. You’re going to have some mornings that start at 2am, and some evenings that end at 11pm. You’ll need to understand you need to be very flexible with the company/client you’re working for and constantly deliver great results.

Also being okay with someone changing their mind or not loving an idea you have. Sometimes doing a trial run, or a tech day is important to make sure everyone loves what’s going to be created whether it’s for a character or private client.


4. BE PROFESSIONAL

You know, just practice good sanitation, great etiquette, and remain being a professional personality when working. Does that mean you have to be someone you’re not — absolutely not! You can 100% throw your personality into the mix and still be professional. I think business’ get so caught up in being “professional” they forget that during intimate moments, people want to know who’s delivering those services or products. Don’t forget your you’s or why’s. Keep the at your center, even when deciding how to be professional.


5. CREATING A SAFE/HAPPY PLACE

You heard it — life is so dang stressful and you’re not the only one eating ramen like I said earlier. Everyone is facing a great deal of stresses, losses, or disappoints me in their lives. Creating a space/energy that your clients can truly feel at ease during their time with you is so important finding the “right” client for you.

It could be as simple as helping them get settled when they come in for the first time, asking them if they need a drink, diving straight into a polite conversation. You’d be surprised what that initial energy can define about your relationship with that client.

Making sure you provide a safe, clean, and comfortable spot is important as well. Make sure they’re as comfortable as you can reasonably accommodate. I’d highly recommend creating a space to meet with clients, or finding an environment you can control to provide that type of experience with them. Making sure they feel relaxed and comfortable with your skills is super important.


So there you have it. Let me know if you use any of these to help improve your business with clients. I’d love to hear about it.

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.