biz shiz 101: maintaining your network 101

December 20, 2012By stephanie 6 Comments

I recently had an experience in networking that started off good, then went so-so, then went good, and then “meh?”, and then … it went … indifferent. I actually thought long and hard about reliving the anecdote through my blog, but decided to move forward anyway. While what I am about to disclose may cause me to lose some in my network, I want to tell it anyway. Since I have such a strong response to the Freelance 101 workshops I hold at the studio, and since I wanted to do one more Biz Shiz 101 post before the holidays, I thought the artists and people who join me once a month for the workshop and those who like to hear about business mistakes and mishaps would like to hear this one.

Summary: Often times I am asked to participate free of charge at events in exchange for some exposure be it through social media, advertising, word-of-mouth referrals, etc.  I’m usually asked to offer tips and tricks on trends, give advice, or do mini-makeovers.  I am always open to these events especially when I can see that the other company and I have similar goals, philosophies, ideas – etc. It’s a win-win for all, really. Anyway, earlier this year I was asked to participate in such an event for women with small businesses. Again, the promise was constant promotion through social media outlets with an increase in same closer to the event plus, plenty of tweeting during the event.

Okay, so let’s break it down.

The Good: I agreed to do the event about three weeks before it was being held.

The So-So: Between the day I confirmed my attendance to the day before the event – NOTHING. No Facebook links to BlushPretty, no tweeting, nothing. Oh wait – except for one link to my site through their newsletter. The newsletter only went out to their subscribers. Except for a confirmation email after our phone discussion when I agreed to do the event, I received no updates. Even the day before the event, I still hadn’t heard from the organizers and I myself had to email them and ask what’s up. I made mention in my email that I had no “social media” anything thrown my way in the past three weeks and wasn’t even sure if the event was still moving forward. I received a reply, afterwards, confirming the event was still moving forward and an apology for the lack of social media acknowledgement. That day, Elaine said they tweeted once about my attendance.

The (back to) Good: I went to the event with a smile on my face, but reservations. Those reservations were easily washed away when I finally met the organizers in person and realized they are really nice people. I chalked up the few snafus to them being very busy and in fact enjoyed myself that night, talking to their guests and listening to their guest speaker.  I was also assured a free listing on their website in exchange for where they dropped the ball. So, okay – it was a snafu, but I wear big girl panties, it can be forgotten.

I actually tweeted a lot that night. I also followed everyone I met immediately and posted pics all over my social media. The next day I noticed some of my tweets were retweeted. And I did get some thanks and praise from the guests, etc. That was nice.

The Meh?: So, I did get a shout out from the organizers on social media that night. But no follow-up email. No thank you for participating. No note. Not even a follow up about the free-listing I was promised (FYI: I’m not so concerned about having that free listing though). I actually emailed both organizers a few days later, thanking them for the opportunity and OFFERING THEIR GUESTS a promotional price for skin treatments at fresh.beautiful: the skin studio. A really discounted price. Again, radio silence. Not a “thank you so much” or “how nice of you”. A week and a bit passed from that email, and I just assumed it went to SPAM or who knows. But then I get a call from one of the guests about a week later who wants to take advantage of the promotional price and says how great it is that I am doing this for the group. NOT THE ORGANIZER but one of the guests. This means that the organizers DID get my message, emailed it out to their group, BUT DID NOT REPLY TO ME.

Um – what?!?!

Needless to say, this is where I became indifferent. So here is the lesson my lovely little entrepreneurs, freelancers, and friends:

Nothing is received better than common courtesy, manners and respect.

If you are trying to build your network, if you are trying to build your business, if you are trying to build a respectable brand, you need to acknowledge and maintain your network with courtesy and respect. You have to hold up your side of the bargain. You have to be present. You have to be aware. You have to remember your please and thank-yous.

Now I am not saying I wanted a whole bunch of exposure and kudos in return for participating in their event. I knew it would be a small event and I knew the ROI would be small, but still favourable. I went in knowing this.

I did not go in thinking that my emails would be unanswered, that I would have to do my own follow-ups, or that, I would be cast aside after the event. I reached out to them with that last email hoping to maintain a relationship and work together in future events. When I didn’t hear from them, I assumed they didn’t feel the same way about my services. However, I was good enough to pass out a great deal to their subscribers.

Result: bad taste in my mouth

I am definitely open to working with their guests that I met that night. The guests have been lovely, open and communicative and have even left notes on Facebook and Twitter for me. It seems the people the organizers are providing guidance to seem to know a little more about maintaining networks than they do. Hmmmm …

So that is my most recent biz shiz story.  I would LOVE to hear if you have ever been in a similar situation, what you would have done in my shoes, and overall, what ya think …

-s-

trending: new from COVERGIRL

December 18, 2012By stephanie

When the new year hits, everything seems to slow down for a bit. Even though we are gung ho to stay on top of new routines, resolutions and regimens … we also just kind of … take a step back.

We scale back our eating habits (to make up for the weeks of bad eating during the holidays); we simplify our social calendar (to take a break from the night after night of holiday parties and meetups) and most importantly, we scale back on the shopping (this doesn’t need an explanation as to why we do this … just wait for your credit card statement to arrive …)

But a new year also means a new you. And for a beautythusiast sometimes that means a little pick me up or change to our wardrobe, hair, or makeup.

Luckily, we can still make such changes and go easy on the wallet. YAY!

COVERGIRL has some innovative and totally on trend products arriving nationwide  January 2013 so that you can start the new year off right. I’ve been playing, and testing, and loving! And with none of the new products being over $20.00 – how can you NOT love?

COVERGIRL+OLAY Concealer Balm

This is the first product I ripped into.  I love concealers in stick form for their portability factor and this is no different.  While it is lighter than most concealers (it IS a balm), it’s quite smooth and hydrating. Upon touch-ups, I didn’t feel any drag and it didn’t look cakey on top of what was already there. It’s best for under the eyes and slight redness.

COVERGIRL Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss

When I was invited to peruse the not yet available products back in November 2012, the colours of the polishes caught my eye immediately … I immediately brushed each available colour on one fingernail each also. No base coat. No topcoat. Just one layer each of the colour. And it stayed on my nails forever. I am pretty rough on my hands, so chipping is inevitable with me no matter what the brand or polish – but let me tell you – my blogger friends and colleagues were laughing weeks later when there was STILL polish sticking around. Watch out for Go Go Mango …

COVERGIRL CGSmoothers BB Cream

Okay, I know – plenty have already moved on to trying to get their hands on a CC cream, but lets pay some homage to the original – BB. There are plenty on the market right now from department to drugstore and pricing can range from as little as $10 to as much as $60. I know plenty of ladies who like to have full coverage from their BB all why reaping the benefits it can provide: hydration; correcting skintone, brightening, etc. I find this BB cream blends very easily into the skin, looks dewy and natural, and most importantly is sheer in coverage.  This is a great choice for those who want to perfect their skin using a BB cream but don’t want super heavy coverage. I am partial to tinted moisturizer coverage over foundation, and this is a BB cream I can get on board with. :)

Alright –  these are just a few of the new products I have put through my own personal test lab (a.k.a played with as I sat in front of my vanity wondering what makeup look to do for the day). There are a few more to look foward to including the Jumbo Gloss Balm, the new Clump Crusher Mascara and their 3-in-1 Foundation – which I plan to get to soon. Until then, you can add the top three to your new year new you shopping list …

-s-

magic monday: correcting your corrector (or concealer)

December 17, 2012By stephanie 2 Comments

It saddens me to hear when someone purchases a great product but cannot seem to make it work for them. For example, they went out and bought that golden ticket mascara that everyone is raving about, brought it home and applied it, and only ended up with clumpy mascara and a bad taste in their mouth.

I think this happens quite often with concealers and/or correctors. Beautythusiasts will say that the creamiest of creamy concealers will cake, flake or even worse, provide no coverage at all.  However, some of these issues – MOST of the time – can be chalked up to improper application and skin prep techniques. (I mean, yyyesssss,  there are really REALLY bad products out there, but normally you’ve done the research and know not to buy those ones.)

When it comes to artful camouflage, you have to remember that concealer is meant to be a little thicker and heavier than your foundation or tinted moisturizer – after all – the point is to cover it all up, right? In addition, even though it is meant to cover-up the flaws, you still have to prep those flaws properly in order for the product to “stick”.

Here are a couple of tips to try when you think your corrector/concealer isn’t making the grade …

Exfoliate and prep the skin.

Concealer is usually the answer to tired eyes. You wake up, see bags or dry patches and think – “holy cow! where’s my concealer?” – and you start to throw it on and expect it to liquid paper everything away. Step back a moment. Before you apply ANYTHING prep your skin properly. If I know it’s gonna be a heavy artillery kinda day, I moisturize thoroughly and around the eyes, I apply an extra helping of eye cream, THOROUGHLY applied, and let it sink in for awhile before I get started. I get the eye area as smooth, plumped, and line free as possible before applying my concealer. In the case of a blemished area, maybe you need to softly exfoliate some of those dry patches before applying your mascara. The key is: prep.

Dab and layer. Dab and layer.

I think a really common mistake is application. I’m of the school of applying your foundation and base first to see how much it covers up. Then I apply concealer accordingly. (Foundation is often lighter, so if it covers up 60% of the problem, you will be applying 60% LESS of your concealer which again is much thicker.) Once you are ready to apply concealer, you dab. You dab. You dab. You dab. And you blend with your ring finger. Many apply concealer in sweeping motions which only thins out the product over where you need the coverage – so you apply more, and more, and more – in the totally wrong sweeping motion. Hello cakey. Hello flaky. Dab the product in place and just blur the lines. Less product, more coverage.

Set but lightly.

Setting cream products with powder will ensure all day coverage and less chances for the coverage to travel – just make sure you are using a lightweight translucent powder. You don’t need another helping of MAC Studiofix. No no. Just something light and dusty. Blend well.

Know your product.

Some concealers help to brighten. Some help to erase. Some help to just cover the whole damn thing up. Know what your problems are and pick the proper concealer and/or corrector.  Correctors (think peaches, pinks and lavenders) are just meant to correct skintone and are for layering under a skintone concealer that does the actual covering. Some concealers do both.  Other concealers are heavier and tackier because they tackle pimples. And then there are some that are creamier and lighter to be used around the delicate eye area. Short form: don’t expect a colour-corrector concealer to hide that massive zit and don’t expect a industrial zit grade concealer to look all dewy and soft under the eyes!

Sometimes an extra tip or two can turn your makeup into magic … hope these help!

-s-

pretty and the penny: palette or pot …

December 12, 2012By stephanie 2 Comments

I cannot resist a pretty compact of pretty colours. Period. The holiday season is one of the trickiest times for me because every brand has a limited edition palette that screams “makes you pretty in an instant” … who can turn THAT claim down?

When I first started in makeup artistry, palettes offered me access to play with plenty of colours for fewer pennies PLUS they filled out my kit nicely. It started off as an easy way to build build build especially since, say, a single eyeshadow costs $18, but you can get up to 12 colours for, hhmmm, maybe $60. Yes, a single pot gives you more of one colour, but a palette gives several colours, just a bit less of each. The latter seems like the better option, right? When you’re working freelance, you save where you can.

Fast forward ten years later. While I still love a good palette, sometimes you can’t beat a full pot of a good thing. I can dust through MAC Shroom within a month of clients. Concealers and foundations – forget about it – a tube of this or a stick of that can last me less than two months during a slow period. And yes, while I can easily use up three or four colours in a palette, there is another six to eight, just hanging out, waiting to expire.

So what’s the right answer?!?! Palette or Pot?

Well, I personally think there is no right or wrong answer. Just a better way to shop and making the right choice between picking up a palette or grabbing a full pot/tube. Here are my guidelines for navigating your way through it all.

If you have a favourite anything: eyeshadow, liner, lipstick – always splurge and buy the whole, full-size, non-promotional tube/stick/whatever.

Yes, you might be tempted to get the gift set that includes three other colours of the same lipstick formulation in a smaller more portable size, but if those three other colours end up being pretty in the tube but whack with your complexion … you’ll have three non-wearable colours taking up space on your vanity and you’ll be shelling out another $20 bucks in no time to replace your favourite overused and done lippy (or shadow, or eyeliner …)

If you know in your heart, that you  practice makeup monogamy and can not, WILL not, break the habit … DO NOT BUY THE PALETTE.

As tempting as it is to think, “I’m really going to change this year and wear a  different cream eyeliner colour everyday” … but you’ve been rocking a soft shimmery brown since high school because brown is the only colour that you believe looks right on you … it’s a pass. Seriously. IT IS A PASS.

If you are completely new to makeup and looking to play and experiment, then a palette is a great way to get all the items you do need in complimentary colours for a foolproof look.

You’ll have plenty of options to test out new colours and combinations in one palette. The key here is to look for one that is well within your comfort zone (and budget too!). For example, if you’re looking to create some natural looks for the office and day to day life, you probably do not want to go with that spectacular MAC palette that has a matte bright green shadow and orange lip gloss.  Rather, you might want to try one of Urban Decay’s Naked Palettes for the eyes, or a Laura Mercier Colour to Go Portable Palette for the full face.

On the flip, if you’re comfortable with a little bit of makeup, but want to bring it and try something bolder for all your holiday parties, that’s when you can turn to some of the limited edition and holiday palettes that contain bolder colours, shimmers, and fun stuff that you will use only for special events.

Since you will be using them sparingly, buying in a palette as opposed to full-priced singles is a better ROI.  Again, stick with bold or metallic colours that are well within your comfort zone so you’re getting your bang for the buck. Think MAC Holiday Kits or the Shu-Uemura/Karl Lagerfeld collaboration and in my opinion … anything YSL. :)

If you are looking to add professional brushes to your makeup wardrobe – then yes – go with the kit or palette.

MAC always offers great brush sets in travel size every holiday season and its a great way to get access to professional brushes for half the price.

When in doubt, practice the 60/40 rule.

When looking and deciding on a palette, be sure that at least 60 percent of the products or colours in that palette are something you will use consistently – i.e., 6 of the 10 lipstick colours; 6 of the 10 shadows. In addition, compare the palette price to the price for each of the useable items at full price. You should be paying no more than 40% of what it would cost to buy that same 60% of products at full price.

So, do you know now? Palette or Pot?

-s-

a little late to the party … but, that’s fashion …

December 10, 2012By stephanie 1 Comment

Okay. So, I am totally late to the party. I know.

The party I’m talking about … PINTEREST.

Actually, I’m not THAT late. In fact, I have had the BlushPretty account open since earlier this year and while I did pin here and there … I didn’t really use Pinterest as a tool … until recently.

Chalk it up to the end of the year when all I care to do is nestle under a big fluffly throw and hunker down with my iPad and a list of my favourite blogs, that I have finally caught the PIN bug. I’m pinning almost everyday!!  If I could I might pin ALL day, but I have these little humans called “kids” and a four-legged creature called “a dog” and a full-size human called “a husband” that sometimes require my attention and distract me from doing so. Hmpf!

Anyway …

As of late, I’ve totally redesigned the BlushPretty profile on Pinterest and I am rather excited to share with you – clients, brides, friends, followers – our (as in the BlushPretty team) boards and ideas.

Now, when you visit our page on Pinterest you’ll see I have re-categorized everything (hello Type A!) … but that’s just so you can find everything a little bit easier!

For the brides, there is a board dedicated to bridal trends in 2013 – it’s a collection of all the hair and makeup images that echo and resonate with what all our current 2013 brides are looking to achieve on their wedding day. Also check out “the updo …” or  “the braided hair …” if you’re a bridesmaid looking for hair ideas.

For the makeup and hair collection enthusiasts, aka shopaholics, we’ve started a board titled “stuff we love … ” for you to get your shopping lists prepared with and also, “the boutique …” to showcase what we carry at the studio.

And for the artist, whether you’re a freelance one, an aspiring one, or just someone who LOVES to play with it all, we’ve divided up our boards into our favourite features – “the fresh skin …”, “the flush …”, “the bold lip …”, and “the smokey eye …” – you get the idea, right?

So join us and our party (the really really late one) on Pinterest today. We’ll be looking for you!

-s-