The founder of Smudge Make-Up Artistry Hong Kong, Jaime completed a course on make-up under the aegis of accomplished make-up artist Mai Lee and her institute Beauty Base London, which is a BABTAC accredited academy specializing in fashion photographic make-up. Jaime has since worked as a freelance make-up artist and is growing her career under the moniker ‘Smudge Make-Up Artistry’. Here she shares with us the story of her journey to being a make-up artist, her inspirations and some tips for the budding entrepreneurs of Hong Kong.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you to Hong Kong?
I come from a fashion design background in NYC and I actually moved to Hong Kong seven years ago for my husbands job in finance. My career was quite demanding in NYC and though i always had a passion for makeup artistry, I was never able to pursue it professionally. It wasn’t until I moved here, that I had the time and means to reinvent myself, go back to “school” and follow my passion for makeup artistry. So the move that was originally for my husbands career, actually changed mine.
What was your inspiration behind starting Smudge Makeup Artistry ?
I have always loved makeup. I used to be a fashion designer and have a fine art back ground, so makeup was always just an extension of painting. It is just art on the face. I really wanted to start a business where I could meet new people, do something I loved and be my own boss with my own schedule.
Being a Mompreneur, how difficult is it for you to balance time between your family and Smudge Makeup Artistry ?
I found out I was pregnant a few weeks prior to the commencement of my makeup course and certification. I came very close to canceling my course out of fear of juggling a new career path and a new baby. I pushed myself to just try the course and see what happened. Its been amazing. I am so lucky to have a business and a craft, where I can choose my own hours and fairly seamlessly juggle school drop offs and seeing clients. Of course , its hard to sit down and do invoices and answer emails with two toddlers tugging on my legs, but we seem to make it work pretty well. its a good balance.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is such a great place to start a business or totally change your career and reinvent yourself, as I did. Not only because of the obvious tax and small business qualifications, but more because there is a big support group of other expat and local women who are also small business owners or small business supporters. Some are even moms as well and I have found it really has helped with networking and getting my name out there.
What are some of the challenges that you faced when starting your business in HK
I think my biggest challenge was getting my name and services out there to the public. There are number of other MUA in Hong Kong and it is a pretty small community where we either know or know of each other. With out being too openly competitive, you need to be able to keep connecting with new clients and companies and to convince them you will be the best artist for their project.
What is the biggest challenge you face today in running your business
I think one of the hardest parts of my business so far, is growing a “little black book” of assistants and stylists to accompany me on jobs that are either very large parties or where the client wants hair services as well. It is a pretty common thing in Hong Kong for MUA also to do hair, but in Europe or the US, most artists just specialize in one area. Clients want the package deal here and when you have to chase hair stylists for availability and the right rate for your client and trust someone else’s skills against your name, its a challenge.
What are the biggest do’s and don’ts of having your own business
The biggest “Do” is to take risks! Make yourself say “YES” to more invites and more challenging jobs, you would usually not accept . It almost always turns out great!
The biggest “Don’t” is to make sure to be professional on all forms of social media. Even if it is not directly related to your business, being in a service related industry, I have found I can get clients from any facebook group or social media outlet. Not alienating your future customers is sometimes worth holding your peace.
Some tips that you would like to share with budding entrepreneurs/mompreneurs in Hong Kong
One of the biggest tips i have is to stay on top of your books. Don’t let your admin and billing info get pushed off to later date and pile up! Being a “creative” and hating this part of running a business, i need to take my own advice on this, believe me, going through months and months of paperwork at tax time is the worst!
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