Maybe this conversation sounds familiar as a working makeup artist?
Client: This is great! Where can I get this foundation?
Me: Well, it’s on an industry makeup website over here. (writes down name on paper)
Client: …and what about this sponge?
Me: Oh! I love that one, you can find it on Amazon I think, or maybe this site? I usually get it at the Makeup Show when I go.
Client: Oh ok, I’ll try that. What about this lip moisturizer, I have to have this!
Me: Oh! I get that at the makeup show too, makeup artists LOVE it! It’s always used backstage at NYFW and the artists we learned about it from get it in Paris when they are there. I think it originates in Australia.
Client: (blank stare)
Ok, you get what I am saying here. I want to help my clients get high quality products to help them continue to put their best face forward each day that I am not around, but it is truly a hassle to have 100 different resources for them to shop from and a headache for my client and their credit card as well. I also didn’t mind the ideal of finally getting compensated for my natural recommendations as I had been making other companies money for years by doing so. For this reason I have had the serious thought of picking up a direct sales line to retail so that they can order directly from me and have product sent straight to them, but there were a few things holding me back from joining a direct sales line so quickly. I decided I had to at least have the following things in place for me to finally decide to go all in and support a line.
Ease of start up.
Let me take you back years before I ever considered retailing a direct sales product, to the time I started a line to retail product! Our family salon decided we should look into private labeling our own makeup line because my dad could tell how frustrated I was with the quality and limitations of color that the salon lines we could carry offered. I was so excited and the first thing I wanted to do, after we picked our products and our look, was to set up a photoshoot so we could showcase what our makeup could do. That fun part turned into a nightmare but that is a whole separate story for another time. #wheredidthephotographergo
Shortly after we got the makeup line up and running, my dad, the business backbone of the company, went to Iraq to work as a contractor and that meant I was left in charge of all of it. This is not uncommon for people who want to start their own line but it is not what I personally signed up for. I figured I’d give it a go since I invested so much into it already. Before I knew it, I was investing massive amounts of time in inventory, and SKU barcodes, and pricing, and labeling, and bookkeeping, and check reconciliation, and even more orders, and it completely overwhelmed me. I agreed to start the line to be an artist and to share how excited I was about the makeup I was using with our clients. What I did not expect was the crunching of numbers would extinguish any of the passion I had left in me to carry it through. I ended up going into freelance makeup shortly after that experience because I wanted to get back to enjoying makeup and I never wanted to see inventory sheets again. For this reason, the ideal of signing up with a direct sales company that handed you your product, your website, your catalogs, and wrapped it all up in a pretty bow, was very enticing to me.
Standing behind the product.
I can’t just boldly lie in your face and say “You will love this! Buy it!” without meaning it, at least not without losing sleep at night. It’s the reason why I went into making my own line in the first place, because I could pick and choose exactly what colors I thought would work and what formulas I wanted to use. The problem was that back then I was picking a private label line and products based on my little experience with professional makeup products, so what I thought was amazing may not have been so by industry standards. In fact, a number of makeup artists I started to network with in the makeup field already owned half of my products as they had their own accounts with the same private label company. Most of them knew which company I ordered from to put my sticker on. That would be fine if I only wanted to retail to salon clients who may not have known better but I wanted my line to be better than that. I wanted to have a line that was good enough for other makeup artists to use for their own clients.
That is why I held off on joining a makeup direct sale company for so long. The products did not all live up to that expectation I set for myself over a decade ago. I’m not saying the current products that are being offered in direct sales are bad, but after doing professional makeup for 15 years now I feel like I have learned a thing or two about makeup that works for you in this line of work. The same held true for my own private label line. Did I like the concealer I sold, sure. Did my clients? Yup. Was it the best thing I could offer them compared to what is out there? Probably not, but it was all I could pick from. Did the powder or foundation look great on them? Sure. Did it flash back in camera and make their skin look like it was 3 shades lighter when flash hit the product. Yes? Uh oh. Now I know, with my years of experience in products, textures, and longevity of products out there that I can’t recommend something to my clients that I wouldn’t confidently use on set for a campaign or for a celebrity going on the red carpet with unforgiving light capturing everything on her face for all to see.
Reputation, theirs and mine.
This sounds SO SHALLOW, I know! Please allow me full transparency here for me to explain my situaton, and you may agree, or you may not. Either way this is how I finally made a decision on which brand I wanted to sign up for.
First lets talk about “their reputation”, meaning the direct sales line you are considering joining. Are they known for pushy sales tactics, for spamming, for not supporting their fellow consultants, for hunting people down to hold a party? Are there certain people from companies you avoid phone calls from because you just know they are going to only ask you about what you can do for them, not the other way around? That is something I was worried about since i have been involved with non makeup direct sales companies before. You know where all that got me? Canceling my account. As we all know by now I had not signed up with makeup companies that did not live up to my standards, so what did I do in the meantime? I started to try out supplemental companies that might be a good side business to my beauty background. From vitamins to body wraps I tried to make a square peg fit into my circle career and it just wasn’t working. It wasn’t natural to me and it didn’t seem to mesh well into conversation. When the pressure came from sponsors to order a certain amount per month, or to contact 100 people by Wednesday, I backed out. I would think “I didn’t start this business to please you, I started this for myself!” and I got turned off and left. If I can tell you one thing it is that I am not motivated by pressure. I am motivated by pure excitement, passion, and potential!
The other thing I mean about “their reputation” was considering the company that stood behind the product. Were they a company that was kind of old and dated, where people already had their minds made up before you told them about it? Was it so new that you knew nothing about the people running it or even if they would be in business 1 year from today? Have they already had a bad reputation based on reviews online and articles linking them to “scams”? Were their products “gimmicky”? These factors were very important to me. I also wanted to make sure that I joined a company that would work for me, not the other way around. Was all of my area already saturated with consultants from the same company, making it hard to tell anyone about it as they already had someone they were buying from? Many of the companies I researched ended up falling under these categories. Over saturation was a huge problem in my last direct sales company and if I wanted to leave some catalogs or flyers for a business to attract new customers I would see 3 other people from the same company already beat me to it.
Now let’s talk “my reputation”. *ducking tomatoes*. That just sounds so eww but let me explain to those just stumbling upon this post who don’t know anything about me. 😀
I am very gracious and appreciative for the opportunities I have had in the past 15 years of being a makeup artist and hairstylist. I have been able to teach, year after year, as one of the core educators along with James Vincent, Danessa Myricks, Orlando Santiago, Jon Hennessey, and more in one of the biggest international makeup industry shows called “The Makeup Show”. I am signed with an amazing New York artist agency called ABTP that caters to celebrity clientele. I am the Sr. Hair and Makeup artist for CNN in Washington DC and have been co-owner of a couple of different commercial photography studios for many years now. Needless to say, my students and clients expect me to be legit with my recommendations. I did not weigh that lightly when deciding to sell a retail line and if I tried to tell someone that they should use a product that did not lend itself well to photography or HDTV then my credibility went out the window.
With all the concerns that I have explained thus far I thought “Would there ever be a line that made sense for me to retail?”
If any and all of this sounds familiar to you whatsoever then know that you are not alone. One size does not fit all, and you may not necessarily be as big of a pain in the butt as I have been in this journey. Whether you decide to join an “at home” sales line or figure you can take on the pressures of starting your own private label, it is your decision to make. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something until you know it is the right time, or the right thing for you to do based on your needs. Patience is key. It has been many years for me to stand 100% behind a direct sales line but even when I tried to push the one I found out of my mind it kept creeping back into my head, because it not only met, but exceeded, all of my expectations. If you can see tremendous potential in an opportunity in front of you then maybe you should take the risk. I will say, even my husband was not gung-ho about me starting with another direct sales company, but even in this case he could see that this “fit” more and how much potential this opportunity had to grow and now even he is happy I made the jump. With my new direct sales company I finally feel “at home”.
Think about what the purpose is for you to retail a product. If it’s a least one of these reasons that is enough to look more into it.
- Gaining supplemental income by providing product suggestions to your clients.
- Earning full time income by being your own boss.
- The want to be a part of something bigger, possibly leading a team in your region, or becoming a trainer with the company.
- Working with a company that recognizes and rewards your efforts, a lot!
- Working a business that allows you to be the social butterfly you are.
- Working a business that allows you to set your own schedule and have more time with the family or for yourself.
- Wanting to be at the beginning of a ground level company so that you can flourish as the company does.
- or just loving a product enough that you want to tell the world about it.
If any of these sound like something you have thought about then what do you have to lose? Different company starter kits usually supply you with product to demonstrate, so even if you decide it’s not for you the only money you spent you have in stock that you can use yourself, give to someone else, or resell to other consultants. When I finally found the right fit for me I decided to go all out and try the “party concept”. I didn’t think I was used to the concept of hosting a party but in reality it wasn’t any different than me teaching makeup classes at The Makeup Show. I decided to give my doubts a rest and just go for it. I am so glad I gave it a try. It was easy to gush over products that I have used and have been familiar with for years. My first party paid for the cost of my entire starter kit and just like that I was all in. I told some of my makeup peers about what I was doing and it seemed more often then not they were also thinking of retailing a line for their clients as well. We all believe in this line, the potential for it to be huge and we jumped in feet first.
I truly hope you find what you need in your search and I am always happy to provide you more information in what company I decided to do. I’m sure I will write a follow up on them soon but for now I wanted to make sure that you thought everything through before making that investment.
I wish you luck and blessings!
*If you are interested in finding out about the company I joined please reach out to your Beauty Guide. If you don’t have one at this time then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.kataragon.com.