Today marks the second post in the How to work weddings series. A blog for aspiring creatives who are itching to turn their love for weddings into a real business. Be it Side Hustling or Full Time work - knowing where to start can be tough. This blog serves to give you an insight into the wedding world, the motives behind your fellow creatives and what they did or are doing to get their names out there. I really hope you love it!
Today I'm welcome Ruby Jones to discuss her journey into the world of wedding make up. I met Ruby at a meet up for creatives in Nottingham run by the lovely Anna from Pear Bear Photography. You can join the Facebook group here - you'll need to request to join as it's private but it will be well worth your time! I've met so many lovely people through the group. I'm so pleased that I met Ruby, she's a kindred spirit and from the onset she has been an open book which to me is an increasingly rare and cherish-able quality. I hope you enjoy the Q&A!
Tell me about you and what you do!
I’m Ruby, a mum, wife, professional makeup artist and podcast host! I work predominantly in bridal makeup, creating looks that make brides look and feel like the best versions of themselves. I believe that we have fluid identities that are forever changing and it’s my job to capture who you are in a particular moment in time. This concept is discussed on my podcast, Identity and Beauty where I talk to real people about their personal identities they form and adapt over time. Exploring our on going negotiations with objects, relationships and experiences, which ultimately help to define their versions of beautiful.
What’s special about Ruby J?
I love this industry because I believe there is a space for everyone. Makeup is art and therefore totally subjective. As artists we all have our own individual styles and ways of working. I like to think that clients choose me because of my identity, and how it’s reflected in my work. I also know how it feels, I have been a bride and I know how nervous you can feel on a wedding morning. I know its part of my job to be calm, organised and ultimately more than just someone to “do your makeup”.
What made you want to do makeup and then weddings?
I’ve always been creative, Art and Design Technology were my favourite subjects at school. It was whilst at university studying interior architecture and design that I really got into beauty. I basically maxed my overdraft on makeup and clothes! I started a YouTube channel and shared tips and tutorials (it doesn’t exist anymore so don’t bother searching ha!). It wasn’t very successful but friends and family liked it and it lead to one asking if I would do their friends wedding makeup and I’ve never really looked back!
How did you decide what you needed for your kit?
My kit has developed over the last 5 years. I carry products I carried then and I have also replaced once loved products with new releases. It’s very much a long-term process and you can work with a product for months before it even gets into your “Pro Kit”. Basically its just trial and error and also keeping in mind that just because a product doesn’t work for you, doesn’t necessarily mean it wont work on another person. Testing products on a variety of skin types is key.
Over time this will have evolved - How do you keep up to date with trends/ products etc without buying everything in sight?
I am very active on social media and I try to keep up to date with publications too, this means I get to see new products and trends all the time. I think it’s important to stay true to you when shopping for beauty professionally. There are some incredible products on the market that just wouldn’t “fit” in my kit so although I may want to splurge on products, I know what works for my client and what doesn’t.
Did you have any wedding MUA experience via friends or did you have to start looking for professional clients right away?
My first clients were all friends and their friends and so on. It was only after training in order to get my insurance that I had “proper” clients.
How did you secure your first client?
When my business was in its infancy I contacted lots of venues and bridal boutiques, I asked them if I could leave cards and flyers. After only a week or so I had my first bride contact me who had been recommended by one of the bridal boutiques. They literally recommended me because the loved the makeup I was wearing when I met them, it was such a massive compliment! Sadly the shop closed down earlier this year but I owe them so much!
Since then have have you found your clients?
The majority of my clients find me by word of mouth, which is really refreshing in this age of social media. I get many repeat clients where I might have done their makeup as a bridesmaid and then they get engaged! It’s so lovely to follow love stories like that! The rest of my clients find me via social media and my website.
This is your full time gig which is amazing, how long did it take for you to go full time? and what made you want to do it full time over side hustling?
I started my business during my maternity leave. I knew it was what I wanted to do and I also wasn’t going back to my previous job so I had to make it work. When I started I was only “part time” working 2 days a week. Now I consider myself a full timer! I may only technically work 4 days but all the evening emailing makes up for it! I am incredibly lucky to have an amazingly supportive husband, without him, none of this would have been possible.
Could you summarise your MUA work so far into your 3 most valuable lessons?
Never be afraid to show your face, in this industry you are the face of your business.
Value your work, when I started out I was grossly undercharging.
Community over competition. Fellow makeup artists used to really intimidate me, but like I said earlier, there’s space for everyone if you work hard enough!
Highlights of working for yourself?
I reap all the rewards, sounds selfish – but in essence I am the master of my own destiny. Nothing makes me happier than the gorgeous feedback I get from my clients!
Challenges of working for yourself and how to overcome them/ what helps you?
In the beginning I used to say a highlight was that I could work when I wanted. However, in reality I rarely do! When you are self employed its often hard to turn down work and money. I struggle with the finances side of things but I have a fantastic accountant – who is also my husband, so it’s pretty convenient!
What does a typical week in wedding season look like for Ruby J? How do you avoid burn out during busy times?
There isn’t such a thing as a typical week! Weddings can be any day of the week so it’s all about forward planning. I normally try to confirm all my clients earlier in the week and try to keep Sundays free for family time! Evenings are mostly consumed by cleaning brushes and organizing my kit.
Now you're established, you've started to explore other things like the podcast (which I love!) what inspired you to do this?
The podcast was born from my dissertation. I loved every minute of writing it and the research I did back at university has always stuck with me. The idea of fluid personal identities absolutely fascinates me! The once primal act of trading goods has become so more complicated now we live in a consumerist society. We are no longer choosing objects based on their ability to keep us alive but based on our relationships and how we want to be viewed by others.
Where can people find you / and your podcast?
You can find me at rubyjbeauty.com and @rubyjbeauty on social media. The podcast Identity and Beauty is available on the Apple podcasts app and Stitcher.
To keep up with all things Wild and the How to work weddings series, you can follow me on Instagram for my most recent updates.
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