As a new professional in the world of makeup artistry, you might feel nervous about your first makeup client consultation. Consultation meetings are important, especially for bridal parties, because they let you work directly with the client to create a look that makes everyone happy.
Even if you’re confident in your makeup skills, negotiating details with brand new clients can be a daunting task. However, as long as you’re well organized and prepared to communicate, you shouldn’t worry! Consider the following steps for your first consultation and adapt your process as you gain experience.
1. Plan with the Client
Of course, you’ll choose a time and place for the consultation that works well for your client. Will you travel to her, or do you have a studio or home office that she can visit? Can your schedule be flexible to work around her busy work week? You should also ask simple questions about what she likes and dislikes in order to plan looks for the consultation. What is her favorite color? Does she know whether she’d prefer a natural or a glamorous look? What are the theme and color scheme of the event? Don’t bombard her with questions, but get the information you need to prepare.
2. Set a Rate
You should be paid for your time during client consultations. Once you’ve built a regular client base, you might have repeat clients who are prepared to pay a fee for the entire contract, including the consultation, because they’ve worked with you before and would like to again. For your first client, however, you might speak with them about a fee specifically for the consultation and then discuss payment for the rest of the contract based on the success of that meeting. You’ll both want to get a sense for whether working together feels like a good fit. Either way, be up front about the fact that the consultation is a paid service and set a fair rate that doesn’t undervalue your skills.
3. Do Your Research
Before the consultation, make sure to read up on the latest products and trends. Is your prom client young and edgy? Research high fashion and avant garde styles that might inspire a look she’ll really like. Is your bride very traditional? Make sure your knowledge of the latest bridal makeup trends is up to par so you can help her choose which subtle changes to the ‘blushing bride’ look will make her feel her best. If there’s a specific color, look, or style that you’d like to show the client, save or print the picture so you can bring it for reference.
4. Prepare Face Charts
Planning your looks on a face chart gives you a great visual aid during the consultation. Your client can actually see her options rather than trying to make decisions based on descriptions. Perhaps the choice will be easier if she eliminates an option or two right away by looking at face charts. These also give you the opportunity to practice techniques and blending certain colors before you apply anything to your client’s face. Plan a few looks in various colors, styles, and levels of glamour.
5. Prepare your Kit
Once you’ve planned looks and created face charts, organize your makeup kit. Don’t pack so little that you limit your options and can’t adapt during the consultation. You should, however, avoid bringing things you know you won’t need. You will look very professional if your kit is organized with exactly what you need, plus some alternative product and color options.
Face charts are a chance to practice specific looks before your consultation. Make sure, however, that you’ve practiced each technique you plan to show as well. Doing a smoky eye is much different on a person’s face than it is on your own face or a piece of paper. Stick to techniques you know you can do well, or practice new ones before you present them as options in the consultation.
7. Dress for Success
As a makeup artist, you can actually advertise your skills on yourself. You should attend your consultation clean, well dressed, and made up appropriately for that job. If your client is a traditional bride hoping for a natural look, avoid making yourself look too edgy or high fashion. If your client is a model at an alternative photo shoot, get a little more creative with your look. Your own face is an opportunity to display your skills and make a great first impression on your new client.
8. Be Approachable
Be friendly when you interact with clients, but remember that people also like their space. You should aim to be approachable without being overwhelming. You want your client to feel comfortable enough to tell you what they like and dislike during your consultation. If you seem distant or cold, your client might be too nervous to speak up if she doesn’t like the look. Alternatively, your client might be discouraged from working with you if she feels you were too nosy or loud. Stay friendly and calm, and make good communication and client comfort your top priorities.
9. Be Adaptable
Pre-planning some looks doesn’t mean your client has to choose between those alone. She might have suggestions or ideas and you should be willing to work with them. You are the professional, so you should make recommendations based on your knowledge of what is best, but you should still be willing to adapt according to your client’s needs. Be prepared to make adjustments as you move through the consultation meeting.
10. Work Your Magic
Finally, show your client what you’re capable of! Most of your consultation time will be spent actually applying the makeup she chooses. Be prepared to do additional applications or make adjustments if she decides that the style looked better on the face chart than it does on her. The consultation is your chance to really ‘wow’ your client and show her how amazing you can help her look for the real event.
Learn more about professional makeup artistry with flexible courses at QC Makeup Academy! Each course prepares you to conduct skilled makeup application and professional client meetings. Take a peek at which course might be best for you!