Hailed as the “Uber of beauty services,” Glamsquad is just one of the up-and-coming beauty apps that prove the makeup industry has finally caught up with the times. The idea behind the app is simple: why go to a beauty salon when the beauty salon can come to you?
Of course, that concept isn’t new to any freelance makeup artist. What’s different, though, is how easy it is: simply order a blowout or makeup application through the app, and a stylist or makeup artist will be sent to your home or hotel, often within a few hours. The styles are set, as are the prices. It’s perfect for serving a busy client’s last-minute beauty needs.
But it may not be so perfect for makeup artists. Some industry pros aren’t too happy about the app, which is steadily spreading across major cities in the U.S.
Here’s why some think Glamsquad might be bad news for your makeup artist’s salary.
How Glamsquad Works
Many freelance makeup artists are more than happy to come to a client’s home or hotel without a special app—so what’s the difference? Well, from the client end, the process is fast, simple, and—according to some women—even fun. Clients sign up for an account, shop through different looks and packages, and book their appointment.
Makeup artists who want to join the Glamsquad team complete a registration form that includes some samples of their work. If they’re added to the team, they get some training from Glamsquad before being added to the app’s database to start picking up work. You get to decide how many jobs you want to pick up in your area.
Sounds simple enough, right? It’s convenient for clients, and it makes it easy for freelance makeup artists to pick up some extra work. So what’s the big deal?
Glamsquad’s rates are pretty comparable to the rates of many standard salons. Like salons, the app takes a cut of the earnings—that’s just the price you have to pay to avoid running your own business. The app deals with all the business-y stuff like advertising and booking, leaving you free to spend more time actually doing makeup.
The problem is, you’re still a freelance makeup artist, and many makeup artists say those rates won’t really cut it for freelancers (not when Glamsquad is eating up some of those fees, anyway). You’ve got a pricey kit to cover, after all—not to mention your basic living expenses.
One of the great things about being a freelance makeup artist is being able to set your own rates. Obviously, you can’t just pick whatever rate you want and run with it. Do you want to charge $600 for a basic makeup application? Go for it—but don’t expect to land many clients!
This is where market research comes into play. You’ll want to set your rates competitively, based on what other makeup artists in your area charge. Price yourself too high and you’ll have trouble getting clients. But price yourself too low and it’s bad news for your area’s makeup artistry industry. You won’t be earning much yourself, and you’ll drive down the pricing standard for other makeup artists.
Unfortunately, between the pricing and the simplicity, Glamsquad can make it hard for you to compete. Once an app starts to dominate the industry with its pricing standards, you’ll find yourself with less flexibility in determining your own makeup artist’s salary.
Glamsquad might charge rates and take cuts comparable to salons, but its makeup artists certainly aren’t working in salon conditions. A big part of the appeal of this service is that the hairstylists and makeup artists come right to the client. Of course, makeup artists are responsible for covering their own travel costs, which cuts into their earnings even more.
Travelling from location to location also means burning time on travel that could have been spent fitting in an extra appointment or two at a salon.
The Career Prospects
If you work at a salon or makeup counter, experience and hard work can earn you promotions. Those often mean salary increases, increased responsibility, and new opportunities.
As a freelance makeup artist, career advancement is a DIY affair. More experience means you can bump up your makeup artist’s salary and seek out (or be selected for) exciting new projects. Wherever you work, if you put the effort in, you’ll reap the rewards!
When it comes to career advancement, Glamsquad is kind of the worst of both worlds. You can’t change the rates, and there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities for promotion. If you’re looking to boost your makeup artistry career, you’ll have to do it outside of your Glamsquad work.