Happy New Year to all my face painting friends and colleagues, I hope you all had a marvellous Christmas! Now that all the festivities are out of the way it’s time to knuckle down to work and January is the perfect time to hit your marketing hard to get that diary nice and full up for 2019. I’ve compiled 5 top marketing tips to help you do this – good luck!
Facebook. It’s got to be one of our top online marketing tools and it’s how I got the majority of my business in the beginning – so it’s time to make sure that you have a fab business page, full of gorgeous painty photographs and glowing reviews - and post a few times a week on it to keep up the engagement, and SHARE your business posts on your personal page. Invite everyone on your friends list to like your business page. Regularly post in local community groups, for sale groups, and mums groups – but don’t over-do it, and make sure you use different images to keep it fresh. Not everything you post has to be a picture of work you’ve just done, think of what your ‘likers’ might find amusing, a funny meme, a time lapse video of you painting something etc, or a picture of some brightly coloured new paints you’ve just added to your amazing professional kit! Reach out to and ‘like’ local events companies, cake makers, inflatable providers, entertainers and anyone in the industry to make some contacts – once you have liked their page then you will be able to comment on and like their posts ‘as’ your business page - giving you crucial visibility. Hopefully they may ‘like’ your page back and start to see some of the lovely work you are posting!
Instagram. Believe it or not I know quite a few painters not yet on Insta but it’s growing by the second and we need to roll with the times! Much the same as Facebook, it’s about regularly posting on your Instagram account, to keep the interest and engagement up. Create stories using colourful images of your work, pictures of your kit, funny memes and importantly use those hashtags!! Hashtags are how people search for anything on Instagram so make sure you include those key words, and think about all the different ways you could describe your post. Also make sure you have the location services on your phone switched on for Instagram – it will enable people locally to find you! For more info on Instagram look back to a fantastic blog Mazz Loxton did in November.
Look back over your diary for businesses/corporate clients you worked for in the first six months of the year, whom you think may repeat the event this year. They will often have a date organised already, and then you have made that link to get the business again for this year.
Always have your business cards with you! Keep a stash in your car, a few in your bag, as you never know when the opportunity may arise! If you’re a chatterbox like me and end up talking to strangers all the time :-D you may get asked for cards – I’ve given them out in supermarkets, at the school gate, at a party (a grown up one!), even at the nail bar when another lady overheard me on the phone to a customer.
Think about approaching a few local hubs such as schools/church halls/doctors/dance studios, softplays etc – do they have a board that you could pop a flier up on? Could you leave a few cards with them? It’s often a freebie bit of advertising that is seen by a lot of people!
I hope these tips help you to nail some new business in 2019. And well, as we are talking about marketing I’d be crazy not to mention my own accounts ;-D
“How much should I charge for face painting?”
This question crops up time and time and time again on Facebook groups. So how much do YOU charge? I bet it’s more now than when you started, but how did you come up with your initial rate?
Most people look around at what other face painters in their area are doing and charge a bit less, the reason being they don’t feel confident because they don’t feel good enough. The problem with this is good old undercutting and when we start out we don’t even know we’re doing it. So how much is enough? And do you charge everyone the same rate?
If you live in an affluent area you can charge at least five pounds per face at PPF events, multiply this £5 by the number of faces you can paint in 2 hours and you have your standard birthday party rate. Whatever you do don’t haggle or allow the host to cut down your time with the immortal words “they probably won’t all want to be painted anyway”, they always want to be painted and usually in the last few minutes. Whatever your location, you shouldn’t really be charging less than £3.50 a face – the time and money invested in developing and maintaining a professional face painting business completely justifies this price.
For adult parties that include glitter you CAN charge more – hen parties are great as the organiser usually has a good budget and wants the bride-to-be to have a spectacular time.
Corporate events can have a separate rate too, again, the budgets are bigger and the event is often on a grander scale than a kids party. Ditto evening events and obviously the big money-making times of year like Halloween, Easter Sunday and Christmas.
It’s also that time of year when we think about putting up our prices. Should we? Is it a good idea? Will we still get work? Should I charge extra for glitter and bling? Unicorn horns?
As a rule, a gentle price increase each year is sensible, after all, we absorb other price hikes into our business, for example petrol and postage costs. So how much is enough? You could start by adding a fiver to your party rate and see what happens. MOST PEOPLE WON’T EVEN NOTICE and those that do will be ok with it; if they are repeat clients they want you and your work so won’t object to a small rise. In fact, most people expect businesses to do this and if they’re still getting quality service they’ll be happy. So, what stops us? Concerns about competition and undercutting? Worries that we will be too expensive and not get booked? Here’s a New Year suggestion; try it and see. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
What pricing advice would you give? Have you made mistakes and learned valuable lessons? Please comment below, I’d love to hear your stories.
Happy New Year painters!!!
This week I want to talk about something that every face painter out there has had to deal with at some time or another… ending the line! We aren’t in this business to turn people away, or ruin anyone’s day by refusing to paint their child, but, like everyone else, we have a start time and an end time, and we are paid accordingly. We have homes to go to, children to collect, and other jobs that we want to be on time for and so on. Sometimes the event isn’t long enough. Sometimes it hasn’t been well organised, or they haven’t had the budget for multiple painters. Whatever the reason, closing the line has to be done, and it’s unpleasant for all involved.
Here are my top tips for ending your line in the least pain free way.
1. Try to avoid it happening in the first place. When booking a job, be it a regular birthday party or a large community event; discuss timings with the person who is booking you. Be realistic about how many people you can paint in their time frame. Tell them if they need a second painter, or team of painters to make their event work. Try to negotiate a queue manager… a good queue manager can turn a nightmare booking into a dream one!
2. Know your timings. If it takes you 8 mins to produce a particular design then you simply can’t afford to do it at busy events. Limit yourself to fast but still amazing designs. People are generally happy to wait in line as long as the line is moving consistently. If you use a design board then its best to remove the more detailed offerings when you know that it is going to be a busy event.
3. Close your line ahead of finish time. If you know that every face will take 4 minutes, and you have 20 people in your line then you know that’s 80 minutes of work already waiting. I keep a mental tally of queue times in my head so that when the number of minutes waiting to be painted equals the remaining time, I close my line. This way if I do run over at all, it’s only by a few minutes. I keep a digital countdown timer in my kit and it means that I always know exactly how long I have left.
4. Have a system! There are endless ways of ending your line, and different things work for different people. Some use a neon bib for the last in line which reads ‘I am the last person for face painting’ or similar. I use a laminated sign which says ‘I’m sorry, the face painting line is now closed’ and I ask the last person in line to hold it. This way, it is my message rather than putting all of the responsibility on the person in line. When I have done this, I then number every child’s hand in order, starting at the back, with number 1. That way I also know exactly how many are left at any time by checking their hand. Pro tip—- just a strong colour. People will claim to have had a number but rubbed it off. My favourite is global dark blue as even if that has been rubbed at by a sticky hand; you will know it was once there.
5. BE BRAVE. Confidence is key! No exceptions. Once my line is closed, it doesn’t reopen. Even for ‘just one more’ or ‘we were at the bathroom’ or ‘but it’s her birthday’ OR ‘but you have ruined his life!’ Nope, nada, never. This might sound harsh but it’s the only way to be fair. Which leads me onto our next point…
6. Don’t be drawn into debate. Most people will accept that they are too late. Some will try anything and everything that they can think of to make you change your mind. Stay calm; explain that you have another booking to attend and that you are finished. Explain that the line was closed at X time to allow you to work through those in line at that time. That’s all. Explain it 5 times if you need to, but don’t deviate from your script and don’t allow yourself to be drawn into a debate which will not end well.
7. Smile while doing all of the above, like a true professional!
I hope that this has been helpful to you all. I’d love to hear what works and doesn’t work for you at busy events.
The new year is about breaking bad habits for me. An often overlooked bad habit for face-painters is our posture and health. We work multiple hour jobs, sitting or on our feet, leaning forward and our kit can be heavy. I can finish a long day and feel like I’m 80 years old! So I’ve teamed up with one of my very best friends, Keira May to talk through you some poses. On top of Keira being a yoga instructor her partner is a tattooist so she knows the trouble spots for working artists. Doing these poses regularly will improve your mobility and keep your greatest resource going. And no you don’t have to burn any incense if you don’t want to.
“Crescent moon (Ashta Chandrāsana)
A good warm up pose and one you can do anywhere without looking too silly! And can also be done seated!
From standing, feet together, raise your arms over your head, clasp your right hand around your left wrist and gently pull over to the right to create a subtle crescent moon shape with your body. Hold for a few deep breaths and repeat on the other side.”
Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)
“A strength building beginners pose, the warrior poses give strength and length to your arms and legs.
From standing, feet together, step your right foot back. The back foot should be placed flat on the floor angled diagonally with toes pointing forwards. Bend the front knee, the knee should be stacked over the ankle, if possible, or slightly behind, if you find your knee goes too far forward you can take a wider stance. Reach your arms over your head and look up at the space between your hands. Keep your shoulders relaxed away from your ears and take a few deep breaths in this position before repeating with the other foot forward.”
Warrior 1 with a bind
“This is a lovely variation of the Warrior 1 pose, it gives a big stretch of the chest and upper arms which can get so tight and cramped up if you're painting all day!
From Warrior 1, bring your arms down behind your back. Interlace your fingers, squeeze your shoulder blades and Straighten your elbows. If you're not able do this with your arms, clasp opposite forearms or wrists, remember to squeeze your shoulder blades to open up your chest.”
Goddess / Fierce angel pose (Utkata Konasana)
“This is one of my favourite yoga poses! It gives you a wonderful strength in the thighs and upper back. It opens the centre of your chest, which can be very compressed after a long day of painting! It's a very strong and empowering pose. It can be a little difficult if you have a lot of tightness in the hips or weakness in the thighs. But as with all yoga, the more you practice the stronger and more flexible you'll find yourself becoming!
Standing with feet about 3 to 4 feet apart (or as wide apart as you find comfortable) . Turn your heels in so your toes are pointing diagonally out to the sides. Bend your knees and raise your arms. Bending the elbows so your arms are in a cactus shape. Squeeze your shoulder blades together so you can feel your chest opening. Stack your knees over your ankles and sink your hips low.“
As they say in yoga, Namaste!
Keira teaches all manner of Yoga classes in the Leigh-on-Sea area and an be found through her Facebook page
Important information, our free shipping option has now been increased to £99.99 UK orders only.
All other shipping charges have remaied the same and will do for all of 2019
In the essence of busy Christmas parties, this week I have demo’ed my 2018 -3 most popular fast faces for girls. I hope you enjoy!
Princess / Snow Queen Crown.
This is super-fast, around 2 minutes including gems and glitter, so it makes a great queue buster! I’ve used blues in this example but it works equally well in any girly colours! I have shown the most basic version that I use on this design, but it is easy to embellish it a little if you have more time.
Global fun stoke – Calgary
TFPS Short flat 1”
TFPS round #4
TFPS round #2
TFPS aurora glitter
2018 really has been the year of the rainbow unicorn, and this design has been a popular one at all kinds of events.
Global Fun stroke – Leanne’s Island Girl
TFPS short flat 1”
TFPS round #4
TFPS round #2
Lowe Cornell gold grip #2
TFPS aurora glitter
This is my ‘go to’ eye design for older girls and ladies. It is fast, pretty, and easy to mix up a little by using different colours for the rose & petals. I love double/ triple dip flower petals, and these colour combinations are my all-time faves!
DFX one stroke ‘Posie’
Global Deep Green
TFPS Angled Brush Large
TFPS small Petal Brush
TFPS round #3
TFPS Round #0
TFPS Aurora Glitter
I hope that you have all had a happy (and profitable!) Christmas, and enjoyed the break! Happy New Year everyone!!
HOW TO SURVIVE NEW YEAR’S EVE
Have you agreed to face paint on New Year’s Eve? Here’s a guide to getting the most from your last and first booking of the year.
1. Set the highest rate possible or charge per face. PPF is highly profitable on New Year’s Eve when people are determined to have a good time, but don’t restrict yourself to face paint, glitter is always popular and, because it’s fast to apply, you can earn a decent amount in a shorter time.
2. Expect to be placed in a dark corner so pack a headtorch, okay it’s not the sexiest look but at least you’ll be able to see what you’re doing.
3. Keep your kit minimal – drunk people ALWAYS fall into your table or start picking up your pots of glitter, the less you have out the better.
4. Never let them put their drink in your kit. It’s amazing how many people try to do that!
5. Drunk people get very silly, most the time it’s good-humoured but it can get cranky. By all means paint the penis on the forehead if you really want to but you have the right to close your kit at any time.
6. Drunk people can be over-generous with their money, you will have to decide whether it’s ethical to accept their forty quid tip for ‘doing suchhhh a gooooood jobbbbbb darlinnnn’ or taking a fistful of tenners and coins with the words ‘here, do what you want and keep the change.’
7. If a design is rude, offensive or just too darn hard you can say no.
8. Parties can be great fun with a chance to meet new people, listen to live music and make connections. Take lots of photos, accept the drink offers and pack up before midnight so you get to enjoy yourself too.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Galaxy Step By Step
Hello again! How is everyone doing? Are we all bored of Christmas yet? Today I wanted to show you a step by step of how to achieve this really simple galaxy face paint! I absolutely love this design, I always get at least one or two people choosing this design per gig (when their not having unicorns, butterflies or Spider man) but it’s the one my boyfriend always picks out when I say which design should I sacrifice! It does tend to be your slightly older children and teenagers that pick this design, and it works really well as an eye design as well as a mask. I’ll often get kids point it out to me on the board saying ‘I want this sparkly one!’, and its one that I have on the board all year round. It’s so so simple and I think it looks great!
Global Pearl Baby Blue
DFX UV Yellow
DFX UV Pink
2 half size sponges
TFPS Aurora glitter refill in powder spray bottle with locking nozzle
I start off behaving my dark blue on one end of the sponge and the light blue on the other end, and using the natural contours of the face to place the darker blue, before going in to ‘highlight’ and blend with the light blue. I really like the effect of going around the nose too, but you don’t have to! If you’ve got a slightly older child, you can also try and get a bit of the darker blue in the eyelid crease too, but if you don’t have time or you’ve got someone who doesn’t like their eyes being done it’s not a big issue. I also used to dap in some Cameleon plum Fairy and thistle as well as a bit of global dark blue, but it doesn;doesn’t really add much and it takes so much longer!
Take your second sponge and load with pink and yellow uv. I used to incorporate all of the uv colours, but it just took too long, so these were the colours I decided worked best. I like to place them on top of the cheek bones and just above the eyebrows, just to add a pop of highlight.
I love using a toothbrush. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again now and I’ll probably say it again in the future! I load up the toothbrush with UV Yellow first, and mainly place it in areas of the face I want to highlight, so cheekbones and brow bones. This means that when the UV Pink goes on top, you’ve got that highlight coming through. I just like the UV Yellow as a highlight colour, it’s personal preference!
Finish off by loading your toothbrush with white and put those stars on! Then take your glitter poofer and cover them in glitter. Job done in minutes!
This is a really quick design that I love doing. I really hope you have a go at this, play around with what colours work best for you, these are the colours I have nailed it down to for me, but we are all different! I would love to see your interpretations of this design! I’ve also taken it as a more full body design and a pre-natal design too, it’s so versatile!
I hope you have a fantastic Christmas and new year, if you have any questions, please let me know!
The Pixie Tribe
Merry Christmas to you face artists!
Here’s an A4 word menu for you. Simply print out and embellish with a few one stroke designs. Then you can laminate or pop in a menu stand.
The Fear of the Bad Review
Come on, this can’t just be me? Forgive me if this post is a little self-indulgent, but I’ve been reflecting on a couple of situations I have found myself in, and how my fear of that negative review has made me respond to those situations, and what I can take away from the whole process (one of which is ongoing) and hopefully I can help anyone else avoid getting into these situations in the first place!
My First 1* Review
Ugh, I felt sick when I saw this notification appear on Facebook. This is a relatively long story so please bear with me! I had been approached at a Wedding Fayre by a bride and her sister who was about to turn 21. We had been talking, and the girl whose birthday it was about to be (let’s call her Amy…not her real name) left having been promised by her sister (let’s call her Brenda…also not her real name) that she would pay for me to go and do glitter at her 21st birthday for her and 3 friends. I was happy because I hadn’t moved up to Sheffield yet, and it was a booking in the bag! A couple of days later I had an email through from Brenda and I sent her my booking form and invoice for the deposit.
Time went on, I FINALLY moved to a new house, and then it got to about a week before the event was due to happen and I hadn’t had a reply from Brenda, so I emailed her to check that the event would still be going ahead and would she still like me there. A few days later an email lands in my inbox saying that the event had been postponed due to an issue with the venue and that she would let me know when it had been rescheduled. So, I went about my day and thought nothing else of it. Until I logged onto Facebook and saw that 1-star review from Amy. She couldn’t believe that I had pulled out after looking forward to me being at her birthday for several months, because there wouldn’t be enough people for me to glitter. She also thought I was overpriced.
Now, I didn’t have a clue where this had come from (and it took me a minute to realize it was Brenda’s sister as they had different surnames) and that is just not what happened, but it gave me the fear! I had moved up to Sheffield about 2 weeks before, and after about a year and a half, this was my first review on Facebook and it was 1* and it wasn’t even true! I messaged Amy and explained that I had been told that there had been an issue with the venue and that the event wasn’t going ahead as planned, at which point she wasn’t sure whether she believed me and asked to see proof, so I sent her screenshots of the conversation I had had with her sister. She then went off to speak to her sister and it turned out that Brenda had told us each different stories to get out of paying me, but didn’t stop to think about the damage she could have done to my business. I was then approached by Amy’s friend and was asked if I would still go out just to do Amy. Now, under any normal circumstances, no, I would not go out to apply glitter to one person for a rate I had quoted per person with a minimum uptake, but I had the fear! Being new to the area, I couldn’t; afford any negative feeling towards me and my business, so I went out, did her glitter, she removed her negative review and replaced it with a 5* review and all was well with the world.
This was a horrendous experience for me, and really made me see the importance of the review. I’m not very good at sending follow up emails and asking for a review on Facebook. When your booked through other websites I think they automatically send the client a prompt to leave you a review but going forward this is definitely something I need to start doing! It made me feel sick that for those few hours while I was dealing with that situation, anyone that came across my Facebook page would see that review and leave immediately, just as a result of one person not realizing the impact she could have on my business.
The Unpaid Gig
Time went on, I got myself set up and thankfully I didn’t have any more situations like this. In September I had been asked via a well-known booking site about doing a Halloween event, my quote was accepted, and I asked for the email address to send the booking form and deposit invoice off to. For me, sending off a booking form allows me to collect any information about the event and the client I might need to fulfil the event, for example where the event will be taking place and where to park. I didn’t hear back until about 1 week before Halloween, but I hadn’t had any conflicting bookings (it was for the Monday rather than the weekend) so I sent off my booking form and invoice for the deposit and heard nothing back. I still didn’t know where the event was taking place and who the client was. On the day of the event I had to look up the email address I had been sent to find out the company who was trying to book me to find a phone number to check if they were expecting me (as no deposit had been paid) and to find out where they were expecting me to be.
So, I turned up at the gig and was told to send an invoice for the full amount rather than the remaining balance and was assured that it would be paid the next day. The next day I received an email informing me I had been left a 5-star review via the booking site, and felt assured that my invoice would in fact get paid. It got to 3 weeks after the event and I decided to send a follow up via the site I had been booked through to thank them for their lovely review and as a gentle reminder that I hadn’t been paid, and could they just let me know when I might expect payment? Nothing. At the end of the 30 days I sent an email to their head office. Nothing. This is 7 weeks ago now, and aside from that review, I have had no contact from the client to confirm receipt of my invoice (which has now been sent 3 times) or to confirm when my invoice might be paid. It was a student hall of residence, and I am going to persist with them, but we are now in the Christmas season where nothing seems to happen, and student halls of residences aren’t always open over this period.
So, what can we take from this? Going forward I am going to have a notice on my invoices saying that any payments not made within 30 days will incur a late payment fee, unless an alternatively payment schedule has been agreed. Depending on the client I will also insist that I cannot unpack my kit until the full payment is made. This unfortunately isn’t always possible, especially when you’re dealing with corporate clients, but for birthday parties and weddings etc, I will now always make sure that first a deposit is taken, and then that full payment is made either by bank transfer before the event, or that cash is paid on arrival.
I’ve more or less resigned myself to the fact that this probably won’t get paid. I do have evidence that the job happened in case anyone from their head office tries to say it didn’t. Firstly, I have the review, and secondly, I have a photo of one of the staff members I painted with a branded lanyard around her neck. I knew really early on that this was going to be a pain in the ass job, and I really didn’t want to go because of the lack of information I had, had but was worried about the potential negative impact it might have on my business reputation, and now I’m suffering from the negative financial impact on my business. It was a complete lose, lose situation.
The Fear of the negative review is real, and sometimes it makes us do things that don’t make business sense. People are weird, and you do hear stories of people going around leaving negative reviews of their competitors pages to make their own business look better. I once saw a makeup artist receive a torrent of bad reviews because she was doing a giveaway that included non-cruelty free products, and as much as I try and use cruelty free products as much as I can, it’s not always possible, and it’s not something that should affect your business reputation!
I know I have a lot to improve on in the business aspect, and it’s situations like these that make you learn the hard way. Until recently I didn’t have any terms and conditions, or anything more official than details of the event on my booking form. I now have a set of terms and conditions on my booking form that need to be signed by the client before I confirm a booking, it means that everything is in black and white and there is no arguing at any point, and I have also adapted it for the hair and makeup side of my business.
I hope this has been useful to you. If you have found yourself in either of these situations, I would love to know how you handled it and what your outcomes were! If you do have any questions, please let me know!
The Pixie Tribe