January is usually quieter for most of us so it is the perfect time to do something I don’t do enough of any more; PRACTICE. I would like to rangle more adult face-painting this year so I am creating new eye designs. But what to use for inspiration? You can always use other painters work as a reference, I like to analyse Brierly Thorpe and Caroline Tropicalbird’s on-the-job photos, I want to get that beautiful flow and balance. I also went on Karen Huwen’s advanced face-painting course last year at Eleven16 Studio and want to utilise more of what I learnt about layering, stencils and liquid bling. But I hate to straight up copy designs from other artists, so where to get my inspiration?
Below is an official statement from Cameleon
All Cameleon Professional Face & Bodypaint UV products carry the cosmetics regulation code
1223/2009 to verify that their products and ingredients are tested to the highest standard for skin
safety. This code is clearly displayed on the labelling of all Cameleon products.
Cameleon has always labelled all of it’s products, including UV, in compliance with strict EU & FDA
regulations and guidelines in accordance with the labelling of cosmetic products.
All Cameleon UV was re-tested for safety updates regarding ingredients and pigments in October 2018.
After review, Cameleon are pleased to announce that they are able to remove the wording which
states “not for cosmetic use” from it’s future labelling of UV. However, in accordance with EU and
FDA regulations the wording “for special fx only” will remain in place because UV is classified as an SFX product.
Cameleon cannot comment on policies set out by any insurer in regards to obtaining public liability
insurance for using sfx products. This is for individual artists to discuss with their retrospective
insurers as it would be in regards to public liability insurance for all products any artist uses.
Cameleon would like to remind users of it’s UV products that they are SFX products and therefore
their advice has always been and remains to be that they do not advise the product to be used on
children and that none of their cosmetic products are advised to be used on children under 3 years old.
All of the Cameleon product range, including all of it’s UV products are high quality, skin safe,
professional paint which is cruelty free and vegan.
OOH! Look What’s New!
I love a good stencil. Who doesn’t? They’re life-savers at busy events and can add a bit of wow to your everyday designs. I’ve blogged about stencils before but I wanted to introduce you to my new favourites (and I haven’t been paid to say this, as usual my blogs are truthful and objective) a range of easy to use and very facepainter-friendly ones called OOH stencils. Created by Clayton from Marvellous Masks (he’s also a mean balloon twister, check out Chi Twist) these are designed with little faces in mind. What I love is their circular and curved shape – no more moving your stencil around to get a flow going, these do it for you; the star semi-circular one can be used on its own for a super-fast design or as a final flourish to a floral. And look how easy it is to do a crown! The circular mermaid is fantastic, the scales are the right size for both kid and adult faces (don’t ask me how) and you don’t need to move the stencil to add scales around the eyes so no more stencil wiping or smudging because crown and both eyes can be done in one go. You can even use more than one colour on each stencil as they are big enough to keep the colours separate and clean but not too large to swamp the face.
The other great thing about these circular stencils is that you can flip some of them over, for example flip your double jumping dolphins and you have a shell, the beauty is you don’t have to use two stencils and they are far enough apart not to smudge into each other – I hate a cramped stencil that does that. I always lose my finger daubers and the sponges I use often pick up an unwanted part of a small stencil. Aaaarrrghhh! These really do solve that problem.
So far I’ve only tested the star, mermaid and dolphin but there are many more including truck tracks and truck and monster horns, all semi- circular with eye designs in mind, or circular for forehead and eyes. I hear there are more coming soon. Give them a go and post your designs, I’d love to see them.
Simple Bump Painting Step By Step
Hi everyone! Today I have a simple Belly Art step by step. If I’m honest I sort of made it up as I went along but I knew I wanted to do something with lots of line work and then I went from there!
The First thing I did was lay my background down, using 3 filbert brushes and DFX Uv Pink, Uv Purple and UV Blue.
I took my 1 inch short angle brush and created a heart in the middle with Summer Days from Leannes Global Tropical Palette, and then used a filbert brush and some DFX white to create the flicks around the edge.
Using my Party Xplosion round 5 I outlined the heart with DFX white, and used the TFPS small blending brush to blend into the heart. I then created some swirly bits and started to add some tear drops, adding a sort of butterfly wing shape, again using the blending brush to just blend inside the lines of the wings.
I started to outline what I already had and switched to my TFPS small rounded flora no:1 for the finer line, and then started creating more swirls and looking at anywhere I could add more tear drops.
I went back in with my filbert brush to fill in between the gaps to fill out the design a bit more, and used my TFPS round six to create some dot work coming in from the edges and then going around the design. I finished off by using some silver liquid bling over the top of some of the line work and poofing some aurora glitter over the top
I hope you have enjoyed this step by step! Please let me know if you have any questions, I’m about to start working on two longer posts about setting up a website and comparing insurance companies, so if anyone has any questions about that please let me know!
The Pixie Tribe
What’s in a (business) name?
Hello everyone, did you have a good Christmas and New Year? I had a great festive season, Alex and I (you will have seen Alex featured in my Joker Step by Step Post) got engaged! Now, I’m not just bragging for the sake of it, believe it or not it is actually relevant to what I have to say! Ok bragging a little bit, but that’s allowed right?? One of the most frequent questions I see popping up on face painting pages and groups on Facebook is ‘I’m just starting out and can’t decide on a business name’, so today I thought I would talk about how I came up with mine, and some things to think about.
Let me just get one thing straight first though. I am registered as a ‘Sole Trader’, not a ltd company or any of the other options, which gives me quite a lot of flexibility rather than being registered as 2 or 3 different companies. For me ‘The Pixie Tribe’ is a trading name used to market the face painting services I offer. I started out as a hair and makeup artist doing face and body art on the side, so I was operating under ‘Mazz Hannah Hair and Makeup Artist’ for hair and makeup marketing and bookings, and I was operating under ‘Mazz Hannah Face and Body’ for face and body painting, all under one website called Mazz Hannah MUA.
A few months in and I was catching up with another makeup artist friend at a job we had been booked on together and we both said how much we wanted to do glitter and face painting at festivals. Oh, how very naive we were (I may do a post on this in the future if anyone is interested…)! Anyway, we decided to meet up and talk about it properly, come up with a list of festivals we wanted to apply to and how we would operate, and, most importantly, come up with a business name, so we could set up on social media and start applying for said festivals. The important thing for us at the time was that it sounded fun and festivally, that was basically our only criteria. We eventually ended up with ‘The Pixie Tribe’ which I absolutely loved, big fan of fairies (I’ve also named all 12 of my glitter mix options after famous fairies). Because we were going in with festival glitter and gems , airbrush tattoos, and festival hair styling as well as face painting, we didn’t want our business name to suggest that we only offered face painting. It had to be versatile, and because the original idea was that it wouldn’t just be one of us, it would be a team of us going off to events, it couldn’t be specific to one of our names, and ‘tribe’ then also played into that quite nicely. Not long after this conversation however, she said to me that she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to fully commit to ‘The Pixie Tribe’ due to her filming commitments and would I mind if I were solely in charge? This suited me as I had realised we had potentially been a bit naive in the first place .
After about a year and a half, I was very conscious that the lease on my domain name only had 6 months left, and I was really fed up with my website host. This lead me to really think about my long term business plans after a year and a half of setting up, relocating and almost setting up again from scratch. This was about February last year, and when my website lease was up in August, I decided to have not one, but 2 websites (If anyone would like me to do a blog post on setting up a website and why it’s important, please let me know in the comments below!). One for ‘The Pixie Tribe’ and I ‘rebranded’ from ‘Mazz Hannah Hair and MUA’ to ‘Mazz Loxton’, which incorporates my hair and makeup work and my more fine art style body painting. My reason for changing to Mazz Loxton (Loxton being my middle name) was that Alex and I had been together 4 years at the point I was starting to think abut all of this, and he frequently reminded me that my surname might not always be Hannah. My surname also causes a mountain of confusions and was another reason I had considered changing my trading name for that side of my business. But if I wanted to start building a reputation, it would be more complicated to change my trading name down the road than changing it now, particularly as I do want to do more fine art body art (Loxton Studios has quite a nice ring to it don’t you think?).
So, below are some bullet points with some things to think about in regards to your trading name.
Do you want people to know instantly from your name the type of services you provide?
Are you going to exclusively offer Face Painting or are do you want to leave room to add balloon twisting, henna, glitter tattoos and other services down the line?
What are some of the other painters in your area trading as? There are a lot of people trading with the same or very similar names, so it might be a good idea to think of something a bit different.
What market are you aiming at and will this affect your choice?
Does the trading name you are considering make your business searchable (if someone were to type in Face Painters in your area into google, would your page come up?)
Sometimes I do regret my choice in ‘The Pixie Tribe’ name because you can’t immediately tell from it what type of services I offer, and it’s not the most searchable name, I rely completely on my SEO’s. There are also benefits to including your actual name in your trading name. But I now have my website, hoodies, business cards etc etc, so I feel like I’m in too deep to do anything abut it at this point, but it might be that when we move to a different area I think about this again, and if I’m lucky it might coincide with the end of my domain name lease!
I hope that I’ve maybe helped you if you are making this decision at the moment, or at least given you a couple of things to think about. I hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and that your tax returns haven’t been too much of a headache!
The Pixie Tribe
So today I’m going to be talking about wrigglers! This blog post has been inspired by a party that I did last weekend, where the children, while all lovely, were absolutely the squirmiest wriggliest children ever! It sounds funny, but we all know that it can be stressful, both for the painter and the paintee, and most times means that your finished paint is not even close to your best work. While I’ve yet to find a way of completely overcoming it in every child, I have a little toolkit of tips that I have found helpful, and I thought I would share them with you.
I hope that you are all having a decent January; I know it’s a tough month for parties, but the end is in sight!
To P.P.F or Not to P.P.F?
By Jane Harding
Hello everyone… Happy New Year! Assuming you are all up to your necks in Tax Returns and Event Planning for the rest of January, I thought it might be helpful to some of you if I shared my views on Pay Per Face (PPF) events. Love it or hate it, PPF is something all face painters have done at some point and constantly get requested to work events on that basis.
It does seem to divide opinion as to if people should do them or if they are good money makers. I’ve certainly come across people from both camps.
For me personally, in an ideal world all jobs would be paid by my hourly rate, but I can’t imagine a world in which that actually happens, especially when you consider the really big events, like music festivals which can be huge earners on a PPF basis, but you do need the large pitch fees in the first place to even consider doing those. But I’m not really talking about those types of PPF events here; I’m focusing more on your local community events, carnivals etc.
For me, I feel it’s ultimately about picking your PPF jobs carefully, so I thought I’d share with you some of the points I consider before committing to a PPF job.
1. What is the event? Are there guaranteed to be children of an appropriate age attending? There’s not much point attending an event during the week at a soft play venue on a PPF basis, especially if your policy (like mine) is to only paint children aged 3yrs and over, because the vast majority of children aged 3+ will be at school. Believe me, places will ask you and promise lots of children to paint, so it’s easy to forget about something as obvious as this!
2. What is the expected footfall? Most well established events will be able to tell you the footfall for previous years and potentially how many tickets they have sold for the event coming up, so these can make your decision making much easier. If they are only expecting a few hundred attendees, it’s unlikely to be a great earner. You may think 500 people is a lot, but consider what percentage of those 500 people are going to be your target market? If you are primarily aiming your services at children, then that number will probably reduce by more than 2/3 because most children come with 2 adults. Then factor in, some of those children won’t be old enough, some won’t want it, some won’t be allowed it and some possibly can’t have it. Obviously I can’t predict exact numbers, but hopefully you can see that the 500 soon dwindles down.
3. When is it? If it’s a ‘prime time’ i.e. school holidays, Halloween, Christmas etc. then you are VERY likely to get offered well paid work for your hourly rate (or more) so it’s certainly worth considering if you are willing to take the risk of committing to an event at these times on a PPF basis.
4. What is the pitch fee? I see this question quite a lot in the different groups, asking for people’s opinions on what is an appropriate amount to pay for a pitch. Ultimately it’s a personal choice, but in my opinion, obviously free is best! From my experience most events either ask for a set fee which is normally between £10-£25 (possibly more depending on your location, I imagine London would be more?) or they ask for a percentage. I would always encourage everyone to barter. Sell yourself, your skills, what you can add to the event, I’ve always had great success when doing this, even if it a reduction of 5% or £5, it’s still a saving. There is always the exception when there isn’t movement on the fee, so in these cases I just weigh up all of the points I’m sharing now and decide if it’s worth the risk for ME? If free isn’t an option, I would always prefer to give a percentage of my profits and would push to agree on 10%.
5. What type of event is it? Who is it aimed at? I get a lot of requests to do Charity Events, Dog Shows, and School Fetes etc. Hands up, who’s done one or more of these events in the past? I know I have when I first started out, TBH it was probably a good learning experience having done a couple, it helped me to see what I needed for these types of events, but they certainly weren’t worth doing to earn money. When you consider the time to prepare, set up, attend for 5-6 hours, pack up, clean your kit etc. you probably won’t have covered your petrol, let alone your pitch fee or normal hourly rate. Events like this take a lot of hard work just to set up your pitch. So I really encourage you to consider if it’s truly worth it. Think how much you could have earnt by doing two birthday parties that day and how much easier to set up! It’s a no brainer! Organisers for these events always like to point out all the “exposure” you’ll get… honestly, you will likely get more real interest and bookings from attending one birthday party with 20 kids, than from sitting under a gazebo in a field for 5 hours!
6. Can they get funding? Now this might change my answer to the point above. I always mention and encourage the organisers of those types of events to seek funding/sponsorship for their event from larger local companies, which may agree, for some advertising at the event, to cover the cost of face painting etc. we are after all providing entertainment which will enhance their event and bring more people in. It won’t be possible every time, but definitely worth mentioning as you never know your luck!
7. What is the weather likely to be like? If you’re in the UK like me, then it’s not really worth considering what season it is, because it’s likely to rain anytime! Lol. Last year alone I turned down a couple of large events where footfall and children were guaranteed to be high based on previous years, and the numbers were growing. But when they insisted on a £100 pitch fee, I politely declined, obviously explaining my reasoning. Unfortunately all it would take is for it to rain that day and I’d be £100 down, wet, potentially muddy… but worse than that, I’d then have to clean the wet and mud off my kit, chairs, gazebo, banners… everything! Ugh no thank you! Organisers often throw back at you that everyone is in the same boat, but I like to point out that people still eat when it’s raining, people still buy crafts and gifts when it’s raining, people do not pay for a service that will instantly run away when they leave the stall! There is always the chance that the sun does shine, but unless you plan on painting at lightning speed, it’s still going to take a LOT of painted faces to make back your pitch fee, and earn more than you could if you had just taken on two or three parties instead.
8. Can you widen your audience? If you have additional services that you offer, then PPF is definitely a good place to offer them all to increase your income. It’s also worth thinking about what else you could offer to expand your customer base as far as you can. For example; Glitter Tattoos, Graffiti Arms, Festival Glitter etc. will appeal to old kids and adults too. So these make perfect add ons.
9. Work with others? Can you join forces with another local face painter and work a pitch together? For larger events this can be great on several levels. You split the pitch fee, you can offer more services, reduce queue times, makes set up easier, you can nip off for a toilet break whenever you like and its great fun!
10. Will it help to grow your business? We all joke about the whole “exposure” thing, which I am totally in agreement with. But there may be an exception to this rule, when YOU feel it’s the exposure YOU want. For example; it may give you the opportunity to make links with local businesses or provide an introduction to a specific person or business that you know have real potential to lead into future paid work. I would still always discuss being paid an hourly rate, but if getting your ‘foot in the door’ means taking a risk at PPF, then as long as it’s a calculated move on your part, it may just be worth it.
So there you have it, I hope you found that helpful or interesting to read from someone else’s perspective. Ultimately I really think it comes down to personal preference and what risk you’re willing to take. If you are in this to bring in a profit, then always consider the risks. I personally do one regular job as PPF, as it ticks all the boxes for me and is a good little earner throughout the year. Of course, I do very large events during the summer, but the only other time is if I see potential to grow my business and the pitch is free!
Over the last year I have significantly reduced the amount of PPF events I do because I have learnt quickly that people are actually willing to pay you! And for every rubbish PPF event I did in the past; I have turned away numerous paid jobs… I won’t make that mistake again!
And finally, you might think I am contradicting myself a bit here, but one can hope right? I really think it is up to us as a community, to start pulling together and refusing these huge pitch fees and big financial risks and start asking for what we are worth. We all know how popular our services are at these types of events, and that people flock to our stands to get painted, so why shouldn’t we all get paid for adding such a popular and sought after activity. I truly believe that if we work together, we can change the perception of what our service is to organisers and they will start to pay us what we are worth, as they already do for other Children’s Entertainers!
Let’s do this!
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.