Category Archives: Random Tips

About.Me

I completely forgot that I have a page with about.me! It’s basically a one page introduction to you or your business/service  for anyone that comes across it. I’ve linked it on Facebook and LinkedIn and I put my web address on it as well as some info about me being  Vancouver based Make-up Artist looking for projects to collaborate on with people :-) You can add several links if yo have various business or websites, which is handy. Not for me. But for someone, I’m sure.

It’s a good little promotional tool and it’s really quick and easy to set up. The difficult thing is trying to figure out exactly what to write, haha!

If you’re self-employed then it’s not a bad little tool, and since it’s free, what are you waiting for?!

Model Mayhem for Newbies

For those who don’t know, Model Mayhem is a site where Photographers, Models, Make-up Artists, Hair Stylists, etc can create a profile and make contact with others in the industry. You can find a photographer to do test shoots or a hair stylist to complete the look for a photo shoot…

A couple of weeks ago I created an account  to try and find people to collaborate with and I’ve already had a few offers of TF (Time For Photos/CD) to do some test shoots with people. There’s a couple of photographers that have asked to stay in touch as I wasn’t in the country when they wanted to shoot, and there’s an agency represented model that I’m shooting with next month.

There are different levels that you can sign up for. The basic package is free but then you can pay to have the bigger packages that let you put more images into your portfolio and contact more people, etc. You’ll have to go to the website to see exactly what they have available as I can’t remember, haha! To sign up you need to have a minimum of four (4) images to put into your portfolio and then it takes a couple of days for your profile to be approved/denied. You pick your level i.e. Experienced/Very Experienced/New, etc) and then write a little blurb about yourself saying what you are looking to get from Model Mayhem (paid work/ TFP projects, etc) and maybe a bit about your experience or training. Once you’re approved you can look for people in your area that you might want to work with and if you have a project you’d like them to work with you on you simply ask. You could even introduce yourself to those you like the style/skills of and let them know up front that you’d love to work with them if something comes up!

There are also loads of forum posts, competitions and places to post images to get critiqued or ask for advice from others on MM. It seems to work well for TFP projects as, like I mentioned, I’ve already made a few contacts but I don’t know if it’s any good for getting paid work.

If you’re on MM and get paid work I’d love to hear about it…

Random Tip: Beware of Scam Makeup Schools!

I suppose it’s to be expected. Where there’s money to be made there’s money to be stolen by someone dodgy!

I came across this post a while ago and then again today. Although the only mention I can now find online about this “school” is a vague mention on BeautySchoolDirectory.com I thought it may still help people be wary of whats on offer out there. There are lots of make-up schools and academy’s across the globe, so just be careful when picking somewhere to train. Check them out , do your research and hopefully you’ll pick a good one!

Apparently there was a Makeup School called “Dawn Till Dusk”, based in New Jersey, that operated for a few years ripping people off with the promise of a full intensive make-up program. They would continually cancel classes and the classes they did actually give were, by their students accounts, completely worthless.

Here’s the article:

“It distresses me to have to even write about this, still, after nearly 4 years.  Yet, last night, I was sent an email from yet another Dawn til Dusk victim, which prompted the need to write this blog entry.  I’ve been warning people about this school for a long time, and yet there are still victims because they get dazzled by the pictures on the website, the impressive resume of Dawn, and don’t think to search for any feedback.  Or, they see the feedback and think whatever they read was isolated and won’t affect them.  If you are considering a source for makeup classes, do NOT go to Dawn til Dusk.

This is a husband and wife company (Russ and Dawn Park) who primarly operate their “school” out of Bloomfield, New Jersey.  They also travel around the country hosting classes, so they could be coming to an area near you.  They claim to teach beauty makeup over a week long course, and will add media makeup training for a different week, if you are able to make it to New Jersey to take the class.

There’s a problem though.  When you sign up for a class, you have to pay in advance – eventually all of it – before the class ever starts.  And their refund policy is “no refunds” under any circumstances, if you decide not to take the class.  Even if they cancel the class, for whatever reason.  They will tell you that they will be back in your area soon, or you can fly to them to take it.  If you choose not to wait, or fly, then you are choosing not to take the class, and are therefore unable to get a refund.

Another problem, you may be double charged for the class.  You won’t get the refund then either.  You will have to go to your credit card company for a charge back.  Be sure to do this quickly, because each company has a time limit – usually 60 days.  Check with your card company to be sure what your options are.  The double charging will also occur while buying cosmetics from them, and you may never even receive what you ordered.

When they cancel or decide not to respond to your phone calls and emails, they will generally give some bogus excuse.  Either Dawn has a migraine, heart problem, or a tooth ache she has to see the dentist for, or a relative died.  Of course, the prospective student feels for them, and will wait to see if the problem resolves itself – until it’s too late.  The relatives we know that have allegedly died are Dawn’s brother, and Russ’s father.  Except Russ forgot to tell Dawn that he told a student about her brother, so Dawn had no idea what the student was talking about.  And Russ’s father died twice in six months.  Only, he’s actually still very much alive.  If they do respond to you by email, they may use the email account of a former employee, and then blame all the problems on that employee, even when the employee was not there when the problem occurred.

It should be noted that they have lost at least one merchant account due to an investigation of fraud, based on too many chargebacks.  Check with the Better Business Bureau as well, for recent customer service records.  This information given to your credit card company may convince them to help you even if they ordinarily would not.

As of this writing, there are two listings for Dawn til Dusk on the BBB website.  One lists them as:

DAWN TIL DUSK MAKEUP TRAINING
172 Scoles Avenue
Clifton, NJ 07012
Motivational/Self Improve Training

The Bureau processed a total of 18 complaints about this company in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total 18 complaints in the last 36 months, 3 of those were closed in the last 12 months.

Complaints Concerned
Sales Practice Issues: 3
Outcome of all complaints -
Resolved: 2; No Response: 1

Delivery Issues: 1
Outcome of the complaint -
No Response: 1

Service Issues: 2
Outcome of all complaints -
Resolved: 1; No Response: 1

Refund or Exchange Issues: 4
Outcome of all complaints -
Resolved: 1; No Response: 3

Billing or Collection Issues: 8
Outcome of all complaints -
Resolved: 3; Unresolved: 1; No Response: 4; |[Company
failed to respond to the BBB to resolve or address the
complaint issues.]|

The above address for the company is their home address.  I don’t know if this is a transfer of complaints from their previous Nutley address, or if they are also hosting classes out of their home.

The other listing:

DAWN TIL DUSK
399 West Passaic Avenue
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Artists-Commercial

The Bureau processed a total of 11 complaints about this company since the firm’s BBB file was opened in September of 2006. Of the total 11 complaints since the firm’s BBB file was opened in September of 2006, 1 of those were closed in the last 12 months.

Complaints Concerned
Service Issues: 1
Outcome of the complaint -
No Response: 1; |[Company failed to respond to the BBB
to resolve or address the complaint issues.]|

Refund or Exchange Issues: 6
Outcome of all complaints -
Resolved: 1; |[Company resolved the complaint issues.
The consumer acknowledged acceptance to the BBB.]| No
Response: 5; |[Company failed to respond to the BBB to resolve or address the complaint issues.]|

Billing or Collection Issues: 4
Outcome of all complaints -
No Response: 4; |[Company failed to respond to the BBB
to resolve or address the complaint issues.]|

The above address is the second business location they opened up, as they were busy losing the lease on their first place.

Is anyone concerned over the complaint history?  Would you really put your hard earned money with these people?  How are they even still in business?

Dawn’s resume is an interesting read.  You’ll have to hunt for it, as it changes locations within the site.  It is currently on the FAQ page.  She claims to have been formally trained in makeup (where?), that DtD began in 1999, that within 5 years she did 14,000 makeovers for TV (Sally and Maury shows, as key artist for both), has done 400 brides and 150 celebrities, 200 corporate videos and dozens of Hollywood productions, 120+ crossdresser clients, and (up to 2004) had taught over 2000 students.  This resume is false.

Reality:  The school started under a different name in March of 2002, and was changed to the current name by July of 2002.  So DtD didn’t exist in 1999 as they claim.  She never lists the celebrities, and there’s only one picture of her standing next to Maury Povich.  She apparently really did work for the Sally show, but was never the head artist.  Richard Penna was, and he won an Emmy for the show one year Dawn was allegedly working as the key for that show.  She was brought in for the drag shows.  Maury apparently inherited Dawn when the Sally show was cancelled, but she was only called in occasionally to work, from a long list of available artists.  Think hard about just how much work it is to do 14,000 faces in 5 years (strictly for TV) and then think about how many guests shows actually have in a day, and that she did not work most days of filming.  She also never actually worked on Maury directly, so the photo of the two of them is just a fan photo.  If she’s got hundreds of celebrities under her belt, where’s the list?  Where are the photographs?  If she’s worked on dozens of Hollywood productions, why does IMDB only list one movie short under her name?  How did she fit all that in, keeping in mind she’s married and has two kids, one of whom was born during this whirlwind?  And with stress-related heart problems!

Based on her training method, which is partially observable in the testimonial video on their site, she clearly got her start with Avon or similar company and is known to be selling Sengence by 2002 (also direct sales cosmetic line).  She then made up, out of thin air, her “revolutionary” curriculum based on face shapes (which also has little or no practicality), and greatly embellished her resume to attract students and remove them from their money.  Her training method includes a coloring book (I’m not making this up) that the students use to “learn” makeup techniques.  She does not do a single demo during class.  She also, by several reports, leaves during the third day, and leaves behind a recent DtD graduate to “teach” and critique students as they practice on each other, and guide them through their photoshoots on the last day.

Perhaps I should note here that one time I did question her resume on my forum, her resume was promptly removed from the DtD school site for awhile.  It did finally reappear later.  Which brings us to the website.

The site has changed formats many times over the last 4 years.  Sometimes it changed several times in several days.  Their class list will sometimes change daily as well, as they add dates, cancel dates, switch them around.  It’s impossible to keep up with their schedule, and what’s still a viable class or not.  They will cancel classes and not remove them from their site.  One way to know if a class is actually going in your area is to call the hotel they are allegedly holding it at.  Chances are you will find that the reservation does not exist.  You may also find that the venue won’t reserve space to them, but they advertise it anyway.

Currently on the site are all student photos.  This is good.  However, for the first 1 1/2 years or so, they had stolen photos on the site, many of them stolen from stock photo sites.  Dawn has not actually worked on a single photo that’s ever appeared on the school site.  Why is that?  Do they not exist?  It took some doing on my part, but I eventually got them to remove all the stolen photos.  They claimed it was all the work of their webmaster, that they had no fault.  What they didn’t seem to realize was that I know full well that Russ is the webmaster.  They have in the past hired someone with a clue for format, don’t pay, and then take over the code for revisions until the format is so hosed, they have to overhaul it themselves.

How did I become involved with them?  Because I run a forum.  Seriously.  I was never a student, or even prospective student.  I haven’t lost any money to them.  However, they did introduce themselves to me in the form of prank calls, and email harassment.  Why?  Because on my forum, we never mentioned DtD.  Because we didn’t mention it, we clearly had a conspiracy in place with other schools we did talk about to shut DtD down.  Except that the biggest reason we didn’t mention them was because we’d simply never heard of DtD.  They had opened just 6 months prior to these attacks starting.  Really bright, huh?  Or perhaps, paranoid much?

Russ did all of the harassing, and attacked several others (schools too) at the same time.  His mistake was that he didn’t realize just how small this industry is, and all his victims quickly found each other.  It took a couple of months, but we did figure out who was responsible for all the harassment, and called him on it.  He admitted it.  He stopped, for awhile.  But later, all harassment to me was done under his own name, but he continued with others sometimes anonymously.  He found new victims, usually other schools he believed to be his competition.  He’s also harassed his former students and employees.

The above is only the tip of the iceberg.  This is really just the reader’s digest version.

He has been quiet for the last year or so, but he’s still stealing money from students, which I know because they keep finding my forum thread and contacting me.  (thread includes even more stories:  Dawn til Dusk thread)  He did claim a year ago that I would no longer have any problems with him because DtD was being sold.  It’s never been sold.

If you have been victimized by this school, there are options available to you.  You should report them to the BBB, as dozens of other students have over the years.  You can also file a report with RipOffReport.com.  Also consider small claims court for damages.  If you are a former employee (there are several they screwed out of payment), be sure to contact the New Jersey State Labor Board.  And, when you do complain and start to cause trouble for Dawn til Dusk, Russ may harass you (as he has me and many others).  There are police reports in the NYC area to this effect.  Contact your local police, and if it crosses state lines you can contact the FBI.  Internet related complaints should be referred to the IC3.  There is also supposedly a file against them (or maybe just Russ) with the New Jersey District Attorney.  Report your problems with DtD with as many sources as qualify for your situation.  Eventually someone will take notice and they will no longer be in business.

If you’ve been a victim of this school, please post comments on this blog entry.  I think others need to see that they are truly not alone, and maybe then then will also see the extensive history of abuse against others.  Many victims think they are alone, that DtD isn’t doing this to anyone else, and that the problem is over once they decide to drop it.  Some feel so horrible after their experience with DtD that they even drop out of makeup altogether.  It’s time to stop giving them so much power.

(edited to add that this can be reposted to other sites/blogs with my permission)

Edited to add, as a result of a recent thread on my forum, that one confusion needs to be cleared up.  There is a makeup artist agency (also represents hairstylists, fashion stylists, and photographers) in the L.A. area called Dawn to Dusk.  There is NO relationship at all between these two entities.  The agency is very highly regarded, and it did come before the school.)”

Motives cosmetics by Loren Ridinger

I applied for the Motives Pro Artist Program a little while ago and I got my reply today. I was unsuccessful due to “not currently meeting the qualifications of the program”.

So I’m good enough for MAC and Make Up For Ever (I was accepted as a Pro member for both) but not for Motives :-). Strict! I am curious as to where I failed as I sent them all the information and “proof” that was required for the application. Perhaps I should have sent different items. They ask for two pieces of professional documentation (which can be a comp card, business card, editorial page with credit, union card, head shot and resume, license, your diploma/certificate, publication masthead, program/press materials, contract on company letterhead, crew/call sheet, or professional employment letter of reference) and an example of work. I sent them a copy of a call sheet from the pilot show I worked on last year, a program for a theatre show from this summer and a photo of a brides make-up. Maybe I should have sent them a copy of one of my certificates instead of the program? Or perhaps they read my blog and decided that since most of my work is unpaid (by choice, by the way, due to my visa type) that I don’t class as professional? Or maybe they just don’t think I’m good enough?! Who knows.

If anyone is thinking of applying then I would definitely say “do it”! Try them out. The Motives name is definitely getting bigger, with more people seeming to sell the products and use them for professional work. I haven’t bought any yet as I was waiting to hear back about membership, but there are quite a lot of positive reviews out there along with professional MUA’s standing by the Motives products, even for HD and TV work. Before applying I did some research into Motives and I don’t think I found any bad reviews.

If you’ve tried them I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, do you think I should try agin with different pieces of “proof”, or wait until I have more experience and pieces of work?

Soft brushes

I cleaned my brushes and used the tip in the video about olive oil to help soften them, and it worked! My brushes range in quality and price (I even have a couple from the dollar store which make great concealer brushes since they’re synthetic with a little firmness to them) and I wanted to see if I could get the not-so-soft bruches feeling a little nicer (I’ve hardly used them recently and they were just going to go into my personal collection instead of my professional collection).

Suprisingly it even worked on my synthetic brushes. They are all sooo soft, its fantastic! I had to wash them twice after leaving them covered in oil for a few minutes but that wasn’t a problem. I highly recommend this tactic :-)

Thanks BeautyNewbie ;-) I couldn’t put the video itself up on here as the “embed” option isn’t available but you can just click here to link through.

Working Freelance

Since I have the hopes and intentions to eventually get into the Freelance Make-up Artist gig I’m doing my best to find out about the freelance world.

This involves many trips to the library to pick up every book I can find that has the words “freelance”, “marketing”, “advertising”,  “accounting for dummies” and/or “Make-up” somewhere in the title or blurb! When I first thought about becoming an MUA I guess I never really gave the business side too much thought. Obviously I knew I would have to get myself out there and make a name for myself, but according to all these books there is sooo much to do and to think about before I even bother looking for jobs/projects!

Most of the books I’ve found about starting your own business, becoming self-employed, etc, are either focused on IT professionals or very generic in subject but the principals seem to be the same no matter what field you get in to so I thought I’d let you know what I’ve found out.

If you’re deciding to work for yourself then there are things that you should think about first. They are not all mandatory but definitely seem to be advised across the board:

  1. Name -  What is your business to be called? Is it your name and what you do (e.g. “Tom Smith Hair and Beauty”)? Do you plan to hire employees in the future, in which case you may not want the business to just be your name as that implies a one-man-band operation instead of a whole company!? Is the website domain available, or are there so many “New Age Technologies” sites out there that you wouldn’t stand out from the rest?! Do your research before settling on a name.
  2. Location – Are you planning to work from home, rent a booth/office/studio or only be mobile? What are the costs/advantages/disadvantages to every option?
  3. Business Plan - Before starting your own business it makes sense to create a business plan. This is basically a 5 year plan that states what your business will be, who will work for it and what their role will be, who your competition is, what problems you may come across, your plans for advertising and marketing, statistics relevant to your location/field, projected annual incomings and outgoings, and pretty much any other pertinent information you feel is important to the survival of your business. Apparently a basic plan should take a couple of weeks to complete as there is a lot of research and re-writing. You will probably end up with a plan that is around 30 pages or more, depending on the business you intend to start.
  4. Advertising - This is everything from the business cards you hand out to the sign above your shop (if you have on) and the decal on your car window. Think about the logo you want and whether it portrays the image/feel of your business (is it fun/classy/functional, etc).
  5. Marketing – This is about deciding how you want people to see you and your business and making them think it’s true. Do you want to be known for your charity work, community spirit, professionalism, fun atmosphere?! Whatever it is, get the stories out circulating. Write up press releases about your volunteer work at that orphanage, or the street party you are holding/sponsoring next week, or the top end business you just signed with. Decide on who/what you want to be and push that image forward!
  6. Outsourcing – Can you do everything yourself or will you need to bring in a contractor to help with the accounts? or to do hair while you do make-up? or to help design your logo? Will you pay them or swap service for service (they do your logo, you do the make-u for their wedding party)?

You should also give thought to how much money you have and whether you are going to take out a loan from the bank or a family member with a healthier looking bank account than you ;-). Consider how quickly you want your business to grow and where you hope to be in a few years time (e.g. how many employees/locations do you hope to have in 5 years?).

Greg and I are in the process of applying to stay in Canada for longer and if they say yes I won’t be able to go freelance due to the visa type, but at least I will have plenty of time for future training and voluntary experience. If we go back to the UK then I can start freelancing whenever I feel ready, so I’m going to put together a basic business plan over the next few weeks, hence all the library trips.

There’s so much to think about and consider (start-up costs, advertising, networking, accounting…) and I really want my freelancing venture to go well. As someone who is more of a “wing it” person as apposed to a “plan everything” person I think that all this time for prep work and research has done me some good. I’m not going to jump into freelancing all guns blazing only to realise that I’ve no clue what that the hell I’ve got myself into! I’ll be as ready as can be with ideas of where I want to go and how I want to get there. Hopefully I’ll see you there ;-)

If there’s anyone out there who stumbles across this post and wants to add anything or tell me I’m babbling then please go ahead. I want these posts to be helpful to all those who read them! :-)

(p.s. this is my first post of 2011, so Happy New Year!)