In 2020, working from home became the norm. But before every spare room in the country became an office, my study was already doubling up as my home office and makeup studio. After COVID, my husband took it over. But what’s a girl to do, if not to adapt and survive? Let’s be honest – makeup and beauty under lockdown has not been as big a priority as baking and crafts.
How it started
My background is in advertising and public relations, so you could say that communication is a big passion of mine. Anyone who has ever chatted to me (or been talked AT for quite some time) will agree. I, like many others, often found myself thinking that I had no idea how I would balance my life out when I decided to throw some beautiful albeit demanding kids into the mix.
I decided to look to get into makeup artistry as a side job, with the hope of pursuing it further later but knowing it would give me the flexibility I want as a mother. This is just a small insight into my love for planning, as I decided to study in 2015 and only had my first child in 2018.
I registered to do a part-time makeup course over six months and teamed up with existing artists I was friendly with to get some work experience. This training was invaluable – gaining work experience but not being pressured as the main artist really helped me build my confidence.
I was also lucky to be working as an account manager at an advertising agency at the time which made the creation of my logo and website a bit easier. I had barely gotten my certificate from LISOF when I had my logo and website ready to go, and I duly took every job I could get. Since makeup is a visual medium, all any enquiring client wants to see is examples of work. So I set about the next task – gathering evidence to create a portfolio.
Taking a leap of faith
In 2016, I was working in public relations full-time and found I was having to turn down a lot of makeup work. I was feeling torn. My husband offered me the encouragement I needed when he said we were in the best possible place to take risks, so I made the decision to stop working full-time.
Having had a job since high school, this was an incredibly difficult decision but I forged ahead, and as the saying goes, ‘When one door closes….’. I was offered the opportunity to take up a morning’s only administration position at a telecommunications company which I leapt at. While I was hardly going to flex my creative muscles, it was an option which really worked for me, as my boss allowed me to mould my hours around makeup jobs and it was close to home.
Over my next three years, I grew my portfolio, took part in a wedding expo, joined as a contributor to styled shoots and also pursued my biggest dream – I became a mom for the first time. In 2018, my son, Adam, was born. I decided to go back to my office job and see if I could balance all three things – makeup on the side, morning work and ’momming’ the rest of the time. While I was often a bit stretched (show me the mom who isn’t), I loved my setup and was having the most fun watching Adam grow with a lot more time than the average working mom.
Towards the end of 2018, the company I worked for had a management take-over, which wasn’t good for the already plummeting morale. The future was uncertain, and the unhappiness spread through the company like a bad rot. I had a new boss that I really liked, but my role had changed over the years and frankly, I felt at a loose end.
I wasn’t being stimulated and didn’t want to get absorbed into the new scheme and lose all the flexibility I had worked so hard to build. I felt my time could be better spent at home, and made the decision to work solely for myself for the first time.
I had not left the company for too long before I found out I was pregnant again – this was a completely different experience than the first and I was sick almost throughout my pregnancy. I continued to work makeup jobs until about seven months and then took time off to try and relax before baby number two arrived (If I had only known how much time I would have at home in 2020.)
Finding hope amid a pandemic
Here I am, a mom of two young boys, and my industry has been on pause for the past three months. Almost all my clients have postponed or cancelled events, and a certain sense of uncertainty still prevails. But I do hold out hope that the human spirit is strong, and we will bounce back from COVID-19 with a hugely increased appreciation for little known luxuries we used to call ‘normal’. If 2020 has taught me anything, is that ‘winging it’ (not your eyeliner, dear, but LIFE), is a great skill to have.
My plans for the next two years are to carry on enjoying watching my boys grow as my main priority before making bigger changes in my career. I plan to build on a more private studio from home and to pursue more editorial work and writing in the beauty space.
I would ultimately love to combine my love for communications with my passion for beauty and see what space that can take me to. I’m a really big believer that you can have it all, just not at the same time. Now is my time to ‘mom’ hard, and the other stuff can wait until later. And guess what? That’s just fine! The priority is on happiness, and I feel if that is something you doggedly pursue, you simply can’t fail.