The Help or the Talent?

Working in a majority female dominated industry means a few things, and one thing for certain. If you are providing a service like doing hair, makeup, or nails, you have to play your role. People may read this and say ” Well what the hell does she mean by that?” I plan to explain exactly what I mean in these next few paragraphs.

Back in the day before you could become rich and famous off of doing your own makeup using different products everyday, filming the activity, and posting it on YouTube, as a beauty service provider, your job was simple. You learned your craft, bought the best possible products, and worked hard to gain a good, loyal clientele by word of mouth, business cards, and establishing a relationship with people who could get you more clients.

If you were lucky enough to have celebrity clients or high profile clients, you had to follow some protocols like knowing never to ask for photos, being available at any time of day, and being prepared to do way more than whatever your job description described. There is one more rule that people didn’t really talk about then or now, and it is beyond necessary to address, I can sum it up in two simple words. Dress code. It’s story time people!! 

About five years ago when I was freelancing for the most popular cosmetics brand out there I freelanced for a store manager who wore bodycon dresses, and six inch designer shoes everyday to work. She always looked like she had a tan from a fabulous vacation she had just returned from, her hair was always pulled back in a tight bun, her makeup was always bronzed and smokey, and she always came with accessories that Miranda Presley would envy. Whenever she would work on the sales floor sometimes I would sit back and watch wishing I had some popcorn because the looks/stares/snarls that she would get just for being her self and looking a certain way and wearing certain things caused so much attention.

The one thing I learned in that experience as well as several other is that as the help, you cannot out shine your clients.  The bottom line is that we as women have so many insecurities around how we physically look and how we are perceived, sometimes the last thing in the world we want is for our “help” coming in providing a service looking like they just stepped out of Essence magazine! Call me crazy, but I know I’m telling the truth! 

I have heard stories where clients questioned my peers and I for having nice watches, jewelry, home ownership, college education, a graduate degree, designer shoes and handbags, etc… The assumption that many clients have is that we are literally the help, we live modest lives, we make ok money, and that we enjoy living in the shadows. Now with social media the reality has changed dramatically!! 

Now you can literally be “the help” and the celebrity all at the same time!! Depending on your social media influence, number of followers, and relationships to brands, you can make well over six figures, take lavish vacations, own tons of designer clothes, shoes, and accessories, and still manage to make your celebrity clients, brides, and whoever else feel and look special. The awesome thing is that some clients welcome the newfound attention and celebrity status that their makeup artist/hair stylist/nail technician has. If you want money from those that cannot quite wrap their head around “the help” being also the celebrities then you have to know how to scale it down!

Here are a few rules to follow.

1. If your client is married, do not go to their house with tight clothing on and your face “beat to the gods” with hair draping down to where your butt and lower back meet. You might look amazing that way, but guaranteed they will never invite you back! 

2. Only disclose how fabulous your life is if asked! Even if God has blessed you to live this fabulous life, your client may not be so lucky and may not be able to hear how wonderful your life is going if hers is not also golden.

3. Learn to stroke your clients ego, and always make the experience that you are providing about her unless she is secure in life and is genuinely interested in helping you reach another level in your career. 

Listen it takes a lot of growth and maturity to get to a place where you are secure enough in your own skin to want to help other women, compliment other women, and celebrate other women’s accomplishments. I will be the first one to admit that even as the “help”! To ensure that we can provide the best service to all of our clients the ones who applaud us being our true selves and those who would prefer we “stay in our place” we have to know how to play the game to win!

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2 thoughts on “The Help or the Talent?”

  1. Amen! I totally agree at times we have to know when to look amazing and when to scale it back like you said. The sad part is that some people are so hung up on brand names and fashion that they can’t even see straight and recognize when it’s simply to much. Simplicity will work every time in addition to great conversation. Backed up by your skills and talent. But, most of all your professionalism.

    Liked by 1 person

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