How do I start my bridal makeup business?

Starting up your own bridal makeup business can seem daunting but it is actually quite straightforward. Just remember being your own boss and working for yourself is fantastic. Owning your business allows you more freedom than a conventional 9-5.  You can work as hard or as little as you feel. Set your own hours and fees.

Listed below are some considerations that you will need to be aware of when setting up your own business.

Sole Trader or Limited Company

Setting up as a sole trader is relatively straightforward and easy to do. You will need to inform the HMRC that you are trading by completing a self-assessment tax return form every year. You declare your earnings upon which you will pay tax on the profits as well as National Insurance Contributions. A business owner can hire an accountant to do this for you. It is quite easy to do yourself and there are many apps now available that can help you do this.  In the United States of America, you would need to inform the IRS.

To begin with, it may be better for you to be a sole trader but if your company expands dramatically, you may well want to become a limited company. Setting up as a limited company is a little more complicated as you’ll need to register your company with Companies House after which, you will receive a Certificate of Incorporation detailing when your company was formed and its number.  This can be done online, as can set up as a sole trader. There is in-depth guidance on how to do this on their website.

Record keeping

Keep clear and accurate records of your earnings and expenditure. Meaning that all receipts must be kept for any spending in relation to your business and invoices should be raised for each makeup job that you are employed to do. A bridal makeup business owner can easily find invoice templates online and a simple spreadsheet is useful to record your income and outgoings. You will find it much easier to complete your self-assessment tax returns by being methodical in your record keeping.

How do I start my bridal makeup business

Bridal Makeup Business Insurance

As a sole trader, you will need Public Liability Insurance but this is not too expensive. Public Liability Insurance protects you from claims if a client has an allergic reaction to the makeup you use. The Insurance helps if you damage a bride's dress or someone tripped over a hairdryer cord or your makeup kit and damaged themselves.

It all sounds rather formal but it paves the way for a successful bridal makeup business and thriving career if it’s set up correctly from the start!

Checking out the market for a bridal makeup artist

Bridal makeup artist competition research

Before you set up a business as a bridal makeup artist, make sure there is a market for your services. Carefully check out the competition in your area.  This can be done by searching the internet to find other makeup artists in your region (and outside), in particular those specializing in bridal makeup artistry.  You can then enquire about their rates, albeit this may be better coming from a friend's email rather than your own, as it will look rather obvious and they may not want to share their info!  This is a great way for you to gauge how much you can charge in your area without under or over-pricing yourself.

Look out for wedding planners, dress shops, florists, and wedding photographers/videographers. All can be approached with your company information, business cards, or a polite introduction email. All referencing your work.

Scouting possible business opportunities

It is also a good idea to check on wedding venues in and around your area such as cathedrals, churches, chapels, hotels, manor houses, barns, and historical houses– even some garden centers offer themselves as a wedding venue!  You could visit many of these venues personally in order to drop off a flyer or card.  Most venues have a preferred suppliers list, you can enquire about this and see if your work would be up to the standard they require to put you forward to potential brides.

Attend as many Wedding Exhibitions and Fairs as possible. Meet and network with other industry professionals and potentially distribute your flyers, business cards, and price lists.  It is important to show an interest in their company first however as nobody likes to be sold to when they have paid good money to exhibit at the event, be respectful and ask the right questions before talking about yourself.

Advertising your bridal makeup business

It is also a good idea to list your business in a wedding directory as well as local business directories.  These can often be in the form of a blog or website and can be found quite easily via a Google search.

Advertise your services in county magazines and/or local newspapers.  Sometimes this can be expensive but if you can submit some editorial about yourself as part of the deal that makes it more worthwhile. 

Taking your business online

Ensure when setting up your website, it appears on the first page of Google. This is achieved by using carefully selected keywords. Keywords such as 'bridal makeup' and your area, 'makeup artist' and your area, 'wedding makeup' etc.  It can easily be done on your introduction page, i.e. About Me.  Try and introduce as many keywords as you can think of bearing in mind what a bride will be searching for.  You can use a keyword search tool such as which will help you.

Take advantage of social media

Use social media.  Set up a Facebook page for your business.  Use Twitter and Instagram as well as Pinterest to promote your business and other services to gain followers.  ‘Liking’ other wedding suppliers is a great way of gaining interest and likes for your own profile. Make sure your pages are updated on a very regular basis with relevant photos and comments. You can link these to your website to help drive potential clients in your direction.