Raven Andrews stepped through the sheer tan curtain of the backroom of University of Maryland’s African Student Association fashion show. She stopped and breathed in a sigh of contentment. Amid the chaos of nervous models, an anxious program director, and frantic fashion designers, Raven quickly jogged to her station. Taking one more steadying breath, she smiled at her model Tamara Clint and reached for her cream face primer and whispered breathlessly with a wide smile, “Okay ladies, let’s do a face.”
Andrews, a junior economics major at Howard University, is a makeup artist. In 2011, she launched Blush Makeup Artistry which specializes in fashion events, special occasions and every day women make up. Now two years later, Blush Makeup Artistry is slowly stamping its mark with features in events such as the popular RAW makeup bar in Washington, DC, making Andrews and her artistry known to other well-known makeup artist in DC.
Andrews’ makeup artistry business has doubled from about 2 clients a month to about 4 or 5 clients a month. Her largest client being UMD’s African Student Association and their 2012 fashion show. While an increase of 2-3 clients a month may seem trivial, for a student makeup artist, her business is withstanding trials many other makeup artist find themselves in, looking for clients. Her clients this year include mostly fashion events such as showcases and fashion shows.
Her mission and goal is to highlight the best features of a woman. Every woman is beautiful and she should never feel anything less than that.
She charges students $35 for a full face makeup application. The average cost for a face of makeup in Washington D.C. is about $60. Non student clients are usually charged per client and event dynamics such as size. Andrews makes close to $80 per fashion shoot and fashion event.
“You know, doing something you love to do for free is so very different from doing what you love in an actual business setting,” Andrews says with eyes lit up, while patting foundation over her first model of the night forehead with a makeup wedge.
“I chose to name it Blush Makeup Artistry because it’s one of my favorite beauty products,” said Andrews, “blush highlights the cheekbones.”
Andrew’s passion for makeup artistry dates back to when she was 14 when I volunteered at Iconz. “When I turned 16, I worked at Iconz, a casting agency in Philly, as a booking agent,” she said. “Cyndi Lane was a hairstylist and makeup artist at Iconz and I always loved the way she turned models into masterpieces.”
Andrews began by using her own face and the faces of family and friends as a canvas to begin her business. Andrews began her business by building her portfolio online through her tumblr blog: blushmakeupartistry.tumblr.com, a physical file of her experience and work in makeup that consists of pictures of friends, family and clients that she’s done in the past.
She describes her craft as an on the go business. “I’m still a full time student,” she said. “Finding the time to balance everything is definitely one of my challenges.”
Her clients love her service. “Raven is very personable and friendly. As she is doing your makeup she is laughing and initiating conversation. It releases tension and it’s relaxing,” Tamara Clint, a frequent client, said.
Another client, Amira Thomas, remarked jokingly: “Raven transforms your face from a 5 to a 9 with the flick of her brush. It’s fun to watch, and fun to be the recipient, she treats us like we are all home-girls, even if she just met you.”
There is no such thing as a typical work day for Raven Andrews. I never really know what a work day is going to look like Raven said. Once she arrives for a gig or client, Andrews work is never cut and dry, there is always something unique about each experience. Each client is different, each client expects different things and she strives to accommodate them all.
Some days Raven may get a client for a fashion show, some days it may just be a family friend who is going to an event. She welcomes unexpected and unscheduled appointments. Her weekends sometimes consist of impromptu work hours.
The hardest part of starting a business for her is putting herself out there. “That’s hard for me because I am a very prideful person,” she said. “I didn¹t want to get shot down, but I swallowed my pride and just put my work out there. I’m certainly not the best out there, but I’m here, and I’m learning, and I’m growing.”
“Forget about failure, don’t let money be your sole motivation, link up with other people in your industry and get a mentor,” advice Andrews has for others thinking about starting their own businesses. “Don’t just have passion, actually try to hone your craft and be the best you can be. Stay humble and moreover support other people who are starting their own businesses.”
Photo’s courtesy of Raven Andrews and http://blushmakeupartistry.tumblr.com/tagged/BMA