• Zoe Kennedy

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

From a glance you may see me and think, wow I wish I was that busy and in demand, but that's just because I choose to show the world my best bits just like everyone else online. You may see my holiday photos and think that I am totally healthy, but in reality I had my lovely boyfriend helping me blow dry my hair the entire trip because I cannot currently do it myself.

When I started freelance I would look at other makeup artists availability and wonder how are they so busy?! How are they fully booked every weekend and doing 8 clients a day? I was envious and wanted that for myself. For me success was being the busiest I could possibly be and social media just worsened this mentality of striving to be a “successful makeup artist“.

Fast forward a few months and I am busier than I could ever imagine and I’m finally living my dream, however if I could go back and tell myself to be careful and not to push myself too far, then I would.

The Diagnosis

After completing my tax return I started to notice an ache in my hand and wrist and put it down to being a bit tired from lots of typing.

Little did I know that doing 10-12 clients per day on top of every other waking hour consisting of responding to messages or promoting my business on social media alongside spending hours of my time off doing my admin and doing weights in the gym would result in me getting a repetitive strain Injury that would cause me so many problems.

I kept working hard trying to save for my next step in my career and when I was nearly in tears working I finally realised something was extremely wrong.

A trip to the doctors resulted in days of feeling utterly hopeless and heartbroken after he told me “have you ever thought of being a doctor?” and “you need to consider changing your career?” For someone who is extremely passionate about the work they do this was a huge blow.

There is nothing else that I have to offer to this world than my art. To me - without being able to use my hands and my arms I am useless and this is something I still struggle with every day at the moment.

I have been diagnosed with tendonitis in both of my arms otherwise known as “tennis elbow”

I noticed when reaching out about the injury how many people had also suffered from it and overcome it which filled me with great hope for recovery despite the doctors negativity. However almost all of these people rested to get rid of it which was something that is difficult for me to do with bookings all the way up until December and people relying on me.

Pushing Through

After visiting a great physio my hopes were higher and I was going to build the strength in the area to cope with the strain and I should try and rest with my holiday coming up.

The exercises I was given were great and definitely made the pain better, but it had not gone. I continued to work crazy hours as the idea of letting so many people down after I had worked so hard to build my client base was not an option - especially with Prom season.

The Struggle

This injury still makes the smallest tasks difficult. I have to ask for help opening bottles and holding heavy items like a hairdryer, my mum has kindly helped me dry my hair for weeks now as it’s too painful for me to do. I was pleased when she bought an electric toothbrush - even that task was uncomfortable.

Carrying my kit or luggage is excruciating for me so I need help when doing mobile jobs as well as even going on holiday. I LOVE going to the gym and lifting weights but I’m not allowed to do this anymore until I'm healed. Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be difficult so my sleep is also affected.

Responding to clients is painful as using my phone and laptop hurts more than most tasks. So please bare with me at the moment as I have to get my mum to help me respond to enquiries.

The Rest

After my weeks holiday I did feel rested and they did feel a bit better but not totally. After just two days back at work I was back crying hysterically that the pain wasn't gone.

Rest really is the only cure for any repetitive strain injury and I have had to cancel 2 weeks worth of HD Brow clients (20th August - 1st September) leading up to my next holiday (1st-16th sept) in order to get a months rest where possible, I will be honouring all my makeup and bridal bookings as deposits have been taken but I will not be booking any further appointments until the 16th September when I’m back from the time off and I can reassess my health again.

I am hoping this will give my arms the recovery period they need so that I can resume again as normal, changes will be made on how many clients I do per day and when I do my admin to prevent this coming back.

All other bookings before and after the break period will not be affected and if your appointment has been effected you will have received a text message explaining, please respond to this so i know you have received it.

My Advice

My advice for anyone in this industry is never feel like you're not good enough because you're not working yourself into the ground. Put your health first and don’t push yourself mentally or physically for a job you love because eventually your body will force you to stop.

Don’t compare your journey with others as everyone’s different and everyone is facing their own struggles behind closed doors and nothing is as perfect as it may seem.

Know your limits and set your hours accordingly.

My blog's aim is to help people and I would hate for anyone to experience the pain I have because of a job they love. I hope this blog has helped people understand what I’m going through and in addition be a warning to those of you who know you are overworking yourself. Make changes before it is too late.

Thank You

A huge thank you all for your continued support and good wishes. I am overwhelmed with the messages of kindness and understanding. I feel blessed to have met all of my amazing clients and I look forward to getting back to full health.

lots of love,

Zoe x

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Updated: May 10, 2019

This is something a lot of people question and don't quite understand, why is it that I charge a certain amount for occasion makeup and for bridal I charge more?

I wanted to write this blog to explain to brides to be who are trying to budget for their wedding to help them understand the process behind how Makeup Artists decide their prices for bridal.

Here are some factors that effect Makeup Artists Prices.

1. Experience and qualifications.

Some makeup artists are self taught, whereas others have paid to do courses to learn or refresh their skills and this can often effect their pricing. Some courses cost hundreds to even thousands and tens of thousands of pounds depending on the course. The more experienced and qualified your Makeup Artist the more they will have to charge to accommodate for this.

2. Quality of the kit

Some makeup artists may use predominantly drugstore products whereas others prefer to use higher end brands to get better results, a good makeup artists kit costs thousands and will need to be replenished frequently.

I will always research and try out products until I find the best products for the desired result, my kit is expensive and it has taken me a lot of time and money to build it. I prefer to use higher end brands as I find the colours and finish more flattering as well as the products lasting better. I also spend hundreds each month replenishing things for it as well as getting the latest products to keep up to date with trends.

3. Makeup Artists Demand

One of the key factors in me deciding my pricing is working out how much business I will have to turn away to do a wedding, if I am leaving my studio I am unable to do clients when I am usually fully booked meaning I will lose money unless I charge accordingly. Makeup artists who aren't as busy may be able to charge less because their skills are not in as high demand. I can easily turn away 8+ clients to do your wedding and possibly more if I am required to stay overnight for it.

If there is a makeup artist whose work you love, why would you compromise this because they are in high demand, if anything this shows how good they are. A sign of a good makeup artist is them having repeat makeup clients meaning they will be busier.

Like all things in life you get what you pay for, some less professional artists may cancel your wedding to do a larger party because they want to make more profit rather than honour your earlier commitment, leaving you without an artist with little time to find someone else.

4. The time spent corresponding with the bride

I will email the bride a quote and correspond via email with the bride to organise trials, work out timings and secure payments more than I would with a normal client. This is necessary to make the bride feel at ease on the day.

5. The time spent packing, unpacking and cleaning their kit

The day before a wedding I usually end up spending my entire evening off cleaning my kit and packing it for the wedding, assessing which products to take using notes from the trial and making sure nothing is missing.This can easily take 45 minutes to an hour and means that any social plans have to be put on hold.

6. The time spent travelling and the petrol cost

The bridal makeup prices will always include a petrol cost allow for the time it will take me to travel to and from the venue as well as setting up times and allowing for traffic. Most mobile artists may charge more than any makeup artist in a studio and this is for the same reason, they will miss out on one or two clients a day because of the time they spend getting to and from clients houses.

7. Makeup Artist Costs

Not only do I have to pay a lot for my kit but I also have to pay for Insurance, Website, Accountants fees and Quickbooks to help me do my book keeping. This is how we pay our bills and make a living so all of these costs must be taken into consideration or we could easily make no profit at all.

Cheaper or less professional Artists may not be insured which is often found out too late when something goes wrong.

8. Assistants Fees

Most weddings will require your artist to bring an assistant, this is depending on the size of your party or the time you need to be ready by. I like to use an assistant I trust to do the members of the bridal party I don't have time for.

This means she brings her own kit and is paid per person that she does or per hour depending on how your makeup artist decides to do it, but quite often you are not only paying your makeup artist but you are also paying her to find someone she trusts to do the same level of makeup that she is capable of and organise bringing her to the wedding as well as paying her.

9. More than just your Makeup Artist

As well as being your makeup artist we are also there to help keep everyone calm, when we arrive we will find the perfect lighting to do your makeup in and often this can be difficult so I will bring my own lighting source sometimes, these can also cost hundreds of pounds as well as a makeup chair as often venues only have small chairs not suitable for makeup application. I will also take beautiful photos of your makeup on my camera incase the photographer doesn't get any that focus on the makeup, these photos may be something you cherish just as much as the professional ones.

10. Social Media Marketing

Along with all of these factors I spend a lot of my free time promoting my services, keeping my website and social media up to date to help brides to be find my work and feel confident that I am the right artist for them. This may not cost me in money but it does cost me a lot of my time making sure you are able to find me easily through my social media or website.


Another question I am asked is "Why does the bride cost more?"

Often makeup artists will factor most of these charges into the brides cost, this is because occasionally brides decide not to pay for the bridesmaids makeup therefore expecting them to cover their own makeup costing.

As it is more of a bespoke service for the bride they expect to pay more as every detail of the bride and bridal parties makeup is discussed with the bride until everything is perfected, a bride is the main attraction of the day and needs to feel extra special.

With every bride I am there until they are in their dress is on and ready on hand for any last minute touch ups before she heads down the isle. I absolutely love being part of weddings and being able to make women feel extra special on their big day. I am so passionate about what I do and I wont finish the bride until I have perfected every last detail, I hope this has helped you understand why it is worth every penny to get someone you trust for your wedding day.

Photography by Stacey White Photography

Model is Amber Lily

Hair by Oriel Munro

Dress by Halo Wren Bridal

Retouch by Alice Constance Photographer

Makeup by Me

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Since setting up my business in September 2017 I have had 700+ clients in my chair and grown my following on Instagram locally to reach 3600 people without spending a single penny on advertising online.

I am keen to grow my following and brand more, but I wanted to share how I did this in the year and a half that I have been self employed as a lot of people I have spoken to are still trying to get their head around using Instagram for business.

The majority of my work has come through word of mouth and Instagram. This blog could be used for makeup artists, beauty therapists and any business' really however it will mainly be focussed on makeup.

1. Tag yourself in every photo you post locally to where you are based.

If you follow me you will notice I always tag my location in Berkhamsted, this will help you be seen by anyone who searches this location.

2. Follow other local business'

Supporting other local business' is a great way to help create awarness locally for your brand, if another business notices you supporting them they will be more likely to support you right back.

3. Go on your local tag & follow people/like posts

(i.e I search Berkhamsted - go to Places - go through the posts, then also go through the location "story" regularly and follow people who look like they would be interested in what you do - the "story" can be found in the left hand corner in the coloured circle.) Even if they don't notice you straight away if you are liking their posts they may eventually.

4. Be friendly! like & comment on peoples posts that you follow.

I absolutely love giving other women compliments as we all know how lovely it feels having a stranger tell us how great we look, this would definitely make them want to support your business.

5. Post good content regularly (3 times a day if possible morning, lunchtime and evening)

Don't post everything and anything that you do but be sure to take a photo of EVERY client before they leave, each person who sits in your chair is your masterpiece, you wouldn't do a painting and throw it in the bin so why would you miss the opportunity to show off the work you did on a face? Sometimes the photo doesn't do the makeup justice and if this is the case then don't post it if your not happy with it, but maybe try doing videos instead as sometimes these show the makeup off better.

If you aren't busy, get your friends in and practice looks until you are happy with them, get great photos to post online and help promote you.

6. Do not miss the opportunity to fill slots using Instagram Stories.

Post on your story any availability you have to help encourage people to book, sometimes people assume your too busy or not working the day they want and wont even message, so posting your availability on your story can help those people want to book, it makes it easier for both of you.

7. When your client leaves tell them to tag you in any selfies.

All of their friends may be thinking wow that makeup is nice, but they may not ask so by them tagging you that eliminates this problem and can gain you local followers.

8. Get yourself some high quality business cards

I get mine from and they are so lovely! Make sure to include your website, contact details and social details. Give them to every client and tell them if anyone comments on their makeup, to give them out.

9. Follow Clients Friends

The clients you do have will have friends locally, therefore if they post a nice photo go through and follow their friends, each person you follow is a potential new client.

10. Do competitions

Give a free treatment as a prize and get people to share your post, tag friends and follow your account - this is a great way to build local followers and get your work seen.

11. Get a Website (this is not instagram related but I would reccomend!)

For makeup artists this will help you gain more weddings as majority of my brides find me through my website. Instagram accounts arent found through google as easily as websites are.

I made this one all by myself on and its really easy to do, once I paid for Wix to host my website so that I can have the website address it also let me use a fantastic booking system which is great for me to send out confirmation emails to clients and check appointments saving me on getting a separate booking system!

There are also some things you shouldn't do to help promote your business locally and my number one is to not try and undercut other local business' and try and poach their clients. A good way to make enemies in this business is to go through other people doing the same thing as you locally and follow whoever they follow/follows them, this isn't going to help grow your business as often some of those people wont even be local, they may be friends of the person you are trying to undercut or maybe even loyal clients who will tell them what you are doing and the mutual respect you may have had with this other business will be ruined.

A huge thing for me is building relationships with other creatives, as when they are busy they can recommend you. I have a selection of 4-5 makeup artists locally with a similar style to me who I recommend brides to be to if I am unable to do a wedding and they do the same for me too so it is important to be kind and support each other.

If you have any questions about anything in this blog feel free to email me at

I hope this has helped some of you!

Thanks for reading,

Zoe x

Photography by Stacey White & hair by Oriel Munro

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