I'm a makeup artist, educator, and most recently an author of the book "Be Your Own Makeup Artist: Unleash Your Inner Beauty."I have the pleasure of bringing out my client’s raw beauty through makeup, teaching people how to use makeup as a tool to be and feel empowered, and I share honest & real makeup advice that is simply missing in the avid beauty industry.
What inspired you to start your business?
Honestly? I had separated from Active Duty Air Force, just finished grad school, and realized the meaningful long-term employment for military spouses was virtually non-existent. None of the companies that were in my area of expertise offered remote or virtual employment at the time and I wasn’t about to barely pay the cost of childcare with my salary. I was super depressed. So I started an International Trade Strategist Consulting business. It was going to be huge! Capitalize on all of my education and also my experience from the military. I couldn’t wait.
One of my oldest best friends reminded me of this hobby I used to have, before I “grew up” and said “Natalie, you should do makeup on the side… you’re really good at it… remember how you always had a line outside your door in high school and college?” Just try it outSo I filed for two business licenses on the same day, one called “Exolutions” and the other “Setareh Beauty”.
I started a basic website for Setareh Beauty. I had some pictures from a friend's wedding makeup I had done and of course asked all my friends to send me the best clear picture they had from that time a few years ago I did their makeup for my “business” portfolio”. After I set that up, I poured all the rest of my energy into Exolutions. The problem was, people kept booking me for makeup. All of a sudden, this no-name makeup artist started popping to the top of Monterey, California google results and they were actually, hiring me (gasp!). It was crazy! In the meanwhile, life at Exolutions was :yawn: boring. Eventually I realized… Exolutions was what society expected of me but Setareh Beauty was my lifelong passion! I’m an artist and love making people feel beautiful!
Now, I am doing what I love everyday. That’s not necessarily just doing makeup anymore but also being my own boss, creating provoking and thoughtful content to help people work through the chaos of the beauty industry, uplifting my industry and those around me, reminding fellow artists they can boldly be themselves and run profitable and successful businesses without selling out, etc.
What is something you would say to someone who is struggling in their first few years of business? Is there something you struggled with and learned from in those first few years?
I firmly believe that the first few years of business must be defined by simply doing. Sure, it’s great to create mood boards and elaborate branding packages and hire out all.the.things. But honestly, I believe that’s all extraneous in the first few years.
I started my business by doing everything my business needed to do to attract paying clients.
Built my website. Learned Google Analytics. SEO. Built an email list. Set up primitive email marketing (on Wix!). Wrote blogs. Posted on social media.
I did it ALL.
And while it was super exhausting… I learned more about the intricacies of business I never knew existed.
I learned lots of things the hard way but believe I because I actually learned from those things, I’ve become a better business owner and entrepreneur
Without actually “doing” my business those first few years, getting knee-deep in client experience, becoming more efficient, finding systems that work for you and ones that don’t work, you’ll never grow.
The first few years of business shouldn’t be “comfortable.”
It was only around the three year mark of my business where I had enough reliable monthly income to not only sustain my business and replenish my kit but also outsource!
I didn’t just “outsource” because everyone says to do it. By this point I knew exactly what I needed help with. I knew exactly how I wanted the job done. I knew whether or not this person was doing my business right or wrong.
Learning you business by actually doing it is the #1 advice I can give. Learning from your failure and capitalizing on your successes!
What hobbies, causes, or activities are you passionate about aside from your work?
Having been in the military and now married to an active duty military soldier and also running a business in a fishbowl, it’s hard for me to be as “active” as I want on social issues.
So I do give back in other ways :)
I am a volunteer makeup artist for the local English-speaking Amelia Erhardt Playhouse, where I direct, lead, and organize all key makeup for upcoming productions.
I applied to start and lead my local Tuesday’s Together chapter here in Wiesbaden, which is a part-time job I’ve had for almost three years now. We have hundreds of dollars for a local children’s hospice and are looking forward to our November philanthropy.
I also coach figure skating at the local rink during the winter (early October through the end of March). Even though my German is not *that* good, the figure skating club is in desperate need of trainers and they keep inviting me back to coach their skaters. So this is one way I give back to my German community.