It is a beautiful thing when your career and your passion meet. This statement is especially true of the talented beauty professionals I get to work with daily. Recent research on beauty in the retail sector has increasingly shown that the beauty industry is growing – even during the recession. From my own experience and sales history in the beauty whole sale sector I can certainly back this up. Statistics do not lie. The beauty industry is growing rapidly by the day. Would you want a piece of this beautiful growing pie?

It is now possible for individuals who have a passion for the beauty industry to make a decent living doing what they love, provided of course they make the correct, informed decisions. Allow me to explore the career options in beauty with you in this article; considering all the good, the bad and the ugly. There are so many options that I will be splitting this topic into 3 articles.

Career option one: A permanent makeup technician:

Model and actress Tyra Banks has been quoted saying: “I love the confidence make-up gives me.” Many modern women feel this way for different reasons. Thus, more women (and men) are opting to have these permanent procedures done. Being a (good) permanent makeup technician can be very rewarding. Both emotionally and financially. I sat down with Doné Budd Leech – a very successful permanent makeup (PMU) technician – to get the facts.

Just how much can you earn as a PMU technician? Done’ explains that if you are a reputable PMU artist with some experience you should be charging at least R1 000 per treatment, which would usually be an hour long. Let’s do the math: If you perform eight treatments a day, you should be bringing in R8 000 per day which is R40 000 per week.  Once your time and expenses are subtracted you are still making enough profit to call it a decent income.

If you are considering permanent makeup as something you would like to do, Doné has some helpful pointers:

  1. PMU isn’t something you should be doing “on the side-line”, it needs constant practice and improvement every day.
  2. You also need to be patient with your clients and have a steady hand. You need to be able to draw perfect brows which could be taught but you need to be able to get them symmetrical.
  3. You need good training in line with PCASA (Permanent Cosmetic Association of South Africa) standards.
  4. Lastly you need to be perfectionistic with each client, remembering you are working on your clients face and it is permanent.

Career option two: Hairdressing

For most young girls, caressing the long gorgeous hair on a Barbie doll is the norm. Maryke Heyneke Andrews, team leader for the hairdressing department of Posh Lab Brandwag however, was cutting and styling her Barbie doll’s hair from an early age. Hairdressing is a profession that requires creativity, very hard work and passion. This dynamic young lady has experienced both sides to the long debated question, working as a Caucasian focused hair dresser: Is it better to own a hair salon or to work for one? Both come with their own list of positive and negative aspects.

Maryke has owned a hair salon and describes the pros of being the business owner as being the fact that you can determine your own working hours, you can control the business profits thus earn a higher salary as well as control the image and marketing of your salon. On the ugly side however, you need to deal with staff who do not arrive at work or who are not team players, all the admin and financial responsibility falls on you as the owner, who often needs to work longer hours/after hour to make sure ends meet. As an owner, the client complaints fall on your business and reputation.

Working for a salon is not always a bad idea Maryke tells me. You are guaranteed of a salary at the end of the month, you can determine your own salary by working hard to earn more commission (Maryke mentions that this is usually between 30-40%), you have little to no admin responsibility. But there is also a list of cons to consider. You need to work fixed hours including weekends and holidays (This will be your busiest time). Basic salaries often start as low as R2000-R3500 a month and when you start as an apprentice your job description mainly consists of sweeping the floor and assisting your qualified senior. As a qualified experienced hairdresser, you can be earning between R8000-R15000 per month when working for a salon.

Ethnic hair dressing is a little different. The Posh Lab salon in Westdene, Bloemfontein specializes in Ethnic hair. Moretlo Makosholo, an ethnic hairdresser explains to me that although there are many trading ethnic salons, few employ qualified hair dressers and often rely on informal training. This means there is a big demand for qualified ethnic hairdressers opening a window of opportunity within this market. As an ethnic salon, the focus shifts from cuts, tints and blow waves (popular treatments in western salons) to weaves, relaxing treatments and scalp treatments. The down side to ethnic hairdressing is that the treatments are often very time consuming thus making it difficult to work out costing and profits.

The opportunities within the beauty industry are endless. Most of the above described careers can either be studied at once when completing a certificate or diploma in beauty or a degree in somatology. However, many of these career options can be kick-started by completing a short course at a reputable academy. Whichever you decide on, remember that when passion, hard work and an informed decision meet, it is bound to ignite into success.

Would you like a career in beauty? Contact me for more information on where to kick-start your career.

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