From Business Development Manager to Top Make-Up Artist.
"If you are doing something you love it isn’t taxing to invest a lot of energy and time into bettering yourself"
- Kristina Gasperas, The Wedding Industry Awards 2013 Make Up Artist Winner
Hi gorgeous career stylists!
Today I'm sharing the story of a lady that's really inspired me since I met her for the first time back in July. Kristina was the lady I called upon when I was looking for a fab make - up artist for my wedding back in August. Now in my opinion, great bridal make-up is not something to scrimp on- and the way Kristina made me feel was worth it's weight in gold.
When Kristina and I got chatting over mascara, blusher and ice cold mineral water (it was one of those scorching hot July days), it became clear as day that she is a true career stylist. Kristina told me how she decided to leave her corporate job to retrain as a make- up artist and get this... when her first baby was just six months old!
Just goes to show what's possible when there's passion and commitment -Kristina saw her maternity leave as an opportunity to change things for herself and she grabbed it with both hands. Now just a few years on, she's The Wedding Industry Awards 2013 Bridal Make Up Artist National Winner.
What where you doing before you became a make-up artist?
I was a Business Development Manager at IBM and my role was to generate business and revenue with new and existing clients. Sounds like it has nothing to do with being a make-up artist but it gave me an excellent foundation in learning how to deal with clients, professionalism and just how very important customer service is.
What inspired you to become a make-up artist?
On the morning of my wedding day in Lithuania I had my make-up done by the top make-up artist in the country - she made me feel and look so great that I almost immediately realised that I wanted to do the same and spread beauty and that fab feeling of looking a million dollars to others.
I went on to train with her shortly after my wedding and it has been the best career decision I have ever made.
What I find so inspiring about you Kristina is that you started your new career as a make-up artist just after you had your first child! It just goes to show what's possible.... how did you do it?!
For the last year or so of my job at IBM I was ready for a career change - constantly thinking and researching what it is that I'd like to do that would give me more pleasure and satisfaction. Something that would bring more happiness to others and for me to somehow leave my mark on the world (the corporate world just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore).
When I got married and decided pretty much straight after that I wanted to train as a make-up artist I was in the middle of maternity leave and my son was six months old. The opportunity was there and it felt that the time was right to stop dreaming about a career change and do something about it.
I therefore went back to Lithuania, to the make-up artist who I had on my wedding day, and enrolled on a 2-month intensive course with her. I was fortunate in that my parents live not far from her studio and were able to look after my baby whilst I was studying and my husband flew in from London almost every weekend to visit and help.
Upon returning home to London I studied for around a further six months - at college; using tutorials on the web; assisting well-established make-up artists who I had pestered until they invited me to their shoots; and practicing on family and friends and basically anyone I could lay my make-up brushes on. I found time for this whilst my baby was part-time at nursery and whenever I could at weekends and during the evenings.
So after around a year of study, assisting, practice and working on photo-shoots that I had organised I felt confident to launch myself as a professional make-up artist. A friend built my first website for me and off I went. Although since then and still to this day I am constantly learning, striving to improve and practicing so that my clients benefit from my skills, as does my on-line portfolio.
Three years later and I am The Wedding Industry Awards National Winner for Bridal Make-Up!
What's the best thing about your job?
Without a doubt it’s making women look more beautiful and as a result seeing their happy faces, their confidence grow and them standing taller because they know that they look their absolute best. Especially when it’s on their wedding day. Every time I see this wonderful reaction in them it makes me feel amazing and rewarded.
What's your biggest challenge?
I think it’s probably undecided clients and clients who want a very specific style which my experience and training tells me doesn’t suit their natural features.
That and having enough hours in the day to deal with trials, enquiries, childcare, e-mails, phone calls and spending time with my family.
What do you do to best manage that challenge?
For the undecided clients I ask certain questions that help me formulate an opinion of the make-up styles they most like, I then base their bridal look on the answers that they give me and we work on it from there. Understanding their wedding or event theme helps, as does getting to know their personality - I talk to them a lot and spend as much time as it takes to get the perfect look.
For the clients who favour a style that doesn’t suit their features I apply some subtle changes at the trial to get their opinion and this usually works out, however clients are my judges so if it has to be a certain look then I will oblige.
And for the final challenge I mentioned above - I have now taken on a team-member who has been trained at the same studio as I was and helps me out no end when the diary gets full.
You've achieved great success since you decided to pursue a career as a make-up artist- including being a winner of the 2013 National Wedding Awards - what's your secret?
There’s no real secret - I’m doing something that I am truly passionate about and therefore I really enjoy spending time improving my skills, researching products and ensuring I deliver the highest standard of make-up. If you are doing something you love it isn’t taxing to invest a lot of energy and time into bettering yourself.
On the other hand, I guess if there is a secret (one that I would be happy to divulge anyway!) it’s customer service - so not just knowing your stuff with regards to make-up but going that extra mile and adding as many little personal touches to each and every client.
What advice would you give to women who are fed up in their careers and want to make a change?
Life is too short to be doing something that doesn't make you jump out of bed and look forward to the day ahead. Think carefully what it is that you want to do and what you think you'd be good at and go for it. You don't always need to quit your job and start from zero - although I believe that devoting all of yourself to your business idea you'll have a faster track to success - you can do the training whilst still working. Talk to high achievers and successful business people who'll inspire you to think big and believe in yourself. Everything is possible only if you want it enough. Read a book called “The Secret”.
“Nothing is impossible” - it’s true. Not sure who said that but I just Google’d it and found out it was Audrey Hepburn, although she followed it with “the word itself says I’m possible”. Very clever.
You can find out more about hiring Kristina as your make up artist over at www.kristinagasperas.com
Gorgeous photos by the super talented Katie Julia at KatieJPiper.com
Just call them my living walking 2 special K's !