Bisi Essien is the type of person you reference when you talk about people who follow their passions. Having received her Masters in Architecture from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, up until July 2012 she worked a 9-to-5 at a firm while taking on personal clients in her makeup artistry practice on the weekends or after hours. “I quit my full time job as an architect,” Bisi told me, “because, while make up application started off as just a hobby, I became really passionate about it. In the end, I had to decide whether to stick with architecture or start full time with the Beauty Lounge and I just couldn’t give up makeup.”
As the owner and founder of Crystal-Eyez Makeup & Beauty Lounge, Bisi has said that the transition for her from weekend gigs to full time work has been pretty easy. “I have no regrets about it,” she said. “There’s a lot of satisfaction in doing my own work in a field that I love, but I didn’t do it blindly. I made sure that I could stand financially on my own doing Crystal-Eyez full time before I made the switch.”
One of the big services Crystal-Eyez offers is bridal makeup. “I love it because it’s a special day with a lot of emotions. I never know what to expect which makes it exciting for me and the brides are always so appreciative.” With the bridal experience, each woman fills out a form ahead of time and has option to upload photos of makeup styles they like. Bisi takes them through a full make over but keeps them turned away from the mirror until the big reveal.
She loves hearing the gasps and “I love it!”(s) that she gets from her clients. Check out the before and after shots below to see for yourself where those gasps of glee are coming from.
Biggest Make Up Mistakes
“The biggest mistake women can make with makeup is not wearing any,” Bisi said with an honest laugh. “I know some have a hard time applying it correctly, but once they learn proper application, makeup can hide imperfections and enhance your better features.” I know that, personally, I suffer from not having proper application skills, but I can see from Bisi’s work the difference having an even skin tone can make. The way she puts it, women who aren’t wearing makeup are really missing out on looking like their best self.
The other common error is not using the right products. “Women will frequently use the wrong products, but it is easy to get educated on it and start using the right ones. You can go to most department stores or a makeup artist in your town to get matched for the right type of foundation. Summer can get tricky because skin tones may change a bit, but most of the time it’s just an education problem. I recommend 1-on-1 make up classes for anyone who wants to be matched properly and taught the right application techniques.”
And Bisi makes a 1-on-1 make up tutorial sound like a dream. In her beauty lounge, she’s set the atmosphere by playing music and customizes the appointment based on what the client wants to get out of the program.
“I work on one side of the face and the client gets the other. We work from moisturizer to lips and go through a day look and evening look, or however she wants to customize the session.” By the end of it, all the clients are a lot more comfortable with makeup application and a lot more educated on which products to use.
Social Media Advice for Stylists
One thing that’s really hard to decide on in growing a business in the internet era is which social network to spend your time on. Crystal Eyez is on a number of them including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and GooglePlus. I know that it gets overwhelming feeling like your attention is split between 5 different social networks today and the 10 others that you feel you should be on, so I asked Bisi if she had any advice for focusing.
“For me, Facebook is definitely the most rewarding one. We’ve got almost 10,000 followers on there and our page has been live since 2010,” she told me. “One of the reasons it works so well is that it is all about pictures. With Twitter, for instance, it’s harder to show what we do through before and after shots, but on Facebook it is really easy.
“I don’t use Pinterest and have only been on Instagram for less than a year, but both of those would likely work well too. I’d recommend for people trying to grow a similar business to focus on the media that puts an emphasis on photos.” You can tell from some of the before and after shots she’s shared here the emotional impact a good photo can have in convincing another customer to come into Crystal-Eyez.
Using Online Appointment Scheduling for the Beauty Lounge
"TimeTap is really useful for us because it eliminates the back and forth in email,” she said. “It’s no longer ‘do you have 10 o’clock available?’ in a client’s email to me, followed by my email back saying ‘No, but 11 is free,’ followed by them saying, ‘That won’t work, how about 2?’” All that just takes up a ton of time.
Instead, she just sends them a link to their scheduling page and they see the staff’s availability right there. “When they can see the days and times themselves it reduces my work and helps the appointment get scheduled faster.”
She also said, “TimeTap has helped reduce my no show rate by almost 100% because now I take payments upfront, and so pretty much all my clients show up. That really helps me reduce wasted time.” And since about 98% of her clients book online, she gets to spend her time getting a lot more done.
So if you find yourself in the Chicago area, schedule an appointment with Crystal Eyez Beauty Lounge for a lovely transformation.