The countdown to The Makeup Show Dallas is ON! This Saturday the 13th, the pro's takeover Dallas, and some of my very favorite people in the business will be here. I decided to make a 5 part blog series interviewing these very people... starting with the ever-so-awesome, photo bombing genius... Matt Frends.
Everyone wants to know... how did a big bearded guy end up in the beauty biz?
For the record, the beard is gone. Uncle Sam makes me shave it. It's so hard to type through these tears right now, and I look like I'm five years old. Anyhow...Brian, one of the owners and I have been best friends since sixth grade. I've been close with his family since I was a kid. When they needed someone to build a marketing department, they called me. I've worked in sales and marketing since 2004 and have a pretty strong background in business development. From 1940 - 2011 when I came to work here, Frends' marketing strategy revolved around word of mouth, and a couple of social media pages without much of a personality. That needed to change.
I think that we can all agree, Matt does not lack in the personality department. If you are in ANY facebook makeup groups, you know him and his sarcastic, sometimes raunchy sense of humor well!
What sets Frends apart?
-The people. Our personality. How we service our customers. Period.
Look, all the pro stores have the products you are looking for. Some stores have lines that we don't have. We have lines some stores don't have. But if you need to stock a kit, in reality you can walk into any store, get what you need, pay around the same price, and you're all set. We understand that. So we go out of our way to create an experience for you that you will remember. That begins with us.
We do not take ourselves seriously. For the love of god you've seen our social media pages, you've met me in real life. We're anything but professional in the traditional meaning of the word. But we deliver. We always deliver. We will go far, far out of our way to make sure we deliver. We will not leave you stranded. Our clients walk away with the products they want, at a fair price, and a smile on their face...if not tears streaming from their eyes out of laughter. I'm a firm believer that if I am not enjoying every single day of my life whether I am at work or not, then I'm not doing it right. All of my colleagues feel the same way. We are young, ambitious, and fun-loving. This is something that another store simply cannot offer, period.
With the exception of maybe one week, since I came here in 2011 Frends Beauty has maintained the highest rating out of all of our competition on Yelp. And yes, I check this every few days. Not once has another shop obtained a 4.5 star rating with anywhere near the amount of reviews that we have. That makes me very happy. That tells me that we are doing it right. From time to time we mess up, naturally...we're human. But like I said, we go way out of our way to make things right. And we do a damn good job. That certainly sets us apart and I'm very proud of our team.
How difficult is it for a professional artist to get a pro card? I know a lot of bridal artists have trouble with no call sheets or editorial credits, is Frends different?
I'll put it like this. If you are a legitimate working artist, it is not difficult. We have recently had to tighten up our restrictions at the behest of several brands. They asked all of the major pro stores in the nation, actually. We had to stop accepting business cards, comp cards, etc. To learn more about what is accepted, visit www.frendswithbenefits.com.
That said, there is some level of flexibility and I will make the final call on that. We request a copy of a government issued picture ID and two forms of proof listed on the aforementioned link. If an artist doesn't have two forms of proof and let's us know, I will do some research on their behalf. The goal is not to deny people who deserve it. On the other side of the coin, a legitimate working artist really should have a plethora of information, or 'proof' out there on the internet. If it is there, I will find it, and I will get them approved. But I need to feel comfortable defending that decision when a brand asks me about it. We cannot risk losing a big brand because we slide someone into the discount program who isn't a working artist. So help me help you, k?
Speaking of Frends with Benefits, you see a LOT of artist websites in the approval process... what are the biggest mistakes you see pro MUA making on the sites? What are some attention getters that surprised you in a good way?
I'm going to make some enemies here, but I believe in tough love so I don't care. Yes, I do see a lot of artists websites. Thousands of them, actually. I would say the majority of them are just 'ok'. Most can use a facelift, and some more work. The one major mistake I see daily...daily...is the lack of a proper URL. A lot of artists use website template services like Wix. It's not bad, necessarily, but they are usually rather boring and the artists neglects to insert a custom URL. So where Polly Stevens Makeup Artist should have a custom URL like pollystevens.com, pstevensmakeup.com or something like that, their URL is http://www.glamourmakeup.wix.com/pollystevensmakeupartist.
Stop. Reread that out loud. Are you going to tell someone to visit that website? Are you going to verbally tell someone to visit you at http://www.glamourmakeup.wix.com/pollystevensmakeupartist?
No. You aren't. So you should not send them that link or put it on your business cards, or your email signature either. It's unprofessional. It tells me that you haven't really invested a lot of time, thought, or heart into your business. It tells me that I am probably not hiring a professional. Now I (Matt Frends) am not saying you are not a professional makeup artist if you have a FUBAR URL. But I am absolutely saying that you are not portraying the professionalism that you should if you leave your URL like that. So fix it, and I promise you, your client's perception of you will automatically increase.
Some other mistakes I see daily are music playing automatically when I open your website. Make that stop. Now. Not putting contact information but having a contact form instead is a no-no. I want to see your phone number and email address, I don't want to blindly enter my information into a contact form. If you don't want your normal phone number showing, get a Google Voice number. For websites, especially artists websites, sometimes less is more. Keep it simple. Don't feel like you need to pile on features and functions that do nothing to lend credibility to your art. You should have a blog, and keep it active. It demonstrates to your prospective clients that you are dedicated.
Now...what do I LIKE to see. Well, the things I mentioned before being fixed is great. But I want to see YOUR WORK. I want to see you as well. If I am going to hire you for a service, I want to see who you are. I want to know about your training, and some of your accomplishments. I want you to make me feel good about hiring you for my special occasion. A good website will simplistically show me who you are.
Last year I made a 12 part blog series called Freelance Makeup Business 101. I would recommend that freelancers check it out. You can find it at http://www.frendsbeauty.com/blog/categories/listings/freelance-makeup-business-101.
Tell me about the new Stillazi makeup line...how will a pro kit benefit from the products?
We're excited about the addition of makeup to the Stilazzi line. It's a natural evolution of the brand, and so far professionals love it. So far we've introduced over 160 eyeshadow and blush colors, as well as some sculpting and contouring palettes. We wanted to offer good quality makeup that wears comfortably, photographs well, but doesn't break the bank. We hit it out of the park to that end. Understanding that freelancers have to stock their kit out of pocket, we made sure to keep it affordable but up to code when it comes to pro quality. To an artist who hasn't tried it yet, I would say to hit the Frends Beauty website, pick up a few of their favorite shades, and try it out. I know they will fall in love. I've been watching the sales trending on the website and it's interesting. A customer will buy four or five shades in one order, and on their next order, another fifteen or twenty.
If you haven't checked out Frends Beauty, you can do so at the links below: