Some years ago, the resort that we were staying for vacation offered a party for children, so we attended with our 3-year old. That’s the first time she got face painted. Honestly I found it looked pretty primitive and my artist heart was crying (and the look in my husband’s face asking; “did we just pay for that“?) but I have never seen my daughter happier, it was all about 4 simple blotches of (rather questionable) paint in her face.
Fast forward. The following Halloween she asked her face to be painted (today I wish she would still have this urge…) and my proud artist heart wanted to do it so much better than the lady in Jamaica did.
I got us a set of face paint at PartyCity and couldn’t wait for Halloween to come. To cut the story short it was a disappointing experiment with lots of drama; I found out that apparently it is so much different – almost traumatizing one could mean – if your Mommy is painting your face rather than a total stranger? Also it was impossible to work with the hobby face paints I purchased. I didn’t even take a picture.
I started to talk with my husband about how much better I could do that with professional makeup and this would be the hit on kids parties (until I started research and found out that this is already an actual thing; an actual business that actual people make money with, especially here in South Florida, how silly did I feel?!). I came across Heather Green’s and Lisa Joy Young’s Videos and my daughter more or less grew up on watching their face painting tutorials on youtube.
Fast forward again. As a newbie in face painting I did a lot of research for the past year or so to get hands on experience and practice. I started out with studying body art and face painting on social networks online, get to know people, get to know companies, attended on festivals and talked with other artists. Made friends, made enemies. I tried out every single brand out there. I exposed my work to others. I found out I can actually paint?! My daughter found out it’s actually cool to get painted by your Mom (…and also this phase has past …).
So starting up a business in a body paint stronghold like South Florida, I did ask myself how do we keep up with the competition? What can we do to keep customers interested? The market here is extremely saturated with face painters, really good ones and also a bunch of not so good ones but as we found out in the past, the kids don’t care so much (money rules with the parents). One has to be faster, cheaper, better, more versatile, more flexible, more experienced or better all of the above. I personally believe in consistency and trends rather than undercutting prices or let work quality suffer to get more kids painted. But to get business we have to somehow stand out from the crowd. So what are new trends in Face painting?
Trends in general come and go. Twenty years later the almost same thing comes back again and a new generation discovers the same thing new. The only thing that truly never changes is people always want MORE for their money; one of the reason why face painters lower their prices. To me as a former sales business consultant this is an approach that most often leads straight into long-term failure. So since everybody wants more value it appears to me that the trend right now is anything that adds value to the traditional designs and of course the constant changing movie and cartoon characters (new designs).
Add some of the new chunky or multi colored glitters, jewels, even whole custom-made jewel clusters, add crazy lashes or custom-made your own lashes like frozen themed glittery snow lashes…. add character gel stickers, googly eyes, even leaf gold, add Steampunk gear or stick on other tiny objects like feathers on lashes to add interest to your face paint designs; there’s endless possibilities of creativity as long as it is safe to skin and eyes.
To me it appears that apart from added value also more and more new mashup designs come up, like a simple design seems not enough anymore. MORE is trendy. A design that has all superheroes covered in once, a mermaid kitty, a rainbow unicorn, a tiger butterfly or a steampunk sugarskull. One design is not enough, we want …more.
On events you may want to offer additional hair chalk or hair jewelry. At least one “side hustle” is almost a must, some artists offer glitter tattoos stenciled or freehand, I personally offer real matte tattoos, others do balloon twisting or at least dress up for gigs to stand out. You may also add value to your services like offering props, maybe backdrops or frames to use for your customers so they can shoot a cute memory photo, cause that is what we sell: Memories.
After all though the recipe for success I believe is and stays simple and trendy; MORE.
Please stay tuned for tips and tutorials to come on how to add bling and googly eyes to your designs and how to upsell your art.
(picture of my first booth)