Angel Johnson is founder of Memphis Makeup Artists, INC (memphismakeup.com). Her love for beauty goes back to high school where she first wanted to pursue a career in cosmetology. However, life led her down a different career path as a corporate accountant. In February of 2018, she managed to bridge her corporate world and her first love with the launch of Memphis Makeup Artists, INC.
Can you tell our readers about your background?
Yes. I am affectionately known as Angel, the Makeup Artist. I have been a freelance makeup artist in Memphis, TN for the past 4 years. I mostly travel to locations doing makeup for weddings, films, and events. I love it! But that’s my weekend job. I am also a Financial Consultant M-F. I have been a corporate accountant for the past 13 years but I don’t have a passion for it. I’m currently on a mission to leave corporate America for good.
What inspired you to start your business?
I have always had a passion beauty and fashion. I became a freelance artist after doing a relative’s makeup for prom. I enjoyed it a lot! Memphis Makeup Artists was born out of a need to streamline the administrative work so I could focus more on doing what I love…making women look and feel beautiful.
Where is your business based?
My business is based in Memphis, TN but our service area is worldwide.
How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
I started my business in my head a couple years ago. It took lots of research and planning before I could see anything tangible. Makeup artistry is a booming career for freelancers with a lot of ambiguity still. And Memphis did not have anything that looked like a glam team. Once I decided what I wanted it to look like, I registered with the state as a corporation, obtained my business license, and opened a bank account.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
Social media. Plain and simple. Beauty brands are getting so much traction via social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. I followed suit. And it works. Customers enjoy engaging and interfacing with brands. It builds trust and that’s very important as a makeup artist.
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge has been wearing too many hats. It causes burn out quickly. I would recommend outsourcing whatever you can as fast as you can. My work experience aided me in building a backend office that is streamlined from beginning-to-end due to systems integrations. But I had to quickly pick up marketing and sales, customer service, and human resource skills. Get help!
How do you stay focused?
I stay focused by keeping long-term visions for my business and my personal life front and center. I am an advocate of vision boards, post its, or whatever is needed to keep goals in your face so that you don’t lose sight. Also, with the economic boom occurring in Memphis, there is this urgency looming over me to become a household name as quickly as possible. That motivates me to keep going.
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
I differentiate my business by offering something no one else in Memphis offers. I have a team of professional makeup artists with diverse skillsets and backgrounds. Being a team, we also have greater capacity and can handle large scale events in house.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
SEO. Search Engine Optimization has helped Memphis Makeup Artists gain first page listings on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. These leads, unlike social media leads, have a much higher conversion rate. Meaning they are ready to purchase!
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Be resourceful. I have utilized many free programs to help with business needs. I used a local college for market research. They provided me a report that would have cost me thousands. Utilize organizations such as SCORE, SBA, and your local chamber of commerce to help bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to go.
What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
My favorite app is Facebook. I can promote business, engage clients, book appointments, and keep an online portfolio of my work in one place.
My favorite blog is my own! I just started a couple weeks ago but it is another way to engage clients and increase SEO. However, I am an avid listener of the podcast/YT channel The Rich Dad Channel.
My favorite book is the Bible for it’s many lessons and wisdom.
What's your favorite business tool or resource?
My favorite business tool is Intuit QuickBooks. I can keep tabs on my financials easily. It helps me to make quick business decisions.
Who is your business role model? Why?
My most notable business role model would my mentor and fellow makeup artist Nikki Chanel. She is a full-time professional and celebrity makeup artist. She also trains and develops other artists. I aspire to that. My most influential business role model is a former employer. There I learned the power of efficient systems and setting standard operations and how that helps to provide a great product.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
Because we are a startup having just launched in February, I am still primarily focusing on building the brand and the business. I will focus heavily on building working capital, marketing and marketing materials, and nurturing relationships. All of those will be relied upon heavily in 2019. I am currently working my final contract as an accountant which ends January 2019. And I will say goodbye to my security blanket.
How can our readers connect with you?
Readers can find me at: