This week on Mumpreneur Monday I am delighted to introduce Gill. Gill is a hair and makeup artist and is hugely talented at what she does! Her story is really inspiring so grab a cuppa and enjoy…..
Gill is a mummy of three beautiful young boys. She is a hair and make-up artist that works primarily with brides and their bridesmaids. Alongside this is also a trained hairdresser so she works with a lot of local people cutting, colouring and styling their hair. She is also about to hit the big 4-0 (not that you would know by looking at her) Gill works for herself and says that she genuinely loves all aspects of what she does
“I love every part of what I do to earn a living, the flexibility it gives me and most importantly being a mummy, I consider being a mum the hardest but most rewarding job ever. It’s one job I knew I wanted to have and feel very lucky indeed. I enjoy the challenge and creative satisfaction that comes with running my own business and being a busy mum”
Gill says that she feels like she has come full circle from when she worked in a hair salon on a Saturday at the age of 14. She worked there for almost five years and absolutely loved it. This is where she picked up the very basics of hair cutting. She practised not only on herself but on her mum, her sisters and anyone else that wanted their hair done. Although she loved it and had a flair for it her ambitions were higher than working in a hair salon.
“Had I known then what I know now about the different routes working with hair can take you in I may well have started this career choice earlier than I did”
Gill finished school with all of her GCSE’s, her best subject and grade being art. She didn’t try particularly hard in anything else, partly because her parents weren’t ‘pushy’ parents making her excel in ALL subjects and partly because she was happy with just passing everything, just as long as she didn’t fail anything! She bypassed A-levels for a 2-year BTEC Diploma in Graphic Design which was the beginnings of all things online for her, magazine layouts, design work etc. Gill believes that the choice to take that diploma has some bearing on all that she knows now.
Trying to decide which area of ‘creative’ Gill wanted to go down after this was still tough. She liked drawing, painting, fashion and clothes and had an interest in all the glossy fashion mags but she really didn’t have the imagination to be a wacky clothes designer so after a bit of research she found a three year course at art college studying fashion promotion and illustration which fitted the bill perfectly for her.
“I love to draw and I love fashion. It covered lots of areas for me, not just creative but the business side and also introduced me to other areas of the fashion world that you can work in i.e. buying, PR, styling, design and journalism. It certainly wasn’t an academic degree but a BA (Hons) degree none-the-less and completely relevant to where I was going”
After her degree she I worked in retail (Heal’s) for about a year to save pennies for travelling. Gill then went travelling for a year. She worked for a charity in their fundraising department when she returned, and then when she wanted to promote herself she moved on to work in PR for an agency in the big city.
“Once I’d got working in London out of my system (that took four years) I found a job closer to home which was only south of London in Surrey but cut out the commute for me which was a complete killer”
The last ‘office’ employed job she had was in the communications department for a global publishers. This is where she stayed for nearly five years. Whilst working full time for the publishers, she had undertaken an evening hairdressing course that required two of her evenings per week for two years. Partly to get a qualification in what she was already doing in her spare time, and partly because she knew it would one day become quite handy if she had a family. Gill was also building up her make-up skills by using up holiday days from work to assist with a hair and make-up artist friend who did big jobs in London.
“It was really good to test myself to see if I really liked it and also to learn. I ended up applying to the London College of Fashion to do another degree, this time in make-up, which was accepted however, life and a mortgage was too pressing for me to give up a full-time wage so used up more holiday and did a short course with a top make-up artist in London instead”
It was from here that she took voluntary redundancy money when Finn, her eldest son, was almost one year. This 'cut off' from employment paved the way for where she is now. She continues to train throughout the year to keep up to date and learn new skills whether it’s wedding hair, hairdressing, make-up and now social media” however it’s always manageable and usually bite size day only courses that fit in with family life!
So where is Gill now? In the last decade or more, Gill has had three babies, built up her wedding hair and make-up business and continues to cut and colour hair. She has moved house THREE TIMES! (Brave lady if you ask me)
“I question everything I’m doing a hundred million times! As well as learning to be a mum, (still learning) and everything associated with that I am always trying to work out what best worked for me and for my family - what makes us all happy and ticks the right boxes. I think I’m finally there and it’s only getting better”
The future is certainly bright. Gill lives in a village and has a good clientele of hairdressing clients that she works with during the school hour days. She is mobile at the moment but a ‘garden salon’ is in the pipeline so she can have her clients come to her as well and brides for their wedding hair and make-up trials if they wish to.
“My website is where I want it to be and reflects my style, I’m on top of the social media thing starting to create a ‘community’ for myself, meeting like-minded mums in similar situations, I’ve created a half decent ‘following’ and this is my best year for wedding bookings. I’m even looking at another business venture which is very new and still a work in progress - involving kids haircuts and styles but that’s something that’s bubbling along until I’m ready to give it my all. It’s forever a massive juggling act which I’ve accepted, and at times it's bloody stressful, what with me and the hubby both self-employed, but somehow we make it work and actually I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else”
It has been a pleasure getting to know Gill over the last couple of months. I was lucky enough to have a catch up with her over a cup of tea and she is truly inspiring. I would absolutely love for you to go and show her some love over on her social channels as well as pass her details onto any brides that you think would be interested. Her work is truly beautiful. You can find her social channels, and website down below as well as some links to the on going training she uses. This may be really useful if you are thinking about taking on a similar career.
Facebook: Gill East Hair and Make-up
Instagram: cool_kids_cuts (NEW!)
GILLS TRAINING RECOMMENDATIONS
@JoLovesHair - A really cool hairdresser that specialises in bridal hair and runs courses throughout the year. Her style is right up my street - really cool, boho, laid back hair with lots of braids and ‘undone’ looks. She also has make-up professionals that run a day course to share current looks for brides. I love the fact there’s a real online community with her and her students who all support each other.
MAC - If you’re registered as a pro make-up artist with them you can enrol on their Masterclasses that they run throughout the year.
Bobbi Brown - the same as MAC (and most of the top make-up brands). You can also book in with an artist in their stand alone stores and they’ll give you lots of advice.
Electric Hair - Luckily, I know the owner of this fab brand of hair salons and products so I get to sit in on some of his staff training evenings however they offer great training courses just check out their website for details.
Capital Hair & Beauty - One of the wholesalers I buy a lot of hairdressing products from - they offer some great training in hair and make-up applications which go on all over the country.
Salon Services - Another wholesaler that offers great training days in all aspects of hair, make-up and beauty.
Salon International - A huge annual hairdressing spectacle that goes on for a whole weekend at the Excel centre in London. It’s brilliant for inspiration, learning and fab offers an all things hair - you come away completely motivated for another year!