THE THIRTY-FIRST INSTALMENT OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES
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I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like you to take a little bit of your time to realize how incredible the women around you are.
Could you give an introduction to yourself?
My name is Thanuska Subramaniam and I am 25 years old. I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario (Canada). Currently, I am a full-time make-up artist (primarily non-bridal). Doing make-up full time wasn’t actually my original plan. I quit my full-time job as an Administrative Assistant back in December 2017 just to take a break from the 9-5 life. I was a part-time makeup artist at the time as well, and to my surprise, I was getting quite a few inquiries and bookings for 2018. I decided to continue doing makeup as a full-time job just to see where it takes me and here I am, 7 months later, happier than ever.
Not only am I doing something I believe I am good at, but something I enjoy and love doing.
Who is your inspiration?
The only person that comes to mind when I read this question is my mom. She lived a life of sacrifice. She sacrificed her entire life and dream of being a teacher to provide for her family and to raise my siblings and I. Growing up I would always listen to her talk about how much she had to give up in her life and how she wished she had pursued the further education here in Canada. Unfortunately, she was unable to live a life where she was able to make her dreams come true. Although now I have her to look at as an example of what not to do. Sometimes you need to put yourself first and do what makes you happy. I really believe that self-fulfilment is extremely important in life.
I will continue to strive for greatness and continue to chase my dreams especially because my mom was unable to.
She gave up a lot in her life so that my siblings and I can live ours happily. I truly adore her hard work, love and commitment to my family. Her strength and life of sacrifice inspires me to wake up every day and push myself to do better and be better every day
How did your passion for makeup evolve?
Growing up I did Bharathanatyam and that was when I had my first encounter with makeup. I had to get myself dolled up for all of my annual shows and that’s when the interest first sparked. My mom also worked for a make-up company and brought home samples and free products. I was always eager to try them out and during my spare time, I would sit in front of a mirror and practice putting on eyeliner almost every day. I began wearing makeup to school at the age of 9 and this continued into my teen years.
I eventually started doing makeup for friends and family and they recognized that I had talent in this field. Although I had so much support to start a career with make-up, I didn’t think it was for me. It took me a few years and a few jobs to realize that I was missing something in my life. I wasn’t pursuing something that made me truly happy and fulfilled. It wasn’t until Spring 2017 when an opportunity came knocking on my door. A friend of mine was starting a makeup line (now known as Bella Cosmetics) and had asked me to do make-up for her promotional shoot.
As fearful as I was to say yes, I went for it. And that’s how it all started.
Why did you decide to start being a professional makeup artist and what has been the biggest challenge you have had to overcome since starting?
To be quite honest, becoming a make-up artist just happened. It wasn’t something I had put so much thought into.
As I mentioned earlier, an opportunity presented itself and I went for it. I had such a great experience and although I was fearful at first, I loved the fact that I was given full control and was able to use my imagination and knowledge to create the look my client had envisioned.
Ever since then I have been pursuing make-up as a career and I have been loving it! In terms of challenges, something that I initially struggled with was accepting the uniqueness of my work. I caught myself always comparing and trying to make my client work as good as the work of make-up artists who I considered amazing. I eventually came to realize that my clients are coming to me because they love my work for what it is. What makes my work appealing to my clients is the fact that it is different from others, and that’s something I have learned to embrace.
At first, I was just so relieved to finally get away from the 9 to 5 life because I was burnt out from working a job I hated. To be honest, I didn’t plan on it being that way, I just wanted to take a break for about a month.
But to my surprise, my business started picking up quickly and I saw how busy I was going to be throughout the year.
During the initial months of my self-employed life, in terms of income, I definitely took a big hit as I wasn’t earning even half of what I was during my last job. It was really hard as I had to be cautious of what I was spending my money on.
But as I started promoting my work more on Instagram, and with the help of my clients and friends who used word of mouth to promote my business, I was getting a lot more bookings and inquiries.
Soon enough as summer approached, I saw a huge jump in my income. I was either earning double my last job’s monthly income or matching it. Other than income being a challenge, all other aspects are great so far. I love the fact that I now have the time to focus and put effort into things that I love doing and make my soul happy.
With regards to building my client base, it all started with being knowledgeable about what the new trends are and also knowing what style of makeup I enjoy. I truly believe if you understand what’s in trend and what the general audience enjoys specifically when it comes to make-up, you can be really successful. Any time I learn something new I will apply it during my own makeup application. The way I do my makeup is how I try to do my client’s make-up because that’s something that I have always been complimented for. Of course, it never looks exactly the same because every face is unique, but the techniques and products I use are mostly the same. Majority of my clients find me through Instagram where I post make-up videos and looks I create on myself.
A lot of clients come to me with pictures of looks I created that they loved and want the same thing for an event. This started happening quite often so that encouraged me to continue making videos and posting pictures of myself because I saw how that was inspiring clients to get the same thing done by me for their own events. Initially, I was only doing a make-up application, but I noticed how clients look for an artist that can do both hair and make-up. So that’s something that I have also started learning to do which has actually helped increase the number of clients I get.
Something else that I think is very important for individuals in this industry to know is that building a client base is not just about gaining new clients.
It’s also about knowing how to keep your previous clients and for that, customer service is key. Fortunately, I’ve had previous jobs that were customer service based so that helped me with knowing how to treat and deal with clients. From responding to emails on time to being enthusiastic to fixing little things that clients ask you to fix during their appointment, clients look for and care about everything.
Giving them a good experience will always leave a lasting impression. A good impression will almost always get them to come back, if not a good review about your service that will lead to a referral.
As simple as this sounds, being open-minded is probably one of the most important and life-changing lessons that I have learned.
The law of attraction is one of the realist things that I have experienced and have learned to understand. If you put your mind, effort and positive energy into something, there is nothing in this world that you cannot achieve.
You can’t have the mindset that you will always do what you’ve been doing and be successful that way. Complacency kills potential.
What are your dreams and hopes for the future?
With regards to my career, I would love to have my own studio one day. Hopefully, I can also expand my brand and create my own makeup line.
Working or collaborating with one of my favourite makeup brands would also be pretty cool. In general, my hope for the future is that the younger generation learns to stay away from what the norm is and chase after their wildest dream.
Our world needs more unique and creative minds. Individuals, especially within our community, get caught up doing what their parents love or what their parents think they will succeed in.
We need to encourage the young girls and boys to do what makes their soul happy.