Corporate to Beauty

I always find people are quite shocked to find out that I had a big serious corporate career. People assume I’ve always been doing make up, but definitely not in my case. Although I was first trained in make-up when I was 16, I was very much pushed towards building the big serious corporate path. In fact my first ‘proper’ job working in make up was at the age of 35.

These are my 5 golden nuggets of advice for a smooth transition from corporate to beauty:

1 Make sure it’s what you want!

After spending so many years doing make up outside of the office for friends and family I realised more and more that I wanted to explore my passion a little further.  At 32 I took holidays from work and completed a two week full time make up course with the LA College of Creative Arts. It was life changing and reaffirmed for me what I wanted to do.  The tutors were amazing, some of them had already made the same transition, and some of my classmates were looking to change career as well. This was eye opening and definitely essential before making any drastic decisions. For one, you need to know if you’re any good, and two, if it’s something you can see yourself doing ALL the time.

2 Plan of attack

The next two years I spent working hard,  researching exactly what I wanted to study and working toward putting myself in a position where I could focus full-time on what I was looking to pursue. I decided I definitely wanted to do a course where I would be fully accredited as a make up artist as there’s too many Mickey Mouse places out there. If you’re leaving an existing career for another, you’re best to ensure you’re heading in to it as qualified as possible from the get go! It’s a rude shock going from full-time income to student, so preparing for that financially is really important as well.  This is just the way I chose to do things however there are amazing part-time and online courses out there that you could be doing in your spare time away from the office!

3 Make sure loved ones are on board!

If your decisions effect others directly, involve them from the get-go and make sure they understand what’s involved. Your schedule is demanding when you return to study as there’s homework and assignments to consider. They also need to understand that gone are the 9-5 days, and weekends to yourself. The beauty industry is very weekend based, so expect many of your weekends to now be tied up, as well as out of hours jobs depending on what area of beauty you delve in to! That being said, you quickly adapt to this as you’re doing something you love! You also tend to have free time when everyone else is working so it makes for great stress free shopping!!

4 Stay humble

When I first finished my makeup accreditation, I looked to beauty counter work. The plus of having come from corporate management, and now being qualified in makeup, meant I went straight in to a Counter Manager role.  This was for a relatively known brand in a major department store. I only did this for three months however as I was then accepted to MAC as a retail artist. Although a step back in position, the sacrifice was worth it for the superior brand and continual training. Plus MAC was where I had wanted to work from the start. It’s hard to go from giving the instructions in corporate, to taking them in beauty, as you’re essentially starting all over again! I actually enjoyed the experience as I was able to focus on just my performance and development, which was a lovely change. Plus I again was now doing something that I LOVED to do every single day!  I think everyone starting out needs to start with counter work. It’s invaluable experience, your skills develop so much quicker, and you make some invaluable contacts this way, both industry AND customer wise!

5 Reputation is everything

One thing I swiftly noticed in this industry is it’s a small one. If you provide poor service or are unreliable you can be guaranteed people will hear it soon enough. I’ve seen it happen, every-one’s connected somehow both industry and customer wise! This is another advantage of coming from corporate as you tend to have maturity, a strong work ethic, and ability to network on many different levels with different communication styles. This is such a huge advantage if you can couple it with some strong make-up skills.

After serving my time learning and developing my skills, and building my kit, at MAC I was at a point I could go freelance. I now, 8 years on since changing career, have my own business, working  on photo shoots, fashion shows, tv work , bridal etc. I also now tutor makeup and love every second of. It was the best  change I ever made in my life! I get to be creative every day, meet new industry connections, make new friends,  and meet new clients  constantly! Beats the 9-5 business meetings any day of the week!


Rebecca was first trained in makeup in Sydney Australia 25 years ago. She has refreshed her training a number of times and is ITEC accredited in Fashion,Theatre, Media and Special Effects Makeup. After working as Counter Manager for Artdeco Makeup and then as an artist with MAC Cosmetics in both Cork and Dublin, she is now a freelance artist. Rebecca is the owner/operator of Colour-Mania Make-Up, and also tutors up and coming artists with the LA College of Creative Arts in Dublin. She has worked on many weddings and events, Miss Ireland contestants, photo shoots, back stage, runway including Cork Fashion Week, Xposè, Say Yes To The Dress Ireland and TV3’s Ireland AM.

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