MUA’s need to eat or we tend to get ‘hangry’ (like when you’re so hungry you get angry).

Obviously everybody needs to eat, but with potential clients haggling for the lowest price and in struggling economies, for many creatives, getting paid enough to live is a problem.

I’ve had some personal experiences where it has been incredibly difficult to get paid from clients. One time a colleague and I had to awkwardly wait around for some time at the end of a job, repeatedly asking various members of a wedding party, who all had their makeup beautifully done by us, “Who do we see for payment?”, with my voice slightly rising in tone each time I had to ask again… I knew if I made it awkward enough for them, eventually somebody would pay us. My colleague later thanked me, she said she would have been too embarrassed to do that on her own and unfortunately I can almost bet that our client was hoping that would be the case. 👎

There have been many occasions where clients have wanted makeup trials for free or because I love my job, there is often an expectation that I’ll do it for free, or for less.

It’s just wrong!

Fair pay for artists is a constant struggle, with creatives often told that they’re receiving payment through recognition, exposure and experience, but those three things don’t pay the bills. In Australia the social security system doesn’t even recognise being an artist of any kind as a job!https://visualarts.net.au/advocacy/campaigns/artists-fees/

More than ever clients are driven by the $$bottom line and feel it’s ok to haggle on price for services. While cosmetics is a boom industry, in my experience the cost of makeup services has largely plateaued in the last 6 years.

Some Mua’s are afraid to set higher fees mainly because they’re competing with masses of unqualified folk who offer beauty, hair and makeup services for cheap.

I’ve known many qualified Mua’s trying to compete by advertising services for as little as $40AU – using today’s exchange rate that’s $29.63 USD, or $22.63 Pounds, or $25.39 Euro. 😱

Art by Kate Hush

$40 an hour might seem ok if you don’t have all of the expenses that go with working for yourself, like your makeup kit, transport, websites, advertising, consumables, equipment and tools, a studio or shop front..

This lowest possible price is what some clients expect me to work for and it’s not just me, for 1000’s who take this career seriously and have to earn a living from it (you know like eat, afford housing, save up superannuation etc.) clients believe that this lowest possible price is fair pay.

Some clients argue ‘but your services aren’t redeemable on products’ (like they are in department stores) – yeah that’s right, what’s in my kit is my choice selection of makeup products, which I have sought out, trialled and purchased especially from a hundred or more different brands, to use especially on my clients. My products aren’t supplied for free by an employer.

To put it into perspective, if you purchased every individual product which I’d use for a standard makeup on a client, you’d need to spend between $800-$900, that’s not including any brushes or tools.

All this for 1 look – foundations not in pic

Most importantly it’s not just the products or the tools (which anybody could purchase) that’s worth paying for, but it’s how an artist puts it all together with their understanding of colour, balancing features, skin, artistic style, technique and product knowledge – it’s the artist that’s worth paying for.

2 thoughts on “#myartisnotfree

  1. Another fantastic piece Kat, so very true, we have all had that awkward hang around, waiting to be paid, very embarrassing.
    I would love to turn it around when they do the whole can you do it cheaper thing and ask if they would work for hours for little or no pay but of course we must not upset the client. It’s easier to say you are booked already.

    Liked by 1 person

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