It’s Wedding Pro Wednesday! The day I showcase a wedding professional’s startup story as well as their advice for brides-to-be and newlyweds. Who better to give that advice than the professionals who work with engaged and married couples 365 days a year? The professionals behind dream weddings deserve a little limelight themselves!
Today I am excited to introduce you to Valerie Hammer, an amazing DC-based makeup artist and the founder of Valerie Hammer Makeup Artistry. I heard about her from a circle of girl friends, you know the ones you turn to when you need a really great recommendation. I was looking for someone to do my makeup for a photoshoot for my book cover, and every single friend said I had to call Valerie Hammer. So of course I booked an appointment! When I met Valerie I was immediately put at ease by how professional yet approachable she was. She listened to what I wanted, and worked her magic (which includes an entire armoire drawer of false lashes). I looked like a better version of myself… and felt like a super model business woman for the day!
If you are curious about professional makeup for your wedding, or makeup artistry as a possible career, Valerie’s story and advice are perfect for you. Read her answers to my questions below!
What inspired you to create your company?
I spent 9 years working in the credit industry during the week, while building a freelance makeup business on weekends. As the bridal niche kind of “found me” I decided to leave the credit industry in 2014 to dedicate more time to my makeup clients. I was inspired to create Valerie Hammer Makeup Artistry because I knew I wanted to spend my life doing something I truly enjoyed. There is nothing more gratifying to me than making people feel absolutely beautiful.
What was your biggest obstacle and failure in going from idea to business?
My biggest obstacle was the thought of leaving the “security” of my corporate job. I had a 401k, stock options, medical benefits, PTO and sick days, and a steady/dependable paycheck. The idea of transitioning to a career that was highly flexible without the security was terrifying.
What do you love most about your job?
From a literal perspective? It’s the reaction that I get from a client when they look in the mirror after their makeup is done. On a larger scale? I love knowing that my clients will look back on their wedding/event photos years down the road and remember that they felt beautiful on one of the most important days of their lives.
What is your best advice for brides related to your area of expertise?
Don’t be afraid to speak up during your trial run. Remember that this is YOUR day, and your vision is my #1 goal. As a professional I will help guide your vision into what flatters your features and will ultimately compliment the rest of your look. What’s most important is that YOU feel beautiful, and your makeup artist can only accomplish that if you tell us what you like and what makes you feel comfortable.
What is your best advice for newlyweds?
Always remember that you and your spouse are a team. You may not always agree on everything (because having your own opinion is also very important.) But make sure you consciously respect each others’ opinions because in the end, you guys are building a life together….as a team. The larger life decisions are ultimately much easier to make when you and your spouse are working together to make them.
Photo credit: Elisenda Llinares Photography