Professional makeup artist Tess Holmes chats makeup masteclasses

Tess Holmes is a well-established makeup artist with serious industry cred and a serious Instagram presence. She’s given a glow up to everyone from Jessica Gomes to Sophie Monk and has been a jobbing MUA behind the scenes at events like The Logies and Melbourne Fashion Week, as well as working editorial and TV. She says what started as a hobby and personal passion ended up growing into a full-time career. Her online makeup videos have been viewed tens of thousands of times and she is the creator of a sell-out makeup masterclass series.

Holmes says the idea for the classes came from her clients, really. There was demand for the classes, but no supply, so she decided to do them. “I created my Makeup Masterclass after talking to numerous clients about how they wished they could learn how I did what I did. There was nothing on offer at that time for regular people to learn makeup. I saw an opportunity to offer a beautiful event that taught step by step makeup application with tips and tricks from an industry professional. It is for all ages, and you bring your own makeup kits and brushes, where I teach them how to apply their own makeup whether it’s for work or a night out. The confidence and enjoyment after the class is contagious. It’s such a rewarding job, for which I am forever grateful.”

Every time she announces a new class, spots are snapped up in minutes. We chatted with her about her career and where the idea for her classes came from, what they entail and what skills you need to start one yourself.

PB: What is a makeup masterclass?

“My makeup masterclass is a way for the everyday person to learn skills from a professional on how to confidently apply their own makeup.”

PB: Who should enroll in one?

“I recommend it for all ages from 15 to 65 to gain confidence with makeup skills or even a makeup artist who is just starting out their career.”

PB: What sort of thing do you teach in yours?

“I teach every stage, from start to finish, on how to apply makeup, what tools to use and how to use them. Also the importance of hygiene and quality makeup products.”

PB: What do students get to take away from the masterclass?

“I hope they take away tips from an industry professional on how to apply their makeup whether it’s for work, a night out or even as a professional makeup artist starting out. Making people feel confident and beautiful is a very rewarding experience.”

PB: What’s the format now, in COVID times, and in regular times?

“I had to put these classes on pause until the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. I had plenty of opportunities to offer an online course but my makeup class is so personable and having the face-to-face experience is all I wanted for my guests. The experience is so much warmer and I can physically walk up to someone and show them how to hold a brush, angle to hold it and talk them through each step in a much more personal and more educating way.”

PB: How does an MUA design their own masterclass?

“I have been to many over the years and to learn and grow from them has been the best way to work on how I would design my perfect class to truly benefit the guests and make sure they get the most out of the class environment.”

PB: How can they get good enough/become well known enough to create one?

“I would say it’s a lot of years of experience and having the confidence in their own skills and talent to not doubt yourself or your skill. It was when I would talk to my clients about certain techniques and products, I’d actually surprise myself with the amount of knowledge I had. It’s endless when there’s passion.”

PB: What are the most useful tools to create one? And to host one?

“Organisation! I am so highly organised when it comes to my job, always early, always prepared for anything! It takes sooooo much work behind the scenes. I am a one women team, I don’t have a manager or PA or anything so I literally design and run this entire class from the layout to the complete design and everything on the day. I have all the contacts and dealings with the entire event planning from brands, food, drinks and products.”

PB: What’s the hardest part about doing a masterclass?

“The above! Event planning is very time consuming.”

PB: What’s your pricing strategy?  

“I like to gauge it on what an everyday person could justify paying to learn and educate themselves for life-long skills. Also to make sure all my outgoings are covered and all the behind the scenes work and hours are covered too.”

PB: How do you market them? What has been your most successful way to market your masterclasses?

Instagram! I have a huge demand for these masterclasses and cannot actually keep up with the demand at this stage. (A great problem to have!)”

PB: How frequently do you do them?

“At this stage I hope to do them every few months.” 

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