The Importance of Time Off


There were times in my adult life as a small business owner that I didn’t take vacations. I blamed it on money; I blamed it on schedules and a whole slew of other things. But the fact of the matter is we all need a break. We all need a vacation. We all need some time off. And we need to make it a priority lest it fall victim to making excuses.

Taking time off in terms of planning vacations is key. I do it big and I do it little.

I do it big when my Michael and I travel internationally a couple times per year for “vacation” in the truest sense. We also take some domestic trips for long weekends each year.


But on top of that, I take a whole weekend off every couple months to prevent burn out in busy season. And then weekly I make sure I get my equivalent of a “weekend” off even with my crazy schedule. Daily I take breaks for walks in the sunshine and enjoying a cup of tea. 

We all need time off. If nothing else, start with walks outdoors, but please, oh please, build up to a bucket of beers on the beach in another country – because we only live once and there will always be more time and more money to replace what you spent making memories.  

Cheers! xxoo 

Pricing Yourself for Profit


Many business owners approach pricing their services by just doing a minimal amount of market research and setting their rates wherever they see competitors’ rates. That’s fine – if for some reason you are running the exact same business model as they are with the exact same financial considerations. Otherwise, it’s just the easy way out because it requires minimal strategic consideration and no extra math.

I challenge every business owner to do better than that.

You can start by coming up with what you need to make it. What is the magic number of revenue required to cover what you need to earn, costs of goods sold, expenses, and estimated taxes? Now you’ve got that nugget of information that will guide all of your marketing to hit your sales goals to work towards that income goal.  But how many of each thing do you need to sell to get there? That is answered in your pricing.  

When you work on pricing, you need to figure out if you are luxury or a commodity. That piece will inform your rates as well as your branding. If you are a commodity (dime a dozen) you are competing on price and then the market will decide your rates. If you offer XYZ in the same way the other guys do and it’s a no frills volume-based kind of approach, then you made your services a commodity. It’s pretty cut and dry and then that basic market comparison mentioned above will need to be a stronger consideration.

If you are luxury, then you need to create a value-add in a very special way that creates solutions for clients who are willing to pay more for an elevated experience with an expert. The little touches make a big difference. And you need to create and communicate reasons why you are different and why that warrants the higher cost. You can’t just slap a higher price tag on the same commodity as everyone else – you won’t last long doing that.  It’s got to be genuine and thoughtful and, again, special.  

You will spend a whole lot more time, money, energy, and creativity attracting the perfect-fit clients who are willing to pay more for a luxury service that includes your experience and expertise. And you will spend a lot fewer resources garnering any-fit clients who want to just make the cheapest thing exist for your commodity service since you cater to the masses. Commodity clients still want it to serve a purpose and be nice enough – but there’s the qualifier. Nice enough. Good enough. Fine, even.  Luxury clients want it to be perfect and special, and just thing they needed for it to be really right.  


So are you a commodity or are you luxury? Now that you know that, go back to the math of the nugget. Your commodity pricing – competing at a lower price – will demand volume bookings to make it. You will need to sell more of XYZ at that lower rate to get to the total you desire. Your luxury pricing will require you to sell less of XYZ at the higher price to get to the total you require. You will, however, spend more resources on what it takes to be special and get that client who is willing to spend more. 

There’s no right answer until you do your own math for your own business model and consider your brand. You’ll need to decide – is that something the market can bear? Then you’ll know if the pricing you set for the thing you do is feasible for yourself and feasible for your clients and the market.

If business were easy, everyone would be doing it. Asking these tough questions will help you build a business that thrives more than it survives.

Strategy is everything and knowing WHY you do what you do in every decision you make in your business is key.  

Why You Need to Hire My Designer

brett-dorrian-hair-and-makeup-business cards

As many of you know, we recently went through a branding refresh along with doing a new website. I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out! We’ve had Megan in-house as our Senior Design Coordinator and Brand Manager since June. I have been very happy to serve as one of her business mentors and am so pleased to announce the launch of her own design business, Tinyloud Creative Co.!  

Tinyloud Creative Co. is a small studio specializing in bringing high-quality strategic design to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Megan does her work thoughtfully, efficiently, and with great talent.  


On top of that, she is sensitive to the fact that sometimes in small business you need to take things a step at a time rather than all at once either because of resources or creative direction. She will give you a lot of bang for your buck and get it right the first time. She is worth every penny. Before working with Megan, I never knew what it felt like to have my brand perfectly represented and to have my marketing collateral suite house everything I wanted it to contain.  

Whether you need a logo, a website, various design projects, or you want ongoing blog/social support, Megan is your gal. But give her a shout soon – her dance card is already filling up quite nicely and space is limited to be in her queue. You can chat further by shooting her an email at or check her out at



Hiring the right help


Hiring the right help can be one of the hardest things for any small business owner.

You need to find people who will work harder for your business and with more heart than they would at a corporate job – and with less cushy stability. But at the same time, you are offering them a chance to make good money while making a difference in the small company, along with having direct input in the growth of their career.  

photo by Studio 220

photo by Studio 220


At times, managing teams can feel a little Glengarry Glen Ross coming down on performance management; other times it can feel like Rudy being carried across the field. A lot can soar or suffer based on the team you have. Your time can be spent dealing with HR issues or dealing with running your business. And the fact of the matter is, you have to figure out a way to deal with it because people are what makes the world go ‘round.  

One of the best things you can do is to try to identify people with the same values. I always say I can teach someone how to curl hair but I can’t teach them how to be a good person. It’s about integrity, about doing the right thing whether you’re being watched or not. It’s easy to illustrate that thought with a notion from the wedding industry: there’s a napkin laying on the floor and there are certain types of people who will pick it up, and certain types of people who will look at it and walk on by.  

I’m only really interested in the people who would pick up the napkin. Because at the end of the day, what we do is 90% customer service and 10% delivering services. Doing great makeup, hairstyling, and/or photography is a given – talent cannot be skimped on. I’m saying that how people are treated and what their experience was while receiving their services is what makes all the difference to whether or not it was of value. And every single person who represents you and your brand is doing so through their actions and attitudes.

photo by Lauren B. Photography

photo by Lauren B. Photography


In small business, we really need to avoid sinking costs into training and onboarding, especially if it involves skilling up and not simply going through the employee handbook about your model of policies and procedures. It can be devastating to invest in the wrong-fit people. You need people who can do their jobs accurately and efficiently while being a positive team player.  

Think about creative ways to go through the interview process to make sure the candidate’s values and goals align with yours. Have benchmarks, check-ins, and probation periods where you are able to see if they are a good fit before making major commitments to one another. Follow your gut. But remember – if the person is truly the right fit, give them no reason to leave. The keys are generosity in compensation, flexibility, and genuinely caring about them.

We sink or swim together in small business.

Your 12-Month Checklist for Wedding Day Beauty

Photo by Jeff Loves Jessica

Photo by Jeff Loves Jessica


12 months

  • You should have already booked your wedding day makeup and hair artist.
  • Start a waxing regimen with your esthetician for appointments 1x/month if you anticipate doing regular waxing in order to achieve hair that grows back thinner and finer over time.
  • Start a facial regimen with your esthetician for appointments every 4-8 weeks. Discuss options since dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, laser treatments, and peels fulfill different needs. Coming up with the right plan for your skin is important. 
  • Start a cut/color regimen with your regular stylist for appointments every 6-8 weeks. 

6 months

  • Start the process for any drastic hair color changes with your regular stylist. For example, going from brown to blonde is not going to happen in one appointment. It will take a few appointments scheduled every couple of months for six months to successfully accomplish that transition while keeping the hair healthy. 

3 months

  • Get your extensions. 
  • If you’re going to try tape-in or sewn-in extensions, have them colored, placed, and cut to match a few months prior to the wedding. They last 6-8 weeks, so you’ll want to try them out for a round or two prior to the big day to make sure they’re the right choice for you. 
  • If you’re purchasing clip-in extensions, you need to order them and get them cut/colored before your trial run appointment. 

2 months

  • Schedule your makeup and hair trial run appointment and start discussing the wedding day schedule. 
  • Schedule a spray tan before your trial run appointment to try it out if you’re considering it.

2 weeks

  • Schedule one last color and cut so things are fresh but have time to settle. Schedule any men’s cuts around two weeks as well.

5-7 days

  • Get your last facial before the wedding – but only a gentle facial – no aggressive treatments should be administered this close to the big day. Consider a dermaplaning appointment to get rid of peach fuzz and reduce texture issues. 

3 days

  • Schedule waxing appointments. Do not get brows or lips waxed less than three days before the wedding or the makeup won’t sit right on the skin in those areas.

2 days

  • Schedule your mani-pedi. 
  • Get your spray tan for the wedding. Do not get your nails done after spray tanning or the solution may come off of your hands and feet. 

1 day

  • Get your rehearsal dinner makeup and hair done.
  • Men can get a straight-razor shave a day or two before the wedding but not on the day of the wedding. The appointments are lengthy, and sensitive skin will look flared up for a bit afterwards. 

wedding day

Wash your face, drink some water, and let your artist take care of the rest! 

Tips For Getting Ready On Your Wedding Day

Master wedding day logistics and actually enjoy your getting ready experience!


We've done hundreds of weddings in the eight years we've serviced brides with hair and makeup. Like everything in the wedding world, there are so many more details to consider than you’d ever imagined! We'd like to share a few things to think about when planning that portion of your wedding day and finding the best getting ready venue for your needs.

Photo by Ash and James Photography

Photo by Ash and James Photography


There should be enough space for everyone in the party to lounge, for food/drinks, and for artists to be set up (each artist needs at least 6'x1' of table space), as well as appropriate chairs for hair and makeup height-wise and plenty of natural light. You will want to figure out where you will get dressed and whether that is the same spot as the getting ready space or not. Also consider what the backdrop is during getting ready pictures – you don't want a bunch of Jimmy John’s platters as the decor in a small, dark, standing-room-only space (seriously, we've been booked to work in situations like that). This all is part of why we decided to design a space optimized for our brides.


Here are some insider tips about the options for bridal getting ready spaces and the logistical considerations that come along with each.


The first thing to know is that having artists come on-site will cost more than working with them in their studio. Some have it built into a higher-rated package (like we do) and some charge per artist for the additional time and parking associated with an on-site booking. The higher rate covers the time to pack/prep kits, set up a workspace, and pack up afterwards, as well as parking fees. So if you were to get ready at someone's home, a hotel, or your venue, there will be different package rates or upcharge fees to consider when hiring your artist. 

Photo by Athena Pelton Photography

Photo by Athena Pelton Photography



Artists who have a minimum (like we do) are booking exclusively your group for your event that day. Artists who do not are working with several clients around town that day. Of course you could do a salon setting, but then you’ll have separate appointments and a less cohesive feeling for your group since you can't be lounging in robes and sipping champagne.


If you are getting ready at a hotel, you have to book a big suite that can fit a large group and you need to ensure the room has great natural light. We've seen too many small rooms with romantic lighting and no room for the group. On top of that we are often doing back-breaking bending down to short banquet chairs that were brought up from the hotel event spaces. The room needs to be booked for the night before and night of your wedding in order to not deal with having to check out during getting ready time. And make sure you assign someone to cleaning up the room after you've wrapped getting ready. We've left many hotel rooms after the flurry of girls getting ready and it's really sad to see the leftover food and dress bags strewn about... and that's what the couple comes back to after the reception. If booking a hotel room, just make sure you're in a wonderful space and that clean up is covered.


If you are getting ready at your venue, make sure the room fits your needs as mentioned above regarding lighting and space. You will also want to chat with your venue coordinator about fees associated with getting in early (there are often additional costs for things like starting at 8am for makeup instead of coming at 2pm for pictures). Make sure you know about any catering rules (i.e. many venues will require you to do catering through them rather than any outside food/drink). Some brides love the convenience of just being in one place for the whole day! But do make sure you know if your things can stay locked up in the bridal suite that day, or if there is a cap for when personal belongings need to be out of the room.

Photo by Lauren B. Photography

Photo by Lauren B. Photography



Lastly, here’s what you should know if you’re considering getting ready in our studio. We designed our space to have enough room for bridal parties to hang out and food and drinks to be set up, plus space for dresses to be hung and bridal portraits to be taken with your photographer. We have professionally lit makeup/hair stations. Basically, we wanted to offer an option that was competitively priced, but took care of every need to make the getting ready experience seamless for the client. Plus you can bring in whatever food/drink you like, and we can also recommend catering from our friends upstairs at Chowgirls Killer Catering.

• • •

The makeup and hair portion of the wedding day takes a longer amount of time than your formal photography and ceremony combined! It’s really important to make sure you choose a space and set up that’s optimal for your group to be together and for the artists to work. Why hire professional makeup and hair services and then stick everyone in the wrong space? The getting ready part completely sets the tone for the day so make sure you plan it thoughtfully.

Feeling good, looking good, and having a stress-free morning is what it's all about!