Pioneer Chicks, Success Stories

Elly Jayne on Making the Switch From Being Employed to Running a Business

In April 2015, Elly Jayne Moyser decided to take the leap and leave her job of 3 1/2 years at Mac Cosmetics to work on her own business ‘Elly Jayne Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist’.

Whilst employed by Mac, Elly was on the events team covering events such as London Fashion Week, the Capital FM Summertime Ball and the Laurence Olivier Awards, and boasted an impressive clientele including Kiesza and the casts of Downton Abbey and Holby City; so leaving Mac was a decision not taken lightly!

Having built her client-base to currently around 50 per month, Elly shares with Pioneer Chicks her tips for making the switch from being employed to starting and running her own successful business:

What was it like leaving your job to start your business? Were there any obstacles or fears that you faced and if so, how did you deal with them and what lessons have you learnt? 

“Start saying yes to all future bookings”

It was really scary but I always knew I wanted to be a freelance hair and makeup artist, it was just a case of taking the steps to get there.  Once I’d started at Mac it was a great opportunity for me to build up my makeup kit and client base.  I got to the point that I was receiving so many enquiries that it seemed silly to turn them away, especially weddings – one of my biggest earners.  I calculated that I could do a few days a week and earn the same amount as I was at Mac, so I thought if I started saying yes to all future bookings it would get to the point where I would have to leave, which is how it happened, it flowed nicely.

Were you worried at all about financial security when you left your job to start Elly Jayne? How did you overcome this?

“Save as much as you can”

Yes, everything happened at the same time.  I was supervisor at Mac and had just taken on a mortgage with my partner which was really scary but I was careful beforehand, making sure that I saved up.  I was never one to spend everything I had. When I got paid I put most of it into a separate savings account and just kept in my current account only what I really needed to get by.  Luckily I had a really supportive partner who understood that I needed to do this to be happy.  So my tip is to save as much as you can, really work hard and put everything into it.

When you were starting your business whilst working full-time, where did you focus your time?

I focused on building my Facebook page and Instagram.  Instagram in particular was a really big one, it was quite new at the time so I just posted everything that I could on there.  Luckily at Mac we were able to take pictures of clients that we’d done makeup on.  I did tutorial videos on myself so I started YouTube;  this was a good way to show people how I work and who I am.  Rather than just having pictures it was good to have a more interactive medium.

I was very conscious that in this day and age, people want to know more about you as a person, they want to see into your life, so that’s what I tried to do with my Facebook page.  I tried to come across as friendly and approachable, which hopefully I still am!  I hope this makes it easier for people to contact me because they see I’m that sort of person.

How did you establish your first few clients for your own business whilst working at Mac?

Initially I knew of people that were getting married, friends and family, and I used their pictures across my social media pages.  People started following my on Instagram also.

How did you build up your client-base?

“the more work you do, the more you’ll get out of it”

I gave them discounted rates to start with, with special offers, just to get started and get the word out there a bit more.  I believe that the more work you do, the more you’ll get out of it so I just just threw myself into it.

With Instagram in particular, the use of hashtags was good, for example #cambridgemakeupartist and #london.  I also cover a lot of Indian weddings so hashtagging this worked for me, and it’s all free which is good! I did try a few sponsored FaceBook posts which also does work.  I’m not so clued up on how it all works so my partner helped me with this!  I didn’t pinpoint the age range of the target audience as I like to cover all ages, for example recently I did makeup for an 80 year old bride.

Do you use particular marketing methods to attract certain types of clientele?

Yes, initially I utilised free magazines around the local area.  I like to keep my work as local as I can, being a ‘home girl’ myself.  I now focus on Facebook and Instagram mainly, posting pictures that I know are going to be quite popular.  I won’t just put up any picture because I know the stronger the picture the more visually enticing it is.


Do you do any seasonal marketing?

Definitely, I try to keep ahead so I’ve got some posts ready for Halloween for example.  I try to keep it in time and relevant with what else is going on in the world.

How have you utilised spotting trends/patterns in the makeup and hair industry?

“You have to look through magazines, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest trends”

At the moment, hairstyles for weddings are coming away from the braided styles so I try not to put too much of that on my Instagram account.  You have to look through magazines, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest trends because people always want to be one step ahead. Same goes for proms, people are coming away from the structured style, they don’t want anything too perfect.  For makeup, people are moving away now from the contoured look and it’s more about the ‘natural glow’.


Do you get much repeat business? If so,can you offer any advice on building and maintaining client relationships?

Yes, I have quite a few ladies that love to get their hair and makeup done for nights out.  I guess its all about making it easy for the clients.  You have to make it easy for them to contact you, for example texts. If you make it difficult for them to contact you then you’re putting up a wall.  For me, I just try to be friendly and approachable, and get to know the client as much as I can. It’s a release and sanctuary for them, like going to the hairdressers.

What does a typical day consist of for you, if there is such a thing?

One of the things I love about my job is that every day  is totally different.  Yesterday I was in London with a bride that wanted me to do two different hair looks, today I’m being interviewed by Pioneer Chicks and having a more chilled admin day, tomorrow I’m doing styling for a girl who’s having a photo shoot for her up-and-coming music career, so it’s really varied!

For those wishing to set up as makeup artists or hair stylists, are there any qualifications or courses that you recommend they obtain?

I think it’s good to do a short course or get some experience before you start going out there putting people’s makeup on because you need to know about hygiene and skin reactions, etc.

Personally I did two years at Cambridge Regional College because it’s good to learn the basics and how to do makeup on someone else’s face; it’s one thing doing your own makeup but it’s another thing doing it on someone else.  Even just working on a makeup counter I thought was brilliant experience, I’d never had any one-to-one interaction with the public before working at Benefit Cosmetics and Mac Cosmetics.  Selling the products also helped, you get to know the products and get to know what people like and don’t like.

So I wouldn’t say you have to do a course but definitely learn the basics.

If you would like to contact Elly to arrange a booking, you can find her on Facebook or Instagram: @ellyjaynemakeup  or contact her through the website

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