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Articles > The Bridal Business Bible (Part 2)
April 5, 2017

The Bridal Business Bible (Part 2)

Ever since you were a young beauty school student (and even before that), your dream was to be a bridal hair stylist. Ready to turn that dream into a reality? Here's our best advice for building a prosperous bridal business.



photo courtesy of Melissa Brooke

Ever since you were a young beauty school student (and even before that), your dream was to be a bridal hair stylist. You dreamt of helping women feel beautiful on their special day. You envisioned placing the veil on your bride-to-be right before she walked down the aisle. You imagined stepping in at the last minute to help with the bustle. And when your job was done? You’d be the one sitting in the wings as she walked down the aisle. You’d be choking up as the vows were exchanged. You would be filled with pride that you got to be a part of one of the most important days of her life.

 

If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place. We asked seven successful bridal stylists to share their top tips on how to get your business up and running—and they weighed in on everything from how they manage their schedules, to social media tips, to how they price their services. Here’s their best advice for building a prosperous bridal business. (Read part 1 here!)

 

On social media and hash tagging…
Your Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest pages should look clean, professional and feature quality photos of the particular types of looks you like to create. “I consider my Instagram to be an online gallery to showcase work that appeals to my ideal clients,” says California-based stylist Melina Ruiz, aka @beautybymelina. “And I’ve learned that clients love to reference photos from my page when we’re discussing ideas for their wedding day look.” Melina also says that while showing range is great, it’s important to brand yourself with a specific “vibe” on your social media pages. For example, Steph has made a name for herself by specializing in “perfectly imperfect” wedding styles.

 


Instagram: @beautybymelina

 

One of the most important aspects of social media is understanding how to use hash tags in a way that will benefit your business the most. Here are some hash tagging best practices:

  • Start with the basics. #bridal #bridalhair #updo #wedding #weddinghair #upstyle are all good ones to include.
  • Find out what the local bridal magazines are in your area, and use their hash tags.
  • Include hash tags for the companies of the products and tools you use. “For example, I work with Pink Pewter products a lot, so I tag them,” says Annette Waligora (@annette_updo_artist). “They see me and feature me on their page on occasion. The more features you get by other big social media sites, the bigger your following will grow!”
  • “When you’re hash tagging, find which page is more your vibe and show loyalty,” says Heather Chapman (@heatherchapmanhair), a stylist based in Texas. “What I don’t like to do is tag every single platform in one post, so I’ll tag one or two instead of 17. This shows them, ‘Hey, I’m thinking of you in this post—not just whoever will pick it up and run with it.’”

 

On investing in education…
How did Annette gain more than 20,000 followers in just two years? “Education was key for me,” she says. “[When I started my bridal business], I made it my goal to invest in my education and attend as many classes and meet as many artists as I could.” In the past two years, Annette has taken classes from Stephanie Brinkerhoff, Mustafa Avci, Tracey Cunningham, Jenny Strebe, Heather Chapman, Lala’s Updos, Sarah Potempa and Chris McMillan, to name a few! “I also attended Behind the Chair ‘On Tour,’ which was so inspiring! I made it a goal to learn from the best and always strive to do my best work.” 

 


Instagram: @hairandmakeupbysteph

On getting practice…
The best way to get really skilled at bridal styling is to practice as much as you can—on clients, friends and at small, low-pressure weddings. “Back when I worked at a salon, I would practice braids on my clients before they left my chair,” says Melissa Brooke (@mbhairmakeupmaui), an on-location bridal stylist based in Maui. “They were always leaving the salon with different styles.” When Heidi Akpaette, owner and lead stylist at 139 Hair by Heidi, first started out in the bridal biz, she would advertise on Craigslist and offer her services to friends at lower price points to get practice. And while you’re practicing? “Make sure to document your work,” says Melina. Take photos and notes. Write down how long a certain style took, if and where you got stuck, what worked and didn’t work, which products and tools you used, etc.

 

On managing your wedding day schedule…
One of the most difficult things to figure out when you’re first getting started in the bridal business is learning how to manage your schedule. That’s why all seven of the stylists we talked to say after completing a trial run of the bride’s hair, they put together a schedule and timeline for the wedding day and share it with the bride, bridesmaids and wedding planner. “I make it as detailed as ‘These are the time slots everyone needs to be here,’” says Melissa.


Instagram: @annette_updo_artist

“I usually ask the photographer and wedding planner what time everybody needs to be ready, and I’ll have everybody ready 30 minutes before that,” says Melina. “The last 30 minutes are for touch-ups. And the wedding planner appreciates that a lot.”

 

Also, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to work, says Melina. “If you know you take a certain amount of time and you feel like you can’t do it, bring someone else you trust to work with you,” she says. “There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re pressed for time.”

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Annette Waligora