Our members are what make the Hive, and I love sharing their stories. Inspiring you today with her journey into the wedding industry is hair & makeup artist Mari Chase. Having relocated back to the UK from Gibralter in 2016, it was upon discovering the Hive that Mari decided to launch her business, Chase Hair & Makeup, and start targeting high-end brides that appreciate her attention to detail, quality products and love of beauty brands.

Since joining the Hive, Mari has developed her brand and learnt to use industry collaborations and contacts to build awareness, securing multipe shoot features and booking more of her ideal clients. Go Mari!

How did you get started in the wedding industry?

My journey started some 22 years ago when I was a beauty therapist and I used to advise and help brides with their skin care and beauty routines. Fast forward to 2013 I decided to return to the industry after I organised my own wedding.  I realized how much I missed being creative and as a beauty therapist, makeup & hair seemed the obvious route to take to get back into the wonderful wedding industry.  I spent a lot of money and retrained in both areas at two academies, the AOFM London and Kristina Gasparas Beauty Academy and that was just the start of my journey back into the industry.

When did you realise that the wedding industry was right for you?

We moved back to the UK at the end of 2016 and it took me 6 months to find the Hive.  I had spent so many days working on my own trying to make a go of this new business adventure and I was beginning to miss office life, just being around people.  I wrote to Louise and became a member of the Hive and volunteered for any collaborations.  I received an email from Louise for an opportunity to do hair and makeup and meet some fellow wedding industry suppliers.  It was so lovely to meet people who shared the same interest. Working with creative people is so invigorating and motivating it makes you feel alive. Especially when you see the finished project. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous silk and lace, flowers, beautiful gold accessories and yards of different coloured ribbons!

It was then that I realized I had made the right decision not to go back to the corporate world and the boring 9-5 hours.  I wanted to be surrounded by like-minded business people who shared the same creative vision and determination to succeed and that’s just what I’ve found by surrounding myself with the members of the Hive and some of the other FB groups I belong to.

We all make mistakes in business, especially when starting out. What mistakes have you made, and what did you learn from them?

This has to be my first styled shoot Wild at Heart.  Looking back and knowing what I know now I realise that the style of the shoot was not aligned to attracting my ideal client.  That’s not to say I am not grateful for the first publication and I did manage to get it published again into a magazine that is more suited to my ideal client.  Since attending the art of styling workshop with Louise and through my coaching I have learnt the importance of working out who my ideal is and where I might find her.  Then to gear everything in my business towards finding her, from my brand voice to my website (which is being redesigned) to the images and the suppliers that will mirror who I’m trying to attract.  Everything has to be seamless.

Many wedding businesses start as a hobby and become something more. What tips do you have for anyone thinking about making the jump to full-time self-employed life?

I would say do your research, really think about your business strategy and how you are going to go about marketing your business so that you stand out from the crowd.  I often hear that the wedding industry is saturated, can’t the same be said for any industry.  So how will you be different?  Think about what it is that you are going to offer, think outside the box and don’t follow everyone else.  Network, support and be nice.  Work with your competitors not against them that way you can pass work to each other. A win win situation.

Joining the Hive was the best move I made because it gave me the opportunity to network and meet people who I now collaborate with on a regular basis. This gives me exposure, visibility.  Remember that unlike working for someone else you are now your own boss and as such you have to be disciplined and a master of time management.  Block out time in your calendar and make sure you include some time for yourself, some exercise, a coffee, take a break.  It will still be there when you get back.  You are responsible for your income and that isn’t going to land in your account like your monthly pay cheque did so invest wisely.  Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to be perfect and expect results straight away.

What support and advice have you discovered along the way, and how has it helped create the business you have today?

I would not have had a clear vision or any direction for my business if it were not for the coachig I’ve done with Louise and the support I’ve received from fellow Hive members.  They have been there every step of the way and offer their support and encouragement constantly.  I have got so much visibility since joining the Hive and have got to work with some incredible people in the wedding industry.  I have learnt so much and that in itself has given me so much confidence.  I feel determined more than ever to succeed because I know I have a great tribe of women behind me that support me and believe in me.  That is all the motivation I need to keep powering on.

Do you think women can ‘have it all’ when it comes to running a successful business and having a fulfilling personal life?

I think women can do whatever they put their minds to, we are no different to men in that respect. I also think that having it all has a different interpretation for everyone.  For me it boils down to time management, discipline, planning and preparation and not being afraid to say no.  I applied this same rule in my corporate life, business is done on relationships.  Not everyone is for you, but I do believe there is someone for everyone.  Choose wisely.

How do you balance running a business with home/family life? Do you have any tips to share?

Unlike working for someone else you have to be so disciplined and a master of time management.  I use Google calendar and block out time to include some time for myself, some exercise, a coffee, or I go and meet some of the other Hive members or fellow MUAs, but I take a break.  It will still be there when I get back.  I also try to put away the laptop and the put the phone on silent when my husband comes home.  It’s easy to sit in front of the TV and continue all night, but I find you can be more productive when you take some time out and give yourself some time to refresh your ideas.  There’s no rush!

What’s your definition of success?

Being recognized for my creativity.  It doesn’t always have to be about the amount of money you earn, success comes in many forms.  I would love to be telephoned by a bridal magazine and asked to do a front cover for them.  That would make me so happy and give me a great sense of achievement and you can’t put a price on that.

What is your number one tip for anyone starting out in the wedding industry?

Know who your ideal client is and align everything in your business to attracting her.  Be true to yourself and surround yourself with like-minded people who get you.  Don’t be afraid to say no, not everything is for you and you’ll be glad of the times you walked away and listened to your gut instinct.  Network and collaborate.  Be consistent and determined to succeed and ask yourself one question, if not now, when?!

What’s next for you & your business?

I have a new website being designed, which I’m really excited about.  A new business idea I’m exploring right now.  Watch this space, I’m only just getting started.

What could you achieve with an entire community of wedding professionals backing you every step of the way?  Join the HiveTribe to get access to online resources, training, workshops, & a community of wedding pros just like you . Click here: hive.blovedblog.com/membership.

Need 1:1 support like Mari? Book a discovery call and find out if coaching with me is the right choice for you.