Career Q&A – Charlotte Flannery

March 19, 2020

professional photography for your business

I have the pleasure of working with the super talented Charlotte Flannery. She does hair and makeup for all my headshot days and when clients request it. I trust her and love her work. I was so happy for her to participate in this interview!

Tell me a bit about yourself. 

My name is Charlotte Marie Flannery and I have been a freelance makeup artist in both the fashion and events industries for over 10 years. I am also very proud to be a wife and a mother to two young children, a boy named Thomas and a girl named Ariana. Both of my children were diagnosed with autism at a young age which prompted my charity project that I called Ray Of Light Canada. We raise funds for autism charities through our jewelry collection as well as a lipgloss collection that I started last year named after my daughter called Ariana’s Sparkle.

Why did you decide to start your own business, versus work for someone else?

I felt for myself personally that the best way to work as a makeup artist was to be freelance. The only alternative options would be to perhaps work in a salon or at a cosmetics counter, but this would not have helped me to grow as either an artist or as an entrepreneur, which is exactly what I was looking for and that I truly still enjoy being.

Can you remember when you first learned about your field of work? How did you discover what it was and how you knew it was what you wanted to do? 

I had been interested in makeup and fashion since the age of 12. My favourite tv shows at this age were Fashion File and Fashion Television. I could recognize every fashion designer’s signature style and I knew every supermodel’s name and body of work. By the age of 15, I had a makeup kit to rival any working makeup artist, including having 75 lipsticks in my personal collection at the time.

What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?

I wasn’t given any one piece of advice per se, but I did follow by example from one of my mentors at the beginning of my career. She never worried about competition amongst other makeup artists the way that some others seemed to feel very threatened by me. She had a very healthy attitude, and she took me under her wing rather than see me as a future competitor for contracts. I decided that I would adopt this attitude for myself as well, and I’ve very much enjoyed mentoring other artists at the beginning of their careers. Additionally, I currently count a few fellow makeup artists as my very close friends. I feel truly blessed to have these beautiful and healthy friendships with people who share my passion for beauty.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business? 

The biggest lesson that I learned early on in my beauty career is that not every opportunity is going to be a paid one, but that it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value. A particular shoot that I did a decade ago that was an unpaid job to build our portfolios (called a “creative” or “test” shoot) led to photos that I never actually used, but the model really liked me and never forgot me. She’s given me multiple opportunities including a few major advertising campaigns for an international designer. However, I don’t feel that an artist should say yes to all unpaid work. If a shoot is for advertising purposes, I insist there must be compensation.

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting your business?

The areas of my life that have been sacrificed the most for my career have been my social life and any kind personal time. Both are very, very limited unfortunately but the enjoyment and fulfilment of doing what I love for a living outweighs the sacrifices I’ve needed to make.

Can you name your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your business experiences?

I’m very blessed to have had quite a few times when I have felt proud of a particular achievement in my career, but I enjoy them for a short moment and then I’m already moving on to whatever is next. I have seen my work on television, in magazines (including a few covers), and on billboards. I’ve been able to meet and work with a few celebrity and high profile clients. My proudest moment was a few months after I went fully freelance and I signed with a very important agent in the fashion industry. This was a a dream come true and huge honour to which I am still so thankful for today.

What’s the best thing about owning your own business?

I absolutely love owning my own business because I get to use my own personal strengths to propel my work. I get to be both an artist and a business person at the same time. I have the opportunity to meet so many amazing people that I would not have been able to meet otherwise. This is also true of my charity work. I have been able to meet and work with many important people in the autism community and with the media, both locally and nationally to help raise funds, build support and promote awareness for other families like mine.

Thank-you Charlotte! If you are interested in having Charlotte do your hair and makeup for any session let me know or contact her directly to work with her.

Follow Charlotte on Instagram – @charlottemarie.beauty