Rachel O’Riordan is a freelance makeup artist, beauty writer and college tutor currently rolling out the MASA Makeup artist courses with Bronwyn Conroy Beauty School. Rachel is the founder of www.foreverfabulous.ie, a hub of all things fabulous in the world of make-up and beauty.
How did you get started in this industry?
I was a slow starter when it came to school and was not what you would call academic! I was not suited to swallowing lots of facts and relaying it all back in exam questions. I found school very stressful, only having one choice when I did my leaving cert in 1996 and that was to do the mainstream CAO style state examinations. I was never going to gain the points needed for University and back then there was little or no support for someone that needed advice on the alternative options available to them.
I passed my Leaving Cert and went on to study Travel & Tourism. I have always loved the world of beauty and makeup and I realised that it was Beauty Therapy I was interested in. The only college I wanted to study at was Bronwyn Conroy Beauty School, they had a reputation like no other.
I was working full time in the Healthcare Sector while I studied part time with Bronwyn Conroy and in 2003 I gained my CIBTAC in Cosmetology and Beauty Therapy. I then moved into the Educational sector for ten years working as a business trainer & Development Officer for a children’s charity. I still continued beauty treatments in my spare time. I have a big passion for education and helping people to reach their full potential especially in areas where they may be at a disadvantage.
In 2010 I decided it was about time I used my beauty background again and I went back to upskill and obtained the ITEC Makeup Artist qualification. I then set up my business Forever Fabulous. I designed my brand, website and developed the business myself. I specialise in Bridal & Editorial Makeup. I worked for five years every evening and weekend to grow my business while still working full time and looking after 3 children!
I was then able to combine my love of teaching and makeup and started to freelance tutor in Portobello Institute along with being asked back to Bronwyn Conroy to help roll out the very exciting MASA makeup courses. In 2015 I left my job to run my business full time and I have not looked back!
Would you recommend the course you did to others?
Definitely, you are learning from the best in the business, not only about beauty and the different aspects of the industry but about business and science - lots of it! This industry can be underestimated by many! You are gaining world renowned qualifications and the ability to work anywhere!
Did you find it easy to get work after college?
As I took a very different route and was slightly more a mature student when I studied and already working full time, I decided not to go down the salon route, I knew it was education and business that I was interested in and I would never have become who I am today without my training. I still one day would like to own my own college or salon.
What does a typical day for you involve?
Every day is very different for me. I could be doing my accounts, marketing, planning my social media posts, on location looking after a bridal party or in the photography studio working on a shoot.
Being freelance and my own boss means I pick and choose when I work and what I do. It also means my income is never the same, so I need to work hard in order to maintain this. I also love that I can work around my children and do not put them into childcare. I have weddings, photo-shoots and clients every week so it’s always interesting and exciting.
It’s a physical job, is it tiring?
Yes! The bridal industry is tough and looking after a bridal party can be exhausting! It is also a privilege that they want me there and that I am a part of their big day. I also love planning classes and teaching students, this is the most rewarding part.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
When I get feedback from my brides, this makes my job all worthwhile. The best perks are being offered fun opportunities like working on TV shows and being interviewed for radio stations. Also working with some of the best photographers and businesses in Ireland.
What kind of person suits your role?
A self-starter with the ability to work alone. It can be hard when you do not have a team around you all the time. You need a good eye for business, it’s not all about how you apply makeup. You need to be a great networker, outgoing and confident but most importantly someone who believes in themselves!