In this week’s dream business post it’s our absolute pleasure to introduce and share the story of Pretty Me Vintage (formerly Lipstick & Curls). We caught up with Pretty Me Vintage owner Natasha. If you’re anything like us you’ll have seen Natasha and the girls hard at work at pretty much every vintage event worth attending!
Tell us a bit about your business? Pretty Me Vintage specializes in top quality vintage hair and make-up from the 1920’s onwards. We are regularly employed by private clients, companies, artists and celebrities all wanting to perfect the look of a glamorous age. Our fabulous girls are experts at creating the perfect vintage looks! On hand to powder and preen they can transform you into a twenties flapper girl, forties sweetheart, fifties bombshell, Sixties swinger, Mad Men sex Kitten or classic Hollywood starlet!
We have worked for a number of publications, TV shows and music videos.
To name a few: Sunday Times, Italian Vanity Fair, Homes & Antiques, Walt Disney, V&A, Vintage at Goodwood, Benefit Cosmetics, Oasis, Radleys, Betty Blythe, Dragons Den, Strictly Dance Fever, Sunday Brunch and the Scissor Sisters!
What inspired you to start your business? I studied acting and went to the royal Scottish academy of music and drama in my 20s. When I left the academy I discovered Swing Dance, the increasingly popular dance style from the late 20s to 50s. I picked it up really quickly and joined a dance troupe and started teaching. It was here that my passion for vintage started. I discovered a love of vintage clothes, adopting the look, hair and makeup. I was approached by a photographer to do some hair and makeup test shots on a model and although I only had my theatrical hair and makeup experience I jumped at the chance. I started back in 2003 and was one of the original people in London to do pin up style shoots and vintage style beauty, before it became the fashion. I then started running my own hair and makeup workshops with ‘What Katy Did’, the vintage lingerie brand. I was encourage by a friend and my partner jay that to get flyers printed and my partner agreed to do a website. We registered an email domain and company name and the brand was born. We originally started out as Lipstick & Curls working on photoshoots, vintage events, after a partner separation in 2012 I decided to go it alone and rebranded to Pretty Me Vintage with an emphasis on high quality and impeccable service.
How do you see your business developing in 5years time? In 5yrs time I want continue doing what I love. I want to keep learning, I think that is important. Professionals often ask me if I can teach them but I still want to learn more myself. I have incredibly high standards. Never stop learning and never be full of yourself, that way you will be open to improving yourself and be good at what you do! Love what you do and take pride in it!
As an independent business woman what struggles do you face? I do struggle to be firm sometimes. I don’t find it natural to tell people what to do. I just enjoy the creative side. I like to be a friendly and easy going boss! It means that I end up working with a really lovely team. I don’t pass work on to anyone who doesn’t meet the standards I expect. I also find it hard to say no to clients sometimes. I try to please my customers but at the same time you have to have terms and conditions in place or you will be working for nothing. I want to give a friendly personal service but I think sometimes people will abuse that. I am very lucky though, most of the people I meet and work with are such lovely people and I have made so many good friends.
Can you offer any pearls of wisdom for any readers thinking of starting their own business?
I think in business you don’t have to think big you just have to think quality and a good service. The business will just naturally grow itself with word of mouth. Although I do think its important to have a good website and eye catching branding.
Think very carefully about what you enjoy and what you are good at. Be realistic about how much you can charge and how long things will take you. Can you make money from it? Hobbies can become businesses. Concentrate on one thing. It’s best to have one thing that you are really good at, than five that you are ok at!
The one really important thing in my experience is if you decide you are going into partnership make sure you have a contract drawn up. Think about your roles within the business and what will happen if you divide. So many lovely people I know have lost their dream businesses to friends and even family members. Just take extra precaution but above all enjoy.
Special thank you t o Natasha.
Stay Fabulous, believe in your dreams!
The Fabulous Times