December, 2015 Archive
(c) Alicia Swedenborg

Photo: Alicia Swedenborg | Hair & Makeup: Liz

This year flew by so quickly…I have a hard time believing it’s Dec 30th today.  Chances are you will not read this whole thing…!!  And that’s okay!  I have A LOT to say because I have not blogged in a very very long time.  If you are reading, thanks for reading!  I’m sort of cheating because the image above of my work was from a wedding in Sonoma in 2014! I was obsessed with the side-pony textured up-do that I did for my bride Litsa above! Litsa & Jonas – what a gorgeous wedding :)  Why I picked this image, and how I would describe my style…Loose & Romantic! Are you surprised?  This is not to say we as stylists only like to do one style and don’t like other styles!  It would be like saying Chocolate or Ice Cream or Cookies and you can only have one category for the rest of your life!  But for me, if I were to pick one of these categories that describes my aesthetic, then it is that classic/timeless look for the makeup, and for the hair, I like it organic, whimsical, soft and touchable!  My criteria for picking images for this “2015 in review” post is that it’s a ‘fresh’ image I haven’t blogged before :) To all my beautiful brides from 2013-2015: If I haven’t posted your photos before, it’s not because I don’t love your photos or had a bride-gasm (my word for going to “Bridal Heaven” from feeling the sheer bliss and happiness your client is exuding in their photos) when I looked through the gallery!  Opening a dropbox or zip file, or any viewing gallery sent by the photographer feels like Christmas Morning.  It seriously does – when I have a challenging day – you know, the days when you feel like you are moving mountains, (believe me, all freelancers/small business owners have those days…) I go through the galleries and remember why I chose my profession, and I read the love notes that were sent to me by our clients and I’m instantly rejuvenated.  When I request the photos from the client/the photographer, I have every intention of blogging / posting / using it in a gallery / social media etc, but the reality is that I had to make decisions prioritizing what is I value the most as the business owner / creative director of Skyla Arts:

  1. Customer Service – Responding to client’s questions and concerns, coordinating with fellow vendors, making sure the bridal party feels prepared comes first.  The administrative things, I honestly do it to the best of my ability.  All Artists – no matter what kind, will enjoy doing the Art the most, versus the Business.  No contest there I think :)  But without proper admin/backend realities of running a business, it would just be chaos!  Chaos!  And here at Skyla Arts that’s not what we do here…we like to be organized, for clients and stylists alike to know what to expect, and do our best in each client situation – which, as you know, is unique!  No two weddings are alike nor identical – it is not a one-size-fits-all clientele!
  2. The Artistry – Everyone who has ever worked with me in any context will know that I have High Standards with the quality of the work.  I joke with my stylists “That’s why it’s ‘The Standard'” – hand gestures and all! :P It’s really hard to be me sometimes (Oh boohoo Liz..boohoo , I joke, I joke!) because having such high standards means having to work so much harder in order to maintain it or strive for it, and making sure everyone on the team, whether they are the core team or the auxiliary team, are on the same page.  Sometimes during a consultation, I’ll be explaining to my client how I’ll be making adjustments on their wedding day.  It’s not out of insecurity or fear that if I don’t explain it that I fear the client will not hire me. I am secure enough to say these thoughts out loud because on the client’s wedding day or special occasion, my priority is my client’s best interest. It’s not about me, my ego, or my artistry – it’s all about whether the artistry helps the client look and feel their best.  This translates into … if I have a free morning, I will be scheduling a #SkillsLab where my stylist come in and we work on specific skills in order to do it better.  We gotta bring it every time, every job.

Speaking of my Dream Team… I never had the pleasure of officially introducing them on my blog!  Click the link and head over there if you haven’t checked out their Bios and specialties!  Jerilyn’s gallery will be coming up soon, but, this year I’ve added the Artist Portfolio Tab in the gallery so you can search their portfolios highlights.  This means that on any given Saturday, we could handle 4 weddings at the same time.  I started growing my team in 2012 officially, but dream teams are not built in a day.  It takes trial & error, and then discovering what works for me and other people and what simply doesn’t work.  When I discuss with my makeup & hair colleagues in Seattle, Bay Area and LA, the general consensus is that they tell me I pay my associates a lot – and I respond with: “But I expect a lot.”  I expect you to quote me on this haha…in my opinion, Standards can be bought, but Loyality cannot be bought!  Which ties into my priorities above #1 and #2!  I can be flexible on other things, as long as it doesn’t affect Customer Service & The Quality of Artistry.  That is what Skyla Arts is all about! :)

If I had any ‘pearls of wisdom’ about being a small business owner is that as your business grows, changes and evolves, it’s inevitable that one must accept and embrace these changes.  For example…I used to celebrate/share wedding or stylized shoots publications on the blog, and really enjoy writing about it, but now I do my best to post the links on our Facebook Page and our Instagram and try my best to tag all the vendors.  I just learnt how to use Periscope today.  I don’t have time to catch-up on maximizing traffic from Pinterest.  And one thing I really enjoyed in the past is the blogging and sharing of my client’s photos of their special day.  If there’s one thing I wish I could trade, it would be that.  The other part that I had less opportunities to do is regularly meet and connect with fellow wedding vendors and other makeup & hair colleagues.  Or attend networking events.  I used to attempt a couple events a year, but honestly, this year I’ve managed 2 events.  I feel most terrible about the personal invitations to private gatherings – or simply staying in touch. Sorry :( If I missed saying Happy Birthday or didn’t RSVP to such a gathering…:( I really didn’t mean to!!!!

Now on to a few highlights from my stylists in 2015!  The order is based on when they joined my team :)

(c) Katch Silva

Photo: Katch Silva | Hair & Makeup: Camille

If I classified Camille’s bridal style, it would be the Classic & Elegant, with a touch of Loose & Romantic.   This was Camille’s last wedding of the 2015 season!  Sarah & Chris, and it was featured on Grey Likes Weddings, and I chose this as the highlight because of it is so much Camille’s style. What I/Skyla Arts work really hard on is making sure the makeup & hair artist and the client is a great match.  That is important to me – because – the client’s best interest is our priority, and, as a Bridal Makeup & Hair Agency, I want my team to love and be inspired by the clients they service as well.  In my humble opinion, the nature of our service is not like going in for an eyebrow wax, or a routine hair coloring.  Sure – that match in relationship is also very important, but the difference is we get our hair colored and eyebrow waxed periodically…! This is your wedding day, or you come see us for your special occasion – to celebrate your new born, your anniversary, your family for the holidays – it would be a special treat, and not as routine as an eyebrow wax!  When the match is great, it really is our pleasure and our honor to be a part of your special day, to be a part of celebrating the bride as a woman – that sounds cheesy, but so many times I feel, and I hear my stylists tell me: “What an inspiring person she [the bride] is – Wow.”  and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

EllieMarkSneak_06-2538x1694

Photo: The Weaver House | Hair & Makeup: Treja

There’s no question – Treja’s style is a blend of Classic & Elegant and Glamorous & Modern.  I was torn about which photo to select from this wedding, Ellie & Mark that was featured on Once Wed!  The inspiration was a slight nod to the Old Hollywood glamorous hair, but updated – a very classy and classic style – and when I shared with Treja Ellie’s inspiration, Treja was like: “Right on!” There were photos from this wedding that showcased the hair & makeup better {You can find more on Once Wed and also on The Weaver House’s blog!} but I loved the ones where the wind was blowing all crazy.  You see – what I feel is so charming about weddings and wedding photos is that it’s a snapshot – and it has that California / Marin / Coastal vibe that we love!  The reality is it’s windy – it can potentially mess up your hair – but – it’s A Moment!!!  And I am a sucker for these kinds of moments. Backlit, windblown, romance!  :) It was also a special memory because I had broken my toe earlier that week, and on the same day, I was servicing another lovely bride, and the bridal party I was at mentioned that Ellie is also getting married today – It turns out they all went to high school together – what a small world!  That’s certainly a first!

15_sanfranciscoweddingphotography

Photo: Pat Furey | Hair & Makeup: Angela

I would describe Angela‘s style as Glamorous & Modern.  Angela has been on most Skyla Arts events the last 2 years, and have been taking on Special Occasion clients as lead; starting 2016 season, Angela will be taking on her own weddings! Woohoo! :)  This one is from a stylized shoot shot by Pat Furey from Pennsylvania, and it was featured on Green Wedding Shoes!  You may recognize Jill & Alex from a previous “engagement inspiration” shoot, or other workshops – they are Stars Models, a real couple, and a joy to work with!  This shoot was in SF/Marin area – I wanted to showcase a bit of Angela’s style, which has a hint of glamour!  Angela also has a specialty with African American hair – just as an FYI!!!  What I appreciate about my team is that we have different strengths and interests.  Unity in Diversity – so to speak!  You can call it my anthem – pretty much.

jillian gorman

Photo: Jillian Gorman | Makeup-only: Jerilyn

A very interesting coincidence that Jerilyn has been doing makeup-only for the stylized editorial shoots! The teams had already found a hair stylist, but Jerilyn is actually pretty amazing at hair as well :) This was a shoot that happened in very recently, and I picked it to showcase how I feel Jerilyn’s style is in between Glamorous & Modern, and Classic & Elegant.  Jerilyn is the newest member of Team Skyla Arts (Her gallery is to come shortly!!) and will also begin taking leads in 2016!   Hurray!  To see more from this GORGEOUS unconventional bridal shoot, please head to Jillian Gorman’s Blog!

So that time I broke my toe in April 2015?  Yeah…that was a freak accident and it was probably the worst time for me to break a toe.  Thankfully, I had my dream team and was able to lean on both Jerilyn & Angela.  For that wedding, I was already booked for Friday, the rehearsal dinner makeup & hair, and then Saturday I had the bride’s makeup & hair, and another lovely bride on Sunday.  The thing I couldn’t have known about breaking a toe is my whole balance is off, and it was hard to stand on my feet for prolonged periods of time, and I would get joyful leg cramps (haha not joyful!), especially hard to balance if I’m pulling and using both hands for a blow-out. The broken toe happened the previous Saturday…I was like Oh Man.  What to do.  After working in LA, I assessed the situation and luckily I had my team available cover for me.  I chose not to tell my brides that weekend that I broke my toe because I didn’t want them to worry/panic; I was 100% confident that I could count on my team to step-up and step-in.  Jerilyn filled in and did 2 amazing blow-outs for the bride on my behalf while I did the bride’s makeup.  It was that weekend that I became certain that Angela & Jerilyn will both grow into great leads.

Stella & Dot Holiday Loobook

Manicures by Rosy | Makeup & Hair for left and center by Liz for Stella & Dot

Don’t think I forgot about Rosy (the nail artist)!  While we did not have any gigs via Skyla Arts as having on-location nail services has not *yet* been high in demand (hey! Just wanted to share with you that is a great unique service we also provide!), I had introduced her to my commercial/print agency and she was with me on set for Stella & Dot, and later she’s gone on to do nails for Old Navy.  She has also been on my editorial sets doing nails.  Rosy would often would share with me her days when she worked as a nail technician and esthetician at a very high-end salon/spa in Seattle.  The pearls of wisdom that was crucial to help me get to this dream team is that with our industry (The Beauty Industry), some people have it in them…and others just don’t – according to Rosy’s first manager.  At the time when Rosy was fresh out of Nail Tech school, she didn’t know what her manager saw in her.  It turns out that in the beauty industry, there’s an instinct to know what to do – and it’s not something that can be easily taught.  I used to think anyone can be successful in this industry if they put their heart to it, but experience proved me wrong.  The passion for being of service to others and to want to go above and beyond, and the desire to strive for excellence might just be, as Rosy’s manager said, Innate.  It’s already not about the makeup, or hair, or nails.

To wrap up, I am most humbled by the fact that I’m surrounded by these amazing, strong women on Team Skyla Arts.  I’m doing things differently as now we have each other to lean onto – together we are more!  My goal for Skyla Arts in 2016?  We don’t have goals as to how many weddings we should do, how many weddings we ought to do – we are happy to be there if you would like us to be there!  I know my team would agree that we’d like to continue giving our clients our absolute best service & artistry – and keeping our Standards up there!

We would like to send a BIG thank you to all of our clients and vendors…! And wish everyone an amazing 2016!!!