2019 NC Hair + Makeup Artist Summit Recap

I hope you are doing well so far this year, and that you’re enjoying the start of this beautiful summer!

At the start of this year, I planned and hosted another gathering for hair and makeup artists in my area, which I’ve called the NC Hair and Makeup Artist Summit! I decided to create and host this event somewhat on a whim last year, starting to plan in late January and hosting in mid-March. I had no idea what kind of undertaking it would be, or if anyone was even going to show up! You can read the recap from the first Summit here! It was such a sweet start, selling out and leaving the attendees excited and asking for an annual gathering.

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This year, we hosted the HMUA Summit at The McAlister-Leftwich House in downtown Greensboro, NC. Two members of our planning team are based in the Triad, and since it is still central, we decided to switch it up! The McAlister-Leftwich was the perfect space for our event, big enough to host our seminars and classes, speakers and attendees, yet cozy and beautiful so that we all felt like we were a part of something special and intimate!

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Because I had so much change happening over the last year both personally and professionally, I wasn’t even sure that I was going to host another Summit this year, but as more and more friends and HMUAs started reaching out asking about it, I decided to give it another whirl, and go big! I am a 4w5 on the enneagram - a huge dreamer and visionary (whilst lacking some of the finer skills & experience of large event planning) BUT with lots of hours put in, the help and hard work from my planning team, and the generosity of our contibuting vendors and sponsors, we made it happen, and it happened beautifully!!

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The Summit exists to create a safe and welcoming space for on-site hair and makeup artists to gather together for encouragement, connection, support, friendship, and continued education in our niche industry in our area. We believe that community is more powerful than competition, and that no one can understand and speak into what you do as an artist and business owner better than someone who, well, does what you do! We are stronger together!

We decided to span the event over two days, as the main feedback from last year was that the event could be longer. On day 1, we welcomed everyone in the morning, with free drinks & goodies from The Wired Cafe Coffee Bus and a mimosa bar. We had a welcoming brief, like a little family huddle, where I got to share the heart behind the Summit, speak life and encouragement into our niche industry in this area, and kick off the event!

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The first half of the day we had 8 classes for attendees to choose from at varying time slots, so each attendee could choose which 3 classes they wanted to be a part of most. Then we all met up back together for a killer seminar from Kate Bryan of The Small Things blog. This was an especially exciting time for me, as I have followed Kate’s career for years and have admired her tutorials which I had found via Pinterest. We are so grateful she came to spend some time and share her wisdom with us!

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That afternoon, we had another block of classes. You guys, our speakers were AMAZING. It was important for me to include our peers and invite them to share their knowledge, wisdom, and passion about varying topics related to our work. We touched on everything from creating partnerships when going into business with another person, contracts, how to use social media to benefit your work but not overtake your life, clean beauty, mental health, goal-setting, and an in-depth brush-up on kit sanitation! Even though I was running around quite a bit throughout, I tried to make time to attend as many classes as I could, and I was blown away! I learned so much and was so encouraged!

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We wrapped up Day 1 with such a fun cocktail hour, including live-spun organic cotton candy from Chicé Sugar and Beauty Steam Facials from Trellis Beauty. It was the perfect way to unwind after a long day and to let ourselves just enjoy being together, which such a rarity in our industry!

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Day 2 started bright and early for me and a few other gals who opted in for a sunrise yoga session led by Jordan of Wren’s Nest Yoga, right there in one of the beautiful rooms at McAlister-Leftwich! Honestly, this was one of my favorite moments from the event! I love yoga, but there was something so sweet, restful, and intimate about being in that gorgeous home with my friends, entering into the day with a pause, a breath, and getting into my body. It gave me a moment to wrap my head around all the hard work that had led to this (that WAS worth it!), to gather thankfulness & gratitude for the success of the first day, and to set an intention to really be present for Day 2 and finish strong.

Once we got cleaned up, everyone began arriving to mingle over breakfast and coffee. Then, we hosted a panel, which honestly was SO cool and such a huge step forward for our industry and how we interact with the vendors with whom we regularly work alongside. We invited 5 panelists who each represented different neighboring industries we as hair/makeup artists collaborate with on the reg - a photographer, videographer, stylist, panner, and venue owner/manager. We invited the panelists to share with us what they wanted our HMU industry to know/consider to serve them better, and we as a community got to share we them about some of the things we need from them to do our best job! It was powerful, and I hope we can create another opportunity to continue that dialogue. The main takeaways from that time was that as a creative team of vendors, there really can’t be too much communication with one another to best serve each other and our clients! Additionally, but equally as important, communicating mutual respect creates safe places for those on the team to do their best creative work! We need each other!

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We filled out the rest of the morning with another block of classes, then all met back together for our closing lunch together. With a toast (and an amazing cake courtesy of Ten Bloom Cakes), we wrapped up the event! Everyone was buzzing with a sense of thankfulness, being encouraged by one another, and feeling more known than when they arrived. The biggest thing I’ve heard about the event since then? That we really, really want this to be a regular occurrence in our community.

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Though I don’t know what my personal involvement will be for future events, I do know that there will be future events to continue the heart and vision of connecting our community in a spirit of encouragement! Please stay tuned for future Summits!

A special thank you to all our speakers:

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& Our Sponsors:

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& Our contributing vendors:

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& The planning team:

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& Our Panelists:

And thank you to everyone who made it out to the Second Annual NC HMUA Summit! I love y’all and am so thankful for you!

Here’s to seeing how this thing will grow!

Sam

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Life Since "Closing Down"

Hello friends!

Welcome back to this little corner of the internet, my small expression over the years of things I’ve been enjoying in the beauty world, things I’ve been up to in life and in work, and other random tidbits that have kept me writing and checking in with myself. There are some gems in here from over the years, and it feels good to be back in this little space with an update!

Last July (2018), I made the announcement that, after finishing out my 2018 season, I would be closing down the doors of LULA. At that time, the decision was a year and a half in the making, with many iterations of what changes should take place to make LULA a thing I could keep loving and ministering through. Because of the volume of inquiries coming in daily, it was helpful for me to make such a strong and drastic boundary to give myself the real time & space to truly assess where I wanted to go from there! 

For a few years, I had been working most days of the week through LULA (think trials, engagement sessions, and a smattering of other photoshoots ranging from maternity to headshots to corporate shoots) and almost every weekend of the year for weddings. I was so thankful to have so many opportunities to work doing something so creative! After a while at this pace, however, I knew something had to change. Taking breaks seemed like a luxury that I wasn’t always able to sink into because of the amount of work on my plate. When I wouldn’t listen to my mind and heart, the stress starting showing up in my body in ways I couldn’t ignore. This shift had been taking shape since my first experience with anxiety and panic attacks in the beginning of 2017.

While there are many pointers out there on starting businesses, there aren't many on how to reduce business or close a business down, so I've just gone with the flow, checked in with myself many (many) times throughout the process, consulted many trusted friends and mentors, and have tried to be patient with myself. Thank you for journeying with me!

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So what does life and LULA look like now?

I’ll admit, starting 2019 without any weddings scribbled on my weekends was a totally weird and somewhat disorienting experience, half distressing (what-have-I-done-and-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life!?!?) and half euphoric/blissful (THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION EVER!) John is at a point in his career that has allowed me space to take less work, which is a gift I am thankful for.

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  1. During last fall, while I finished up my hair/makeup commitments, I started building another creative project, which focuses heavily on my writing, giving me a web home to continue sharing which isn’t directly related or limited to the beauty or wedding world. I’m excited to share that SO soon!! (If you’re a part of my Gazette community, you’ll have seen a little peek of it from that newsletter!)

  2. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to record a new song, which I am hoping will kickstart a full-length music project that I am so so pumped about. Music has been a major player in my life and passions and I’m just so excited to have the space to grow that and keep creating in that capacity! That little songlette will be out in just a few weeks! (Stay tuned on my personal insta for music updates!)

  3. I’ve been able to continue enjoying hair and makeup styling! I knew I wanted to keep my kit to do some select beauty gigs, but I have been surprised at the opportunities that have popped up that have kept me working at least once a week since the beginning of the year. I’ve been able to be there to bless friends who have gotten married this spring, have had several clients for maternity, newborn, and boudoir sessions, speaking engagements, and special events. This pace has been so encouraging and gives me plenty of space to continue with my other creative endeavors!

  4. And I’ve been able to dabble in a little creative direction for a couple of brand photoshoots! I hope I get to keep growing in this field, because I really enjoy casting a whole creative vision that involves space, wardrobe, posing, styling, models - the overall feel and story.

It’s a lot of avenues, but I’m excited to step into a season where I’m living a little more fully as who I am! I’ve pursued a business coach to have a wise voice speak into my career from a birds-eye view and help me make some goals (can’t wait to tell you more about that!) And I’ve been enjoying working “Theme Days,” a concept I picked up from Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing podcast (episode 73 if you wanna take a listen!)

Other than work, life since last July has been a whirlwind!

We purchased a small country cottage on an acre of land in Wake Forest, totally renovating the existing structure while keeping the same teensy footprint. We remained living in our downtown Raleigh apartment until moving into our new home just before Christmas, setting up a tree (we bought one of 4 last scraggly Christmas trees off the lot!) amidst all of our half-unpacked boxes.

Personally, the last few months have looked like settling in, a lot of Facebook marketplacing, a few trips (Beaufort, Mountain City TN, Greenville SC, and Millboro VA), enjoying a new pace of life and work, and figuring out what shape and rhythm my new work is going to take!

All that to say, I am happy that I will continue taking non-bridal clients for the foreseeable future!

So if you need hair and/or makeup for a photoshoot of any kind - maternity, family, newborn, headshots, a brand photoshoot - for PR or promotional media shoot, editorial work, for a special event (birthday party, gala, formal), or for a personal consultation, please contact me here!

I hope you’re having an amazing spring, and I’ll see you here and on the new web-home, too, I hope!

Love,

Sam

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A special thank you to Lindsey Cash Photography for capturing these images in our new home! Linds, you are amazing at what you do!

Featured in Vogue Italia

If you've been following my social media over the last month, you may have seen some hubbub about some editorial images I was involved in that got featured in Vogue Italia.  Well, it's true!  Since editorial isn't a huge part of my portfolio at the moment, I wanted to provide the backstory to this awesome experience!

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Sometime in the beginning of February, my friend Kristin Robbins of Tyger Alexis reached out to me in search of a makeup artist for a fun editorial shoot later that week.  I jumped at the chance to stretch my creative, artsy muscles (which is definitely my home as a super creative person!) and to work with people I love and admire so much.  Kristin, the stylist for the shoot, and I go way back as we both grew up in Raleigh in similar circles of friends, and I always remembered her as a girl with a golden personality - warm, inviting, and radiant!  Katie Manselle, the hair stylist, I know from church and have totally celeb-style admired for a while!  She owns her own salon and is a top creator for Oribe, frequenting NYC for fashion weeks and photo shoots.

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So of course I said a resounding YES, felt a little nervous, and then just went with it.  We shot at Katie's hair studio (Culture Hair Studio) in Durham and I brought my paints knowing that the makeup looks were going to be super editorial.  I met Jennifer Cole, who is the kind genius behind the photography and submitted the shots to Vogue Italia (which I didn't know!) and Cayce Tucker, the sweetest model represented by 3 BBM.  We giggled and chatted while doing crazy makeup and had the quickest changeovers imaginable.  It definitely put things into perspective about how much time I allot for bridal work!  It's so different, and so great because of that!

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We did three looks for the day: the pear with pink rectangle eyes, the blue jumpsuit with a 3-toned shadow on one eye, and the moot-inspired jumpsuit with the one white stripe.  Jennifer had the basic inspiration for makeup - I just had fun working within those visions with what I had and what I felt would be fun!

It was a quick shoot, but out of that came two features on Vogue Italia's Best Of Photovogue!  Here is the link to the images on their website.  

Katie and I (along with some of her girls in the studio, Ali and Meg) talked about the importance of just playing.  Especially as a creative earning money from creative work, it's so so valuable to take time to just create for fun, to go so outside the boundaries of what you normally do, and enjoy the freedom of it.  It totally benefits what you do for your day job, too!

Thank you Jennifer, Katie, Kristin, and Cayce for allowing me to play and enjoy the afternoon with you!

Here's to much more fun in what I love to do!

Sam