In this episode, we have a candid conversation with Sharon Becker, a renowned makeup artist in the luxury wedding industry. Sharon shares her experiences and the importance of communication and trust in building a connection with clients. She also talks about how collaboration between vendors is essential to the success of a wedding.
Sharon discusses her hobbies and passions, including traveling, working out, and spending time outdoors. She emphasizes the importance of self-care and preparation for brides-to-be, recommending that they hire vendors who make them feel good, heard, and seen.
Overall, this episode is packed with insightful advice and engaging stories from a seasoned professional in the world of luxury weddings.
Listeners can find Sharon Becker at the following locations:
Be sure to visit her website and follow her on social media for updates, tips, and inspiration.
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To view Julian Ribinik's stunning wedding photography portfolio, visit our website at http://www.julianribinikstudios.com. Also, be sure to follow us on Instagram @julianribinikstudios for the latest updates, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and beautiful wedding inspiration.
welcome We have Sharon Becker this week on our podcast. If you don't know Sharon, you have to know who she is. And she's famous and well known, and she will deny that makeup and beauty and hair artist in New York City. Everyone in wedding industry know her.
And if you don't know Sharon, you're probably not in the wedding industry in New York City. I'm doing this in 2009 in the city, and I think you have since 2011. And I see you everywhere all the time. So we meet at different events and we at weddings and style shoots.
I think. I worked with you the most if I'm looking back, ah, over the years for weddings. So welcome Sharon and how have you been?
Thank you so much for that overly generous introduction. Not everybody knows me, but yes, I am in New York and I'm doing very well. Thank you so much for having me.
That's very modest. That just shows how much of a good person you are and how professional
you are. Now that you mentioned styled shoot, I am now remembering where we met and that was at the Ceci's cover shoot on that rooftop.
Actually, I think you recommended me to Cici for the shoot.
Then how did
we meet? I do not remember, but I think it was many weddings beforehand because I was getting your Cards for Valentine's Day way before that.
Really? The cards are no longer, which is why you didn't get one this year because first time and we're saving trees. But that's a good, I'm glad you enjoyed the cards.
I'm glad that somebody actually read them and remembered them. I
actually do because it's so rare. And it was first time like we got it. Wow. And every year you're doing this, that, shows how care you are about people and nice and about trees too. Now,
apparently, it's so funny because this year I decided not to do it because I just didn't feel like they had an impact.
And I sat around between November and February wondering what do I do with my time now? Because previously I would spend hours and hours working on my mailing list, working with the graphic designer, and then in a 13 hour spurt, I would mail merge all of the. Labels, slap them on the on the envelopes, write a little note on every single card and then process the whole thing myself, and then carry them in many, cloth bags down to the mailboxes.
And I have to go to multiple mailboxes so I could slip them in. So all over the East Village, the mailboxes were stuffed with my Valentine's cards, but it took hours and I did it on my own. And this year I thought what do I do with my time now? I never sit around, but it was like the equivalent of my sitting around, which is more working.
I, think we are all busy and definitely from knowing you, you probably find yourself to do something else. Like you're always busy We do a lot of stuff and you don't get feedback from people. Yeah. But when you don't do stuff, people suddenly oh, like I was expecting this and bad.
So people do notice.
That's so true. If you weren't on Facebook nudging me about sunlight and 30 grams of protein I, would notice that. I would notice the absence.
Yes. And I'm not trying to nudge people, but I think that's useful.
That's useful. Very well. You're not nudging people to do anything dangerous.
You're nudging people to do healthful things like get out from behind their computer and go outside.
Yes. To, be out. There's sun and I'm here. I know. But to, to my defense. I got so many allergies with this. Every plant gives me
one Yep. And the grass too. Yep.
Yep. I'm crying or I'm sneezing
so moving to New Jersey wasn't that amazing. But no, it's really great here. And look, we're talking about weddings, grass, and I
know, I know.
So who is Sharon Becker? How did you get to do what you do?
And as I mentioned and maybe you will deny it again, but most wedding vendors who work with Bright know you If. Anyone is present for getting ready of the bride and it's New York City, there's no chance they don't know you unless they are not really in New York City. So how did you get and new flash from being an actress to do this to the
It was a long road. So I graduated NYU with the BFA and drama and a minor in art history back in the 1830s. And you graduated
1830s? Yep. Yep. I graduated back in the 1830s. Yep. I moved to New York City, I moved to Manhattan when there were dinosaurs, roaming times square. So I graduated with the BFA and drama and what was I supposed to do?
So I didn't wanna wait tables because I felt like compulsive eating wouldn't be a good look. And I opened up the New York Times, which is a newspaper printed. On actual paper. And Macy's was hiring for holiday and I thought, oh, they'll give me a job. So I strolled into Macy's and they put me at the Prescriptives counter, which is a brand that isn't even with us anymore.
It was one of the Estee Lauder brands. And I was there for the holiday season and it was so young and dumb, Julian that I didn't know. I was only a holiday hire. So in January they brought me into a meeting room and they said, okay, we liked working with you, we wanna keep you now that the holiday season is over and, I was so dumb.
I'm like, but I work here. What do you mean Kate? May? So I was at Macy's for four years, still always at the same Prescriptives counter. And then I moved over to Bergdorf Goodman again at the Prescriptives counter. And I. I was there for four years. So I was on counter for about eight years and during that time I would work like three jobs a day because I was young and I had the energy.
And also I was like a young actress on my own and I needed to make money. So I did my auditions and my plays and my classes cause I always kept up with my classes and I was working at the makeup counter and I was giving out, you're gonna laugh at this one. I worked for a liquor marketing agency and I would go to bars and hand out drinks.
Good job Uhhuh. I didn't hand out actual cocktails, but I handed out cocktail cards and tried to induce people to try our new recipes and when there was nothing to do with the bar and nobody there cuz it was like a Tuesday night, I had to learn to talk to strangers. And previously i, didn't know how to talk to people.
I was just a kid from the suburbs and I didn't have any social graces. But if you're in a bar for three hours, you and you're going to be there three Tuesdays in a row. You better learn to talk to strangers and make the best of it. So I learned how to talk to people, and I worked with this agency for a number of years.
Then nine 11 happened, and I was scheduled to be at Bergdorfs that day. And obviously the store was closed and I went into work the next day on September 12th, and it was an eye-opening experience. And I was at the end of my auditioning career. I can't call it an acting career because I didn't get much work, but it was more like an auditioning career.
And nine 11 happened, and if you didn't get the memo from living through nine 11, Then you're not going to get any memo ever. And the memo was, live your life, go out there and try to enjoy life because it's not gonna last forever for sure. And anything could happen at any time. So you have to go out and actively find your bliss.
And my bliss was no longer working at the makeup counter in Frank at bars. And my bliss was definitely not my auditioning career. So I started to think maybe, I'm done with this. Maybe I can put this part of my life behind me. And my boyfriend at the time was very supportive and around New Years after nine 11, so just a few months after the nine 11 events.
I came out to him and said, I don't think I need to do this acting thing anymore. And he said, I've been waiting for you to tell me that. Of course I never should have been acting anyway. It wasn't like meant for me, but he also thought that there was much that I could do with my education and my charisma.
So there's a lot of that. So what I did was I kept going for another four months with my professional voice and speech class for the actor. It was a two year master program and voice and speech for the actor focusing on Shakespeare. And I was always very passionate about Shakespeare and I believe in finishing things.
Obviously not if they're destructive and unhealthy, but I loved the work and I was still unsure about what I was doing, and you're getting the long form story of this. But I finished the Shakespeare class, finished the voice class, and then I was ready to go. So I got a full-time job as an assistant at the events company that sent me out to the bars to Hawk Liquor, quit the makeup company, started working in special events, worked my way up in special events for seven, eight years.
And then I realized that that wasn't for me either, but I learned business, I learned events, I learned how to use a computer, believe it or not. That's
useful. What do,
cause I didn't grow up with computers because I was around during the dinosaur age. So I learned business systems, which was helpful.
And my friends always said you love doing makeup and we love when you do makeup for our TV appearances and our weddings, so just do makeup. So I hung out a shingle and then I got started and I started networking. I had another boyfriend during my events era who told me something that I did not know, which is that part of my value as a worker, not my value as a person, but my value as a worker and to business was my Rolodex.
And I did not know that. So I learned that all the gold was in my Rolodex as she holds up her iPhone that was the gold. And it's not like I'm great at making friends. It's not like I'm the coolest person. It's just that I pursue relationships. And that little phrase from that one long ago boyfriend really turned things around for me.
And that's one of your further on down the line questions is where is the gold? The gold is in the relationships. So that's what I learned at that point. And then when I started freelancing, when I hung out a shingle and came up with a logo in a business name, literally off the top of my head, I knew that I had to dig into my relationship.
So I emailed everybody on my mailing list. Everybody said, Hey, I'm doing makeup now. Let me do your makeup for anything, absolutely anything. Let me follow you around with my makeup brushes. So I got my kit together and I scraped myself together however I could. And I started doing makeup just like that.
And here you are. Here I am. And a couple of months later, I joined a global networking group and I started doing headshots right away. And I met people, met a lot of people. I learned that meeting photographers is the way to go. And business took off. And of course they were slow going. And there were trials and mistakes, but that's basically how I did it.
I dug into my relationships
This is very valuable point that you're bringing up. That is very important for anyone really to understand whoever they are, if they're wedding vendor or selling insurance. Not a vendor. Yeah. For any person really, because it's not gold. It's, way more than that.
Yeah. Because we are. Defined by our surroundings if we want it or not. So people who are, we are connected to either elevate us or bringing us down. And someone can criticize this, but if we are connected to people who doing things that we want to do or support things that we want to do, we will elevate ourselves and we'll get bare and bare at that.
And if our surroundings are not supportive or what we want to be, or maybe we don't know what we want to be, and that surrounding is very negative, then we just going down. That, is something that I wish I knew years before.
You need to know people if you want to be better, if you want to
improve people, if you want to be in this world, not just in the wedding world, but in the world in general. Exactly. You have to know people so that you can share ideas and build connections because obviously we thrive on relationships as a species, but also that's how we share knowledge
and this is how we learn.
Yep, absolutely. How did this connections that you had helped you with starting your career and how's it helping now?
It was vital. I started going to these weekly networking meetings because I had nothing else to do, and also as part of the organization. So I would go to every networking meeting I could, and there was one day, just a couple of months in when I was at a meeting and a wedding florist showed up at the meeting and I got all excited and I asked her for coffee after the meeting.
I complained that wedding planners weren't responding to my emails. And she said, wake up. Of course they're not responding to your emails. You're, nobody right now. You just started. They'll respond to your emails when you establish yourself, but for right now, why don't you focus on photographers because they need you.
They need you for head shots, they need you for weddings, they need you for author book covers . So make friends with photographers, that was incredibly valuable advice. Starting then and to this day obviously here I am, but it helped me look at relationships in a different way.
So you can't start right at the very top of the food chain. You have to work your way up the food chain and every step along the food chain is filled with valuable relationships, with really important, wonderful people. And that building these relationships,
it's more than just about getting work. It's about building your life and surrounding yourself by people who are like-minded who might become friends and sharing the gifts that you have.
I, totally agree. And I think I now remembered the wedding that we met at it was Christmas wedding. It was in Rockefeller Center.
was difficult. That was difficult. Yeah. Yeah, that was a tough one. Remember that one? I remember
that one Bride's name was Michelle.
Ah, I don't remember her name, but I remember it was difficult. Yeah But, Dad said I love a holiday wedding. I love a holiday wedding in Midtown. And we did another holiday wedding at God, the weather was great.
It was a guaino, but it was like November, December. . Love a holiday wedding.
Gustav Venus is always great . So
Barky Lights said, that's where we met. .
All right. You said that this is what you want to do. What about doing this right? And you are like so much more than just doing makeup, but so why don't you tell us what exactly you are doing and why does that bring you joy?
I can say from a lot of experience, because we see makeup artists at every wedding, that there's a lot of people who, and by the way, not just makeup artists, obvious, like any vendor who come to do their job and, they don't want to be there. They just trying to do something they're just like, I want my money and I want to go away.
They're not communicating with anyone. They don't look like they want to be there and fairly. Not being comfortable at what they do. And that shows in what they do, that shows in their work. It's not a great experience for the client?
Whoever that is, it's not a great experience for anyone around. And you are completely different. You're like always there and you're talking and you're like helping everyone and that really, stands out. So what makes you go? , you present, you are happy, you love doing this,
I absolutely love doing makeup.
I love it. Every face is a new puzzle for me to solve. And every personality is a new person to this is gonna sound corny, but to fall in love with
No not, If you like, really understand and know what you're doing Yeah.
I, things, I do love to solve the puzzle of each face.
And then I love to connect with people, which isn't to say that I'm not an introvert because I am, because I need to, I definitely need my time alone to recover from connecting with so many people. But I love to connect with people and I love to help people feel really good. People walk into my room or sit in my chair with.
Tons of insecurities because it's a compare and despair culture. And I want people to feel really good in their skin because if I can make somebody else feel really good in their skin, then maybe I will learn how to feel good in my skin. So it really goes back to me. It's all about me. But I am very driven by my love of craft, and then I'm also driven by, again, relationships.
I want to help my photographer have a great day because then I get great pictures. I want to help the planner have a great day because then I get great pictures and more referrals. But in general, I just like to help people have a good experience because I want to have a good experience. If I wanted to stress and have a terrible time at work, I'd get another office job, but that's not at all what I want.
I want to enjoy myself and help people have a really elevated experience. So I'm just really passionate about the work and about the relationships. And you love people. I don't.
I love some people. When I'm in work and I have people in my chair, , I'm focusing one-on-one on them, and then I can see their beauty and humanity. But when I'm in midtown and I'm schlepping 40 pounds of makeup and people are walking all over me and not letting me cross the street, and cars are honking, then I don't like people at all.
That's a very nice way to put it. Yeah. I feel crushed by humanity, but when I'm face-to-face with people one-on-one and I can really focus on who they are and what they're looking for from their makeup, then I can see and appreciate their humanity.
We're all very fragile creatures. We all just wanna be Yes, we're
and love. And we can be stressed, we can have a bad day, and then we'll reflect on others and not in a good way. And one of the goals that I have in the last seven years since I changed what I'm doing with myself and my health is to pay attention and to not project whatever I'm feeling at any given point on anyone else.
And that's a really important part of a health journey or journey of mourning or reconnecting with yourself or connecting with yourself for the first time, is that you can put other people's needs ahead of yours for a few moments, and you can also connect with them and see that maybe they are having family pressures on a wedding day or maybe they didn't eat.
Maybe they haven't gotten outside and haven't breathed. Maybe they're having a hard morning, maybe they wish they were getting married. So there are all sorts of feelings that can be happening. And if you are in touch with yourself and you are connected to yourself, then you can extend that compassion to other people
It's also important to help others in this. People mostly are not aware of how or what is actually happening to them and why they behave certain way and why they're always annoyed. Yeah. Or, and if we go back to wedding day is something that, that can be very stressful for a couple, especially for a bride.
It also kicks up a lot of feelings and most people just go through their day and they don't look at their feelings. But wedding days can kick up a ton of feelings, family feelings. I can't stand this one. I love that one, but she's not available. Or, I hate spending all this money, or I'm getting pressure because I'm spending money and I'm not supposed to be.
Or why isn't the weather cooperating? Why isn't my dress cooperating? Why can't I stop eating so I can fit into my dress?
Why is it digital late? Or photographer for that point. So no one blames me that I'm projecting someone else.
Or why is my mother late to zip me into the dress? Yes.
And where is my dad for the first look? Why is everybody drunk? Yes. That, that's a given. And this is actually very good point for those who don't know. I also have a wellness business where I help people to feel better in general, like weight loss and energy and things like that. So we are working with quite a lot of our future brides to prepare them for the wedding. And someone comes to look better in the dress. And by the way, my wife is a away boudoir photographer, so there's a lot of brides who go to her to get something special for the groom as a wedding day present. And on the way I help brides typically to get in shape. One very important thing that we do with brides, and thank you to all my brides is we prepare them for the stress of the waiting day to, because like you typically do it once and you get there and you have no idea how it's going to happen.
And, but, and you are very stressed about everything. Ahead of time. It didn't start, there's a week ahead and we are so stressed, especially if there's no wedding planner, and this is why I recommend to everyone hire a wedding planner. Have a great wedding planner, because otherwise you are transferring all the unnecessary stress to yourself.
Maybe you're saving some money, but you may be ruining your day on the way and , this is the day you want to relax. Yeah. Yeah. So we are helping our brides typically because grooms are typical. I'm, not stressing to understand how the day is going to be and what are the things that they can expect and what are things that might be wrong.
But they actually not important. Even if you invested a ton of money in your flowers and your invitations in whatever it is, it just doesn't matter. If one flower is broken or the invitation is not there or something didn't arrive, or your vendor is late, because in the end, and we make sure we're never late.
But to that point, if someone is late and that ruins your mood and then your wedding is not going to be as fun, or you will be stressed during your ceremony, which you, are already stressed enough about getting married and you thinking oh my God. Like my like some, something else has happened, it's not going to be fun.
So we teach rice to let it go, to be prepared to know okay, it's, something might happen, something always happens and it can be stain on a dress during the shoot, or it can be broken nail or it can be florist that, or it could be didn't arrivee
on time, flowers that you wanted. Got lost on the airplane from Chile and the floors had to substitute a different flower.
And it's not the Flo's fault. It's a global problem.
Yes. Especially during, yeah, after covid time. Yeah. Yeah.
It's a live event and things happen. Yes. But yeah, smart vendors really prepare their clients. So I, my preparation starts with the initial phone call. So I get an inquiry from a client who's referred to me by a planner, photographer, vendor a venue or best yet from a happy previous client.
And before anything else happens, I book a phone call with them. And I give really good phone. And the reason why I give really good phone is not only that I'm a trained voiceover artist, but also I've done weddings before. So I have years of experience and I know the complications and I know the joys, and I know how to prepare for inevitable interruptions.
So I ask them all about what they're looking for, what they have booked so far, what kind of vibe they're looking for, how they wanna feel on the morning of the wedding. Then I talk about our services and what we provide, and I also address how we're going to handle anything that comes up that's in our wheelhouse.
Then I walk them through the things that might happen, and I talk about how our preparation. Helps them relax knowing that this is taken care of, that's taken care of. They have a timeline for the day. If I'm not present, then all of my artists are incredibly prepared for the day. Everybody knows what's happening, what time it's going to happen, what the expectations are.
If there are any family relationships that we need to mind that has been communicated to our team and where they're supposed to be physically and when and what their end time is. Everybody is very well prepared, so when the client knows that our vendor team is prepared, They have extra confidence knowing that they'll be taken care of on that front.
And I also convey, hey you have a wedding planner, but I'll also be following right behind the photographer. So if you need me to hold flowers, I'm happy to hold flowers if you have a dresser. But she happens to be like, handling your mom. I can fluff your dress. It's okay. You will be taken care of.
So that's not only is that the level of service that we provide, but it's the level of handholding that we provide so that they understand that it's going to be okay. That they don't have to be nervous. And they may be nervous just because it's a big day. It's a very exciting moment to get all of your friends and family together and to take on this momentous ceremony and life of marriage.
I would be nervous about that part, but they don't have to worry that their eyeliner's going to drip because A, it's waterproof and B, we'll be right there behind the photographer picking up any drips. So that's the relationship building that we offer and that can help people really relax. That's our goal, is to help people really relax and enjoy the day.
This is so important. Our clients, and I'm sure you, a lot of your stu, they are very successful people who are very much in control in their day-to-day job. Yeah. Yep. We are in New York City, our clients are finance people, doctors, lawyers, They're always in control and this, they suddenly puts them in a place where they are not.
Things are happening and so many things that are happening at once, and they cannot do much about what's going on, it doesn't depend on them. Yeah. And it's so important to let it go and not try to control everything because you can't, and whatever you do, you just won't be able to do it.
And if anything happens, you will also blame yourself. Which is so bad. It's they're not getting married every day. And it's all of those vendors and all those, things and all of this planning comes together in a couple of hours, literally.
It has to come right. If you try to control everything yourself it's huge stress. Some people get nervous breakdown at the reception of the ceremony during speeches or, before that. It's, not worth it. Because in the end it's all about getting married and have very important Kim moment in and then have fun.
Yeah. Celebrating the actual occasion rather than worrying about the flowers and the dress and the eyeliner and why isn't this person ready? We can look at the big picture because we've done this literally hundreds of times, but I, having never been married, imagine that it would be nerve-wracking to depend on other people, but that's why you have to invest in the right vendors.
And if you want a DIY wedding, and that's what you can afford. Everybody understands budget constraints, but you can't expect your wedding to be a certain way unless you invest in it and make it a certain way and hire the right people who are going to be who you can depend on to create a level of service and a level of luxury where you know that you literally just have to show up
a hundred percent talking about do it yourself.
Weddings, we do suggest to people if it's not really important to you just don't have that vendor altogether. Just don't do that thing. Don't
hire somebody who is affordable. Yeah. Don't hire the girl from the mall to do your makeup because she might not show up. You might get, pink eye, she might be late.
She might not be professional and your, family might not like her. So . DIY or really invest. Yeah.
And like maybe you don't have the finance, not just don't get married now or get married in city home, half celebration after. It doesn't need to be something stressful or you don't need to do it at any cost, or you can always do it after.
Yeah. And I think it's a good segue to Covid because so many weddings had to be pushed or canceled during that awful period. And I'm proud to say that we had over 40 weddings that we are supposed to happen during that period. And none was canceled. We had to work with couples and venues to move weddings several times, And we have some weddings that were rescheduled four times. We have some weddings that didn't happen yet, and they're happening this year or next year.
People have children already. I know. I've done two weddings where the couples have kids and That's great.
Yes. Have a baby live your life. We're not getting any younger. Yes. And they gorgeous weddings.
Gorgeous. And that shows that it doesn't really matter. It didn't happen then. It happens now with everyone that you wanted to be there. And maybe that period even help you to understand who do you want to be there.
Yeah. Yeah. And now those weddings are so much fun.
Yeah, yeah. Those weddings have been very special.
And how was this , transition? During the covid what happened for you? How COVID, how did you
navigate? Yeah. Covid was really important for me. Just setting this up here in New Jersey at my boyfriend's apartment, I had a flashback to 2020 when we were jostling, we were, the two of us were jostling for wifi.
He had to get an extra router. We were exhausting the wifi, we're exhausting each other. He's at his desk and I'm in the bedroom. I'm on the porch, I am out on the lawn. I'm taking calls and zoom meetings everywhere I can. So first of all, in 2019, March of 2019, my dad passed. And that was a monumental experience for me and a monumental loss.
And I, it was. Early spring, so I had a little bit of time to process, but then we just dove right into the wedding season. And before my first two weddings, after the memorial service, I called up the two hairstylists I was going to work with at those two weddings. I said, look, this is what happened. So if I need to take a bathroom break to cry it out, I need you to understand that you gotta do a little tap dance until I get out of the bathroom.
And everybody was so kind to me. But the end of 2019 was great. It was exhausting, but I was still feeling down. So January of 2020, I thought, okay, this is it. This is my year. I'm gonna kill it this year, and then come March. Yep. So January, February and early March of 2020, we were going gang busters.
I was so busy in the winter, and then we had the lockdown. I thought, oh, because I don't know anything about global health or diseases infections. I know nothing. I'm like, it's gonna be three weeks, we're gonna be back. And then three weeks turned into two months. All, my June weddings will happen, and then I'm rescheduling June weddings.
So I took the time to decompress and to really work on the morning process. Which was very intense and really necessary and extremely worthwhile. And I highly recommend to anybody who has the actual time and resources to dive into a morning process to do it because it's revolutionary. And that's why many cultures have morning processes.
While I was doing that though, I rebuilt both of my websites, the bridal and the fashion pages. I got a business coach, I got on a business software, so I joined Deb Soto, so I'm no longer using Word Documents. Yay. Hello Automation. I know. I. Got a bookkeeper. No, I got a bookkeeper years before. What am I talking about?
I did so many smart, good things with my business that I had never done before, cuz I never had the time and I never had the resources and then of course, or I didn't think I had the resources. Then of course I'm on unemployment, p I'm like, let's spend the money. So getting all of those business things in place was incredible.
It was, I should have done it 10 years ago, but coulda, shoulda a woulda. I did it in 2020 and I've never looked back. Then another thing I did, which is super special, oh, first of all, we all re completely redid our makeup and hair kits. Everybody redid their kits down to the studs. So I got a new bag. I started depoing everything, and there's been a Makeup Depoing Revolution kit.
Kit restructuring is like a huge fashion these days and I dove right in because I love to put things in tiny little packages. I started depoing everything. COVID really opened up everybody's eyes to sanitation, so I looked at my kit and I saw where I could improve. And now when I go to a wedding or a photo shoot, every client has their own brush kit.
So I have 10 identical brush sets. And when I come home from an event, I spot clean my brushes with a terrible poison and then I wash them with bar shampoo and warm water and set them out to dry overnight. Then I alcohol the handles and. Every client gets the iden, same identical brushes in a pencil case with their name on it.
So when it comes time to touch up at the end of the day or before they walk down the aisle, I just pull out their handy dandy brushes that already have their face on them, and I touch them up and everybody's amazed and I feel really comfortable and confident about my sanitation situation. And everybody else is super impressed and they feel very well taken care of because they know that I have a brush kit just for them all the way down to flower girls.
So I demand that of all of my team as well. Then during C O v Zipcar was very unreliable. I got screwed a couple of times and it was really bad. I didn't miss a wedding. I was never more than five minutes late to set up, but it took years off my life. So in 2021, I got a car, my nice car. I actually, in summer of 2021, I went down to your neighborhood to the farm, the flower farm, to look at the sunflowers.
And I'm like, should I bother Julian? No. Yeah, you should have. No, but you're like busy raising your kids and lifting heavy weights. So, I rented a car for the day and I'm like, this is it. I'm getting a car. So I got my very first car. She, her name is Dame Judy. She lives in New Jersey with my boyfriend and his dog, and she's the best thing ever.
So I got a car because, I cannot rely on Zipcar on somebody's wedding day. One day, it was October of 2020, this client was supposed to have her wedding at New York Botanic Gardens in the Bronx, and in October of 2020 the Botanic Garden was still shut down for events totally shut down, and the clients really wanted to get married.
It just so happens that her family has an incredible estate on Lake Mayo Pack. So Abigail Ksh catering took everything and brought it to the estate. They cut the guest list by two thirds. I gave them a name of a wedding planner who. Could help them re coordinate everything. And they took everything up to Lake Mayak.
I almost didn't make it to Lake Mayo Pack. Zipcar changed my reservation location to a different place. I had to take an Uber to that location, couldn't find the location. When I found the location, the Zipcar wouldn't start. I'm on the phone with Zipcar and I get somebody who's intelligent and he's trying to start the car or find me another car.
And while I'm on speaker phone with him, I'm on Uber calling an Uber to get up to Lake Mayo Pack. And I told the Zipcar guy, look, I'm gonna have to call you on Monday because my Uber's coming cuz this is not a child's first birthday party. This is somebody's wedding day. Uber driver stepped on the gas and got me to Lake Maya pack.
I'm texting the wedding planner, telling her my story. I call the bride, I say, here's the situation. I'm going to be five minutes late to show up, but I will be there. And she said, don't worry about it. We got it under control. That was one thing about Covid clients is that they had a little bit better perspective, for sure, a little bit better perspective.
I was five minutes late, got everybody done. We had a gorgeous day, and then boom, I got my own car because I can't be late for things like that. So that's what I did during Covid. Oh, I got a lawyer to redo my bridal contract and then I put the contract up on doa. I'm like a total whiz kid now, Julian.
That's an, insane story about covid and, what's special about it? Because most people, whoever they are, if you ask like, how was Covid? They will say, oh, but it was horrible. No. Yeah. Mean all they will tell will be negative. Yeah. And look at you tell 'em like, oh, it helped me to do this.
It my perspective on that. I got there because of that. And I'm exactly the same thing. Yeah. It made me build a gym at home. Yeah. Yeah. It made me quit my corporate job of 14 years where I was like like I, I don't want to do this anymore. I have two amazing businesses. And I was just like, couldn't let it go and I didn't, need it.
And I was like, I love that you were still corporate up to 2020. Really? Ooh. Yep. Secrets
time. My goodness.
Wow. So I, quit that so I can do more, and it was so much stress that left me. Yeah.
And now you're home with your
kids and I'm, and I was working from home anyway since 2014.
So that's I wasn't going to the city anymore every day and things like that, but I was flying twice a week for business.
I'm blown away. I don't know how you find the time, because all I see is you online talking about protein and sunlight and taking wedding photos and like getting a dog and raising your kids.
I had no idea.
You talk about what you love, you don't talk about things you don't love. And now I don't need to talk about those things altogether effective.
That got me out of nine 11. I'm also the most incredibly lucky person. Like I was not directly affected by nine 11. I was indirectly affected.
And I used that as an opportunity to improve my life and embrace life. And then covid, I was not directly affected. Nobody in my circle, thank God was sick and died. And I didn't get Covid until December of 2021. And when I got it, I already had two vaccines and a booster shot. So it was like, okay, a.
I've had more annoying colds, but it kept me away from Christmas Eve, which was disappointing, but whatever. I embraced the time during Covid because when have I ever had a chance to sit down? Never. For
sure. You're running. Yeah. All over the
place. Working, during the week. Yes. Weddings on the weekend.
And I never thought I had the time to sit down and do business things, so I saw it as the opportunity. It was, I was lucky that I wasn't physically affected by it. I'm not a an essential worker. I think I'm essential, but makeup is not actually essential work. So I had the time and if I didn't use the time, it would've been totally wasted.
That would've been a waste of time to not embrace the moment. Also, my boyfriend works 24 7 and I can't be here in New Jersey and I can't lounge around watching Hulu all day if he's building his own law practice while we're in the middle of Covid.
You can't, Nope. I, take Covid as a very positive experience for us personally because many people got hurt and unfortunately things happen.
But for those people who just said and didn't do anything and were just said about themselves for literally two years, that wasn't the right thing to do. Because one of the things that I work with my clients on that even if you have a problem, you can always find.
The better side and see how you can use that to elevate yourself. To improve yourself in like almost anything that happens to us has a good side. We just need to find it. And hold onto that side and then our life will be way, way better.
I think it's important to, if you're not being directly affected, if you're not sick, if you're not supporting your family with an essential worker job, if those aren't your circumstances and you have the opportunity, you have to take the opportunity.
Yeah. So that's was Covid and now that's I rebuilt my team because some people left the city and never came back. So I had to rebuild my team and 2020 through the end of 2022 was bonkers. So I needed new team members. And then once we got back to work, I had to go through the horrible experience of, working during covid, which meant convincing people to get covid shots, begging them to let me send their VAX cards to the venues because certain venues demanded VA cards.
Otherwise they would, yes, they did a vendor in to the venue that was extremely unfun and then restaffing the night before an event because somebody got covid or double conjunctivitis, or they're taking care of somebody with C O V or their spouse got covid and they can't leave the house because they've been exposed.
That was super stressful. So as much as I embraced the time at home with boyfriend dog. The grass and the trees outside and my little work at home and like making gluten free pizza. The next year was a real blow. That was a blow because we were working on backed up weddings as we discussed.
We rescheduled weddings and some people rescheduled so far in advance as they rediscovered so many times that they showed up with a baby on the wedding day, which is great. But the work all surrounding the wedding, getting the vaccines and getting the covid VAX cards to the venues and doing tests the day before, two days before because the family demanded it because it was really scary.
That was incredibly stressful. That was so stressful. That was brutal. I'm not gonna lie.
It was insane. I remember us doing covid tests every, like three days. Because we had corporate event and we had something on the Thursday for Jewish Way and then the weekend and everyone wants like scene and they don't care that three days.
Yeah. Ago you were fine, like we want current one regulations, whatever. And it was like my Walgreens were like, I, here I am again. Like here I am again.
And it was really difficult because it's not like now where there were kiosks all over the East Village. We still have covid test kiosks all over the Yes streets.
And back then, in December of 2021, everybody was getting omicron and the lab tests weren't coming back for a week. And sometimes you had to pay for a lab test. And we're getting tested all the time. It was a fraught moment. I do not want to go back to that fraught
It wasn't fun at all. I remember taking to see, some Broadway show for kids, and we couldn't manage to get the test so they wouldn't get in. They had to do like those rapid tests and it was like hundred $50 Yeah. To go sleep per child or something like this.
Yeah. , that was insane. There was a line, it was very cold and the children were upset and they, that's a disaster. And then we came to the show and they detest for one of them didn't come through because they were sending like email. So here I am in line arguing with a company, oh, we sent you someone else's test.
Great. Insane. But do, you think that past Covid things have changed, the way events happen in the way brides and, grooms approaching the, wedding, the way booking change, any what has changed except you changing your kids, which is obviously amazing, you changing your process, but what do you see on the other side?
How have weddings landscape changed? I think
the, there's a huge sea change happening right now based on the economy. And the economy is greatly affected by the after effects of Covid. And it The whole global economy that resulted from that. So I think that is having a huge change.
But people-wise, I think that clients are being a lot more thoughtful. I think they're choosing more of the slow wedding remember the slow food revolution? Yep. It's now like a slow wedding revolution. So I think people are choosing quality, they're choosing investment. And because of that, I think that we're seeing fewer weddings this year.
Absolutely. I that there are a lot of venues that aren't fully booked. There are a lot of vendors who are not fully booked or not, like double and triple booked, quadruple booked like we have been in the last couple of years. Prices have gone through the roof on all across the board with weddings.
So yes it costs more to get flowers in. It costs more to get food in and to get food, we have to pay our vendors more. Gas costs more so everybody's costs have gone up. So I think it requires and demands that the client be more thoughtful about their approach. And because of that I think that my business will be sustained because my client profile is someone who's very educated and very thoughtful about the choices that she makes.
That's important. And it's also good that you can choose your clients.
Yes, I choose my clients, but also they choose me. I have a, very strong client profile, people who really don't veer off of that. My clients are in the medical profession this year. I've got a lot of physicians assistants.
Doctors, nurses. I have a lot of MBAs and a lot of lawyers. So I have a lot of neck up people and I think they're attracted to the way I do business, which is systematically. Also I lead with my heart when I'm doing the actual makeup and when I'm working with the actual people. But I think that I have systems in place that give clients confidence that we're going to deliver, we're going to deliver on time, and we're going to bring joy to the wedding because we're organized so we don't have to worry about sorry to curse the shit that might happen.
We can be confident that we can bring our hearts to the wedding because stuff is taken care of. So I think that's the new wave. I think that thoughtful weddings are the new
wave. It's beautiful put, and I definitely wouldn't be able to put that like this myself. My thinking is different and you open my eyes on how things are happening right now because I see the same trend and I wouldn't be able to define it
and also that's the kind of change that I'm trying to project into the world too, this thoughtful weddings. But I think that the panic there was an absolute panic in 2020 through 2022.
Just sheer panic. We have to get married, we have to do this. People are excited to get married and establish their lives and start their families. But also they know that grandma and grandpa can't hang on for the next couple of years and they wanna include them. And families change, and they want to embrace the family that they have now so that things can move forward.
But that panic, thankfully, has subsided. And now people are able to be more thoughtful and I think that they're they're choosing how to spend their money and our clients are not like, our clients are in a luxury percentage where they, yeah, don't have to tighten their belts. They may wanna give the appearance of tightening their belts, but everybody, the eyes have been open to making more thoughtful choices about spending, not just spending money, but spending time, spending resources.
And spending the time and resources of their guests. They want to have a very thoughtful experience for themselves and their guests.
I agree. I think that the trend, it's not about showing look, like what I did.
But it's more of about fun. But I see way more family connections and people thinking more about one another and how to make things more fun and more comfortable for their guests and the family and less concentrating on little details. And while most of our weddings do have planners, Which takes care of that.
Still, when we don't have a planner, we see that the focus has shifted too. This is us versus this is me and this is what I wanted to have for my wedding. Right?
Yeah. I believe that . The covid wedding revolution had people doing luxury weddings in their backyards, luxury weddings on the rooftop of their building micro weddings with their families.
Yes. So I think that the whole world has seen the opportunities that you don't have to get married at the country club. That doesn't have to be the only thing that's available to you. You can have luxury on many different scales. It's, now chic to have a smaller wedding. It's chic to elope.
It's chic to do destination weddings. Cause a lot of people would just take their immediate family and Go to the beach, go to the mountains, go to Mexico. So now different types of weddings have been popularized, and I think people have the opportunity to choose the type of wedding that makes them happy.
And I would like to think that there's less emphasis on my mother really wants me to wear a veil. My dad really insists that we do it at the golf course. I'm, hoping that there might be less emphasis on what everybody else in the cast wants, and it might be more emphasis on the star players.
So we're talking weddings and what do you like to do on your free time when you do have what do you love?
What your passions are?
I used to have hobbies. That sounds
sad. Used to,
I used to have hobbies, but now everything just flows out of work, even my workout. So for example I, practice the Gyrotonic method of exercise, which is It's like Pilates, but it's different.
So you can do it on the mat, you can do it on any number of machines. But it's a full flexion of the spine. And not only do I think it's super fun and I love the workout, but it really helps my work because I'm I'm stretched, I'm mobile, I'm strong, I am balanced from one side to the other. So even my workout is meant to help my work.
But personally I think I'm a mermaid. I like to be in saltwater, not to be specific, but Atlantic only, and Caribbean, unless of course I'm in the ante sea in Thailand. I am getting back to travel, which is awesome because 2019 my dad got sick and then passed and then we had 2020 and it's just been so turbulent that I haven't gotten to travel.
But this year for my birthday, I took myself to Columbia and Panama. The then in February, Steve and I went to spring training in Florida, which was super fun. It was our first time fun fact, one of our, very first trip together nine years ago was supposed to be spring training, but it rained so hard we could have swam to the game.
It was just hideous weather. But tried again this February and that was fun. And then we just attended a wedding in Jamaica, so I've been to three foreign countries in just the first four months of the year. And That's awesome. You're just starring. I know. So I do love to get out of town. I love to be outdoors anytime I can.
It's not like I'm outdoorsy. It's not like I would camp because No But I love to be outdoors. I like to be on the beach. I like to be in the mountains. I like to be rolling in the grass. Those are my hobbies. That's about it.
I think traveling and working out as much as it helps the job, it's still, it's very good for you, for your soul or for your health.
And people nowadays choose to enjoy things like scrolling on TikTok, which is very important for our work. Yeah. But outside of work, I'm, I never do that. Yeah. That's not good. And it's not better than food addiction. So I'm choosing a. Other addictions that are healthy, like working out, like walking around.
I wish I would say I travel a lot and I think this year I've maybe was on 15 flights or 16 flights. Yeah, probably 16, but it was mostly work. Yeah. So we did some weddings in Miami and in Israel and in Italy. And now we went to Hilton Head for a wedding. It was supposed to be sunny and warm and beach and it was raining and cold and we had to deal with that and everyone is happy.
But that's one ties back into the thing where like you can't control everything. You are going for spring break wedding in, I know. On the resort and ugh, it's 40 degrees and rains. I do want to travel more. It's really
funny because I just got an inquiry for August 24th.
Which is always the weekend that we have a massive summer storm. Every single year. We've got a massive summer storm
and people still get
married. They still get married that weekend. All of us could tell legendary stories about how we've mitigated disaster the weekend of August 24th, but two years ago, we had a wedding that weekend and I was on the phone with my friend at four in the morning looking at weather maps and I don't know how to read a weather map.
And I was looking at the distance of the Bear Mountain Bridge can I get across the Bear Mountain Bridge in my small Hyundai Kona without being blown off?
That's funny. Yeah, I'm a warrior. You're still here.
Blown off the.
All right. So like I I use so much of your time and I want to be re really cautious of it. And I wanna ask like Father Bride who is getting ready to book her wedding and her makeup artist and anyone in the beauty department, what would be your like top tips to do the right choice and to prepare correctly.
Okay, great. First you book your wedding planner and then you book your wedding photographer. And, get a venue. Get a venue first. That's important. Yeah. Yeah. It's important to know where and when and then reach out to me. Yeah. People used to book me 13 months in advance, but now a lot of people book me short term because the more money you spend the The more choices you have and luxury weddings have a later timeframe, a shorter timeframe rather.
Yes. I would recommend that people have an idea of how they want the day to go. You pick out a dress, you pick out who's going to stand with you, picture in your mind how you want the day to go. Do you want to be dancing around your bridal suite to Taylor Swift or do you want no music? And to have a very quiet spa atmosphere and think about what type of person you want in your face on the wedding day.
Hopefully that person will be me. If you want somebody calm who has jokes, and then listen to your vendors take into account. Their preparation notes. I would love for people to take care of their skin every day, whether they're getting married or not. I would love for people to eat good food, get great sleep, drink really good water, because there's no point in lying to me that you take care of your skin because I can feel it.
O there's no point in lying to me. I know whether you moisturize or not. So take into a take, take really seriously how your vendors are suggesting that you prepare and take really, good care of yourself. So whether most people like to lose weight and get in shape before their wedding, that can really help center people exercise, all the deep breathing.
It helps people get centered. So that's a really good idea because you want to feel present. And being centered helps you feel present for sure. So that kind of preparation yeah. And follow my directions. Eat that's most important. Eat, sleep, drink your water. Get your stuff prepared for the photographer when he arrives.
Be prepared for when we arrive. Hire somebody who's going to do a timeline for you. Hire somebody who includes up to eight hours of service in the package so that you know that they're gonna be there for touchups. And hire somebody who makes you feel good. Have a phone call with every vendor. Don't spend too much time shopping because time is money.
And when you find a vendor who you vibe with, book that person, but work with people who make you feel good. Work with people who make you feel heard, who make you feel seen who. Appear to be experts in their field, work with people who are recommended because that way you can relax and enjoy your day.
that answer? That's a great advice. No I think that's not enough, but it's very, good advice. It's not enough. Ah, it's not enough because I'm sure you can go on and on and I can add more and it will still be relevant. Yeah. But I think that's an amazing advice and hopefully we'll do this again and you can give more advice and talk about more things.
I end up every podcast with everyone with the question is, because we're all about champagne and chandeliers,
I do love both things. I absolutely love chandeliers because I love light. I don't see one there. We should send you one.
Yeah. I love light and sparkle and design. So ever since I was a little kid, I love chandeliers. My mom would take me to the Boston Ballet for Children and it was at the Wang Center in downtown Boston and I was entranced by the chandelier. And we would get up on the b on the second floor and look at the chandelier.
And I had lots of questions like, how do they clean it? When do they clean it? How many people clean it? How often? I still have those questions, I know. And then whenever I walk into a cool space, if there's a great chandelier, I am entranced. And there's that lighting section of Bowery in Lower Manhattan where they have chandelier stores.
You can get a chandelier in the shape of an electric guitar. Whenever I walk into a client's amazing house and they've got a cool chandelier, I'm in heaven. And then champagne. Right person for this punch. Yeah, champagne's a good thing.
Is champagne a drink of choice or you have something that
I do. Champagne. Used to be vodka soda, but vodka now gives me a headache. I can help with that. I know it's called not Drinking Vodka. Yes. My current drink is an Afro Spritz, which includes Prosecco or champagne.
It's been awesome.
Thank you so much for being here. Graciously green to talk to me, you for inviting me. It's, my pleasure. It's it's amazing to connect outside of work. And I hope for more of that is fair. Yeah.
All right. Have an awesome day. Thank
you. You too.