Friday 20 April 2018

How I Got My Job: Makeup artist Aimee Connolly

Makeup artist Aimee Connolly. Image: Instagram
Makeup artist Aimee Connolly. Image: Instagram
Aimee Connolly's Sculpted palette
Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

In a running series on Style, we speak to Irish women who inspire us and find out how they got the job they're in today, what trials and tribulations they faced on their career path and what advice they have to give to working women in today's world.

This week, we speak to Aimee Connolly, makeup artist and owner of Sculpted, The Academy.

Did you always want to work in the makeup industry?

I fell into makeup I suppose by accident after having completed my two weeks work experience with Benefit Cosmetics. It was the best thing to happen because now I am so fortunate to work in something I love!

Growing up, what did you want to be?

I always remember wanting to be a waitress. I used to love pretending at restaurants with my family. I would stand up, put my hand behind my back and pour the water for everyone - so concentrated!

How did you find yourself on this career path?

Like I said, it was after my two weeks work experience in Transition Year with Benefit Cosmetics that I was offered a part-time job in Urban Decay. I worked there for three years. I had just finished the Leaving Cert and then I moved to MAC on Grafton Street for a change. After a year there, my own freelance business started to grow and I kept it ticking along side my full-time degree in Commerce and French, which I completed in UCD. I graduated just two years ago and I was very lucky to have a full time business that I love waiting for me!

Did you face any challenges along your way to this career?

I think when I was studying full-time it was hard because I wanted to give the business my all but I was stuck between assignments and exams. It's all been totally worth it though because I do put a lot of pressure on myself grades-wise, so I am delighted that I did focus on college enough to get the grades I wanted and now I can put my full attention into my business.

What are some notable obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

I think time management is a massive thing for me and I definitely work better under pressure. If I didn't do this, my studies or business would have suffered. I used to work during the day and then have the evening to study or else I'd have a three hour gap to get an assignment done. Having those deadlines definitely helped me focus!

Are you believer in having a five year plan?

I don't really think past the foreseeable six to 12 months. Having goals is of course a must, but everything is so fast-paced in a new business especially since having launched a product that you don't really have time to think that far ahead.

What women inspire you?

There are so many! Ireland is full of inspiring and encouraging women and I am so lucky to have met some of the most amazing people who have helped me. I always say straight away that my mum is of course a massive role model. She's a single, extremely hard working mum and is just amazing!

Other women such as Oonagh O'Hagan, owner of Meaghers Pharmacy, Donna Ledwidge and Pippa O Connor have been a massive help and influence on me in ways they're probably not even aware of! It's so great to have people like these around you.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I think for me, launching my own brand Sculpted By Aimee Connolly has to be it. It recently won an Image Award for Best in Beauty and it has just grown and grown. It's been so tiring but so amazing as well! Seeing my product in stores will never get old.

What skills/traits do you think are necessary for your job?

I think you need to be a people person as well as a skilled artist. I, like a lot of makeup artists, am booked for events and appearances and half of that is how you carry yourself and deal with people. Then all of the given traits such as being organised, driven and hard-working come naturally, especially when you do a job you love!

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into your industry?

From a makeup artist point of view, I would definitely start on a counter. All of your experience and confidence will come from that. From the perspective of launching a brand, I would say to know what you want to do really well, plan it out and know your market. Once you're passionate about it, you'll do great things!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

That seems like forever away! I don't know but I do hope to have developed more products, I am loving that side of the business. It's very, very tough but it's so rewarding. I also hope to be happy and still enjoying my job as much as I do now.

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