We live in a time where possibilities are endless, opportunities are plenteous, and career options range across all industries and specializations. The saying “the world is yours” has never been truer than it is today. And despite the many challenging circumstances we’ve endured this year since the onset of COVID-19, I still firmly believe that if you set your mind to learn, and you have a clear focus, you can succeed and thrive, even in adversity.
When I began my personal learning journey in permanent makeup, the world was a very different place from what we are seeing today. It was the late 70’s, and a demand for PMU was just on the rise. But the availability for quality, reliable training programs were few and far in-between. I had to learn how to tattoo faces using a needle tied to a bamboo stick- a little bit nerve-wracking to say the least. Our industry has come a long way, and I’m proud knowing that in our 35-year lifespan, Micro-Pigmentation Centre, Inc. has helped pave a clear, trustworthy path for aspiring artists, by delivering educational programs that uphold the top standards in our industry.
The Importance of Finding Your Niche
Over the years I have to come know how critically important it is to find your niche. The more specific you can get about what you’re good at, who you’re serving, and what problems you’re solving, the better your chances will be for success. Often times I hear “Well, if you get so specific about who you are targeting, you’re closing a lot of doors to other people” But I choose to see it this way: The more specific you are about what you want, the more likely you’ll be able to get it. And it’s no different in this industry. If you can position yourself as the next brow, lip, or scalp specialist, it will become easier to know who your target is, how to market yourself, and where you can find your clients.
It’s All in the Eyes
When it came to finding my niche in PMU it was hard to narrow in on one specialization, because I truly enjoyed all procedures and developed my skills deeply in each specialization; lips, brows, eyeline, scalp and areola. After dedicating years to perfecting and teaching courses in all areas of PMU, I became particularly fond of the art and technique of creating a beautiful and defined eyeliner.
Our eyes are the focal point of our face. Our eyes can talk without us having to say anything at all. They reflect our heart. They are how we see the world. But they are also a key part in how we express ourselves. From the days of Cleopatra, women have played with makeup to accentuate their eyes, to make them pop and sparkle. They have become symbols of beauty and fashion for millennia.
When women learned that they could permanently tattoo their eyeliner, it became one of the biggest requests in the industry; anchoring itself in the idea of “woke up like this” and saving ourselves all that time getting ready each morning trying to create the perfect black line. With so many inadequately trained technicians, women were receiving poor quality procedures that created more problems than solutions, and in such a significant part of their appearance.
When a woman would come to me with a blue eyeliner or poor linework, I really felt for her and it inspired me to do everything I could to master how to create the perfect permanent liner.
Developing a solid technique gave me a great sense of fulfillment and providing a service that allowed women to save time getting ready while also giving them a boost of confidence, has been the cherry on top of it all.
| Tricks of the Trade
Eyeliners have always been one of my favourite procedures to teach my students. While it requires a lot of patience with the right technique, as taught in our fundamental course, the perfect eyeliner is a fairly straightforward procedure that instills confidence in our students, especially when they perform their first procedure with success.
I’ll say it like it is – I was one of the plentitude of women who were incompetently trained, with very limited resources and knowledge available a few decades ago like there is now. Much of what I learned came from years of trial and error. But with each client I would take, I would own more of my confidence and creativity by trying different approaches, and this was the foundation for the development of the Micro Method that we teach in our programs.
With each procedure, I began to notice that by stretching the skin in certain ways, you would get better retention and saturation in the skin. I learned how to perform a lower eyeliner procedure in a way that allows the client to keep her eyes closed, to create a more comfortable experience for her. I also learned what types of pigments sit best and last longest on different skin types and complexions, which eventually led me to develop a range of eyeliner pigments called MicroPigments. To date, many of our shades are still considered overall trusted industry favourites.
In short, the MicroMethod for eyeliners is full of tricks and tips I’ve learned in my 40-year- career that guarantee quality, long lasting-results and require minimal follow up appointments.
At the end of the day, a quality liner lies in the stretch, the technique of your angle and pressure, and the quality of your pigment. This is something I have always been very passionate about teaching.
| How can I find my Niche?
As an educator, when it comes to helping someone else find their niche it really comes down to two things: Care & Observation.
When I work with our students, I make it a priority to get to know her first as a person.
What is she like?
What are her personal goals with our courses?
What is her favourite part of the face?
This is what I consider caring for the student. In order to lead someone to finding their niche, you must first care to get to know them, so that you can help point them in a direction that you know they will be passionate about.
The second tip is observation. When students are doing their first procedure, I walk around and observe. I take notes, not only to follow up and make recommendations, but also to provide positive feedback on the things that seem to be more natural for her. Another important part of this process is understanding each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. I look to see what the student is grasping easily, versus what is challenging for them.
While the hope is that each student will be well-rounded in all procedures, every person learns differently, and there will always be an area that each person is more drawn to - and that’s ok! This is the beginning stage of grooming your niche.
For example, some students just fall in love with eyebrows. The art, and system behind creating the perfect brows excites them, and you can tell that they cannot wait to dive into this portion of the course. As an educator, it’s my duty to observe that so that we can help her begin to develop that niche.
If I could leave you as my fellow SPCP members, with one tip on how to find your niche it would begin with answering this question:
Who do you want to help, and what problem do you want to solve for them?
Think about it, take a pen and paper and write it down. Come back to it and make sure it is still true to you.
Your “why” is your map that will guide you towards your perfect niche.