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Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

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Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Denise Cold on Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:13 pm

I took a very good class at FPBA from Kerry Ann Smith which made me wish I'd taken her marketing class like some other of our forum friends did; because, I'm having a little earth shattering moment this morning: [[drumroll]] I never want to make another unicorn.

Kerry Ann was whipping out these fabulous faces in no time, because she's Kerry Ann, and this WOMAN in front kept peppering her for marketing insights (making those that paid for the pre-class very perturbed...but I digress) and one tip really stood out to me because I know that Kerry Ann can make really great designs. She said in her cute little southern chick voice "I could make $5.00 faces all day long; in fact, I prefer $5.00 faces." She was referring to the faces that she trains her staff on...her 15 "fabulous faces" that she uses at corporate gigs and at pay-per-face that have the wow factor but are easily accomplished like a kitty, puppy, bunny, pirate, etc. (I have some pictures on my Facebook if you are interested.)

Fast forward a couple of days to my gig yesterday. I took my so-called "quick" design board that most of you have seen. Each design is under three minutes to accomplish so I should be able to fit 20 people in per hour but at this gig I felt like I was swimming in molasses. Brushes were littering my little Fat Max table, I was looking for my liner brush all the time, wiggly worms were hard to paint, my dots looked like crap, had kids snuggling my butt constantly, etc. The family was thrilled with the results but I wasn't. I stayed an extra 1/2 hour so that I could feel that I fulfilled my end of the bargain.

I have to credit all of you "old-timers" here on the forum for putting up with my thick head. You planted the idea that I could do full faces in the same amount of time as small designs (Perry...I'm talking to you especially.) It also helped that I saw what fabulous designs Rebecca is able to accomplish with a few Arty Cakes...every thing is gelling...I mean, I've even said often "I'd rather do a tiger than a soccer ball" and I KNEW I was missing something but it didn't really hit me until yesterday.

I came home and I put my phone in a baggie so I could use my stop watch. I got out my laminated sheet and I did a blasted unicorn. That stupid thing took me 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Not so bad, right...WRONG. I've been doing that stoopid unicorn for almost a year now. I CAN'T MAKE IT ANY FASTER! Maybe 30 seconds faster but not much more. I could take out the rainbow...but then I'm doing cheek art. Okay, that gets me to 2:45 and then I might as well go buy a unicorn sticker for all the wow factor that has.

So, then, I do a princess crown. Simple sea shell in the middle, swoop to the eye and down the cheek, glitter, white dots...1:49! So I can add lip glitter or eye shadow and still be pretty close to 2 minutes! AND I LIKE IT BETTER!

So now, I start modifying other designs for quick application...Mostly one-stroke, very little outlining, black details and a few dots:
Pirate: 3:55
Spidey: 3:03
Skull: 2:37 (I would add another :30 for starblend white & black)
Cheetah: 3:13 (Needs a little work)
Monster Mask: 2:00
Half Butterfly: 2:25
Snow Leopard: 4:23
Tiger: 3:37 (THE SAME AS THE UNICORN!!!!)
Bat Mask: 2:47
Puppy: 1:40
Kitty: 2:24

You get my drift. Some of my quick board designs are going to survive like the princess crown, but others are going the way of the unicorn and become endangered.

Another thing that has come about because of all this is I'm thinking of having a one-price stall this summer...all quick designs, all "$5.00 faces" Instead of getting all "my art" about full face designs and trying to charge more for them, I'm going to perfect the middle. This way I can train my "employee" daughter (and others?) on these do-able designs and we can be cranking out full faces all day long, have a higher profit margin and get through the line faster.

It will also weed out the $3.00 face people that clogged my line last year and will end the need to upsell the fence sitters...there will be no fence. They either want a $5.00 or they don't. In fact, the only $10 face I'll probably sell will be that DAM-D-BLE Unicorn. Smile

So here's a picture of my work in progress. These designs will now be my quick faces and I should be able to get 20+ people through per hour. I'm hoping that I'll get faster and faster at them and can add things like glitter lips and eye shadow and keep the same rate going. Even for birthday parties I'll use these same basic designs just add outlines and highlights and jewels.

I know this all seems so "DUH" but It's getting through finally.






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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by cattsy on Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:50 pm

I keep looking for the "like" button on this post.

That's what I did at the farmers market last year... It was $5 flat rate, and I only did quick five minute designs. There would occasionally be an odd request that I would tackle for hoots and giggles that would take me longer, but i didn't mind cause they broke up the monotony.

And all this time I thought I was doing it "wrong" cause i didn't have a fancy design board and graduated pricing :p

Trina

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by squiggle on Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:04 pm

That's what we've done at the corn maze that we have a long-running gig for each year.... all $5 faces that we KNOW we can crank out in 3 minutes or less. It lets us make change easily (all we keep are 5's and 10's in the pockets of our aprons) and people usually always hand us an extra dollar or two with the $5 or $10 that they pay with. Many, many times we've had families where 2 people get painted and they hand us a $20 and tell us to keep the change- nice tip! LOL
The faces are full face so they have the WOW factor but we know we can do them in 3 minutes or less. Because we literally do them hundreds of times, we can crank out some of them in a minute and a half- full faces! Practice makes perfect Wink

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by JJJJJ on Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:34 pm

Denise-just want to say THANK YOU!!! And, to everyone else, all over this forum. I just keep learning so so much about all of this - and the business end is so vital!

I began last summer, and hit the ground running with a major festival I booked by being in the right place at the right time. I knew I was ready, but I was lucky to get it booked so last minute.

After doing lots more stuff from then till now, I'm now getting ready for a big spring/summer/fall. Working my butt off to get the booth ready, keep tweaking the signage, etc.

And ... the pricing. I did learn from this forum, and I have never offered cheek art. Not that it's not fun, but at the large festivals, I decided I just wanted to offer the larger-scale work. And now, I'm in the middle of learning how to offer choices that both satisfy and keep things moving.

I've learned so much from reading stuff here. Thanks for a well-thought-out, well-written, and comprehensive post, Denise.

I'm going to read it again and again!

Surprised) Joan


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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by billiebcc on Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:52 pm

Denise you are such an inspiration to me!

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Denise Cold on Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:01 pm

Thanks guys. I'm hoping that if I narrow it down I can keep practicing them until I get a little faster (muscle memory!) I remember when a tiger took me forever! I'll still have some cute eye designs because they are really popular with the ladies but I'm going to try and have mostly full designs (I guess they are technically masks).

I feel the same way about the forum. I told Metina that it has really helped me progress much faster than if I'd tried and failed on my own. I've learn A LOT from others here and have to give everybody credit for their willingness to help us newbies and not so newbies. Smile

D.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Perry Noia on Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:15 pm

I'm so glad that I could help be an inspiration to you. Glitterfly and I work together often and we will do a $5 puppy or kitty down the middle of the face so much faster than stupid cheek art. Meanwhile, we go work with another clown in the area and she gets mad at us for covering so much of their face when we are supposed to be doing "small stuff." :S

I personally, do a pretty good and fast little unicorn, but we each have our things that we like to do. I will be updating my sample boards shortly. There are a few designs that no one ever picks, some that I'm not really happy with and a few things that I should have on there... so, I need to do some painting again Wink

I do like to have a $5 board and a $10 board and some of them, even if they are super fast are quite big, so I feel ok charging more for them.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Denise Cold on Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:43 pm

I do get a little frustrated when "small" is assumed to be quick. For me, maybe because I'm older, doing linework on a small person is tough for very little "bang". I'm getting better at using my pinky and my linework is improvement but it's still hard to make it look like it should. I much prefer lovely teardrops and swirlies.

I know I pick on soccer balls but it's a good example. In order to make a soccer ball I make 5 straight lines, 5 more straight lines for the middle, 10 more small lines for the triangles and then an outline. For that same about of strokes, I can do a full princess swirl mask. I'm using more paint, but the perceived value is much greater.

I hope you'll share your board again this year. Very helpful.

D.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by PerfectlyPaintedFaces on Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:04 pm

I've never done any big festivals by myself before, so this is something very interesting to think about. I have a few big community events lined up this summer, and I've been debating over how to handle my display board. The $3/$5/$8 is so standard that it's the direction I automatically thought I was heading in... but the thought of dealing with calculating prices and handing out the right change had me reeling. So maybe $5 designs is all I really need... why over-complicate things? I do like the idea of offering an "upgrade" for designs by adding glitter gel and gems, so I think I'll do that. But the $3 cheek art is soooo not worth the effort!

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by 1fantasyface on Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:32 pm

Awesome advice!!! I have several small event coming up in the next couple of months and this is a huge help. $5 is a perfect price match with your idea make my fun job better!!! I love being an artist!!!

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Miss Ronnie on Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:51 am

Denise... you could cut the pirate down in time by using a small dauber to create white polka dots instead of the jolly roger... that's what I do anyway.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Denise Cold on Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:57 pm

That was a cute skeleton that Kerry did and it's actually pretty quick but it looks bad because the red didn't dry on the practice sheet. It's three hearts, outline the eye hearts, run some teeth down the nose and and half circle over the top then teardrop some bones. I'll do a step-by-step because it's so cute on.

D.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by debranewmanart on Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:19 pm

When I first started face painting, I was concerned about learning to do everything fast. Now I just concentrate on being good. No one seems to mind if it takes 2 minutes or 10. I wonder if fast is possibly a bit over rated? scratch

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Denise Cold on Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:50 pm

Not at pay-per-face or large corporate events or large parties. Smile At 10 minutes you have only served 6 people per hour which is okay for small birthday parties but at the other events, that nets you less money or a lot of ticked off moms and disappointed little kids.

This is what I figured: 3 minute designs x 20 x $5.00 = $100 or 10 minute designs x 6 x $10.00 = $60.00. Now if you are good enough to do designs that only take 5 minutes and are still worth $10.00 then you could make $200.00 but I'm not there yet...maybe. I'm going to see what I can do...

One of the other stories that Kerry Ann told that was eye-opening was the advice that she received from Nick Wolfe. She was having trouble with a certain design (I guess a unicorn? LOL) and was asking Nick advice about how to speed up the design. All he said was "paint faster" and she said "No, really, I need help." and he just said "paint faster" I think this is something I'm going to be working on in the next few months, gearing up for summer...paint faster.

D.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Perry Noia on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:27 pm

There is a threshold where going faster isn't REALLY necessary if you aren't worried about long lines at PPF events... BUT being able to paint faster WILL help you get something onto those wiggly kids and make parents at the 1st bday parties a lot happier. I can only get the little kids to sit for a certain length of time before it becomes impossible to do any more on them. As a clown, I have a lot of preschoolers to work with and speed and 'agility' as an artist is really important.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Denise Cold on Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:05 pm

I do worry about making a fabulous tiger at 10:00 am that I can't make at 2:00 pm. Kerry Ann was so funny though...if she gets too long of lines she swears she'll change the price on the spot. BBB!

Part of my philosophy on going faster is also being able to squeeze in the fun stuff like Liquid Bling, jewels, glitter lips, etc. For instance, if I can do a kitty with just ears, muzzle, eye lashes, wiskers then I can add a glitter bow & lips which will probably be cuter than a full sponged face without the glitters.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by skjfunny on Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:28 am

Ok, Denise you got me on this Kitty, got photos?
I believe one of the differences is the venue and type of business. There are many painters and we fall into different categories...
Some say they paint for fun (which in a way we all do, I hope)$$$ not issue.
Others it pays the MORTGAGE and feeds them, no outside income
Painters with other jobs that just pick up a little cash
Painters in a locale where they would not have a full body painting market and have responsibilities that do not allow them to travel for the market, yet have the talent.
Painters that carry their children along for the family to make some cash.
The beauty of the forum is it allows everyone to open their mind to what may work for their OWN business....love the way YOU Denise use your analytical mind to break down information to truly help us all find our way.
Your time and input is so appreciated.
Lucky are those who know you well enough to call you friend. sunny


Last edited by skjfunny on Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by pinkundies on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:07 am

Denise,
Looking carefully at your strokes, I love how you have nailed each design that would be the same as sponging and outline. But, you have minimized withjust one stroke to make it look just as nice and effective, if not better!

All hail the one stroke cake!!! And Denise!

Lynne

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by MelodyFPL on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:23 am

I love these. Denise you rock. I have a hard time visualizing them from the flat board to a real face but I am ALL OVER that puppy and that skull. My skull is pretty fast already but I love one stoke so very much!
You and Emma might make a video where you see how many of those you can pump out in ten minutes. I so love Denise-and-Emma videos.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Denise Cold on Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:05 pm

Here's the step-by-step for Kerry Ann's little skull. I touched it up too much in the last one...I actually like it a little rough, especially on a bandana. I think the black is optional on a bandana too but if you have your black already loaded, it's just a couple of blossom presses and flicks.


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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by billiebcc on Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:58 pm

Well with sponging my tiger it took me 5:35 so I suck! LOL

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by earthorange on Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:41 pm

So, just as devil's advocate, what do you say to all the moms (or kids) that don't want paint all over their face. Do you turn them away? Do they stand there and complain? All those "just a little something" people lol.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Denise Cold on Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:56 pm

It will still be $5.00. I've got some nice eye designs, butterfly, rainbow, blossom, spider-type faces that are still worth $5.00. I might paint a small child for free if they are with a sibling or parent that has gotten a face painting but I'm not putting it out there as a menu item for the reasons I cited. If it's an option then it's an attraction and I will attract the $3.00 business which I don't want. Do you walk up to a fast food counter and say "I'm not really that hungry, could you cut my burger in half and charge me less?" We were thinking we might do family specials because we have large families here so we could offer 5 for $20 or add value that way but I probably wouldn't put a sign out. Last year we offered deals when a couple of kids would come up and then the rest of the kids wanted something so we'd offer dad a deal.

I'm not saying that those that offer small cheeks for less are wrong...I'm saying that you have to look at your time ratio versus the "WOW" factor versus profit for you time. And my $5.00 might be the $8.00 face in your region....there are a lot of factors...I'm just sharing what I want to try from now on.

D.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by Perry Noia on Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:37 pm

I have some "smaller" designs on my cheap board, but the only time I'll cut a price in half is if I feel like it on a toddler that barely let me put one butterfly on their hand or cheek.... lowest I go is $5 take it or leave it, face paint IS a luxury, NOT a necessity.

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

Post by a face painting mom on Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:55 pm

Love your boards Denise!

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Re: Fast Full Faces - My epiphany is a long time coming (a little long)

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