Growing A Brand

In 2011 I stepped down from a management position with a cosmetic company where I worked for over 10 years. I was ok at my job but it was a job not a career. I was really scared to walk away from a company that basically treated employees who were loyal and dedicated like disposable mascara wands. It was stressful and exhausting but I liked it for a long time. I knew that I wanted to be a makeup artist, but I needed money. I was pretty decent with business and a somewhat ok makeup artist. Truth: I was a go getter but clueless.

Lots of black in my retail days! Doing business on my flip phone 😂 with my mini me.

I used social media to procure business. i was undercharging for cash and a few bounced checks but I began to learn how to legitimately operate a freelance makeup business. I learned some hard lessons. I almost quit a few times. I got stiffed, attacked by a dog in a bad neighborhood and had some less than desirable clients who only booked me because I was cheap and reliable. It wasn’t all bad though! I made some memories and had some laughs. My experience with drag queens, actors, musicians, dancers, bridezillas, centerfolds, socialites, photographers, and agencies kept me entertained.

The Beauty Patrol 2017

You’ve heard to make money you have to spend money. It’s so true! It started with expanding my skills, getting a website and instead of being a side hustler I went full force ahead to legitimize my business. With no apologies I raised my rates I wanted to be the best. I wanted/needed respect. Living paycheck to paycheck doesn’t serve me. I had to make this crazy creative life work for family’s livelihood.

Derby 2019 with some great people on my team.

Fast forward to 2020 where I have a team of 17 artists. A thrilling adventure that took years to finesse and I’m still working to raise the bar with The Beauty Patrol. I am ready for our best year yet and I am so happy that we are building a brand that benefits our clients.

It’s getting hot in here

Kentucky has some humid weather! As a wedding makeup artist, it’s my job to make sure your makeup doesn’t melt off. With temperatures in the 90s traditional makeup techniques may not work. Just simply adding a setting spray isn’t enough for sweltering temperatures of the Ohio Valley in August. Here are some tips stay cool on your wedding day.

1. Drink lots of water. Hydrate with some chilled lemon H2O all day.

2. Wear lightweight/breathable clothing. Nothing tight or binding.

3. Use a portable hand held fan. Especially for outdoor ceremonies. Amazon has some great options.

4. If you have long hair chose an up style to keep hair off the neck.

5. Choose a clear deodorant spray in place of body powders that can leave behind residue.

6. Waterproof everything! Mascara/eyeliner/brow gel/airbrushing. Our techniques give you a long lasting makeup regardless of heat, tears or extreme dance moves. We will have you looking fresh in the most unlikely scenarios. We even have products that will stop face sweating.

So don’t sweat it if it’s hot on your wedding day. We will be there to help you keep cool.

My Artist Community

Lately I have realized the importance of having a community who can understand the artist in me. Choosing the creative life for your career path has it’s complications. The makeup part of my job is the one that comes naturally. Now let’s talk about the non makeup parts which I find are a trial and error. Technology, social media, legalities and administration are non artistic duties that are vital to my existence as a professional. No one understands an artist like an artist. I rely on my professional circle and hard knocks to finesse my own process.

I usually speak to other makeup artists multiple times per week. I have a community not only within my team and in Louisville but around the world. I make it a point to seek out friendships with the same career path because we get each other like no one else! When I’m pumped about a successful day or if I’m feeling low I know just who to call. Having friends in the business is rewarding. Your own insecurities will dissipate with the support of your peers.

Photo by Drake and Eliza Photography

With confidence in my skill, wild determination and a commitment to my artist community I am a thriving individual. I want to thank all of the makeup/hair professionals who have supported me. Without them I wouldn’t be here and I would encourage you to find your tribe too.

Prepare yourself

Yay! You booked The Beauty Patrol for your makeup and hair. I hope you are enjoying this joyous moment because now that you are confirmed we got work to do to get you in the best place for bridal makeup and hair. Yes, work! This brush isn’t a magic wand and there are steps that can be taken months in advance that help you be a breathtaking bride. Let’s talk about your skin health and how to get the bridal glow!

Makeup by Pamela Butler

This makes total sense but drinking water is a must. Skincare that includes a daily cleanser, toner, moisturizer and SPF is a no brainer too. Well, those are basics but let’s elevate your normal routine. Gentle exfoliation, masks, serums and eye cream along with some appropriate skin oils are oh so lovely. A diet of healthy foods can compliment your current regimen. Supplements for skin health include vitamin e/biotin/collagen/antioxidants/omegas nourish from the inside out. All this can be done on your own or under the care of a professional med spa. We love the team at Avanti Skincare for facials/injectables and dermaplaining. We encourage the combination of dermaplaining with our airbrush makeup. It creates a silky smoothness on skin.

Tanning is not healthly. You know this but if you want a bronzed look a good organic spray tan will work. Do a test run and make sure you love the color. Sunburns and tan lines are no fun for brides. Sit in the shade at the pool!

Excessive alcohol/smoking/drinking can also cause unwanted damage leading up to your ceremony. Moderate drinking is to be expected (it’s a celebration!) A hangover is not pretty, avoid those shots at 3am the night before you marry your true love.

Sleep makes you feel great and look rested. Get those ZZZs!

Eyebrows need to be groomed. Waxing is our preference. A tint is also a little something that we feel takes you from the wedding to the honeymoon with flawless ease. A guarentee your brow color will stay is with a tint. Brow services need to be completed the week before your wedding.

To be honest I do not like lash extensions. I do however love a lift and tint for lashes. Talk about a flawless natural way to look glam in an effortless way. Trust me, it’s worth it.

The hair experts on our team want you to get your hair cut/color service 2 weeks out. They also reccomend treatments like anti frizz and deep conditioning. If you use hot tools be sure to use heat protection. Investing in professional hair care and styling tools helps your stylist achieve your hair goals.

Hair by Brooke Meadows

And if you have been contemplating the thought of permanent makeup our ladies at Bluebird Ink Boutique can provide microblading/permanent cosmetics for eyeliner and lips. They are experts in their field.

Service not Servants

Being in a service oriented business for well over 20 years and not just in the bridal industry, I can only imagine some service horror stories. The customer is often confused, frustrated and upset by circumstances that are exasperated by several factors. When and if you have a unhappy client, the most committed service providers need to LISTEN and EMPATHIZE. Clients want to feel heard first and foremost. I am forever grateful to have clients who have invested their hard earned dollars for our services. As a business owner removing emotions but acknowledging the client emotions is a necessary step to resolution. We love servicing clients to the best of our abilities with the upmost respect. We are not however your servants.

“All ears! I’m listening!”

Sometimes in weddings or other events clients become unserved by their own actions. I have held crying babies/moms/brides. With weddings I’ve had my share of clients with hangovers, intoxication and I have even been puked on. Yes, that is a fact. That is a little bump in the road but not a deal breaker when it comes down to the client interaction. The following is what not only what I consider intolerable but I’ve listened to other artists explain why some clients are a hard pass when we are considering you as a client.

1. Not respecting our policy (a busy professional doesn’t need to make exceptions) when we have a policy it’s not to give you a hard time. Its our best practices to give you the client a clear expectation.

2. Excessive requests. Your 27 emails about your eyeliner are a little red flag that we cannot ignore.

3. Micro management of your artist. Example: holding the mirror the entire process, instructing artist what to use/how to use and when to use a product. Wanting us to give you lists of all of our products. Texting us after hours. If you give us a little trust and confidence, your results are better than scrutinizing our every move.

4. Respect our time. Artists with a high demand for services will not be able to accommodate lateness/constant rescheduling requests. If we tell you that your appointment is an hour and you arrive 30 minutes late then you will receive a express service. We want you to have the full luxury of your entire service. Punctuality is important especially for weddings!

5. Unrealistic expectations. We cannot make you into a snapchat filter, remove years of neglected skin or reverse the aging process. We can help and guide you to a better place.

This was a controversial article and I wrote it to make it clear that sometimes we aren’t a good fit for the job. Taking on clients is a huge commitment and while we absolutely adore 99% of our customers sometimes that 1% makes it’s way to our inbox. We will respectfully decide to pass on your business if we feel we are unable to please you.

Monday for a MUA

Its 6am and I’m self employed. There is something about mornings that gives me more motivation than a late afternoon. Monday morning in particular is when I catch up on emails, wash brushes, restock/organize my kit and review my calendar for the week. Many makeup professionals consider Monday their off day because we’ve been hustling all weekend.

There is a negative connotation associated with the 1st day of the week. Monday blues are a real downer for many reasons. If you hate going to work I guess Monday grind isn’t your favorite. I like Monday and I think it’s the best time to set up your work for success. So here are some tips to make your Monday more comfortable.

1. Wake up early. The quiet morning to have coffee, meditate, or read is your me time to get your mind right.

2. Dress well. Casual Friday in office environments changes the tone of the day so why not make Monday your day to bring it on with a fun lipstick or awesome shoes. Good shoes and lipstick make me so confident.

Restocking lashes for my kit

3. Tackle your most challenging tasks on Monday. Once it’s out of the way you are smooth sailing. Today mine is setting a new printer.

4. If Monday gives you the blahs then schedule something that gives you joy. I love cooking so on Monday night I usually plan to make a nice meal and enjoy some wine. It could be a yoga, nature, or even a binge worthy Netflix show. Having that thing to look forward to at the end of work day will make it easier to transition from a negative perspective.

So get out there and have a good Monday. You deserve to live your best life 7 days a week.

Finding the makeup artist for your wedding

Everyone sees your face first. This is a once in your lifetime event so having a professional makeup artist is crucial for your photos. All eyes will be on you. The following steps are going to help you find the best fit in beauty.

Makeup by me

Step 1. Start asking your friends, family, vendors or anyone who recently married for recommendations for makeup professionals. Look at their websites. Yes websites. Not just Instagram or Facebook. The website should tell you about the artist, showcase photos of their work and some will even have their rates/booking requirements. My website is if you want to take a look.

Step 2. Email your choices to check availability for your date. Do not wait too long. The most desired professionals get booked 9-12 months in advance. Pay special attention to how promptly they reply and their communication.

Step 3. Check their social media. This will often show more work than the website. Is the type of look you desire in their photos?

Step 4. Set up a trial run if you are not 100% comfortable. This is the number one reason we get last minute inquiries. Brides wait to trial closer to the wedding, they are dissatisfied with the results/service and then they scramble to find someone else. If you are committing with a contract and retainer, you will likely forfeit money to change artists.

Step 5. Establish with your wedding party how many people are committed to services on the wedding day. We need to know exactly how much time to allow to commit to your wedding.

Step 6. Review the contract. Actually read it. Not skim. Our contracts are to protect not just the artist but also you. Details like parking, event set up requirements and late fees are common conditions.

Step 7: Submit your contract with a retainer to lock in your date. Follow up with your artist to make sure you have confirmation of receipt of both.

Makeup by Me

Once you are booked you can relax knowing your decision is sound. Makeup is a great way to exercise your personal style so be sure your artist has the kit and skill to achieve your goals.

Leaders never stop Learning

I see it. You are a successful single entrepreneur. #girlboss #bossbabe #goaldigger Isn’t it just glorious being your own boss? Well yes, sort of…


1. YES I make my own schedule.

2. My company, my way

3. Controller/Ceo/President/Owner

4. Company philosophy works for me.

5. Gives no shit what “the man” is doing. I am the man.

Now real talk

1.No sick days, vacation pay, employer benefits provided (I’ve spent the last two weeks taking care of sick husband)

2. Self discipline is a art form in itself (set your alarm when to start working and when to Stop each day)

3. Fiscal responsibility( do artist even know math?) Know your profit/loss

4. Filters aren’t just for your Instagram stories. I teach myself not to exploit my business with my negative tongue.

5. Gives too much time to business forgets self, family, happiness and health.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was just Pamela Butler, Professional Makeup Artist. I was friends with my community of fellow MUAs but I didn’t have to worry them. I took every gig I could whether it made sense or not. Then I got bigger, needed a assistant. Then my assistant needed an assistant and then I needed hair stylists to make our makeup shine in photos. Boom! Today a team of 12 artists on our Kentucky Bridal Squad.

The first year in business my CPA said “Pam, you need more revenue. Raise your rates, increase your broker’s fees, add services” So I did and I got smarter about being in a profession that traditionally struggles. I listened. I watched. I screwed up until I got better at it. It was painful and hard. I have no reason to keep doing what I do other than I love it. I’m naturally nurturing. I’m also moody, stubborn and sensitive.

The number one reason I see people form a “glam squad” is for money. Ha! Hope you like giving it away for a few years. My website value alone is a years salary to some. The money I use to spend on vacations, shoes and clothes is now set aside for insurance, business demands and taxes. That is not making you nearly as excited as Charlotte Tilsbury’s new lipstick is it?

Some makeup friends flaked on me and in the process I lost some friendships. I didn’t enjoy this aspect of my new position at all. I became hyper devoted year 2 into building a brand and ignored my health. Weight issues, arthritis and anxiety disorders are common among business leaders so I too suffered from them.

I’m getting there. I am proud of my progress. I am not trying to change the world, I don’t think I’m a great but I feel accomplished enough for now. My husband supports me, my kids understand my love of work and the rest of my family enjoys watching my work life flourish. So my closing statement is this. If you derive joy from helping others, development, and retrospect then maybe having a team is your future. I wish you all the best. Call me if you need a hug.

Wedding makeup trial run

Ok bride to be, you have done your research on possible vendors for makeup and now you are ready to narrow down your options. This article is to lay down the expectations of a wedding makeup trial appointment.

1. Know your artist’s work. Does it reflect the type of look you desire? If not move on…..your artist will be showing their skill in their portfolio.

Makeup by Pamela Butler

2. Understand price and booking information. Some artist charge a combined rate for trials and day of wedding while others charge a trial fee separately from wedding day. It’s like paying for bananas by the pound or piece.

Once your trial is completed, how long do you have to complete a contract and secure your date. Does your artist even do trials without a contract? We recommend try before you buy if you are unsure before legalizing your beauty professional.

3. Be prepared for questions. A makeup artist needs to know about allergies, sensitivity, skin type, lifestyle choices, and anything to do with your wedding style. Your makeup/hair needs to cohesive with your wedding gown, venue, florals, etc.

4. Bring only one guest or go alone. If you bring someone make sure they have your back and support your choices. It’s your day, you get to choose how you feel beautiful. You’ve heard the saying “too many cooks in the kitchen” well too many people telling your artist what to do ends in frustration and confusion for everyone.

5. Be realistic. Good makeup begins with a healthy lifestyle, a skincare regimen and avoiding bad habits. Smoking, tanning, and dehydration, will directly affect your outcome. Your artist should discuss the appropriate ways to get you back to good habits.

Photo by Gary Barragan

6. Allow your artist enough time to understand your request. We ask for an hour to complete one bridal makeup application. We also recommend wearing the trial appointment makeup for a few hours to test durability of products. Everyone has different results based upon skin type and products.

7. Make sure your artist asks for Feedback! This is huge. Never feel like you are pressured into something! Artist need to make every effort to please you, the client!

For a makeup trial with me use this link

Let’s create a magical makeup just for you!

Booking minimums

So I feel bad, I really do which is why I’m writing this blog. Many professional bridal artists who travel to you have booking minimums because we have to be smart. The minimum is either a number of services or a set dollar amount based upon the average size wedding the artist is targeting. Ours is 5 services or the equivalent of $450 per artist. This does not mean we won’t come to you for less than 5 people but it does mean that you will have a different rate than those bookings. I know, there are many bride only scenarios and that seems unfair but here is why these policies are in place.

Bridal beauty services require us to supply our client with quality products that stand up to performance standards for photography and endurance. That’s a hefty percentage of our expenses. Then there are income taxes, insurance and transportation expenses associated with our profession. We also have to make a profit. If we don’t profit then we can’t provide you with the best case scenario. Car problems, lack of insurance and tax avoidance directly affects both the artist and the client. A thriving professional in any career will translate into the services to clients.

A bride only booking can always opt for a service at our location based upon our availability for a better rate. The on location service for groups makes more sense because logistics of wrangling 10 bridesmaids is harder than a single bride.

It has become somewhat of a bonding experience for bridal parties to spend the morning getting pampered whether it be hair/makeup services, mimosas, yoga or brunch. What a better way to prepare for such an important moment.

Any Saturdays in May June Sept and October are peak days for weddings in Kentucky. The demand for services is highest during this time. This typically means we have little flexibility on group size during this time. If your wedding is on a different day or month you have more options in your vendor pool. Additionally travel during peak times can be a challenge. I have personally committed myself to only one wedding per day to give my weddings the ultimate experience which means your day is stress free as well as mine. I don’t want to rush thru a service so I can make multiple weddings. I have done it in the past and I’m not saying it’s the right choice for all artists but I chose to fully dedicate my time to one wedding at a time.

Whether your wedding is a small family only ceremony or a grand occasion for up to 500 people, I would love to be your makeup artist.