Koren Zander is the creator of EnKore Makeup. Koren’s EnKore Makeup is the wildly popular channel on YouTube and he is well-known for his education in artistry.There are many roads to getting into the beauty industry and Koren shares how he has built a steady career as a professional artist.As a young entrepreneur Koren has taken the opportunity to launch a line of makeup tools to help make professional makeup artist’s lives easier, as well as the consumer. He shares his tips and techniques on building a successful career as a makeup artist.
How did you get started as a makeup artist?
I started out in theatre as an actor. People are often shocked that I’m a professional makeup artist and a performer. I started doing professional theatre and makeup became second nature. You don’t go on stage without makeup so we had to attend classes on how to properly apply makeup for stage and I was so fascinated by it. I took it to various levels because I wanted to master the artistry of makeup. My original profession was to be an actor and the makeup portion just grew out of it. Many years later here I am doing both.
Did you go to beauty school or are you self-taught?
For the first nine years I was doing freelance makeup work and I kept at it. To get a theater gig you have to be certified or licensed. The only way you can get licensed is by putting in hours from a proper school. That’s the reason I went to theater school so I could get my hours to get licensed. For many years I worked without going to beauty school and then I had to go to beauty school.
What kind of training do you recommend for aspiring makeup artists?
Start from the beginning regardless of what you know already or learned from social media like YouTube or watching professional makeup artists doing classes. Learn everything from A to Z. Even if you know a lot you may have forgotten something that could cause you not to dot your “i” or cross your “t’s.” Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom. Do makeup 101 and then move from there. Even seasoned makeup artists never stop attending classes and seminars because the industry is always changing. There is so much to learn. Never stop training or learning. When your inspiration and training stops, you’re basically dead career wise.
Starting out as a makeup artist requires some investment in beauty tools. What brush basics should they invest in?
A lot of aspiring makeup artists think that they’ve got to have the best brushes right off the bat. The reality is that they don’t. I always tell them to get what they need as they need them. If you have 7 brushes that you use to create a look then start with those 7 brushes. Sit down and make a list of each element of makeup product that you use a particular brush for your artistry. If you use foundation then get a foundation brush. If you use powder get a powder brush and so on. Don’t be overwhelmed with buying 52 brushes when you’re only going to use 7 or 10 of them. Professional beauty tools are an investment and they can get pretty expensive. Build up your brushes over time when you’re making the money and can afford to buy a brush here and a tool there. Eventually you will have that full artillery to go to that beauty combat battle.
You invented a great makeup tool for makeup artists. How did you come up with the idea?
I have a few ideas I’ve come up with. Working in the industry for a long time you find things that you could use, but doesn’t exist, and you hope that someone will eventually fill that void. If I find that no one is making the effort to do it that is when I jump in. The inspirations behind all the ideas I come up with comes from my fellow artists that makes it easier for us to do our jobs to execute our artistry.
Before I created the “Cufflette” we had to hold it (the palette) in our hand while mixing the product. You lose a free hand, and you’re at the mercy of the one hand that does all of the work, while the other hand is holding the palette. The idea behind the “Cufflette” was gaining that other hand to be able to work with two free hands. You can wear the “Cufflette” on your wrist and you don’t have to hold it.
I have an ultrasonic brush cleaner coming out because once again I saw a void in the industry. You don’t have to be a professional makeup artist to go through the pain of washing brushes, even consumers share this sentiment. I was looking to see if there was something on the market that could cut down the time on deep cleaning brushes and never found anything. So I came up with a brush washer that would ultra sonically clean up to 30 (or more) brushes in up to 4 minutes or less. We exhibited it at IMATS LA 2013. I’m really excited about launching it. I wanted to create something that would fill a void and help the pro artist community make their artistry and jobs better.
At what point should a makeup artist seek representation by an agency?
Freelance artists tend to represent themselves. As long as you can handle it go for it! When it comes to the point where you start holding back on negotiating your rate or cutting yourself down then this is a good time to seek representation. The agencies are really good at negotiating your rate and getting as much money for you for what you’re worth. If you try and cut your value back, that has a dollar figure attached to it, and we don’t want that cut back. So an agency will negotiate that for you.
Also, if you’re getting into bigger or greener pastures (career wise) that’s a good time to seek representation. Representation will help you sort out what types of projects you should be involved with, what they should require of the client and things you’ve probably never thought of. They’re good at arranging all of that for you.
What is a day in the life like for Koren Zander?
Seven years ago I would’ve said pretty relaxed, but in the last five years there has been a complete turnaround for me. I have to attend to social media which is like a full-time job; my artistry is a full-time job, my store, my trade shows, my concepts. Think of it like having 8 full-time jobs and you have to tend to all of them. I’m up early trouble shooting, staying up to date on my social media, handling my store, updating my website, my cart, drafting and conceptualizing new products. Then I have clients, tradeshows which I attend about 20 to 22 per year, then all of the traveling that goes with the tradeshows. I also do the education at the tradeshows because I’m really keen on that. It is the most important thing whether you’re a makeup artist or a regular person, beauty education is key and therefore, my platform. Even when I’m watching TV I’m multi-tasking making brush rolls. It’s a pretty full day for me.
You often work at New York Fashion Week and other notable events. What is the process of creating a makeup look for a fashion designer’s runway show?
Listening to the designer is key. Even if you have the most amazing idea you really have to listen to the designer and understand their vision. Show up with an open mind and ear, just listen and get and idea of the collection, the style and see what he or she wants to accomplish in the show. Design your artistry so it will relate and amplify what the fashion designer has in mind. That is crucial to a successful career in New York Fashion Week or any fashion show globally. Listen to the ideas from the designer and execute their idea with your artistry.
Would you be interested in introducing your products on HSN or QVC?
Yes, eventually I’m looking forward to it because a lot of consumers rely on that market. Whether you’re a TV shopper, online or storefront shopper, I want to have my products available to all corners of the market.
You will be at The Makeup Show LA and what can we look forward to?
I will be launching my PRO ULTRA brush soap. We already launched my standard pro brush soap. The PRO ULTRA brush soap has added benefits to it. I’m also going to be doing my 3-D body painting again. I’m really excited that a lot of pros can experience really good classes but where new products are being exhibited. You also get to see various other innovations whether a makeup look or product introduction.
Your YouTube Channel is very popular with great information. What advice do you have for people who want to launch a beauty channel or grow their audience?
I remember launching on YouTube when there were only 10 of us on beta. You get a pretty good idea of what people want to see or watch. My advice is to make sure your material is well researched and display as much information as possible to generate fewer questions. The more information you present the more people like your channel and the more it will grow. A lot of newbies these days tend to campaign to build their following and I don’t believe in that. If your channel is really good and you present good material then your channel will grow by itself. You should not be soliciting followers. It’s like a step down and you’re doomed to fail. Really earn your following because when you look back after garnering thousands upon thousands of followers you can say you earned each one without soliciting. Mix your materials and just don’t do a smokey eye look, do different looks. Do some organizing and share everything for example, from how to pack your makeup for vacation, to packing makeup if you’re going to Florida or Alaska. People like a variety of different material on a channel, so keep that in mind when launching your beauty channel.
What is the current trend in makeup?
Makeup is like history, it kind of repeats itself. For 2013 it’s about natural skin, light on the eyes and it’s the year of colored liners, not just black or brown. For an eye look that is more natural you can afford to get bolder on the lips like purple and teal lips. Little focus on the eyes with color but it’s all about the lips!
What career advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Get your butt off the couch and really work. Makeup artistry is one part working and four parts actually finding more work. Use all of your resources and have family and friends help. Photographers, wedding consultants, florists and cake bakers are all people that can help you even though we tend to overlook them. They are a big part of the industry for makeup artists. They are the ones that are going to refer or recommend you. A lot of artists forget that and tend to think that the only way to be successful is pursuing a brand or finding it on their own. These other industries can help you and you should use every angle to get you going.
Final words of advice - blend, blend, blend! And when in doubt, blend some more!
For more information from Koren, shop his products and bookings visit EnKore Makeup. Follow Koren on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Visit Koren’s EnKore MakeUp Line at The Makeup Show LA booth 6009.
The Makeup Show LA begins on Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 9 am to 6 pm and on March 3, 2013 from 9 am to 5 pm at California Market Center, 110 East Ninth Street, Los Angeles, CA. For tickets visit www.themakeupshow.com.