September 17, 2019
Starting ARLY was particularly meaningful to me. It meant the end of being in this industry alone and the birth of a partnership with my friend, Vicky Ang. We met 2 years ago through one of our dear friends, Franz. While most people with common skillset choose not to associate themselves with one another, I believe that building a community is infinitely better than working alone.
Vicky and I went through thick and thin together, we are like-minded with the right intention. I often had to justify why my 'Airin Instagram' page isn't trying to make me an influencer, nor does it show all of my work. That's because it is merely a medium to channel the thought processes and memories I hold dear through my journey as a Makeup artist. Hence, the thought of having ARLY as the official channel for all beauty related topics. Everyone has big dreams, but for both of us, we believe in taking things step by step and let the journey unravel for us.
After a decade, I feel that I've hit my ceiling in expanding my knowledge in terms of makeup. Well, the seeing of what beauty meant has become somewhat second nature to me. Most of the time, I’ve already “know” the look well before the face. And I’m already prepared with all the necessary products in my huge black box to make the vision come true for my clients and it has always been the case. But now with the birth of ARLY, it challenges both Vicky and me to be intentional when it comes to growth and being grounded - to not assume that we "know" a look before the face. Rather, every instance we pick up the brush is an exploration of the multiple facets of techniques and beauty itself.
Contrary to my current title, professional make up artist, a career in the industry was never a given. "It was not a direct path for me at all, I studied biomedical science then business management in university, and make up was always a hobby that my mom encouraged when I was 17. I didn’t know that it could be a real career, because of the way I grew up, always focusing on math and science." But what might be considered a more right-brained pursuit eventually overtook my left-brained leanings: "It wasn’t until after I graduated from RMIT and doing make up on the side for 5 years did I decided to go full-steam to try to pursue it full time."
"I took the leap without having a single retainer client." It was a struggle as a freelancer to make it work, and through the years of meeting people and experiencing life. I guess I got lucky through the hard work to meet people who are loving and kind. I met mentors who are dear to me and clients who spread my name to their closest circle. Because of the love and support of our fellow friends and clients, we are more than open to share about what we know and don't know plus a good percentage of contributing back to the society. #sharingiscaring
The hardest thing about trying to grow something is that there’s a huge learning curve. And I feel fortunate to have the team that I have now (especially having Vicky) but it’s taken years to build something like this. The idea of growing — nothing is overnight…it’s always one step at a time.
If we don’t make good decisions today, we’ll pay for our bad decisions tomorrow—with interest. With love, Airin -Images shot by Tasmin Fong