Column: Studying marketing and communication has helped me grow my business, Makeup by Chloe Livingston

Chloe Livingston stands on a staircase.
Chloe Livingston stands on a staircase.

Chloe Livingston
Oxford Stories

My small business continued to grow as I entered college and practiced my passion for makeup.

My name is Chloe Livingston. I am 19 years old, and I am the owner and artist of Makeup by Chloe Livingston, a makeup and spray tan business I have been running for more than four years.

I started this business when I was a sophomore in high school with my friend Helen Horecky. We both had a passion for makeup, and she was a talented hair stylist.

Helen and Chloe during their first makeup session.
Helen and Chloe during their first makeup session.

Makeup has interested me since I was young. In ninth grade, I stayed up until 1 or 2 in the morning watching YouTube tutorials by makeup gurus. Then I tried that look on myself and washed it off before falling asleep. Even today, if you look at my Discover page on any social media platform, you’ll see multiple makeup videos and eyeshadow tutorials because it still interests me.

During high school, many upperclassmen asked me to do their makeup for different events. Eventually, I talked with Helen, and we decided to start a hair and makeup business. We created an Instagram account called “HC Beauty,” which stood for Helen and Chloe. At first, we posted looks we had done on ourselves or our close friends to grow our client base.

The first makeup session we worked on together was Madison Central Homecoming our sophomore year. We had about eight girls scheduled for hair and makeup that afternoon. We ran behind schedule pretty much the whole time, and I remember only having about 15 minutes to get myself ready before my pictures started.

Looking back, we did a terrible job of scheduling and booked too many people. We learned it is very different to do makeup on other people than on ourselves and took longer than we thought. But all our clients left satisfied and feeling glamourous, which was encouraging after our stressful afternoon. Helen and I have worked on many different events since then and refined our process over our remaining years of high school.

Helen chose to go to college at Mississippi State, and I attend the University of Mississippi. I talked with Helen during my freshman year and asked if I could take over the business, and she agreed. I began to rebrand my page. I changed the name to Makeup by Chloe Livingston. I implemented spreadsheets for scheduling, and I added spray tans available to book.

The Makeup by Chloe Livingston Instagram page.
The Makeup by Chloe Livingston Instagram page.

I started getting spray tans my junior year of high school from one of the upperclassmen on my dance team. Every Thursday night, I got a tan before we had to wear our skirts to school the next day. It became an addiction. I started getting spray tans every week until eventually, my mom told me we couldn’t pay $15 every week anymore, and I needed to start doing it on my own.

So, on Christmas my junior year, I got a spray tan machine, a tanning tent, and one bottle of solution. I gave a few of my close friends free spray tans over the break and then started charging $15 per tan.

My business has taken off now that I’m in college. I now have over 500 followers on my Instagram account and make an average of $150 per week from spray tans alone. My makeup income fluctuates each week depending on what type of events are happening, but I usually do around two girls’ makeup per week.

I started using digital designing websites to create my availability posters for makeup and spray tans. This has produced a lot of positive feedback from customers and makes it easy for them to know when they can book.

This year, I have the biggest client base I have ever had. The next two upcoming events I’m doing makeup for were fully booked within a few hours after I posted my availability.

I also have started using Google Sheets to allow clients to access a link in my Instagram bio and see when I am giving spray tans so they can sign themselves up. This is a very helpful tool for me.

With my client base growing, I felt as though I was answering texts all day from people asking for spray tans or to get their makeup done. Google Sheets enables clients to schedule a time that works for both of us without us even having to communicate.

I have learned a lot about makeup, tanning, scheduling, marketing my business, and working with people over the last four years. I truly have a passion for makeup and helping people, and I hope to continue to grow my talents.

Though I am not pursuing a degree in cosmetology, I am majoring in marketing and communications, which has helped me grow my business. I hope to one day open my own makeup and spray tan salon so I can continue practicing my passion for makeup.

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