In 2012, Carmel applied for and successfully completed the NEIS program through ETC, with the vision of creating and launching her own swimwear label. She designed several pieces using her knowledge of women’s fashion and classic style and recruited the assistance of local models and photographers from the Coffs Coast. Carmel released her first summer range by the end of 2012. This was a successful introduction to the world of business, and Carmel is eagerly awaiting September 2018 to relaunch her latest designs with the rebranded swimwear label, Thistleberry.
While the creation of her swimwear label was in progress, friends observed that Carmel had a passion and talent for makeup and were regularly asking if she could provide a service. With little thought, Carmel created a makeup page on Facebook to create interest and started charging a small fee for her services, which rapidly grew.
Little did she know that this small passion and love for makeup would grow into a successful and thriving business. Since then, Carmel has never looked back. As her natural talent as a freelance makeup artist grew, Carmel started investing into education and training with some of Australia’s most recognised makeup artists. She continues to seek cutting edge training and techniques, with the drive and desire to always do better in her craft.
Carmel’s ambition and drive then saw her open a sister business to her makeup artistry. In 2016, Carmel created Harlow Hair & Beauty, which not only complemented her makeup, but allowed her to offer full bridal services to her brides. Her staff grew from one to four, as she continued to listen to the public and introduce more services through her business.
Carmel is now recognised as Coffs Harbour’s most sought out bridal and glamour makeup artist, with regular new bookings for interstate weddings and the development of education and training for other developing artists.
On her journey, Carmel has learnt that it isn’t just the makeup artistry and making her clients feel amazing that she loves. She has also discovered her true passion for business and social media.
“This whole experience has opened up many new doors for me and allows me to explore other areas through collaboration with other businesses – especially through social media, which is really exciting. I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing people succeed at what they love to do and if it’s business and I get to be a part of that, even better.”
Carmel believes that if you’re passionate about anything you can make it your profession, as long as you’re good at it and know how to market yourself.
Social media has been a huge pinnacle in the success of Carmel’s business and has been the best and most affordable platform for her to market.
“It’s visual, and your reach potential is endless.”
Instagram has been a turning point for Carmel, and her business is now not only about sharing her makeup artistry, but brand advertising. Businesses are now approaching her to collaborate. Carmel is learning in the world of social media that she is becoming the brand herself and that her makeup, swimwear label and salon are offshoots of something that has become so much bigger.
Carmel looks up to many business leaders, but the people who inspire her the most are the business owners/peers within our local community on the Coffs Coast. They’re the women and men she has relationships with, who are passionate, driven to thrive and are invested in this community. They are the people who are humble supporters and who encourage each other to do better. They are the people who celebrate the success of others.
Carmel doesn’t take the notion of “success” lightly. “I personally don’t think success can be measured. It’s different for everyone. We are all at different stages and have a desire for different things. If we are setting goals and trying, that is success. There is a difference between giving up and failure. One of my favourite quotes that I apply to life and business is: ‘When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important’ – Ellen DeGeneres.”
While Carmel is excited to see where 2018 takes her, her plans are to focus on developing her makeup skills, take a few steps back and revisit business basics. She is focusing on giving her full attention to her clients, brides and making improvements in all aspects of her businesses, including her swimwear label relaunch.
The best business advice Carmel would like to share is: “Be human. Build relationships. Listen. And work until your ideas become your competition.”