Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Hiller.
Lauren, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The idea for Call Me Beautiful came to me after my first child turned 8 months old. I was itching to get back to work and to satisfy my need to feel useful, not only as a mother, but also as a professional. My husband and I had recently moved to San Diego and quickly learned that it was an ideal wedding destination. I spent a lot of time researching the market and determined that there was a need for on-location beauty services.
I spent an entire year researching my market and potential challenges, learning about other companies with similar business models, developing my brand, and networking with leaders in the field. By the time I launched my website, Call Me Beautiful was open for business. Call Me Beautiful has allowed me to fulfill my passion for customer service, to utilize my background in marketing and sales, and to enjoy the excitement and satisfaction of making people feel beautiful and taken care of.
Has it been a smooth road?
My first year with Call Me Beautiful was filled with excitement, fear, and pride. When you have your own business, you feel personally invested in every choice you make. I was very motivated to prove to myself that I could create something completely on my own and be successful at it. As a new mother, it was sometimes difficult (and still is) to find the balance between my life as a mother and as a business owner. I needed to plan my time wisely and pro-actively.
Finding a team who met my standard of professionalism, talent, service mindedness, and positivity was my most challenging task. My assistant and I were constantly interviewing individuals in order to find the best of the best to represent our brand. Within months we found the right team and were excited to give them the opportunity to work with amazing clients and to work on photo-shoots and editorials for some of San Diego’s leading magazines.
For women starting a business of their own, I have a few pieces of advice. First, do your research and make a clear step-by-step roadmap to your success. Understand all of the challenges that you may face before diving in. Don’t let these challenges deter you. Address these roadblocks with a pro-active plan. While you can’t anticipate all of the bumps in the road that may come up, it is empowering to work through those that you can. Research other business like yours in your market. Analyze their marketing strategy, what they charge for their services or products, and look at their websites. Understanding your competition will help you create your competitive edge. What will make you different? How will you stand out?
Secondly, network with influencers in your field and get the word out! Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and to introduce yourself. Take people out for coffee who can be of service to you later or who may be willing to share their experience with you. No one ever tells you this, but in order to build your new business, you need to look like you have already had success. Confusing, right? Sadly, the “just trust me” approach will not do when you are trying to sell your first services or products. You need testimonials before even opening your doors for business. Have friends or even family experience your services or products so that they can tell their friends. Offer your services or products at a discounted rate at first. (Some people may not agree with this but I think it essential to building momentum before you have any real credibility). Participate in industry events. Get testimonials, take pictures, and share. Create an Instagram and Facebook page for your business. Speak to anyone and everyone about your work. You never know who may be listening!
Third, set the stage and “wow” your audience. Before I officially launched Call Me Beautiful, I partnered with incredible vendors to create beautiful photo-shoots. I made the calls, coordinated the photographers, stylists, models, event planners and florists, and made it happen. From those shoots I was able to use the photos on my website and get our work published in several leading San Diego Magazines. These shoots gave me exposure, fostered relationships, generated buzz, and created credibility for my company.
Lastly, build positive relationships in your community. No matter what type of business you are in, customer service is everything. In my opinion, the client is always right. Your clients have many choices, so be kind and gracious no matter how challenging the situation. Always speak positively about your competition and your clients. What you put out to the world is what you will receive.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Call Me Beautiful – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Call Me Beautiful provides on location hair and makeup services for weddings and special occasions. We are best known for our talented artists, attention to detail, professionalism, and customer service. We have been part of 100’s of weddings over the last six years and have collaborated with some of the best photographers, magazines and wedding planners in the business. We have had the privilege of working on the sets of HGTV and Fox5 San Diego, and our work can be seen on the cover and in the pages of Exquisite Weddings Magazine, Bridalguide.com, StyleMePretty, and Southern California Bride.
I am truly dedicated to making sure each one of our clients has a wonderful experience with us. Hair and makeup should be fun, easy and just the way you want it. I believe our team works hard to reflect this mission and to make our clients feel pampered and taken care of. I have the privileged role of being the sole point of contact for our clients. I get to know them by phone, select who I believe will be the right artist and stylist from our team, coordinate their schedules and services and have the responsibility of making sure everything runs smoothly.
I am most proud of the feedback we get from our brides. The morning of a wedding can be a chaotic (and exciting), time and I am happy that we can be a reliable source of joy and positivity. We offer trials prior to a bride’s wedding day so that we can seamlessly execute her vision on her big day. What I love to hear most, is how our brides felt connected to their artists and assured by our communication, punctuality, and ability to achieve her vision with ease.
Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
While the world is evolving, women still face many challenges when pushing to reach the top.
I have worked in multiple industries, each having their own unique challenges for women. I have dealt with getting paid less than my male counterparts, sexual harassment, and gender bias from both men and women. In the moment, I know all too well how difficult it is to speak out when you fear judgment and professional repercussions.
When you own your own business you don’t have to deal with these issues in the same way. You get to set the standard for your company and get to choose who you work with. If I could go back in time, I would encourage myself to trust my own voice more. I now see how crucial it is for women to speak boldly about their truths not only for themselves, but also for the betterment of each other.
- Website: www.callmebeautiful.com
- Phone: 404-632-3753
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/callmebeautifulcali/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/callmebeautifulcali/
Headshot: Genesis Images
Photo 1: Christie and Nate (black and white photo, couple w veil over faces): True Photography
Photo 2: Bride looking in mirror: Photography by Joshua Killeen
Photo 3: Bridalguide.com: New Love Photo and Photography by Joshua Killeen
Photo 4: Blue Dress looking out: Mi Belle Photography
Photo 5: Bride with flower crown: Photography by Joshua Killeen
Photo 6: Bride with curly black hair and dark lip: Ashley Williams Photography
Photo 7: Bride and makeup brush: Alon David Photography
Photo 8: Couple with Bike: Renee Hollingshead Photography
Photo 9: Bride facing side smiling, holding bouquet: Pam Scott Photography
Photo 10: Car and couple: Holly Ireland Photography