We were lucky to catch up with Erin Seilhan recently and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, thanks for joining us today. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I’ve always been creative and realized at a young age that I had a passion for drawing. One of my grandfathers was a naturally gifted artist, and there are several people in my family that also inherited this talent. Fast forward to my early 30’s, I had a creative role as a marketing coordinator when microblading became really popular. I was really intrigued with the whole aspect of permanent makeup as I saw an art to it and thought it could be something that I’d love to get into. However, I was living in Louisiana at the time, and the state required people to first be either a licensed esthetician or cosmetologist before getting certifications in permanent makeup. Needless to say, my schedule wouldn’t have permitted me to go to school again full time during that period of my life. Being really disappointed about it, I just kind of pushed it out of my head for the time being. Life went on and I later moved to Dallas where I did real estate & real estate photography, I met someone that I started dating & we got engaged! My fiancé had been raving about the Scottsdale/Phoenix area and had hopes of either getting a vacation home there or possibly even moving full time. Finally, we took a trip for me to see what it was like, and I fell in love with it immediately. We ended up going house shopping, and put in an offer that same weekend of the trip. In October of 2020, we became full time residents of Arizona! For work, I always assumed that I would get my real estate license in Arizona, but it just didn’t sit well with me- I felt like this was an opportunity for me to really dive into finding something that I’d be really passionate about. One day, I decided to get my own eyebrows microbladed & I was stunned by how well the artist did, and it showed how much artistic talent went into the procedure. This experience woke up my curiosity once again about permanent makeup, so I did some research and was pleasantly surprised to see that Arizona had different requirements that would allow me to get certified in microblading. I told my fiancé about this idea, and he absolutely loved it for me, and thought that this would be perfect for me. From there, he was completely supportive and said “Let’s do it!” I knew that so many people were taking these classes, and it was pretty accessible for people to get certified which worried me in the beginning due to all of the potential competition. However, I knew that my artistic talent would give me an edge in this industry, especially as a beginner. I also had a full plan to separate myself from my competition from the design of my office, to the name of my business, and down to every detail of my website. I also got certified in lip blushing, lash lifting & tinting, plasma skin tightening, and microneedling. I wanted to have a diverse amount of services that I could offer so that I wouldn’t limit myself to just one thing. However, since microblading seems to be the most popular out of all of the services, differentiating myself from my competitors would be vital. There’s quite a few tattooing techniques for eyebrows, but my skill is creating realistic results. My tattooing technique is to create realistic hair strokes with my tool to mimic the appearance of real hairs- which is what microblading is- but it’s not easy for just anyone to learn this. Having natural creative talent can be the difference between someone really loving this or choosing to not go down this career path in the end.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
When I did research on how I wanted to brand myself, I looked at what other artists were doing- which all seemed like the same tone. Most of it was very “girly”, a lot of people use a lot of pink colors in their offices, on their website, etc. What most people forget however, is that these services are not just for women although women definitely makeup the majority of our demographic. Cancer patients that have gone through chemotherapy usually have issues growing their eyebrows back after losing them, people who suffer from worsening degrees of Alopecia usually do not have eyebrows, people who have had facial accidents or scars may have issues with brow symmetry or a total loss of eyebrow hairs as well. I want my business to be seen as not just a “permanent makeup” business, but as a place for all types of people to come to fix all different types of individual and unique problems. My office should be a solution for all kinds of issues, a place for people to come to become more confident, and a place for all types of people – not just women. I have a very gender neutral tone for my set-up, actually probably more masculine if I had to label it one way or another, but it’s clean, modern, artistic, and inviting for all. My idea is to spark interest in people about procedures that can be of help for so many different scenarios. I’ve had clients who didn’t even realize that microblading existed until they saw my ads with before/after photos, and they’re like “Wow, that’s really cool, I could definitely use that for myself!” It’s always fun to teach people about the skin care services that I offer and show them these procedures that are accessible to them that are so simple to have done, but yet so significant in the confidence that it can bring to them as well.
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
When I first started taking my classes for all of my certifications, I took photos of everything that I worked on. Unfortunately, when a person starts this kind of business, the thing that you need the most which is quality before/after photos of your work, is also the thing that you have the least of in the beginning. I started advertising by asking people to be models, which led to me being able to build a portfolio of my work. I had a website made, Facebook and Instagram accounts were opened, so I really just tried to make myself available on all platforms. I’d post pics of my office, pigments or supplies that I use, just anything to build content. Finally once I had all of that, I was ready to advertise. I hired a social media marketer which just puts me in front of so many people with ads- this is where I get 85% of my clients from. I also hired a google marketer which allows me to be searchable in my area, and I hired a website guru who optimized my website in a way that increases the chances of someone booking with me and having an overall better experience when they’re on my site. Posting everyday on social media, updating my website, continuously uploading new content of my work is crucial to adding validity of my ability to potential clients. While I have a marketing degree and have a lot of knowledge of social media, advertising and online tools are constantly changing faster than what I can keep up with- so hiring people that are experts in advertising was the best decision that I could’ve made. I had to realize that I can’t do it all on my own, and my business wouldn’t have grown to where it is now without that help.
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
By far, the best thing as I’ve mentioned before is posting quality photos of my work. People need to see an artist’s ability when they’re getting any type of tattoo- especially when it’s on their face! As people age, eyebrows get sparser, and most people just want their eyebrow hairs back – they’re not looking for a dramatic look regardless of whatever is trending. They simply want their brows to appear the way that they did before the hair fell out, so my photos show how incredibly natural and realistic my technique is. Aside from photos, responding quickly to leads from my ads has been something that people have mentioned many times as something that they appreciated. Clients tell me how they reached out to several microblading artists who never even called them back or responded to their inquiries, so hearing back from me so promptly or even at all played a huge part in their decision to pick me as their artist. Replying quickly is something that I pride myself on as well as being thorough with my answers. There’s a lot to know about the procedure before getting it done, and it’s fairly simple for the person who’s getting it done on them, but most people don’t really know what to expect- and it’s my job to put them at ease and educate them. While clients are sort of interviewing me to see if I’m the right artist, it’s also my responsibility to see if they’re the right candidates for the procedure and to make sure that this is what they want to do. With that being said, I never want to seem pushy when potential clients are asking me questions about the procedures that I do- I stick with being as informative as I can, and from there, they can decide if they’d like to move onto the next step. All of these “tactics” have helped me get referrals, great reviews online, and have been creating a positive overall reputation for my business.