If you’ve been following my recent posts on Oh So London, you will have heard (or read, rather) me talking about Mollie Whichello, a freelance make-up artist based in London.
Mollie Whichello is an inspiration for many people looking to change careers. That’s because after many years of working in PR, she decided to follow her true passion and run a mobile beauty and spa therapy business.
Who said it’s ever too late to go from Career A to Career B?
Here our Q&A with Mollie reveals why she decided to have a career change, how you can follow your dream job what it is she loves about London and her new career.
Over to you Mollie!
Hi Mollie, tell us about yourself…
I’m Mollie Whichello, a freelance make-up artist and I offer a variety of spa and beauty treatments from The Harley Street Skin Clinic and my studio in North London.
Prior to moving to London, I trained as a beauty therapist and make-up artist, qualifying in a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Beauty Therapy Sciences, at the age of 21. After two years working as a salon manager, an opportunity arose to work in consumer PR, working across incredible brands. It sounded interesting and I decided to take the chance and see where it would lead. I didn’t give up on beauty though, and continued to practice as a therapist and make-up artist when I could
How long were you in PR for and what kind of clients did you work with?
I moved to London when I was 23 to start my career in the PR world and it lasted for nine years. I was fortunate to work on incredible brands such as New Look, Diageo’s Tanqueray NoTen, Johnnie Walker Blue, Gordon’s Gin, O2 and Notonthehighstreet. I also worked with celebrities such as Giles Deacon, Patrick Grant (who is really lovely!), Lily Allen, James Cracknell, Jason Atherton and more. It was a definite experience and not always good for my liver but at that age you seem to bounce back!
Why did you decide to go into spa and beauty?
I’d always liked making people over and knew that beauty and make-up and what I could do with it interested me. I didn’t follow the traditional route of college then university. Instead, I did a few business courses and finally enrolled on a beauty course when I was 19 in Nottingham which allowed me to learn the skills that most people need to become a freelance make-up artist and launch the Mollie Whichello brand. This was my chance to do something I was really passionate about and to live away from home, which was like a rite of passage at that age!
Was it difficult making the career change?
Going back into the beauty industry was slightly intimidating but I try to use the feeling of fear as motivation. It helps gear me up for anything that needs a little courage! Having worked as a mobile therapist and make-up artist for about the same time that I worked in PR, I was not that out of practice but wanted to refresh my knowledge to make sure I was totally up to date.
Along the way I sought reassurance and advice from family and friends but mainly followed my gut on what felt right, and going back to beauty and make-up seemed to make sense.
Did you have to get training to get into spa and beauty? If so, where did you do this?
I started training when I was 19 after enrolling on a course and have continued to add more treatments to my portfolio over the years. One of the courses was an inspiring fashion and editorial make-up course at the London College of Fashion, which as part of the assessment included using a theme that had to be displayed through the make-up. I chose Valkyrie, a figure from Norse mythology who chose he would die and who would survive a battle. It sounds slightly morbid but it allowed me to use strong colours, stones and a head piece!
What do you love most about owning the Mollie Whichello beauty brand?
No day is ever the same. Whether it’s when I’m mobile or working at Harley Street Skin Clinic, I see all sorts of things and meet all sorts of people but that’s part of the job and its appeal. I also occasionally team up with another PR pal, Poonam Vaja, who is trained in make-up artist which is nice as it means you have a buddy when working at larger events.
What are the key treatments you offer?
I offer a list of treatments, but what I find most popular are massage, spray tan and waxing. However this changes with the seasons, so during the summer I do a lot of wedding make-up. I really love the intimacy and feeling part of someone’s big day – that may play to the nosey part of my character!
What are your favourite products you use?
I have used so many products over the years but nothing ever quite lasted, however in the last three years I’ve started using Neal’s Yard Remedies and haven’t looked back. They use natural earthy elements such as plants and essential oils. They have an amazing frankincense line which is designed for fine line and wrinkles – it works a treat!
Do you have any favourite spas in London?
I recently went to the Ironmonger Row Baths in Old Street and it was so tranquil considering the location. It’s a haven of peace and relaxation with hot and cold baths, treatments and also a room where you can read the paper sipping on mint and lemon water whilst listening to the gentle sounds of people quietly walking to their next spot. It’s idyllic!
Where do you live in London & what is your favourite thing about your neighbourhood?
I live in Stoke Newington. It has two main streets one of which is designed for people who like upmarket restaurants such as Foxlowe’s and the other for those who prefer a local Turkish restaurant. I am addicted to Turkish food so the latter always wins! You are never short of second hand shops, junk yards, book shops, pubs and bars. It’s a quaint place to live but I’ve got itchy feet and I am keen to try somewhere new.
What are your top 3 tips for anyone looking to make a career change?
If you’ve been thinking about if for a long time then give it a go but make sure it’s financially possible. I’ve found that you will be at a loss before you are making a profit.
Work alongside training if possible, that way you will avoid any major panic attacks over making a job change and lack of money for a while. And, don’t be afraid to ask for advice!
There will be times when you think ‘what have I done?’ But hopefully it will be worth it. My biggest learning curve was that it takes time. I like things to happen immediately but with this I’ve had to appreciate it won’t happen overnight!
Thanks so much Mollie!
To find out more about freelance make-up artist Mollie Whichello, head over to her website Molliewbeautymakeup.com, follow her on twitter @MollWhich, on insta @Mollie_Which and on Facebook. You can also contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org / 07710 416 859 to book an appointment.
Until next time x