From our CEO: Freelance beauty and being a part of the passion economy

Beauty freelancer at home

Chances are that you know your reasons for wanting to be freelance as a beauty professional, and why flexibility is so important to you. Yes, the autonomy and freedom of starting your own beauty business has longtime been the ultimate goal for hairdressers, makeup artists, and skincare professionals alike. But why is flexibility so important to the hair and beauty services industry as a whole? And what does the future look like for you, especially post-pandemic?

Let's start with some facts. Today in the United Kingdom, hairdressers and beauty therapists are already mostly self-employed and mobile, with those numbers coming in at 52% and 54% respectively before COVID (NHBF 2019). Since the pandemic, we've seen self-employed numbers rise to over 60% of hairdressers and barbers, and over 63% of other beauty professionals (Population Survey 2020). Additionally, over 83% of self-employed hairdressers and beauty professionals in the UK are women (Population Survey 2020). Through our own interviews with hundreds of those women, we know that the ability to work and care for their children was a big draw when considering going freelance. Freelance work is very appealing for many women, who today still take on the bulk of child caring responsibility.

However there is also a bigger cultural shift that we believe has lasting power: the shift is towards the passion economy.

The ‘passion economy' movement is something we're really seeing come alive in beauty. This is where individuals move beyond exclusively being paid for services, towards scalable income from their community. For example, a yoga teacher will charge for her classes, but she can also earn income through recording class videos and charging online subscriptions, or offering her mindfulness guide for sale online. Monetising your expertise, building your audience, and producing great content are the cornerstones of the passion economy.

As it relates to beauty, hairdressers and beauticians have already learned the benefits of the passion economy through social media influence. Just look at the success stories borne out of YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok with the likes of James Charles, Huda Kattan, and recently Mikayla Nogueira.

You may not consider yourself to be an influencer (or even want to be one!) - but as a freelancer you are doing much of the same activities: managing and keeping in touch with your community, finding ways to grow your customer base, providing quality advice and services, and so on.

Importantly, there are so many tools available to make your work work for you. During and following the pandemic we saw beauticians incorporating new business ideas like online consultations, Zoom-guided haircuts, homemade hair dye subscription kits, at-home bookings, and at Expertly, bespoke beauty product advice and selections. We believe that many of these new ideas will be sticky because of the increased convenience they provide for customers. Freelancers were the architects of the new ways to engage with beauty while in a lockdown, and they had to turn to individual relationships, creativity, and flexibility to make them happen.

Ultimately, trends for buying beauty products online, booking online, and doing things flexibly at home are things we expect to continue post-COVID. This is a space that is growing massively, and we at Expertly will continue to keep you informed as we build our business with you.


Erin Booth

Founder and CEO, Expertly