FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What to consider when you are teaching others how to face paint.  Contributed by Gary Cole


I think you have to consider who you are teaching and what is in it for you as well as the student.


As a logical parallel, recently we purchased a miniature Schnauzer to replace a family dog that had died. Because of the breed, the cost was $800 if we purchased the dog without full pedigree papers. For the same exact dog, we could pay $1200 for a full set of AKC pedigree documentation. The logic here is the $800 dog would be for a family pet and the $1200 would be a dog that we could potentially breed down the road. If we breed the dog (at the $1200 price) then we become additional competition to the Schnauzer world. Follow this logic as you go out in the face painting world.


There are many reasons one might wish to teach others and depending on your perspective a professional face painter might or might not see this as a threat.


1)      Teach because you simply want to be friendly and share this fun craft. There certainly is not anything wrong with teaching a skill to help others. There is a lot in the world worse than teaching a friend in your church how to face paint. That lady might go and volunteer at her church, her childís school or even do face painting for free at the local adopt-a-pet center. She might go to the local childrenís hospital and put smiles on ill children. She will bring joy to every child she paints as she serves her community.

2)      Teach because you wish to improve the general standards of the face painting world. There are face painting conventions now all over the world that have a desire to elevate the skill level of face painters everywhere. Most of these do it for a profit. I certainly donít fault these folks from making a profit as there is risk and a heck of a lot of work in putting these events together. In the end the face painting quality in the world has and continues to improve.

3)      Teach for profit. It is no surprise that there are a good group of top tier face painters that travel the US and the world earning a good part of their annual income by teaching their skills to others. Many of these cannot make ends meet by face painting alone. I donít see teaching someone how to face paint for a living is any different that teaching someone hold to do electrical work for a living. We all have to learn somewhere and why not let the trainer make a few bucks for sharing their trade secrets. In the end if you want to be a good painter donít you want to want to learn from the best out there?

4)      Teach for marketing sake. Many companies, Ruby Red Paints USA Inc. included, train others how to face paint as part of their marketing. We have been doing this for fifteen plus years. Refer to www.rubyredpaint.com/lecture.htm In our case we will travel anywhere in North America at the companyís expense if one gathers a group of 25 interested adults. The logic is if we go to that location and teach a three hour course we will show people how easy it is to paint a good quality face. We in the process build goodwill with potential customers getting them to move to a safer, better product from that time forward. We hope to sell enough product to cover the cost of travel. In the meantime, we build good will and hopefully loyal customers to continue to buy our products.

5)      We also teach at some private venues for future revenue. In other words if there is a face painting company, amusement park or the like that wants private lessons, we will go and teach that group  as long as that group is willing to pay all travel expenses and also commit to use our brand of paint. We do not charge them for our time or skills but the hope is they will cover the bottom line costs of travel and be a volume buyer of products down the road. It is a pay-it-forward type of logic.

6)      Teach to improve skills in your area. There are many art clubs, face painting guilds and the like that teach face painting to their peers and even potentially to their area competition. One that is confident enough in their business skills will not be threatened by having another quality face painter in the area. In the end, one good face painter can breed business for you down the road. Most face painters are solo painters. They can only be in one place at a time. If that painter is not available and you are, then you get the work. I would much rather have face painting competition with good skills in my area that one that paints poor designs using sub-par products. Besides if you go to a local guild you would share your skills at one of the events and hopefully you in turn learn from your peer when it is their turn to teach.


With all this said, one needs to take into consideration who they are teaching and where the potential threat is. Most of those that go out and teach have and probably still face paint for profit. Most of these people will clearly take into consideration who they teach and where the threat is. Many will not teach in their back yard. If you know the person you are about to teach has full intentions of going after the face painting professional business in your area then you just might not be so willing to teach them. There are trade secrets to face painting and the face painting business that you just might not wish to share with your direct competition. You donít see Coca-Cola passing out its formula or its customer list to Pepsi. In the end you need to use a little common sense and judge what is good for you.


In my case it really is no secret. I own Ruby Red Paints USA Inc. and I do go out and teach beginner level face painters all over North America. I would probably challenge anyone to having taught more beginner face painters than I have in my travels. In my case it is part of our marketing to share this art form building good wheel for the brand. Likewise, I am the owner of a face paint business since 1994 and part of that business is to send out workers for hire on an hourly basis. In the case of Ruby Red Paints, I have taught classes in my area on how to face paint as long as they meet the guidelines as outlined with others. I do this knowing full well that one of those people could very well be competing against me for a job in the coming months. The difference is I know, from experience that there is one skill to be a good face painter and another skill set in order to make it into a business. RARELY does one person have both skill sets and therefore I personally donít feel that threatened.


It becomes a totally different story when someone wants one on one training. It is a rare situation where I would do one on one training. When I do it is generally for one of two reasons. The first is to train my own workers and I do not allow my workers to work for anyone other than for me and my company. The other is if they are going to pay me for my time. For me I think my time is worth $100 per hour. That is an arbitrary figure I have set as a value for my years of experience and my time if teaching in my own area. If the person wants one on one training then they can get it if they are willing to pay the hourly fee. There might be some rare exceptions but those are taken on a case by case basis. In other words I recently taught the teenage girls in my church how to face paint as part of a fun craft activity. They certainly werenít a threat to me in any way. I did it as service to my community. I do teach classes, often for free, at conventions in North America and those are group settings. I am often asked for one on one sessions while I travel and for those I revert back to my $100 per hour rate. I figure if someone wants one on one training they are willing to pay for it. My time is worth something and why work for free when I might instead be visiting with friends, family or visiting local sites as I travel. No one is forcing them to pay $100 if they do not feel it is worth that.


So in the end, you have to decide what is best for you should you consider to teach others your skills. If you feel threatened by another then I suggest you pass.


Gary Cole 


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