Womens Exclusive sat down with Chennai based bridal makeup artist, Lyn Vassou, to discuss her brand Rings & Strings’ rapid growth over the years.
In the year 2014, Lyn Vassou had already envisioned her dream to own her very own salon, catering to brides not only in Chennai, but across the state. Today, she owns her dream salon in Anna Nagar, Chennai with paid employees working for her brand.
It all began when she decided to give up her job as a trainer at a Naturals Institute.
Lyn had foreseen a better future for herself as a travelling makeup artist. In the year 2015, Rings and Strings was born, a Chennai based brand started by this one woman army.
Initially, gains were small. Lyn worked alone and travelled not only across Chennai but to other places in Tamil Nadu like Madurai, Trichy, Tirunelvelli, Tirupati, Kanchipuram, Pondicherry, Naiveli, Theni, Kumbakonam and Tanjore.
Womens Exclusive asked Lyn a few questions about how she successfully grew her business over the years. Here’s what she had to say.
Why did you choose the name ‘Rings and Strings’?
I chose the name because even before we had a team, I knew I wanted to specialize in bridal makeup. I wanted to name my brand after something symbolic of weddings and Rings and Strings seemed to be the perfect name to depict traditional and western themed weddings together. And it rhymes!
How did you first start out?
When I started working for clients at their homes, I saw that there was a need for bridal makeup artists, and this was quite often. Friends and family who had given me a chance to work with them had begun to recommend me to their contacts. I went from doing hair cuts at people’s homes to single handedly working on brides, catering to all their hair and skin requirements.
Did you have any kind of support or did you partner with anyone?
Not really. I teamed up now and then with a few photographers, tailors, mehendi artists and jewellery sellers who I met along the course of my career. But apart from that, it was just me in the beginning.
How did you prepare for this? It’s a huge responsibility!
Yes, working on a bride on the biggest day of her life yet, is definitely a huge responsibility. I was quite nervous when I started out but I eased into the role quite comfortably in the days to come. This was especially because I worked with a lot of known contacts in the beginning that were quite supportive. I gained my confidence from these initial challenges.
Another important part of me growing as a makeup artist is just the simple art of practice. I make sure I stay up to date with all the new trends and I spend a lot of time online watching and learning different techniques.
Having been a trainer in the past is also useful because I can pick up things quickly and pass it along to the team.
What do you think helped you expand your business?
I think it was mostly word of mouth. Of course, I did ensure that the brand’s social media pages were always active with relevant campaigns and promotions. I ran many promotional campaigns for brides. For instance, there was one campaign where existing clients could nominate a bride to be for a special discount.
The growth of the team was also one of the contributing factors for expansion. A childhood friend of mine, Nancy, decided to get on board with Rings and Strings and her arrival helped us gain immense momentum. I could now take double the orders and travel to even more places.
So I guess steady marketing campaigns and the growth of the team is what led to expansion.
What inspired you to get involved with bridal makeup?
Bridal makeup is such a great specialization, especially for me because the requirements are always different and this excites me. Every client has a different preference and vision of what they want to look like and what they want to wear. It’s my job to work around those lines while implementing nice little surprises for them to add a personalized touch.
Apart from working with different levels of creativity, the main inspiration to get involved with bridal makeup was for the nature of this type of work. I find it fulfilling to see a bride brimming with joy after her makeup and hair is done. The team and I get to visit so many amazing venues and we meet all types of people from different cultures. Bonus points for biryani and wedding thalis!
Why did you find it necessary to invest in a brick and mortar identity?
So, until the end of 2019, our work was mobile. This was convenient for some and not so much for other clients. Some brides want a comfortable place outside home to get ready. Some of them have hotel rooms booked in advance but some really just want the makeup artist to provide a comfortable space for them to get ready.
I was able to cover these requirements by setting up a space in my house with all the essentials. But I noticed there were clients who weren’t too comfortable with that setup. I knew that if I wanted real recognition then I needed to have a solid base in a good location. So I decided to save up and open my own salon.
What differentiates your brand, Rings and Strings, from all the other makeup salons and bridal makeup artists?
We are customer-centric down to our core. There’s a lot of consideration for client requirements more than anything else. I always aim to maintain a steady relationship with past customers and I can’t do this if they aren’t satisfied with my work or services.
For instance, the artists from Rings and Strings will actually stand by until the entire wedding ceremony is over, no matter how many events or days.
We’re there for our brides from start to finish and we focus a lot on the bride’s comfort factor. Our priority is to make sure that the families are pleased with our work when they open up their photo albums for the first time.
What advice would you give to others who want to start their own creative business such as yours?
I would say that a combination of hardwork and perseverance is key. There were a lot of times that I worked hard but wasn’t sure if I could actually reach my goals. If I didn’t persevere, I would have never found out. So I’d say, just keep working hard even when things seem rough.
But the most important advice I can give anyone is stay close to those who are supportive of your dreams. I have come a long way only with the help of my family, my fiance and my friends. They have always believed in me even in times when I didn’t believe in myself. This made all the difference.
Women’s Exclusive is thankful to Lyn for sharing her professional journey with all of us and we hope the story of Rings and Strings will inspire many women entrepreneurs who are just starting out with their self-made career.