Small Steps Forward …
I have the pleasure of sharing an insight into how Emma ‘Peach’ Berry took and continues to take small steps forward to pursuing her wildest career dreams of working in TV and film hair and make up. Her other passion is writing which she is obviously a natural – read her story.
I have long held the belief that our lives are mapped out somehow, not so much that we can sit back and let fate do its thing, more that we are designed to live through choices and upheavals and crises and only on reflection put the pieces together. Each step along my journey has led me to where I am now and there are so many more steps to make, but let’s stop to smell the roses for a minute or two, shall we?
My name is Emma ‘Peach’ Berry and I have been running two businesses since late 2015. I am a freelance hair and make up artist by day – specialising in vintage and alternative styling and theatrical character make up. By night I am an author of gothic horror stories, with my first collection going to print in October 2017. To say that this journey was – and often still can be – tough, is an understatement, mostly because I had to really dig deep and believe in myself in the pursuit of my wildest career dreams.
I think most entrepreneurs start with a strong and persistent desire to work for themselves. I always felt like a misfit, someone who broke the mold of a ‘typical’ employee, someone who couldn’t imagine sat in an office day to day, who so desperately wanted to find the magical elixir of work and passion and make it into a business. I had hobbies and skills left, right and centre, I just didn’t know how to hone my passions or create a clear pathway to a career.
Having spent my formative years being encouraged to follow my passions – I studied dance at A level and degree, I started blogging when I moved to London, I toyed with the idea of setting up my own boutique when I fell in love with a managerial job I had in Bath and even cobbled together a vintage catering business due to a love of baking. None of these ideas fitted, or I didn’t fit into them and it took a venture back into management, a pregnancy and ultimately a relationship breakdown for me to realise my true passions and, despite all odds, feel the fear and do them anyway!
My love of make up (and hair) began at an early age – from the stage wonder of Mrs Doubtfire and Thriller, right through to being set loose with an eyeliner aged fifteen. I was experimental with make up – gothic for the most, vintage-inspired before the world was swept away with a love for decades gone by and theatrical when I was allowed. As for writing, I have written since I could pretty much hold a pen, with great dreams of becoming a published author. I was often mistaken for a hairdresser or make up artist when I was on my lunch break and whilst the notion was always there to retrain, to write, to get that novel finally under my belt, I suppressed it in favour of something that was considered more ‘realistic’ or ‘tangible’ in the career world. Thus my eyeliner remained on point and my writing remained hidden away.
I think there is something to be said for the power of a woman when she becomes a mother, there was a decisive nature that had dithered before, a willingness to try rather than put things on the backburner for a ‘more suitable’ time. I had myself and my young daughter to look after and, aside from my point blank refusal to return to a job I hated, I wanted to create something worthwhile, something that would make me jump out of bed in the morning and, perhaps most important of all, I wanted to prove to my little girl that anything was possible, if you were willing to work and to believe that the universe was working with you.
What started with a swift application to retrain at college in Theatrical make up, led to a fast track interview and the mention of ‘stage’ work as I aced the college interview and even got to watch an SFX demonstration close up. I set up a Facebook page, I reached out to local photographers and businesses, I worked at low key fashion shows and I approached every face that I could to help me build a modest portfolio, whilst waiting for my Prince’s Trust panel and my official college start date.
And then began two long years of networking, of throwing myself out of my comfort zone, of trying new things and learning what it takes to be both passionate and business-minded, which with creatives does not come easily. Each year, each month, each week, my story as a professional and as a business-owner is evolving, I am always on a learning journey and shedding more barriers as I take on new client and explore new possibilities with my businesses.
My end goal? TV and film hair and make up has always been the end goal for me – but as things progress, I find such pleasure in the everyday, each client brings me something new to learn and even the methodical services such as hair cutting give me the chance to calm the chaos of my mind for a little while. Becoming a writer took a little longer – in fact I don’t believe that someone ‘becomes’ a writer, I just needed the push the flex my writing muscle and put unruly words to an unruly page with nothing but determination to finish a short story and unleash it to the world. The process has been slow, but I believed I would one day find the support I would need to go from unpublished to self-published and then from self-published to print published – the goal was nothing compared to the blood, sweat and tears of writing and refining and scrapping and writing again. I always remember the defining moment I took my opportunity to approach my publisher; the words ‘Best Selling Author’ almost jumped out at me from my vision board and it took a moment or two to connect the dots. But that was one of the last goals to achieve in this year, so action became paramount – the only logical step forward.
Almost two years into running my businesses, I can appreciate that I have spent much of my life working against what feels natural to me, I let fear stop me from pursuit and when I did let my guard down and start listening, great things began to manifest. Sure, we have off days – nobody leads a perfect life 24/7. We have projects that don’t match up to expectation and people who do not serve in the way that we had hoped, but these are all learning curves within themselves – each one teaches me to be stronger in my determination and game plan and to accept my flaws as a human being, nobody can be right all the time. My mantra remains to be grateful for the small steps, because they have brought me from where I was to where I am now and I know they will keep me grounded, dedicated and fearless in pursuit of the bigger picture.
I think this is less of a story about building a business, more about removing stigma attached by others to creative career pursuits and the building of a woman who is both confident and settled in her beliefs and self-belief. It took years for me to notice the signs from the universe that there was a pathway for me to follow, I just had to be brave enough to follow it – listening only to my inner self. But when I did, those whispers became louder and louder until I too believed that the pieces would fit – despite how far away it felt at the time. I accept each step of the journey with grace and with the willingness to learn, I am a different person now and I will continue to grow and change whilst I gather everything I need for the big game plan – but at least I know now that if I can feel the immense fear and reach for my dreams any way, I can feel it and reach all over again.
Visit Emma’s website or facebook page to find out more.
If you would like to share your story of how you Felt The Fear or any support in doing so, please contact me