‘I don’t want to stop or get comfortable’: Ottawa beauty artist on building her business

As she cleans up her brushes, prepping for her next client, Aseel Al-Serri, owner of Beauty By Aseel, reflects on her days when she was only a freelance makeup artist. “I started with just my tiny makeup bag, all the items were mine, that’s what I had to use on my clients before expanding,” she says.

Al-Serri is many things, a mother, a wife, a friend and most recently, a small business owner and beauty influencer.

She started her journey when she was only 16. She worked as an aesthetician at Caryl Baker Visage and immediately fell in love with the beauty world.

“I loved getting to make women feel beautiful. Seeing the looks on my clients’ face the first time after doing makeup, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” says Al-Serri.

With over 10,000 Instagram followers, Al-Serri is one of the leading and most in demand makeup artists in Ottawa. She has been featured and recognized by great Canadian magazines and broadcasters like Faces Magazine and Rogers TV.

“My Rogers TV feature is still one of my proudest moments, doing makeup live and on air was a lot of pressure, but it really helped gear my career,” she says.

Al-Serri admits that running her own beauty business is a lot of work and requires a lot of her personal time. “I don’t just clock in and clock out of a shift, I’m my own boss so I’m always working,” says Al-Serri. “Sometimes I have clients call me into Toronto on short notice or I have a campaign to shoot in Dubai, it’s a lot of time away from my family which can be tough,” she says.

Day in and day out Al-Serri is usually working backstage at a fashion show, shooting a campaign or making up a client.

However, the traffic around Al-Serri’s business depends on events and seasons. “Around June it gets really busy, it’s wedding and prom season so I may have five clients back to back and then an entire wedding party to do after,” she says. “Then there are days, where I’ll only have one photoshoot or client, and I’m free the rest of the day,” she adds.

“You have to be very flexible in this business and you have to be willing to work odd hours,” she says.

In the future, Al-Serri would like to expand further, complete with a team of makeup artists and a beauty deal.

“In the future I want to sign with a brand that I love, I’d also like to come out with my own beauty products one day,” she says.

Al-Serri’s ultimate dream is to go completely international and expand worldwide.

“I’m proud of how far I’ve come so far, from building my business all by myself, but I don’t want to stop or get comfortable at any stage,” says Al-Serri.

“I always think to myself, that if I’ve already come this far, I can’t go back, only forward,” she says.

As Al-Serri’s final client of the day walks into her beauty studio she says “Never underestimate your own power.”


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