Marie and her lovely Family
Marie Soh, 30, is a woman who is unafraid to pursue her passions and turn them into business ventures – now as a make-up artist in Singapore and baker.
She holds a nursing degree but decided that was not the right job for her. Then, she broke into Singapore’s beauty industry as a freelance make-up artist 10 years ago. Since then, she has ventured into a variety of other endeavours.
Setting up her own Singapore-based make-up and image consultancy 27a.co, check.
Creating her own line of lipstick, check.
Today, Marie is working to expand Marie Bakes, where she sells her secret recipe signature chocolate chip cookies to those lucky enough to get on her waitlist – all while juggling her numerous commercial and bridal make-up shoots and running a household with two young children.
“I love all my work, and I believe if you stay true to your passion and style, people will respond to that,” she said.
A typical day in the life of Marie as a make-up artist in Singapore
Marie was on a week-long corporate shoot on the morning of the interview. On such shoots, she typically starts her day around 8 am and stays on set the entire day.
During busier days, she may start her morning as early as 5 am – it’s not all glamour in the beauty industry, but she loves what she does.
“Some shots are outdoors, and we may be in the sun for a good part of the day, but it’s part of the job. Other times, the hours may be really long, but I bring along a book to read and learn more about subjects that interest me, ”she said.
She also shares her expertise at media events hosted by beauty giants such as Sephora, Laura Mercier and Neutrogena.
How do her kids, aged 2 and 4, deal with her erratic schedule?
“I am lucky to have support at home. On days when I work, my husband or a helper will take them to pre-school, which is right downstairs our house,” she explained.
Making a name for herself as a professional make-up artist in Singapore
Marie is a self-taught make-up artist in Singapore, who learned the art of helping people become their most enhanced self by watching YouTube videos and practising in earnest. She also started her own image consultancy company, which had five employees at one point.
While many make-up artists in Singapore opt for the more popular Korean or Japanese type of make-up, Marie’s style has always bordered on the high fashion and editorial side.
“The looks I create are more modern and distinctive, but I always make sure they are adapted to each individual client. I want to bring out an elevated version of (my clients), make sure they are comfortable with the look, and that it suits the nature of the shoot, “she said.
These days, the make-up industry is much more saturated, what with the proliferation of make-up videos online and access to brand-name cosmetics through retail giants such as Sephora.
“Today, it’s easier to learn the art of make-up, but it’s probably harder to break into the industry and make a name for yourself because it’s so saturated unless you have a unique style,” she said.
Does the advent of so many influencers touting themselves as make-up gurus and easy access to online apps and filters cheapen or threaten her craft?
Marie pondered for just a moment, before sharing her thoughts: “For important events such as weddings, people still tend to hire a professional make-up artist to help them. Make-up is like art, so I don’t judge the work of different artists. What matters is whether there are people who enjoy the looks. “
Marie at a shoot in a local jewellery house, By Invite Only
The trials of starting her own cosmetic line
While Marie attributes her success as a make-up artist in Singapore and consultancy founder to personal style, hard work, and a bit of luck and support from folks she befriended in the industry, her journey is not all smooth sailing.
In 2016, Marie started INGA Cosmetics and launched in the same year with a collection of matte lipsticks. The line was created especially for Asian skin tones and Singapore’s humid weather and was also formulated to be cruelty-free. In the same 6 month period, this superwoman had also just tied the knot, had her first child and moved into a new house.
Unfortunately, in 2019, just after giving birth to her second child, she ran into some unforeseen issues with the cosmetics brand. After much deliberation, she eventually decided to withdraw the brand.
“I was also learning to cope with having a second child join the family and there was a lot going on,” she said.
Ultimately, she decided to “let it go… I’m not sad about it anymore, I learned some really good lessons. “
Marie Bakes: Singapore's signature chocolate chip cookies
Lucky for those who love munchies, Marie has started to devote more time to baking her signature cookies lately.
For her, baking started as a hobby and morphed into an ad-hoc gig. Today, Marie is looking into how she can better meet the demands of customers clamouring for more cookies.
“I’ve been baking my chocolate chip cookies for over ten years, and my friends and family love them. A couple of years ago, my husband and I whipped up a batch as Christmas gifts. The recipients loved them and asked for more! My husband encouraged me to make a business out of it, and that’s how Marie Bakes started, “she said.
She currently releases pre-orders around holiday seasons and special packaging, but she is working toward a more consistent baking schedule in order to meet the growing demand.
Marie Bakes’ signature chocolate chip cookies.
If you want something, pursue it.
To help people look beautiful and glamorous, bake hundreds of cookies, and take care of two young kids – how does Marie find the time and energy to do everything?
She laughed and said: “If you want something, pursue it.”
“Don’t give yourself any excuses. You will make mistakes along the way, so just learn from them and do better every day. ”
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