So you’ve made a great decision and invested in an experienced, professional face painter for your event, so now what else can you do to ensure you get your money’s worth and take advantage of the opportunity.
Here’s a few pointers and suggestions to help you make the most of your investment.
POSITIONING OF THE FACE PAINTING AREA IS KEY – ensure they are highly visible and appropriately placed eg. near the other children’s activities and with plenty of space around them allowing for comfortable queuing. Where possible, arrange for the face painters to be set up relatively close to toilets/kitchen areas as this enables water changes to be easily done and facilitates speedy comfort breaks if needed.
CLEAR SIGNAGE is also highly recommended both to direct customers to the face painters but also to help manage expectations of the parents and children in the inevitable queue. Remember to include the following:
• Minimum age warning (most professional face painters do not paint children’s faces under the age of 3)
• Opening and closing times
• Children to be supervised at all times by parents/guardians
• Long waiting time warning
• How many faces can be painted per hour
WORKING ENVIRONMENT – If the event is outside please always ensure you provide your artists with a gazebo or marquee (preferably with sides).
This is equally important in hot weather as it is in wet weather. In wet weather the reason is obvious – as colourful as it may be you really don’t want a stream of rainbow paint trickling across your event site! Side panels really help in inclement weather too as gazebos can act as a wind tunnel making it very difficult to paint.
Hot weather can also be our enemy as the sun can melt and damage some paints plus there is a risk of sunburn/heatstroke for the face painters and models alike.
Most of us come to these events prepared with snacks; water; flasks of coffee etc to keep us going but offers of sustenance throughout the day are always gratefully received! A fed and watered face painter is a happy face painter and will most likely paint even better faces!!!
ADEQUATE RESOURCING – Please ensure you book enough artists for the expected footfall. A good rule of thumb is one face painter painting an average of 10 faces per hour.
A minimum of two face painters is recommended for longer events as it avoids having to physically close the queue when a break is needed. (Breaks can be staggered throughout the day). Never underestimate how many you will need as you can end up disappointing more people than you please.
MANAGING THE QUEUE – If you are charging customers then we advise allocating a member of your event team to deal with the money. This can save vital seconds/minutes of the face painters’ time. Only take the money for each person as they reach the front of the queue – more of that later.
A good tip, if the venue permits, is to set up a large mirror (ideally freestanding) somewhere away from the painters themselves. Valuable minutes are eaten up if the child stays in the chair looking in the mirror with parents taking endless photos!
If your event is themed, you could even set up a dressing up area near to the face painting stand with various items for the children to put on whilst looking in the mirror. You could even add a large empty picture frame for the children to peer through creating great photo opportunities.
Please avoid the temptation to use any sort of ticketing system. In our experience it just causes terrible confusion and arguments. Whilst you may think this will avoid long queues, it just becomes very complicated when people wander off and don’t return in the correct order. Keep it simple. Let them queue.
Seasoned professionals will keep a close eye on the numbers waiting and will close the queue at an appropriate time. (ie when there are about to be more people waiting than time allows to paint). In most cases 30 minutes or so is aequate but at very busy events it is sometimes necessary to close a queue up to an hour before the end. It is extremely helpful to artists if a member of the event team can be around at this time to help deter people who want to join the queue. If you have a tannoy system in place, then an announcement that the face painting queue is now closed is also very helpful. Even when we are all packed up we can guarantee still hearing the age old plea of “oh surely you can paint just one more”!!! You would be amazed at how much verbal abuse face painters receive when having to turn customers away once the queue is closed.
MARKETING YOUR EVENT – Established painters often have a big social network following and will be able to help you market your event. If you have any promotional artwork produced we are always happy to display this on our website, our Facebook page and through Twitter. In most cases we hope that we can not only bring you our artistic skills but also bring customers along too!
Please remember to brief your artists on your charity cause / corporate background / sales focus – we are engaging with the parents – your customers – throughout the day and are ideally placed to help you get your “message” to them.
WHAT TO CHARGE – Well this is really down to you, your target audience and how much you want to recoup or raise for your charity. We find that in our main area of business (South East UK) £3 per face is the average at public events. When you compare this to £7 per face charged for amateur face painting at some very large children’s entertainment parks on top of the very high entrance fees, we feel that £3 is incredible value for money! If you are a charity and choose to just use a donation bucket then we would highly recommend a volunteer physically holds the bucket to encourage donations and perhaps even displaying a sign of a “suggested minimum donation”. We have found that when charity buckets are just left beside us they often go unnoticed or just collect very small loose change.
ULTIMATELY – WE ARE THERE TO HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR EVENT – FACEPAINTING IS A BIG ATTRACTION AT ANY EVENT AND USUALLY HAS THE LONGEST QUEUE – WE KNOW THE VALUE WE CAN ADD – USE US TO THE MAX!!!!