The idea for The Femme Stories was born last year, but with any small business some ideas just have to wait. When everything started happening surrounding the pandemic I was PROUD of my friends and colleagues for how they were tackling these unprecedented times and I wanted to document that, these are their stories.

Jacquie | Jacquie K. 

I have been following Jacquie for a couple years and loved following her renovation journey with her bus, Billie. I am a sucker for anyone taking something that is seen as garage and not only saving it from that fate, but turning it into part of their business. Jacquie’s feed is filled with gorgeous pictures of her clients hair, makeup and nails all done by her and her team, but you will also see Billie the Bus, located in PEC, and her makeup brand Jacquie K. featured on her page. Her brand is diverse, innovative and unique and I loved talking to her about how this year has turned out.
Jacquie - Ottawa and PEC makeup artist
 How have you managed your couples and shifting their weddings around? And how has this affected your 2021 schedule?

  As a team we book 150+ weddings a year, so it has been chaotic, when we hit the 50th wedding that was postponed I stopped counting. Basically, every wedding we had from April-July was postponed and a lot of our couples from August on, have either deciding to move forward or are waiting to see.

 That has definitely been the hardest part is the rescheduling, we have had to give up 50+ dates from this year and then those dates next year as well, it’s been a little tricky. Luckily, I have a team of five, so any dates that I can’t take myself my team members are stepping in, but we are at the point now where there are days in 2021 that every team member is booked. That is definitely the hardest part, when a couple is trying to reschedule but we don’t have anyone to offer on that date because we are fully booked.

With your brand, you offer make up products on top of Hair, Makeup and Nail appointments, that must have helped during the shut-down?

Definitely, my entire premise in business since I started is to have as many diverse income streams as possible, because you never know what’s going to happen. Even being able to start booking nail appointments for July is saving me, because of course makeup is still not allowed. My cosmetic line has been a huge part of my business for the last 2 years and I am so grateful for it right now because I was able to keep selling throughout the entire pandemic.

Your social media is full of colour and is always super cheerful, and even though you couldn’t do nails you still showed the nail art that would have been available for April, this must have helped you stay connected to clients and spread some positivity to them?

 Yeah absolutely, it still helps to keep the cheery vibes in people’s heads and when I did announce that I was taking nail bookings so many DM’s came in probably because I had been sharing it. Overall though, during the pandemic I took a break from social media, which is probably the opposite of what a lot of people did. I needed that breathing room to think about how I wanted to run my business and Instagram page, it was quite an eye opener.

Did you think of anything you want to change in the future or is it you need more time to disconnect?

Mainly more time to disconnect, I realized I need to give more time to my life rather than my business. For the past 4-5 years I have dedicated every hour of every day to my business, so setting those boundaries that I am only working 9-3, 4 days a week, has opened me up to the idea that I can still make money while having a life, I have never had that before! 

Before COVID did you focus on online sales or were in person appts more of a sales generator?

 Weddings have always made up the bulk of my sales, but for my cosmetic line that revenue comes from online sales. Last year I lived abroad so I already had a lot of systems in place to push online sales and make it as efficient as possible.

With phase 2 happening, how excited are you to move back to a sense of normalcy? 

I am very excited and very apprehensive. I am excited to be around my clients again and talk to people, but the terrifying part is the health aspect. With manicures and eventually makeup you are literally touching people, there is no way to get around that. Sanitation procedures have already been in place in the beauty industry as a whole, but now they are even stricter. There is a lot of time spent between each client cleaning, which is lost revenue, so it is a lot to organize and manage as the owner. In the bus because of space we can only take one client at a time, so even though it is opening we are limited to the number of clients we can see in a day. I am definitely still focused on those different income streams because we just don’t know how this year is going to turn out. 

Jacquie and I talked back in June and since then we have moved into Phase 3 and with this her and her team have been able to start doing makeup. I asked how that has been, “Phase 3 has been confusing, to say the least. Numbers for gatherings are constantly changing & our brides seem to be preparing for a 2nd shutdown, though I’m nowhere ready for this, so fingers crossed it doesn’t happen! Despite all the uncertainty I’ve kept busy with building another business called Astrid Park with two of my friends & business partners, so I think that has helped with me staying positive and motivated in the everyday scheme of things.

I saw on Instagram that Billie has a new home in PEC, I know you really wanted to get it in one location, it must feel great to see that come to life. Did you already have this in place pre COVID and where will it be and what services can clients book out of there?

 It was sort of in motion, I was in talks with one venue before I found the partner that I am working with now. I definitely wasn’t giving it as much time as I should have been and I kind of left it till the last minute. So, when COVID hit I didn’t have any excuses, I had all the time in the world to find the perfect location. Honestly, I don’t think it would have happened if the shut-down hadn’t been in place, I would not have had the time or energy to organize it.

Right now, because of the limit of people that can gather, the bus will be stationary for the summer, but my goal is to take it throughout the county to do Pop Ups at wineries and breweries. At least for this summer though it will located in Prince Edward County and you can book nail, makeup and hair appointments.

 Are any couples doing a social distancing wedding this year and for 2021 are couples embracing that they might have to get married on a Friday or Sunday because Saturdays are so booked? 

A lot of our couples are finding ways to celebrate their day, even though they have had to postpone. Once restrictions are lifted we will be able to do hair and makeup for the little elopements that a lot of couples are doing, which normally we would never take because we would have been booked on those days for bigger weddings, so that has been really nice to be a part of these celebrations.

 Oh yeah, a lot of couples just came right out of the gate and asked for Friday or Sunday dates, which has been awesome. Each couple is different, depending on their venue, photographer, catering, there are a lot of factors, I feel like all couples are just doing the best they can.

Were there any plans you had for your company that will be pushed to 2021? 

I did have the idea to buy commercial property in the county, it is a goal of mine, but there is no timeline on that. For right now I will see how the bus does in that area and go from there. 

 Pre Covid I finally got the chance to work with Jacquie and she was delightful, professional, incredibly talented, and funny. I can’t wait till I get to work with her again, but until then I admire her beautiful artwork and get inspired! As lovely, charming and joyful as her social media is, she is a million times that, plus she is an incredible business woman. When she said “my entire premise in business since I started is to have as many diverse income streams as possible” I took that to heart myself! I love talking to other business women, we can all learn so much from each other. If you are planning your wedding, I highly recommend checking out Jacquie’s website or if you just need some local love added to your daily makeup routine, she has gorgeous makeup, that is natural and eco-friendly!


Written by Carissa McCaig

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