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Interview with Anneline Black - founder at @anneline_e_j_black

· makeup artist,body language,First impressions

Dear Ladies,
Please give a warm welcome to our today’s #heroine_of_the_week Anneline Black @anneline_e_j_black.
We met Anneline at our Meet-and-Greet event in Berlin this spring and were immediately charmed by her presence, style and beauty.
This power woman has an amazing entrepreneurial journey behind her, starting in South Africa 15 years ago by founding her own makeup studio, appearing on TV, being nominated for various awards and making it all happen on her own.
Anneline recently moved to Berlin with her husband and her journey is taking a new turn. While continuing to pursue her passion of being a professional makeup artist & stylist, Anneline offers 1st impression workshops to corporate and private clients in order to increase confidence and create a stronger presence.
Read about Anneline’s inspiring journey and get some useful & practical tips in the interview below!

Back in 2004, you traded your high-flying financial career for your first entrepreneurial project in the make-up field. You became a huge success. Moving to Berlin recently you had to go through a fresh start again. How did it feel to re-start the journey from point zero?

When I came here to live a year and a half ago, I was completely overwhelmed. I could not speak the language, and I knew no one here. To make matters worse, my husband travels a lot for business, and I just felt lost and alone. Then someone suggested that I join InterNations and it feels like it saved my life. I met people who were in the same boat as I. No network, no friends and no job in some cases. I became a consul for the Women Only Group. Connecting with other women give me a platform to network with other business women, and we soon became a support system. I made some good friends, but more importantly, I met two amazing and capable women who will now be supporting my business to do the stuff that I am not good at, for example, marketing and social media for one, and my administration for another.

Anneline, you are not only a renowned makeup artist but also a body-language and 1st impression expert. Why is the 1st impression so important and do you have three musts for every woman in business?

  1. Posture – at a glance, how confident are you? Make sure to stand tall and have open body language. Uncross your arms and always face your body towards the person with whom you are communicating. Maintain good eye contact.
  2. Personal style – what does your overall look say about you? Are you looking the part of who you are and what you are doing? Are you looking professional without coming across as overdressed?
  3. Verbal communication – speak clearly and avoid verbosity. If you use too many complex phrases, you may alienate people. Match your style to the person you are talking to.

Which statement piece should one invest into given you want to create a professional and convincing look on a restricted budget?

The idea is not to over accessorise but rather to use one or two pieces to express your personality. Your choice of statement pieces however also depends on your body scale. If you are not sure then leaving out is better although your outfit may come across as bland.

You also work with influential corporate clients. For this type of work you need to be a good psychologist, what is your secret in dealing with your customer's moods, insecurities and self-doubt?

I think to be a compassionate person helps. Acknowledging that a person is under stress or are feeling insecure goes a long way to establishing report. And patience is normally my strongest attribute.

Is it sometimes hard to both implement your vision and take into account client’s wishes?

Tough question. Sometimes the client is not sure what they want, but just know that what they are doing is not working. Sometimes I do a "go see". I observe the client or the employee in action. Then we discuss how to go about improving the visual impact and body language to match the desired outcome. Fortunately, most of the time if I am working for a company, I am asked to improve the brand of the company through the employees. That is, getting the employees to reflect or align themselves with the company brand through their grooming and presentation and interactive skills.

Anneline, you are a part of Internations family in Berlin and host many events just for ladies. Why is it so important to be part of a network if you want to succeed in business?

I think we need to pool our resources as women as we still have a long way to go to equality for men and women in the workplace. We are natural supporters of each other, and we can learn from each other's expertise and give advice and mentor.

What do you love most about your job?

I help people see themselves in a positive light. I enhance their job prospects. I give them confidence. I simplify their wardrobe to reflect their personality and look polished and professional. And it makes me happy to be part of this positive transformation. I try never to change my clients but more to show themselves in a better light. All in all my job is very rewarding.

Can you remember the hardest decision you had to make in your first entrepreneur year and who or what helped you go through the tough times?

I initially started off with a partner. I soon realised that it was not working for me as I like to do my own thing and that I only wanted a partner because I was afraid to go it alone. I had the very difficult task to inform my friend that I would rather be going it alone. I lost a friend in the process, but in the long run, it was good for both of us. She is currently working as a successful Body Alignment therapist. As for who or what helped me through the tough times: I had the moral support of my friends and family, but ultimately I relied on myself to secure a loan through the bank. It was hard work in the beginning but also very rewarding when the business came together, and I ended up being a finalist for Regional Achiever for The Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa.

What would you advise women who want to start their own business but hesitating?

Make sure you have a slush fund tucked away for just in case. Start slowly. Network with others that have been through the process. Always give back to those helping you. Be impeccable about your business conduct. The world is a small place and people talk. Be aware of your brand at all times. Make mistakes but get over it quickly and learn from it. Don’t ever worry about the competition. Be clear about your vision. Do charity because it feels good, you learn, and it's good for your band too.

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