March 3rd, 2019
For the first in a brand-new series called Ten Questions With, we chat with Tanya Noor, founder of Get Set Go Bags and Head of Makeup at Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End.
How did Get Set Go Bags get started?
TN: Over the years, I’ve had so many set bags that just weren’t practical, weren’t functional or cost a fortune. And that’s how Get Set Go Bags got started. Necessity is the mother of invention and makeup artists are very good at that. Bags are different for everybody and they change for every job you do. The Get Set Go range has been created to try and fit round all of those different styles. We’ve got seven different products at the moment, from tiny to large. Our first one was the Medium Kit Bag and the Small, then we got the Mini and the Spotty, and the most recent one is the Tiny. The point is that they’re all different shapes and sizes because everyone wants something different from a set bag.
Where do you manufacture?
TN: It started with me making them and now we outsource, although I still design. We send them off and I get back prototypes, and it goes on backwards and forwards until we find the right one. But at the start, I was sewing things; taking bit of bags that I liked, making mutant sorts of things until you come up with something that you think is going to work. Then you get the prototype made. Working in the theatre is a great place to get people to road test things. For instance, the wig pouch – there’s never been one designed for people backstage and I spent months measuring grips and pins, and glue pots and everything just to try and get everything perfect for the wig pouch. Then you’ve got to work on different ones for different sizes of people because height plays a part in the design – it’s all part of the learning process – we’re on our third generation of the bags at the moment. We listen to feedback and to what people want and we improve them. It’s like with this one – the Westend Wiggie Makeup and Hair Belt, people have said that it would be great to have an extender belt on it so that’s coming next so that you can make it bigger. Listening to everybody’s feedback is essential.
How long has Get Set Go Bags been around?
TN: It’s been 3½ years now, when we first started it was in the embryo stages, then we set up the website and started selling, and getting out there. It’s been a huge learning curve, but a lot of fun as well.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve encountered?
TN: Makeup artists are always creative people, but we don’t necessarily get business training. Starting your own business is one of the most stressful things that you can do. Many people love the idea of having their own business, but they don’t realise the level of commitment it actually takes. You have to make sacrifices and not everyone is prepared to do that. That’s the bottom line – it can be very stressful but very rewarding. It’s 24/7 – you never clock off when it’s your own business.
What’s next for GSG?
TN: We’ve got some really exciting ideas. As I said, we have seven items at the moment that we’re selling and there are three or four designs that are in the pipeline. We look at ways to improve all the time. Makeup artists always overfill bags, you always look to accommodate all those bits and pieces. We’ll have three new one out this year, staggering their releases, it’s the whole testing process. It has to be road tested by me, and I have to give it to other people to test it before I’m really happy it’s working the way I want it to. And doing all the trade shows, you learn so much from the people who visit your stand and from the people around you about what they want and how they use the same products that you use but in different ways.
I love your handles – it’s not the weight of the bag that makes them break, it’s the handles. They remind me of those handles that you can put over shopping bags to make them stronger and not cut into your fingers.
TN: That’s all good to know. Over the years having all those set bags that didn’t work and in everyday life like your shopping bags. The weakest link is always the handles. You can expand the space and people will always put more things in. They’re used for all sorts of things – they’re really popular for baby bags and there are people out there who don’t consider them makeup bags at all. Beach bags too – I took one recently on holiday and it was perfect. But that’s what I mean about work not stopping – I was on holiday sitting on top of a sand dune talking on the phone to a client.
Where can we see you in 2019?
TN: I would like to do more of the consumer shows – when I was at college and when I was a kid growing up, obviously we didn’t have social media and if I wanted to find out about makeup, I had to do the research myself, read magazines and find things out. Nowadays there’s so much available for everybody. I spend a lot of time teaching and the students come in with a lot of knowledge about products. Now the general public has a lot of product that used to only be available to makeup artists. Budding artists have a whole room full of products – they need bags to store everything in. And the bags are so very versatile – I know several people who use them as their handbags now.
Who is Team GSG?
TN: My team is me and my other half, he is amazing. I’ve had to learn a lot – social media is something I didn’t really use before starting the business, and technology too – I was a bit of a technophobe but I’ve learned so much over the last 3½ years. We’ve had some amazing bodypainters: Venice Marshall, who came to UMAE with me and came to Glasgow recently with us too, and Marta who was on our stand at UMAE. We’ve got this little Get Set Go family now, but it’s really just me and my other half. His background is techy, a science one. It’s lovely that we’ve got something that we can share and we’re creating something together.
Who are your retail partners?
TN: Screenface, The Facepainting Shop, we’re always branching out and looking for other people. It’s about finding the right place for them. Everyone’s been so supportive and amazing, all these people that I’ve worked with for years and years, they’ve promoted our bags. Irene at Screenface is amazing, everyone at Kryolan, and I’ve learned so much from them over the years. I’ve been doing workshops at Kryolan for a very long time. Makeup artists aren’t trained as business people, we’re like a rabbit in the headlights, but these lovely people are always there for advice and guidance. It’s fantastic knowing that you’ve got these friends who will support you.
What is the price range?
TN: From £5 up to £50 – that is one of the reasons it started. A lot of the bags I’ve had over the years weren’t functional and they were very overpriced. Very expensive, if you’re just starting out, you’re a student or jobbing makeup artist, you can’t necessarily afford £60 or £70 for a bag, not when you can buy three foundations for that. New artists are very important, they’re the future generations of the industry. You can get discounts when you’re a student but when you’ve graduated, you can’t get those discounts anymore, so I think it’s very important to keep those prices down.
And you can win a Small and a Medium Spotty Get Set Go bags – click the link to find out how.