I'm sure most (if not all) of you know about the MAC Pro membership program, but I'm going to explain for anybody who is new to it. Basically, you pay a yearly fee for a membership card that gives you a discount at freestanding MAC stores, the MAC Pro stores, and the Pro mail order phone lines. The discount varies depending on what type of membership you have, as well as by country.
In America, Makeup Artists get a discount of 40%, wheras discounts for other industry professionals (such as models, musicians, theatre techs, dancers, actors, etc) is slightly less (I want to say 30% but it might be 35%). Here in the UK, a membership as a Makeup Artist will get you a 35% discount on MAC and MAC Pro products. But they also offer Master Classes and other things that can be very useful to somebody working in "The Industry".
Personally, I really like the idea of this program, as it caters to people who need and use a lot of products, and makes the MAC brand a little more accessible to pros - which is definitely a good thing, as MAC is one of the top brands out there. I also like that applying for membership is not unneccessarily complicated, or inhibitively difficult to get accepted. All you need to do is essentially prove that you work in the field you say you do.
What I like the most is that this membership is that it is available to "freelancers". You would think that being a freelance makeup artist would be difficult to prove, but this is what I mean when I say it's "not inhibitively difficult" to apply. When I applied for membership I just faxed off my application form along with letters of reference from a couple of my clients (someone I've worked with several times and who's referred me and given me some more business =]) and a copy of my business card. I fully expected someone to contact me asking for more credentials, like a tear sheet, a magazine credit or something - which I wouldn't be able to give, as the only work I've done has been as a freelancer (as in, not for any publications). I've had several clients, but haven't exactly done makeup for a Vogue photoshoot haha.
But my application was accepted that afternoon, which made me very happy. I have great respect for MAC for making the program available to people who are getting started in the industry, who are working their way up. Everyone has to start somewhere, and freelancing is a great way to get your foot in the door, or even a way to make a career out of makeup artistry.
But, I have to say, that it's been frustrating since then.
I was told that the cards are sent out from America, and can therefore take 4 to 6 weeks to deliver. I got my sales invoice for the membership fee about 5 days later, but waited and waited and the card didn't turn up. I had applied the first week of April, and had placed an order over the phone line and registered on MacPro.com (I emailed customer services and they were able to give me my membership number, and could order over the phone as my details are on the system). But, by mid-May, the card still hadn't come through.
On my birthday, May 12th, I called and told them it hadn't come yet, and was told it would be re-requested for me. But, it still didn't come. I've requested the card to be re-sent to me a total of 5 times now, and it still hasn't arrived. And I tell you, it is frustrating.
Up until now, it hasn't been a huge issue. I can still phone in orders and use my discount, but I'm going to Canada at the end of the month. MAC Pro membership can be used internationally anywhere that the program is available, so I'd be able to use the membership in Canada (and potentially get some things for cheaper, since the exchange rate is in my favour right now haha!) But - and it's a pretty big but - in order to use it overseas, I have to have the actual, physical card. I leave in two and a half weeks, so it's not looking good.
The last time I requested my card was at the end of July, and it could take up to 4 weeks to get here from America, so I've got my fingers crossed that it will come this time, and get here before I leave, but my hopes aren't that high. 0 out of 5 aren't very promising odds, so I'm trying not to be annoyed and pessimistic but it's hard.
On top of this, I'm going on a day trip to London sometime soon, maybe next month, and was hoping to hit up the Pro store down there to stock up on some more basics while I'm there - I've been told that I can shop there without the physical card, since I'll be on the system though! - but would also like to have tried to get down to London for one of the classes or something that they hold periodically. Only, without the card I'm not sure I'd be able to participate, so that sucks.
I emailed customer services yesterday to ask if there was any other way I could get the card delivered - for example, having it sent out with an order, or paying for special delivery to make SURE it gets here - but was told that it's not possible. It's what I was expecting, and I "get" it, but it was worth a shot, right?
Anyway, I'll keep you updated and let you know how it goes. Fingers crossed it'll come this time!