Returning to Australia after accompanied military exchange prompted a career change for ADF partner Ali Price.

With a background in human resources and a degree in business, Ali Price was fortunate to spend the first decade as an ADF partner working with the aviation industry, moving her career with each posting. Until one day, she couldn’t. Twelve years later, Ali is successfully self-employed as the Founder of Ali Price Makeup & Brows Studio.

It all started when Ali was unable to secure a role with her employer for a three-year posting to Canberra. Determined to turn the setback into an opportunity, Ali decided to pursue her passion for makeup. She spent the first year back at school, studying and networking with younger creatives – a year she cherishes for the infectious energy and enthusiasm her peers instilled in her.

Leaning on the customer service skills she gained through her corporate career, her new networks, and her parents’ experience running a small business in Tasmania, she launched Ali Price Makeup & Brows Studio.

“What have I got to lose? I either do this and see if it works or die never knowing.”

Makeup can be a difficult business to move time and time again. As a client-focused business built on trust and reputation, Ali was determined to confront these challenges head on and explore new possibilities for her business with each new posting. From working with creative agencies and entering industry awards to raise her profile, to consistently building networks with other small businesses, Ali credits genuine relationships and authentic collaborations as critical to her long-term success over the last two decades.

After a two-year overseas posting to London, Ali returned to Australia to find her industry transformed by social media. Feeling like she didn’t belong anymore, Ali started to chip away at new ideas for her business, drawing on networks she had built more than a decade before.  

“If you’ve had a break and you’re lacking confidence, find a way to focus on what makes sense to you, and what you can bring to other people in the same situation”

Reflecting on her own experience navigating her 50’s, Ali pivoted her business to focus exclusively on helping mature, professional women feel empowered through beauty. And then COVID-19 hit, and her operations shut for three months.

Coronavirus really challenged Ali. Yet her creativity flourished, and Ali spent the shutdown working on her business – rebuilding her website, joining the Prince’s Trust Australia Enterprise program, and exploring new channels. She created bespoke, weekly videos for more than 50 of her clients, offered Home Brow Kits, and streamlined her business processes.

“I'm just like my clients. I'm not a glamourous, make up wearing, sassy, confident woman! I have wrinkles! I bring my experience and that reassurance to my clients to help them blossom.”

Ali wants her clients to feel relevant and confident. Her vision is to simplify beauty and make it practical, helping her clients present to the world sunnier and brighter, and to get them where they need to be.

“I’m a big picture thinker. I watch how the business grows organically and tidy it up as I go.”

Ali’s creative problem-solving skills and ability to respond to, and embrace, change have helped her grow her business despite multiple interstate and international postings – and a global pandemic. Her top tips? Just turn up! And don’t underestimate coffee dates, they’re an entrepreneur’s conference room.

Article features in 2020 Spring/Summer edition of Defence Family Matters Magazine.

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