Real Success Stories Pt 4: Nancy Parnis – Founder of Face Painting Ireland


“On my desk is a little silver frame with a quote by Marie Beynon Ray, “Begin doing what you want to do now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake.” – Nancy Parnis

Meet Nancy Parnis, Founder of Face Painting Ireland – Adding colour and smiles to every occasion!

“I identified a niche in the market for professional quality face painting that was accessible to everyone from parents to multinationals.”

Face Painting Ireland is Ireland’s Leading Face Painting Company bringing fun, art, professionalism and happiness to every occasion and event. I wanted Nancy and her company to be part of my Success Stories because is it something that is not only different, fun and artsy but something Nancy was told she would not be able to make happen. She persevered and here she is today 14 years on still running her highly successful Face Painting business amidst the non-believers and naysayers!


I first met Nancy in a supermarket where we were both putting up flyers for our businesses and that day I joined Face Painting Ireland Team. Therefore, I know first hand the hard work, dedication and quality that Nancy puts into her work. I thoroughly enjoyed working there for two years, learned a new skill from the best in the business and had lot of fun doing so. The company covers some of Ireland’s biggest events and is also inundated with domestic parties and occasions.

1. What made you start Face Painting Ireland?

I discovered a passion for children’s face painting in Sydney, Australia in 2001. When I returned to Ireland I identified a niche in the market for professional quality face painting that was accessible to everyone from parents to multinationals. When I initially bounced my ideas off family and close friends of setting up a face painting business some thought it was ridiculous and would never work.

Nevertheless, in 2007, I set up my business and after much deliberation came up with the name Face Painting Ireland. My aim was to higher the standards of face painting in Ireland and to add colour and smiles to parties and events.

2.What has been your greatest success with Face Painting Irl?

Face painting has increased exponentially since I started my business, Face Painting Ireland, and almost every event or family occasion being held around the country these days would have a face painter or two at it, be they professional or amateur.

We have face painted for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Ireland for their animated Irish premieres such as the amazing global phenomenon FROZEN, Maleficent, Tinkerbell, Monsters University, Beauty and The Beast 3D and The Muppet Show transforming  children (and some adults!) into their favourite Disney characters.

One of my favourite places to work at is Dublin Zoo. There’s nothing better than spending a few minutes face painting a child and seeing the absolute joy in their face when they look in the mirror! I’ve had children roar like a tiger, hop away like a rabbit, pant like a dog, and pretend to chew the eucalyptus leaf painted on their panda face. All in a day’s work!


3. What has been your greatest failure and how did you learn from it?

What was my biggest failure? I’ve done parties and events for people and businesses who turned out to be quite dishonest and never paid for our services. This can destroy any business. My team still had to be paid for the work they did and bills were coming in. I couldn’t afford legal action but failure was not an option. Through communication and my creditors understanding I managed to turn a challenging situation around and keep afloat. I’ve learned to be selective about who I take on as a client and I’ve put systems into place that reduce my waiting time for payment.

4. What would be a crucial piece of advice you would give to someone about starting your own business and on success?

Everything starts with a dream. Believe in yourself. Success is earned and is only possible with hard work. There will always be people who don’t share your vision. Prove them wrong. Once in business, staying fresh and original is challenging, you know you are doing something right when you inspire others to imitate you.

I believe we all have a purpose. If you do what you truly love and what you are passionate about, you may find your purpose. You must also do what you are good at or what you have a gift or talent for. Ultimately, if what you do also makes others happy and inspired, it will fill any empty void you may be feeling.

5. What inspires and motivates you?

I very much appreciate the parents and clients who take time out of their busy day to send me an email or a little note to say what a difference our work made to their party or event. I love to receive these messages because it reinforces my belief in what I do and the high standards my business  maintains.

Today, I am still absolutely passionate about face painting as it is a wonderful way to express my creativity and foster imagination in a child. People love to watch my team and I while we paint saying ‘that’s the best face painting I have ever seen, you’re so fast and you make it look so easy’ and they sometimes pick up little tips to use at home.

I am a great advocate of working women. Women who can stand on their own two feet, who are self confident and who have healthy self esteem. Women who contribute in a positive way to their family, their community, their country and the world. These are beautiful strong women.

Nancy’s words of wisdom:

Giving back to the community by using your time and talents and supporting charities that are close to your heart, will greatly add to your feelings of well being. I also believe that developing an attitude of gratitude for all that you have is the key to personal success and happiness.

Nancy Parnis profile pic

Find out more about Nancy and Face Painting Ireland, check out her website for further details. Like Face Painting Ireland’s Facebook page and follow FPI on Instagram @facepaintingireland to get the latest news and to book your Face Painting professional for your next occasion/event.


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