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1. What is your business?

I have two businesses: Browluptuous, where I perform eyebrow microblading for clients, and a branding & website consulting business called You’re Almost There. I was a nerd growing up, and when I wasn’t going to prom and doing all of the fun kid things students my age were doing at the time, I was teaching myself how to code and learning about graphic design. I learned a lot from video games, actually.

With this background, it was easy for me to build my microblading website myself. After I launched it, a lot of people started asking me for website design work who were also in the beauty business. So building on that interest, I decided to create another business offering my template to similar businesses. I figured it would be a way to help people get the same look and layout but at a more affordable price. And then I started to get a lot of requests for more website help. Now, You’re Almost There helps clients with templates, branding, and website design both through working with me directly and live webinars.

My pitch for You’re Almost There is that I provide branding, web design and graphic design, and I’m charging you much less than if those three services were offered by three different providers. Most web developers don’t know anything about graphic design, and the websites that web developers create end up looking like crap because they aren’t focused on aesthetics or understanding a client’s audience.

My pricing varies depends on what someone is looking for. If you’re looking for just a simple website with a homepage and a contact page, that starts at $1,200. If it’s something more complex, the cost is around $2,000.

In my microblading business, I help clients with their eyebrows. Microblading is the application of a number of small, semi-permanent tattoos that look like individual hairs to fill in gaps in the eyebrows and create more of an arch. There is a lot of interest in microblading right now, but since anyone can do microblading (and not all states require a license) it’s really important to know what you’re doing as a practitioner and also as a consumer looking for microblading. I am a licensed microblading technician, but in my home state of Arizona, it isn’t required. I wanted to start out the right way with the best education and credentials possible to give my customers the best product.

I got into microblading because for years, I’ve been threading my own eyebrows. I don’t trust anyone other than myself when it comes to my brows. It was a natural extension to microblading, sometimes you want to add when you can’t subtract anymore. My background as a graphic designer helps me because I know a lot about alignment and making sure everything is balanced.


2. What made you decide to start your business and/or switch careers?

4 years ago, I started Your Wedding Countdown, a wedding stationery company that creates paper invitations, seating charts, and all sorts of paper products needed for someone’s wedding. That business grew really quickly, and I ended up with 16,000 Instagram followers. The downside was that caring for brides required a lot of work. After I had my son, I wanted to have a business where I could spend a lot of time with him and work less. To do a good job supporting brides means being available around the clock, and I realized that my priorities for owning a business changed.


3. Was there one moment that gave you the confidence that this was a good idea?

I relied heavily on my religious faith, and I have a strong relationship with God. I got to a point where I knew that I was not able to sustain the wedding stationery business and also spend as much time as I wanted with my family. I was lost and had no clue what my next chapter in life may be. Out of nowhere, the idea of microblading came to me, and then the website/branding business grew out of that. God has a strange way of working his way through our lives. I knew that I just needed to walk by faith and not by sight and that everything was going to be just fine.


4. What obstacles did you face in getting started and thinking of yourself as an expert in a new setting?

When it comes to owning your own business, no matter what, it’s always scary. Because you don’t have anyone else to rely on financially—you are making it or breaking it. My husband and I share responsibility for the household finances, and if I can’t help with my portion, we are all going to be in trouble. It can be difficult leaving a company where you know you are going to get paid every two weeks or so. Being in a spot where the quality of my work, and whether I make a mistake, affects how much I get paid is scary.

Working through that fear is my biggest hurdle right now. I feel like I focus on the size of my savings to feel secure. I am always reminding myself that money can come just as fast as it can go. I’m trying to let go of worrying about how much cushion I have right now and just live life. Because when you die, you are not going to worry about how much you have in your account. When I am close to the end of my life, I expect that I will be worrying about how much time I can spend with my family.


5. Were your family and friends helpful or obstacles in launching your business? How so?

My husband has and still continues to support me no matter how crazy my ideas are. He’s always my cheerleader, saying, “Do it. You’ve got it.”


6. What are some of the biggest positive or negative surprises in your business?

The positive surprises would have to be meeting people and learning everyone’s story. Getting to know a little bit more about my clients always intrigues me.


7. Have there ever been moments when you regretted what you started or had to abandon part of the plan?

No matter what decisions I make, I never regret anything. I am always learning. Even if it is a mistake, I learned from it. I feel that everything happens for reasons that get revealed later and make sense. There is just no way to be an entrepreneur without taking risks and making mistakes.


8. Do you use social media for marketing your business?

I’m addicted to social media which is important! You can no longer just hand out flyers. Both of my businesses are active on Instagram. Blowluptuous has 600 followers, and You’re Almost There has 4,000 followers. I know for a fact that the more engagement you have on Instagram or Facebook, your business will make more revenue.

My businesses have also grown because of the black community. Black people like to support black businesses. I’ve had a few people say, “Hey, I don’t want to go anywhere else because I want to help support you.”


9. What are your hopes for your business for the next five years?

I should have really big goals because I know that big goals make things happen. But right now, my goal is having more family time. I want to be able to go on vacation and not think about whether my business will suffer from me not posting or nurturing it. In the next couple of months, or maybe next year, I would like to go to Greece and not think about whether it is a good idea. I just want to be able to go on a vacation and hang out with my family.


10. Are you willing to serve as a mentor to others interested in your sector?

Yes, I’m happy to mentor people, and people can mentor me too. I think everyone should help and learn from others.

Conversation: January 19, 2018

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