Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in beauty and cosmetics but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Zulmarie Gonzalez Rivera, Owner of Curl.Wink.Blush, located in Jacksonville, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Curl.Wink.Blush is a mobile hair and makeup provider based in Jacksonville, FL. I specialize in soft, modern hair styling and traditional or airbrush makeup. My brides and private clients are women who want to look like themselves and feel beautiful in their own skin. An elevated experience and enhanced natural beauty are the goal for me and the client.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in a very body-positive household, and I was taught that if you look good, you feel good! I think my creative instincts mixed with that upbringing is what landed me in cosmetology school. It wasn't until I was an adult living on my own that I realized how big of an issue body image was for so many women! I love that my job has a direct coloration of how someone feels. I'm certainly not a therapist but being a beauty professional is so intimate and personal. Not only do I get to quickly know a woman and her insecurities when she's in my chair, but I get to help her forget them. That feeling when she looks in the mirror and loves what she sees that's the stuff that keeps me going.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think my biggest accomplishment as a business owner would be simply becoming a business owner! I was raised to believe that climbing the corporate ladder was THE way. Stepping away from that and all my beliefs around what I thought it meant to be successful was a huge leap. Of course, that has led to many other things I'm super proud of. Creating a brand that attracts women I love to work with, finally letting go of having a full-time job, to now being in the beginning stages of starting a team, to name a few. The domino effect is incredible once you identify and let go of the thing that's holding you back!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing that comes with being a business owner right now, I would say, is being vulnerable and letting people see you do something that you're not really 100% certain about. Exposing yourself to the potential of public failure. Most of us aren't reinventing the wheel, but there isn't an exact blueprint for how your individual business should run and grow. So, there's always a little bit of fear in letting others see you make those moves.
I specifically say "right now," though, because being a business owner is so seasonal. New fears and new milestones are constantly presenting and revealing themselves. Overall, I'd say the hardest part of being a business owner is managing how you show up in each new season.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Build a community. Mentors, coaches, and other entrepreneurs are all people that will help you grow and understand the journey you are about to go on. Once you "arrive," lean on them even more. This is something I'm still working on... the leaning in. Society tells us so many lies about being strong, independent women. Yes, it's great to be self-reliant, but it's really beautiful to have a community of people that understand you and uplift you.
- Do the mental work. Whether that means you go to therapy, meditate, journal, whatever that looks like for you, find a way to get out of your own head. It's human nature to fall back on things that are familiar and safe, but those things are often not conducive to the person you're becoming.
I hired a mindset coach; I wasn't looking for a mindset coach. She just kind of came into my life at the perfect time and, within a year, absolutely shifted the way I see myself as a business owner and how I move through the process as my business grows.
- Keep track of your progress. It's so easy to forget how far you've come when you hit a hurdle. If you journal, keep your journals and reread them occasionally; an old idea may resurface. If you're a creative like me, look back at old work, you're bound to see improvement! Keep track of numbers. Not just money, but how many people have you helped, and how many valuable relationships have you fostered. Change is constant but often subtle; it can be easy to miss.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Like I said before, there is no blueprint for how YOUR business should look. Your growth cannot be compared. Use others as a guide, not as a measuring stick.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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