Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in beauty and cosmetics but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Katherine Wilkinson, Owner of The Beautiful Life XO, located in Oak Park, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Beautiful Life XO is a lash, brows, + beauty business in Oak Park, IL. We specialize in enhancing clients' natural beauty, offering services, and recommending products to match clients' lifestyles and needs. What I love about XO is that no two clients are the same. We've built a brand that brings clients from all walks of life by creating custom services for each client. Our clients know when they come into our studio that they will receive a thorough analysis of the health and condition of their natural lashes, and we will recommend products and services that we truly believe will benefit that client. Beauty has no age, and our clients range from the youth who is just starting their beauty journey to the ageless women who are maintaining and enhancing their beauty. As we say at XO, "Enhancing your natural beauty allows you to see the world from a different perspective" - The Beautiful Life XO.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Katherine, and I am a Licensed Cosmetologist. My love for beauty began at a young age. Since I can remember, I've loved all things beauty. I began the journey of obtaining my Cosmetology License in High school. I would spend half of the day in high school, while the other half of the day was spent learning the world of beauty. After graduating from Cosmetology School, I began working in River North Chicago, where I specialized in lashes + brows. I then went on to rent a small space to work for myself, where I began to grow and develop my clientele. Over the years, I would go on to work and train with industry experts to gain knowledge and experience in the Beauty Industry, eventually becoming a lash-a-brow trainer myself. I am motivated every day by my clients. The impact beauty services have made on the way my clients feel has given me the inspiration and motivation to continue to grow and develop in the industry. I am motivated to bring the best possible service and products to my clients.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been expansion and growth. Expanding both services and products has allowed me to bring so many elements of the beauty industry together. Offering my clients products and services that I fully believe in and making an impact in the beauty industry has fulfilled me in so many ways. Working for myself and growing my business during a global pandemic has helped me accomplish many of the goals I have set out.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is learning the art of balance. As a business owner, you take on a job that is 24/7, 365. Like many entrepreneurs, the desire to work and grow can take over many other aspects of life. It's very easy to burn out, especially as a business owner that works directly in the business. While working on clients, all of the duties that come with owning a business is put on hold. That means early mornings and late nights are the only time possible to take on other tasks. You have to learn when to say no, and when to put things on hold. As a small business owner, you wear many hats, and more often than not, you feel as if there are never enough hours in a day. Developing a routine and schedule that allows you to dedicate time to yourself, your health, and your family/friends, all while completing daily tasks and running a business, is hard. Setting specific hours and time blocks in your business is crucial to avoid burnout.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

I first believe that you have to love what you do in whatever you decide to create. You need a why because when times get hard (and they will), you have to have a reason to keep going and growing. Next, you need to have patience. Although many will think a business started booming overnight, it doesn't. There are so many baby steps along the way behind the scenes to growing a business. Every step takes time to develop into the bigger picture. Lastly, put yourself in the client or customer's shoes. How would you like to be treated, and what would your expectations be if you were that customer. Growing a successful business has so many components, and as a business owner, it should be your goal to master all of them.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Remember, your business is custom to you. It's grown and sculpted by your beliefs, education, experience, and style. Take all of the advice and information you can from others, but also pay attention to who you are receiving advice from. Find ways to learn something new every day, and lastly, trust the process.

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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