Today we’d like to introduce you to LaKeisha Stringer.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
As a young child, I knew I was different. I was into fashions, politics, and wanting to have my own business. I had no clue that it would start at the age of 11 when I became obsessed with doing hair. My mother was a hairstylist and she had books from school so I read her book and taught myself how to use the hair equipment and style hair. I practiced a lot on myself and my friends from the neighborhood and school. From there, I did hair until 2013 when I was diagnosed with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I thought to myself that everything was over. I will never get to have my own business because I was working with my hands. I fell into a deep depression and didn’t know what to do or even how will I get through this. I began thinking to myself “Will I die from these diseases?” That question took over my thoughts for months at the beginning. At this time I was also working a job as a manager at a residential facility for mentally disabled individuals. I loved my job so much but I needed some time off to process things and my life and decided to move to California where I spent 4 years. While living there I was thinking of ways to make money, still remain in the beauty industry, and not have to do so much physical work with my hands. I then started an online clothing boutique for women. This was right at the beginning stages of apps like Facebook and Instagram becoming popular for business purposes. I worked really hard on building my boutique but I just couldn’t get in the groove of making it successful like I’d hoped. That’s when I learned that it was a lot harder than online businesses had made it looked. I became very discouraged and decided to close my online boutique. I moved back to St. Louis in 2016 after my younger brother was in a near fatal car accident and I became his primary caregiver because of the injuries he sustained. I then took on odd jobs and was attending college at the same time that I was taking care of my brother. I became overwhelmed and frustrated and decided that I needed to get serious about getting back to again becoming the entrepreneur I needed to be. In the meantime, I decided I wanted to become a phlebotomist. I also have a passion to help people so being in the medical field was fitting for me. I attended school to become a certified phlebotomist. I had completed the course, took the exam, and passed.
During my externship, I had went to a local nail salon as I always did (because having my nails done made me happy) but little did I know that this was the last time I would go to local salon. I was treated rudely and I wasn’t satisfied with my nails at all. I decided then not to go to any more shops, I was fed up! I then decided to research and teach myself how to do my own nails. Never did I think that this was the birth of the Prue K Brand. I researched online for products, I watched YouTube videos and reached out to other local nail techs that I followed on Instagram for help and guidance to do my own nails. It was very hard getting started and choosing the right products for I had never did nails before. I reached out to several local techs in the area. No luck! I then came across an already established and awesome nail tech that decided to help and guide me through my journey. She allowed me to watch her do nails and gave me lots of tips and became my Nail Mentor. I had no intentions on doing nails for a living just for myself because my goal at the time was becoming a phlebotomist.
I bought my first nail kit during the last week of my externship and practiced on my family members so that I could get the hang of it. I posted my progress on my personal Instagram showing off my new hobby. One day I received a DM requesting a price for my nail services, I was not in business I was just practicing. I never thought about turning this new found hobby into a career or business until that day. I honestly replied to the Dm that I was just practicing and did not feel comfortable charging her but if she would give me 30 days I would get more practice in and the be able to do her nails, I then referred her to my mentor for services and that lit a fire in me to start doing nails for others and not just myself. I completed my externship and became a certified phlebotomist. I was then offered at a position at the hospital that I completed my externship. I also was determined to turn this hobby into a business so I turned down the job at the hospital to start my new business. I was super excited that I would still be in the beauty industry and I found a new talent. I practiced those 30 days researched constantly for products, techniques, and joined online groups for assistance and of course, I had my mentor. I thought to myself “how do I get clientele now? How do I get women to trust me to do their nails?”
So, I decided to do free nail sets. I advertised on my Facebook and Instagram pages and I got an overwhelming response to my request. Pure K Nails was born! I was so determined to make this business a success I started following all different kinds of businesses big and small to learn the ins and outs because I feared failing as I felt like I did with my online boutique. I believed that I was destined to do nails when I started getting other business women as clients in the very beginning stages of my career. I was all ears as they poured the knowledge of business in me. My clientele quickly grew which gave me the motivation I needed to really focus on making my business not only a success but a household name. I then thought of ways that I could incorporate my other talents into the mix because at this point I didn’t just want to do nails, I could do multiple things and tun them into businesses, I did just that! the idea I had was to become a brand and incorporate all of my businesses together. I worked my first year as a nail tech in 2017. I then decided to do an in-home daycare since one of my odd jobs at the time was babysitting something that I had did off and on for about 20yrs at this time.
Now we have Pure K Kidz Llc another business under the Pure K Brand. I worked both businesses at the same time and what a challenge that was! That didn’t stop me at all. I hired a helper for the daycare so that I could keep up with the nail clientele. Now I am 5 years in as a Nail Artist and 2 years in with Pure K Kidz Llc and I am just getting started, I am currently working on the next Pure K Brand project and I know I will flourish and serve my community the way I envisioned it or maybe better. Being an entrepreneur is by no means an easy task and your skin has to be thick but because I love a challenge I think I fit in perfectly with being one.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I faced many obstacles and challenges throughout my journey. I experienced homelessness, and mentally abusive relationships with several people in my life. I also had to overcome being sexually assaulted in my own home. I have to battle 3 autoimmune diseases(Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Mixed connective Tissue Disease) on a daily basis while still maintaining life and currently 2 businesses. I was faced with 2 near-death experiences in the middle of trying to start a 3rd business. Lost a very important people near and dear to my heart that poured into me to be great(my grandparents). I also have to maintain my mental health since being diagnosed with Bipolar depression. Right now I’m battling RA in my spine which has threatened my ability to work at all. Even though these were/are challenges I have faced that does not define me and who I am. I refuse to allow these shortcomings to stop me from my dreams that I have been dreaming and working so hard to accomplish since I was a young child.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I have been a Nail Artist for the last five years but have been in the beauty industry for over 20 years. I was a hairstylist since the age of 11. I have an in home daycare. I am also an inspiring plus-size model.
- Email: Pureknails@gmail.com
- Website: StyleSeat.com/pureknails
- Instagram: Pure K Brand
- Facebook: Pure K Nails
- Twitter: Pureknails1
Pure K Photography