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Life & Work with Shakira Johnson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shakira Johnson.

Hi Shakira, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
It all started back in 2015 when my best friend and I were having a girl’s night. During this night we talked about the business ventures we wanted to pursue and she decided she wanted to do my makeup. Little did I know my love-hate relationship for makeup would change.

I was always that girl who would say, “I hate makeup,” “I don’t want to look like a clown,” or “I never wanted to wear makeup and not look or feel like myself.” However, after that night all of those negative thoughts about makeup went out the door. Now don’t get me wrong, over the years I have learned why people view or feel negatively towards makeup but there is so much to learn with makeup that if a person is not skilled per se then yes all of those negative thoughts will linger.

I got to where I am today by lots, and I do mean lots of practice and research. Before I decided to start taking makeup seriously, I practiced myself a lot. I tried to figure out what I like, what I didn’t like, the correct application technique, or if I was applying too much product. I knew I was ready to take clients when someone asked me how I got my skin so flawless. When I explained I was wearing makeup they were shaking! This person had the same negative thoughts I once had, makeup could never look like your skin and always made people look like they were wearing a mask or “cakey”.

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?
The road to becoming an entrepreneur has not been easy. I am an extreme introvert and that gets in the way of networking and putting my brand out there. So I have found that the easiest way to get past my social anxiety is by wearing my work. I will create an amazing look and go out in public. When people compliment my artistry I will hand them my business card or let them know I do.

I experienced a few other struggles at the beginning of my business. One of the biggest was building my makeup kit without breaking the bank. When I first started I wanted to buy everything all at once, which would have been a few thousand dollars. So, instead, I bought some universal items that would work on every type of client. Unfortunately, it required a lot of time mixing foundation colors together in order to get the right shade since undertones are not that universal.

Another area that has been difficult to navigate was building my clientele in a new city, during a pandemic, when I got the chance to know anyone. This is why it was so important for me to wear my work and have my business card on hand. I don’t have issues with retaining clients because I pride myself on professionalism and having great energy. I strive to give my clients a great experience each time they are in my chair.

I want to stress the importance of managing your finances as an entrepreneur. When it comes to budgeting for my business that is second nature for me since I am very good at managing my personal finances. So this has not been one of my struggles but it should be highlighted in the conversation. When I was certain that I was ready to take paying clients the first step I took was opening a separate savings account at my credit union and connecting it to my booking site so all money I made from my business went there.

Then at the end of the month, I would calculate my business expenses and subtract that from my gross revenue which left me with my monthly profit. I believe my profit let me know how well I was managing my challenges.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m a traveling makeup artist currently traveling through St. Louis, Phoenix, Houston, and Las Vegas. I would say that I specialize in Flawless skin-like natural makeup. I’m known for being a Makeup Artist and PhotograpHer however my love for photography has taken a backseat since makeup has become my main priority I am most proud of the connections I get to make with my clients when I enhance their beauty.

I feel that what sets me apart from other Makeup Artists is when asked, I educate my clients on how they can achieve a simplistic look at the home and create or update their makeup collection. Over the years, I have learned that most women would like to learn how to apply makeup but are afraid of looking, as the culture would say, “Casket ready” lol. So I make sure I educate them on the fundamentals of finding the correct foundation shade because this is the most important part.

Then I go over which tools they will need to apply the product. I am in the process of creating my own collection so that it will be a lot easier to explain in the future. Finally, I’ll inform my clients of the best places to find the most affordable makeup to have in their collection.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Even though I am no longer the girl who dislikes makeup, there are still people out there who will never appreciate the beauty and artistry of being able to enhance oneself with just a stroke of a foundation brush and a sprinkle of highlight.

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