This Black History Month Commanders.com is passing the page to local Black business owners to talk a little bit about their story in their words
It's amazing to reflect on the opportunities that can spring from the spontaneous; the life-changing paths that can emerge from simplest, most random moments in a day.
I remember back when I was 20 and my first baby was born. I had been navigating some postpartum depression and someone told me to my face that I was unattractive. It rocked me. What a messed up thing to say, right? That one exchange, though, sparked a journey I could have never imagined being on.
Shortly after, I went to Target and just played around in the cosmetics aisle, picking up random things. I started watching YouTube videos and began dibbling and dabbling in makeup. Before I knew it, I had gotten pretty good. I'd tell my friends and family, "Come over while the baby is sleeping and let me do your make up!" The word spread. The brand grew. Not only was I making some great extra cash, but I got so much joy from this new hobby.
Looking back on the fact that this incredible part of my life blossomed from a painful moment is powerful. Transforming a negative into a positive is no easy task, but it is unbelievably rewarding, and I'll never forget that lesson.
A similar situation presented itself in 2020. Again, it's wild how an out-of-the-blue incident can lead to some magic. During one of those dreary pandemic days, I made a batch of lip gloss and body butter in my kitchen. My daughter Melanie (not a baby anymore!) and my niece took a bunch of those lip glosses and told me she was going to go around the neighborhood to sell them. "Whatever you want to do," I thought to myself laughing, having no idea what their actual plan was. Well, that girl came back with $60 (I let her keep it, of course!)
That funny incident helped me realize that this was where I wanted to put my energy and my heart. I took it as my sign from God to go all in with Marriah Jones Beauty. Two years later, I opened my salon. I just love what I do. Whether it's men or women, skincare or waxing, there's just nothing like seeing that lift of spirit, healing and beauty that comes with giving someone the TLC they deserve. A little bit of self-care does wonders, and it's truly a privilege to do what I do every day.
And let me tell you, there's no way to describe the fulfillment and happiness I get from doing what I do in this DMV community specifically. I grew up here, and to have something I built cater to Prince George's County and the DMV means the world to me. It's not just about providing beauty services to folks, too.
My nonprofit, MIAA Beauty Institute is all about giving back and making a difference. That arm of the MJB brand evolved out of my own experiences going through beauty school, seeing how demoralizing and frustrating it can be to navigate obstacles like student loans and trying to get a foot in the door. At MIAA, not only do we have some of the most competitive tuition rates in the state of Maryland, but we also allow our students to come back after graduating from our programs and getting their license to use our facilities. At no additional charge, they can continue to get improve upon their craft and grow their clientele. We utilize grants and collaborate with community partners to keep this dream going.
Through MIAA, we've given out school items to local elementary school kids and hosted workforce development sessions for high school kids. Being able to support others and help circle money back through my community is so important to me.
Growing up, I never could have predicted my life would be where it is now. I am so grateful to be in this position in an industry that I love, making my community proud and helping others.