Today we’d like to introduce you to Fatima Rose.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Fatima. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs in Canada (outside of Toronto). My parents ended up in Canada by way of UK/New Zealand, after having to leave their homes in Uganda, East Africa, due to a government coup by the army. They were expelled and had to start over in new and foreign countries.
The resilience, culture and history that come from my family’s background has taught me a lot in terms of business, entrepreneurship, work ethic & civic responsibility.
After graduating from University of Toronto, I was told I should not enter the family business, and one of the best pieces of advice my dad gave me was to get a corporate job and learn how to be a number in a large company.
I worked with Manulife/John Hancock for about 5 years, and learned a lot about employee recognition, being promoted, different managerial styles, and working within the confinement of deadlines, protocols and customer service with high-net worth clients.
During this time, I was traveling to Miami a few times per year for vacations/long weekends, and discovered that my favorite concept in Toronto – the blow dry bar – was not available in Miami. Ready for a change in my career path, and in weather of course, I set out to open the first blow dry bar in Florida. I moved mid-2011, and was open and running before Thanksgiving of that year.
Working within the franchise concept was not new to me, as my family has worked with franchises in past and present, I loved bringing affordable, quality styling to the women of Miami.
As we grew, I knew that we were missing some other beauty services in Brickell, ones that would be complementary to blow outs. In 2014, I was able to take over the space next to blo, and open Face. Brow & Beauty Bar which provided services such as brow shaping, makeup application, lash extensions and facials.
I recently sold Blo a couple of months ago, and have since been enjoying some free time this summer, which has allowed me to give more time to the community. I have been volunteering as a peer buddy for Best Buddies almost 3 years, and I am a Young Leader with United Way. Not only have I been able to help out more, but I am helping to organize an event for United Way at the Epic Hotel in November as the headlining sponsor, and I have been nominated to be a Champion of the Best Buddies South Florida Gala in December.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way? There have definitely been a few struggles!
I needed to come up with the capital for the business investment. As a Canadian, I was unable to get US loans and so I had to sell my assets and empty all my bank accounts to get blo started. I was lucky enough to get some family help to keep me afloat.
Once I relocated to Miami, I had to hire a General Contractor, and get the construction going on the project. As a female, it was tough to be taken seriously from the beginning. The other difficulty was not knowing what a full scale construction project entails, it was tough getting quotes and understanding the estimates.
Miami Permits – any business owner here can likely tell you a permitting story or hardship – it is such a tedious process! I initially hired a permit runner that ran away with my plans and my money! (I have a sneaky story on how I got them back…). Eventually I learned the process myself, and once it was time to do it again for the 2nd business, it was so much easier for me that I was done in record time according to my contractor!
The last hurdle, which has been an on-going one, has been hiring the right staff/talent for the job. Instilling good customer service values has been a challenge, since Miami has a different vibe than Canada, and our area is very transient.
For me personally, I found it difficult to call Miami home for a long time, even after forging great friendships and client/business relations. Once I started volunteering and becoming more involved in the community, I felt more tied to the city in a meaningful way.
Please tell us about Face, Brow & Beauty Bar. Face. brow & beauty bar is a beauty bar in the heart of Brickell.
We specialize in eyebrow shaping, and also offer many services specifically for the face such as lash extensions, makeup application, and facials.
We also offer brow and lash tinting, the new Lash Lift (lash perm), false eyelash application, and some body waxing services.
Our service is one aspect that sets us apart from traditional salon and beauty environments in the area. All services are performed by licensed estheticians and we always aim to give a customized service tailored to the individual client rather than a one-size fits all approach. For example, makeup application might begin with treating a skin concern before the service, first time brow shaping begins with skin history and sensitivities.
We use natural and organic skincare and makeup as much as possible, to avoid unnecessary chemicals and products. Our facials are wildly popular since we use high-quality organic products.
One of my favorite parts about our environment is that we are not stuffy; the laid-back, cozy feel gives clients a warm environment, and our regulars love interacting with us, updating us on their lives and recommending their friends and family for more than just getting their services done. We have seen clients through dating then weddings, through all stages of pregnancy, and just sharing milestones in their personal lives! The same goes for my staff. I have a soft spot for my girls and I love that they get along really well, and that we can have fun while we work all day! I enjoy doing team building brunches and fun activities outside of the workplace to give them a sense of belonging as well. One of my estheticians volunteers with me at Lotus House, to bring complimentary beauty services to the women in the shelter.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently? There are always lessons to be learned, and some are as simple as better preparation on products/inventory, to more rigorous hiring procedures.
Difficult ones are money spent on unnecessary or invaluable areas, where as more could be spent on marketing and advertising initially.
I try to invest more in my staff and their education often so that they are constantly learning new methods, training and refreshing on our existing products and protocols and always growing and enhancing our skills, customer service and overall environment. This has proven to boost sales, morale and client retention!
Looking back, I had leased the space before the GC was able to come in and get specific plans/estimates going. In hindsight, due to city regulations, etc., there were some details such as water lines, etc. that I was not able to do the way I wanted, and this would have been a strong bargaining chip for me had I been prepared when negotiating my lease!