Going All In: This Entrepreneur Ditched Her 9-5 to Start Microblading
Every day, people use Square tools to help start, run, and grow their business — here’s one of their stories.
You never know when the inspiration for a new business will strike. For Jacqueline Perry, owner of Permanent Appeal, the idea came from a casual conversation at a barbeque. “A lady complimented me on my eyebrows,” explains Perry. “She had gone through two rounds of chemo and radiation, so she’d lost all of her hair. She’s the one who told me about cosmetic tattooing.”
Perry went straight into research mode and realized that despite Seattle’s large network of cancer treatment providers, mircoblading wasn’t a readily available option. “Nobody really looked at the medical side of it and said, ‘how can help people truly suffering from hair loss,” she explains.
Square editor Niema Jordan spoke with Jacqueline Perry to find out how she went from an idea to a thriving business and how she plans to grow her business in the future.
Square: What gave you the courage to go through with the idea and actually start the business?
Jacqueline: I knew that I was at this point in my life where I wasn’t satisfied with what I was doing in a desk job. A lot of people thought I was crazy. They didn’t like the idea that I was gonna leave a pretty great career. But, I knew that if it didn’t work out, I could always go back.
Another reason why I took the risk was because I have three daughters. What if they wanted to do something that was a dream of theirs? I wanted to show myself and my girls that we can really do anything if we find the right path and put the effort in that is needed.
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Square: How did you balance working full-time and starting business?
Jacqueline: I actually, I gave my job up. I knew that I couldn’t give everything that I wanted to, and really dive into this new passion without being full time or more into it. I knew that I couldn’t do it part-time – not with my personality type. I wanted to give it 200%.
Square: What was your biggest obstacle in the beginning?
Jacqueline: I didn’t have any beauty industry background, so my biggest obstacle was finding clients. Fortunately, with my background in business and marketing I knew that I could target social media influencers. And it actually, it worked. Within about six months I had gotten about a dozen micro influencers to work with me.
Square: How did you get the micro-influencers to agree to work with you?
Jacqueline: With a lot of them, I just said “Hey I’m trying to build a community of women who love to support other women and I’m sure that you’d like to be a part of this. I’ll give you this free service if you … “ And we set some guidelines on like how many posts they needed to do. So, really utilizing kind of that trade for service for them to talk about me. That really helped.
I also told everyone I knew, “Hey this is what I’m doing.” I was doing it for free. I was doing it for half off. I was doing it for anything I could to grind and hustle through. I needed gain as much practice and as many faces as I could in the beginning of the start of this business.
Square: Now that your business is thriving, how do you keep track of clientele and manage appointments?
Jacqueline: In the beginning, I was doing all of my scheduling on my phone. So, I was kind of a crazy person. I looked into online scheduling to keep track of appointments, and pricing so that people can view that. But, man relinquishing that power is really scary. But, I knew if I wanted to have growth that I needed to have online booking, and also have those automated appointments set.
I needed to have reminders sent out to people without me sending a text on my own every morning. So, I chose Square [Appointments] for my scheduling because I already used the point of sale. It’s kind of like having a trusted resource. By having all these services together in one makes it that much easier as a business to grow in ways that we know we need to.
Square: When you first started out you were renting a space in a salon. Now you have your own brick and mortar. Tell us about that process.
Jacqueline: I had been looking for a new location and I just couldn’t afford it on my own. After about a year, I was like there’s no way, I’m probably just gonna have to stay where I am. But then I was like, you know what, what if I found a place and I could sublease some of the rooms to some other professionals that are trying to run their own business.
So, I found this place that was a stand alone building, and it was about four blocks away from where I was at. And when I met them and walked in there it was just like this … You know it was this spiritual moment where you’re like, “Ahhhh.” You’re like this is where I’m supposed to be.
And I, again, took a really big risk. But within a month already had the three other spaces sub-leased to two other artists, and then one lash artist.
Square: Have you hired any staff?
Jacqueline: I have not yet. That’s too scary for me. I’ll get there. I have mentored quite a few people. So I continue to mentor anybody who reaches out to me. I’ve trained a couple of gals so far. And in the next couple months I’m launching an academy to start to train people in this industry. I did my training in California and it was a real disadvantage to me because I didn’t get to come back to a network in my city. It was tough to figure it out on my own.
Square: In addition to mentoring, why is this academy important?
In Washington State, there’s no training required [to microblade]. On one hand it may sound good for a business owner, like hey I can start a business and I don’t have to have any training. But, it’s been really challenging for people to know where to go, and to go to somebody who’s trusted, and trained.
So, for the consumer its been really scary. I’m hoping to be able to add to the positive growth in this industry, and really help guide people on the do’s and don’ts, and how to effectively perform. I mean this is tattooing, people don’t take it as serious as it is.
Square: When you started your business, you took out a chunk of your retirement savings. How have you funded the growth of your business?
Jacqueline: I’ve taken advantage of Square Capital 1 throughout the whole process. I’ve used that as kind of like a little bit of extra assistance. When you start a new business and you’re not established, it’s really hard to obtain credit. I can obtain credit through myself, which I obviously had.
Starting a business takes a lot of money. It’s one of the most difficult risks that I think any business owner takes, especially if you’re not coming from a family that can give you money, or a husband that has money to be like, “Here you go, let me support you.” I didn’t have the financial options that maybe some other people do.
Square: What are your future plans for growth for Permanent Appeal?
Jacqueline: I’ll definitely open another office space in Seattle within the next couple of years. And once the academy is up-and-going, I want to open a space where it’s just other artists. The industry is new and it’s really scary for a lot of people. I’d like to build a sense of a community.
Square: Any advice to someone who is thinking about taking the leap to start their own business?
Jacqueline: Number one, finding a mentor, or multiple mentors, or anyone that has been successful in business, but can help guide you was huge. The two things that my mentors would always ask me is, what is your path and what makes you any different than anyone else?
And that last question initially was kind of like, whoa that’s a little rude. But it was so real. You know you have to understand why somebody is going to choose you. What makes you different.
As for your path, if you look at it in a real simplistic way and know these are all my steps that I have to take in order to be successful, then why wouldn’t it work? I mean we’re not gonna be Michael Jordan, we’re not gonna be freaking the Beibs, okay? But, we really can do anything that we want to do if we just find the right path for it and know that we’re gonna carry that through.
It’s not that it’s as simple and easy. The work involved is really challenging, and stressful, and nauseating at times. But if you follow through that then you’ll really love yourself in the end for making sure that you did it.
Running a business like Permanent Appeal isn’t an easy feat, but Square is another resource you can turn to. We have all the tools you need to start, run, and grow your business, whether you’re selling in person, online, or both. And we’ve made all our tools work together as one system, saving you time, money, and effort. So you can get back to doing the work you love and focusing on whatever’s next. See how Square works.
1Square Capital, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Square, Inc., d/b/a Square Capital of California, LLC in FL, GA, MT, and NY. All loans are issued by Celtic Bank, a Utah-Chartered Industrial Bank. Member FDIC, located in Salt Lake City, UT. All loans are subject to credit approval. FW1118
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