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Life & Work with Kami Hill

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kami Hill. 

Hi Kami, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story! I am a salon owner, certified educator, lash + brow artist, and fine line tattoo artist with a degree in business. My career in beauty began in 2004 when I graduated as a cosmetologist, with a focus on hair cutting + coloring before falling in love with lash extensions and deciding to make lash artistry my main focus. I took several lash trainings starting in 2005, and worked hard to master the skill. I decided to fuse my love of beauty and business together, and I opened my lash salon in 2015. I was the only lash artist in my salon, and after a few months of being in business I realized that there was a growing demand, so I began training other artists. From the open date in 2015 to 2018, the salon was growing rapidly and I was constantly working to improve and grow the business. During this time, I really started to see just how much the lash industry was accelerating and changing, and I wanted to be a part of elevating the industry. I was presented the opportunity to join a lash supply company, Lash Affair by J. Paris, in 2018 as a lash educator, where I received my training education and certification.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I don’t believe the road to entrepreneurship is ever easy or smooth, but I would definitely say it’s worth it. I was one of the first lash artists in my area and learned the skill when the industry was very new. There was not a lot of information available, and products were not efficient. I did a lot of self-teaching through months of practice on friends, coworkers, and family. Even after my training, with my certification in hand, I felt like I knew nothing at all and was too scared to take on any paying clients. I worked for free for months in order to grow my confidence, portfolio, and skills. My first paying client was the absolute sweetest, and although I was more nervous than I’d ever been, when she opened her eyes and I saw her big smile, I was immediately obsessed. At that moment, I knew that I had found my passion. I began to open my books for lash clients, and word traveled in our small town quickly. The salon I had been working at began having a hard time accommodating my schedule, as I was outgrowing the small closet that I was working out of. I started looking for other spaces to work at, as I was needing both a hair chair and a lash room. At the time, there wasn’t a salon that could accommodate both, so I began to visit many spaces to inquire about leasing, bringing my dreams of Pure Lash & Beauty front and center. I was shocked at how much rent was, and after calculating how much the lease payment, along with renovation to the space would be, I questioned if owning a building would be a better choice. I started to work more seriously on my business plan, spending hours every night after work and in the mornings before work. I had some knowledge from business college, yet it was limited and I knew I needed more. After months of working to compile the information, I finally finished and started to search for the perfect property and/or building. I was going to 1-2 banks per day trying to receive financing for a business loan. It was hard not to get discouraged during this process, as I knew that if just 1 person would believe in my plan, it would be enough. After being self-employed for years, and the majority of my income coming from tips from waitressing and bartending, I wasn’t an ideal candidate. Countless bankers turned me away, saying that I didn’t have a solid business plan, until one day, I met with a female banker who got it… I had new hope. Sure enough, as soon as she heard my plan and vision, she was in. She just had to convince the all-male board of bankers to approve the loan. I’ll never forget the call from her, saying that I had received tentative approval. From there, I had a lot more work to do to get the approval, but there was finally progress!

Amid the struggle of learning a new skill without much education available, getting financing for the building, and some construction hang-ups, I then faced the challenge of hiring employees and learning all the ins and outs of having a team. When Pure Lash & Beauty was at its largest, I was managing 17 employees.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My salon, Pure Lash & Beauty was built specifically as a lash salon – it’s what we specialize in and our main focus is.  We offer an elevated experience, with the option of both beds and recliners in private treatment rooms and areas. We pay attention to small details and truly love what we do, always staying current with education. I am most proud of how the salon is a space that has evolved into a collective of independent artists who are making a living while creating through their passion.

We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I have been educating others since 2015 and offer both lash training + business mentorship, along with fine line tattoos and permanent makeup. I am also an independent travel agent and recently launched a travel business, which allows me to spend time in beautiful places while running my businesses remotely.

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