May 13, 2021
This week, Maisie Dunbar, President of the Maisie Dunbar Beauty Brands and Bluffajo Cosmetics, joins the podcast to discuss changing careers, building a clientele, embracing entrepreneurship, and empowering underserved communities with new skills during our chat, and so much more.
Maisie explains that she always received compliments on her nails from her colleagues when she worked in IT at British Telecom and later the FDA. Still, she never thought about pursuing a career in beauty until a friend mentioned that she had enrolled in nail school Maisie followed suit and discovered that although she was great at doing her own nails, she really was terrible at doing It for others and vowed to master the skill.
Her first job in beauty was doing nails at a barbershop, and a few months later, when she moved to a popular DMV hair salon, she decided to pursue her dream full-time. This was a risky decision that forced her to find clients. So she took a script and started recruiting at the bus stop, offering free manicures. She reasoned, if she were always busy, people would want to try her services. It worked. Soon Maisie was so popular that she needed help, and she made a connection with a local nail school to get an assistant. This started a tradition of her offering a training program that prepared students for the workplace.
Once Maisie was an entrepreneur, she began expanding her services, first offering massage therapy and later skincare services. She also became licensed in these areas so she could walk her talk. As her business grew, she realized that her team couldn't give excellent service if they were never served themselves, so she exposed them to the best in class beauty experiences. Later, she learned makeup artistry and cosmetic ingredients so that she could apply those skills to her own line, Bluffajo Cosmetics.
Maisie explains that although her eponymous salon and spa were an award-winning venture, she wanted to pivot her business because legacy creation became important. She also wanted to establish better beauty training programs on the African continent and her native country of Liberia and explore distribution options for her makeup line.