We had the good fortune of connecting with Dominique Lakes and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dominique, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
In my opinion, risk is tied to confidence and faith. A risk is only worth the reward if you have confidence in your ability and faith in your results. You have to believe that your results are possible before anyone else does. What people don’t usually say about taking risks is that risks involve a level of anxiety. The anxiety comes into play because the true results are unknown, so there is an internal battle between going for the familiar and venturing into the unknown. I have always been a creative, so by nature, everything I do can be seen as different from the norm. I see things through a different lens than most people and my mind communicates differently as well. Because I’m wired to think outside of the box, I am always in a space of trying to figure out how to make every day things feel new and fresh. With redesigning, repurposing, and reimaging, you take the risk of criticism and closed doors. A huge risk that I took was starting a new business in the middle of a global pandemic after graduating college. I had to battle with my fears and expectations, social media, and the literal health crisis. Throughout the process, I had one mantra that has kept me going, “If you feel that you are led to do a thing, say a thing, or make a thing happen, do it! You don’t have to have all the answers and you may have some fear. Do it scared and watch what happens because of your faith.”

What should our readers know about your business?
As we all know, in March of 2020, the world slowed down to a halt in a way no one expected. For me, that world change struck a little harder because I was on track to graduate from Georgia State University with my bachelor’s degree in may. Every plan I had or wanted to make was canceled. I felt like all of the hard work I had put in from pre-school to college was for nothing because I couldn’t do anything with what I had learned.

After a short break to gather my thoughts and experiencing the world through the lens of social media, I noticed a trend that made me want to rise up and take action. I noticed that even though black women and women of color were rising up like never before and taking action, we continued to be forced to feel like our extremes are not necessary. We were also being forced to think that we don’t deserve nice things. I realized I had bought into that narrative by believing all the work I had put over the years was tied to my ability to produce and reproduce. I needed to change my mindset, not just for me but for the black girls and women of color around me. I took some time to research, plan, and build. In October of 2020, I launched a black owned beauty brand called Style & Grace Luxury.

Style & Grace Luxury is a beauty brand that is founded on the principles that black women and women of color deserve nice things. This brand exists to supply everything a Queen needs to feel confident and luxurious on a daily basis. We stand for black excellence, black luxury, and beauty. We believe our queens deserve nice things and should have access to the nice things all the time. We supply beauty products such as eyelashes, lash adhesive, hair bundles and custom wigs. What makes this brand stand apart from others is that we strengthen inner beauty and support with products that enhance what you have on the outside. We take time to engage with our supporters. We spotlight them and their accomplishments each week. We support other small businesses by buying their products, posting them on our social media pages, and engaging on their social media platforms.

Building this brand has not been an overnight success. With imports and exports being unpredictable, finding vendors and products that delivered was a challenge. I sometimes struggled with keeping focus on the end goal and not paying attention to the quick success of social media. I had to turn to the aid of friends and family to keep me grounded. My most recent challenge has been rebranding and relaunching in a way that feels organic. I want the world to know that progress is a process. If you want something long lasting, you have to commit to putting in the effort to make it happen. For Style & Grace Luxury, I want the world to understand and to know that we (Black women & women of color) deserve nice things and we will have them.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Even though I have spent my life here, there are always new places and things to enjoy. I like to think of myself as a foodie who loves a good adventure. With that being said, I would start day 1 by taking my friend to breakfast at Flying Biscuit. My favorite location is in midtown. It is small and quirky, but that’s what makes you love it. We would take a walk through Piedmont Park and enjoy the scenery. For lunch, we would head to Slutty Vegan. I love the food, the restaurant culture, and how on brand the marketing is. After going home to relax a bit, eating dinner, and changing for a night of fun, we would had to DayDreams Fantasy Lounge downtown. It has a really nice whimsical theme and great atmosphere for a good time. Day 2 would be all about the outdoors. We would have a nice home cooked breakfast before heading out for a hike through the Chattahoochee Bamboo Forest. This hidden gem is perfect for a calm atmosphere and beautiful pictures. We would have lunch at Bonehead, which is a Mexican restaurant in Midtown with amazing food. We would spend the rest of the day at Ponce City Market enjoying the plethora of shops, walking the beltline, and enjoying the rooftop fun. For day 3, we would end with a bang. We would have breakfast at Rosie’s Cafe. I love the presentation of the food and drinks. We would walk through The Botanical Gardens and enjoy the current exhibits and floral creations. For lunch, we would head to Sivas Hookah lounge for some good food, drinks, and hookah. After resting, eating a good home cooked meal, and getting ready for fun, we would head to a concert for one of my favorite artists, Josh Waters. If you are looking for a new R&B artist, he is one that sounds even better live than on the record.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My first credit goes to God. I am who I am today because of my relationship with him. My second credit goes to my family and friends. My village has supported me in everything I have set out to do no matter how crazy the idea may have seemed. They have always trusted my vision, motivated me in the moments I lost my way, and celebrated with me on my wins. My last credit goes to Usher’s New Look Foundation. From the age of 14, I have grown through the program to bring out my talents, focus through education, explore my career options, and give back to my community through service. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the aid of all of the individuals who have been by my side.

Website: www.styleandgraceluxury.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/styleandgraceluxury

Facebook: www.facebook.com/styleandgraceluxury

Other: Personal Instagram: www.instagram.com/iamdominiquelakes Email: styleandgraceluxury@gmail.com

Image Credits
Hair, Makeup, & Photography: Dominique Lakes

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