We had the good fortune of connecting with Ebonee’ Dillard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ebonee’, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Trust The Process…….
Becoming an entrepreneur wasn’t something I envisioned for myself until I was about 20 years old. Although I was still unsure of the direction I wanted to go, I did know I didn’t see myself in corporate America as a long-term career. I was very familiar with being around business owners & entrepreneurs. My mother ran her own business for 16+ years, my older sister was a hair stylist, my uncle naturally had go-getter mentality. I was always inspired by the business owners and creators that I knew personally.
I’ve always been a very creative person; Art was my first love. I enjoyed how you could express yourself through pictures, paintings, fashion, music etc. I started getting my nails done in middle school that was my thing, I loved how I was able to express myself with my nails from the colors to the designs. I knew then it was something I loved, I would buy the kits from Sally’s and practice on myself and my younger cousin, back then I didn’t have the slightest clue how to properly use a nail brush. Due to the nail industry being predominantly Asian owned at the time I truly didn’t think it was something I would be able to pursue as a woman of color.
After relocating to Charlotte, NC from Roanoke, Virginia in 2014 I worked in healthcare, but I noticed the beauty industry here was very diverse from hairstylist to nail technicians. I was inspired and it fueled me to revisit the vision of owning a luxury salon that provided an amazing experience & exceptional service.
Always feeling like my career choice wouldn’t include typical 9-5, I did know I would need a 9-5 to help fund my vision and support my lifestyle. I was doing my own lashes and a few friends at the time so one day I googled “How to become a Lash Artist” I came across Esthetician’s; I’d never heard of one prior to 2016, I was extremely interested in their line of work. Deciding maybe this would be a good side hustle. I enrolled in Esthetics school in 2017; also got certified to do lashes. I was loving it! I began brainstorming and praying on business names because I knew this was my calling. I wanted a business name that didn’t box me in with just lashes although it was a very lucrative side-hustle I still had a desire to become a nail technician. God placed the name Bliss Beauty by E. Shauntiece. The word Bliss meaning “perfect happiness” Beauty meaning “a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.” E. Shauntiece is the initial of my first name and my middle name, it was so fitting. I knew I wanted to provide an atmosphere where my clients could relax and be worry free while they enjoyed their beauty experience.
While I was building clientele, I started to become very overwhelmed, I stepped back from doing lashes, and started to feel like my nail skills weren’t improving, I went on a hiatus for about a year during that time I planned my wedding, got married, got my nail tech license but most importantly worked on my mental health and spiritual self. Doing that was a vital part of continuing to build my brand. January 2020, I started working at a local nail salon to gain experience, it was going good, February I found out I’d be expecting my first child; by April the world as we knew it completely stopped, we were in a global pandemic. The nail salon had to close due to it being non-essential so I’m back at square one unable to service clients then on top of that I was pregnant. By the time we were able to open back up I was further along in my pregnancy with complications that didn’t allow me to continue doing nails or lashes. During my maternity leave I took that time to bond with my son, pray and talk to God A LOT but also rebrand. I started back working at the nail salon, but I knew it was time for me to follow my own dream because now I had someone else counting on me. April 2021, I decided to open Bliss Beauty Pamper a Luxury private salon suite. After 4 months of working part-time at my salon suite while still working full-time in health care I’ve decided to trust God and believe in myself therefore on September 1, 2021, I’ll be a full-time businesswoman doing what I love I’ll have the flexibility to be a mom, wife & boss. I truly hope that I can be an inspiration to other women who aspire to be Girl Bosses!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Not only do I provide my clients with beautiful nails, I also provide them with a phenomenal experience. The professional bond that I create between my clients and myself is really amazing. The energy at Bliss Beauty Pamper Lounge is always full of high vibrations. This business journey hasn’t been a cakewalk, from working 7 days straight while trying to balance motherhood & being a wife to physically being unable to work. It’s been plenty of days that I’ve consider going a different route. What’s kept me going is knowing that God gave me this vision; and although he never promised us a easy journey I know that I’ll never be walking this path to success alone. I’ve learned that your vision is just that, your vision! Never expect someone to see the vision that God gave you. I also had to understand in order to grow it may require you to make room in areas of your life that you’d least expect. Most importantly in order to reach your highest potential your mental health & self care has to be a priority. I want the world to know that Bliss Beauty Pamper Lounge is here to stay and I’m coming for everything I’ve manifested and God told me was mine. Also remember there are no shortcuts to success, this took dedication hard work and sacrifices. I’ve worked so hard to accomplish the things I’ve done so far and I’d love for you all to continue to watch me grow.
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.
One of the things about living in Charlotte is there’s always places to go & things to do. I’m a foodie & art lover so we’d definitely have to start the day at one of my favorite breakfast spots Ruby Sunshine, afterwards we’d enjoy the South End vibes and make our way Uptown. Stop by one of my favorite local shops Musa Moon, check out the current art exhibits at The Harvey Gantt Center. Enjoy Camp North End & NoDa. Grab lunch from one of my favorite spots Tacos 4 Life, CAVA or the local Halal Food Truck. We’d do some shopping at either Concord Mills, South Park Mall or Premium Outlets. If they wanted to go out for drinks we’d have endless bars to choose from but I’d definitely recommend NUVOLÉ rooftop 22 for an amazing scenery and good drinks. We’d have to hit up Crave Desserts Bar it’s one of my favorite spots. If it were basketball season we’d have to check out a Hornets game, the hive is always a great time. If channeling our inner child was on the list heading down to the border and enjoy a day at Carowinds or Frankie’s. I’m not a real outdoorsy person but the U.S. National White Water Center is definitely a great place to experience. Charlotte has so many great spots and hidden gems this is just a few of my favs.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my son Khaysen, the biggest blessing I never knew I needed. He keeps me motivated to pursue all my dreams. Ultimately, no matter how cliche it sounds the credit goes to God without our creator none of what I have would be possible. Nevertheless I can’t forget my village from my husband, mother, uncle, siblings & grandparents to a host of amazing friends and other relatives. I’d also like to thank my mentor Ashley for believing in me and providing me with the knowledge & resources that she did. I can’t forget my clients I truly appreciate them all, they keep Bliss Beauty Pamper Lounge going!