We had the good fortune of connecting with Marquita Harris Walton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marquita, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Well, my thought process was, ok, you’ve worked to make someone else rich far too long, you’re too smart and talented to let you’re gifts that God blessed with go to waste. It’s time to start building generational wealth for your kids and family. At the time that I started my business I had been a stay at home mom for about 3 years and I felt stuck, I felt left behind, I felt overlooked, then felt unproductive, then I had a talk with my husband and I simply told him I’ve got to do something and he said “well what is it you wanna do” I at first didn’t have a answer, then after we both thought about it for a little while he said to me what about lashes and make up? At first I was a little hesitant because EVERYONE was selling lashes, hair and makeup, but I agreed that I was good at doing my makeup and lashes and that I would give selling them a try,that same day he found a vendor and ordered 100 pair of lashes and here we are now.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
From the beginning I knew that I wanted Q Minks to be a brand! So often when people start small businesses they start them because whatever they started was a fad or a trend at the time and I didn’t want that for Qminks, So I vowed to put my all into my business and to not let what others were doing around me with the same business as me affect what my goal for my business was. I always say that Q minks is a brand not a trend and I say that because of the quality of my product as well as the love and sweat and tears I’ve put into my business. Owning a small business especially the type of business I have is not for the weak. I’ve learned that in order to break the stigma that people have about the only successful cosmetic brands are those that are in the Cosmetic factory stores or the big boxes department stores is you have to be different, you have to have quality product and you have to be consistent and continue to build your brand. I started out with 100 pair generic lashes taking orders on fb, then we started doing trade shows and pop up shops, from there I invested in custom packaging and a website, THEN COVID HIT! Which was very detrimental for us because we couldn’t have any face to face interaction with people, but we kept pushing and trying to move forward despite of what was happening and actually that was a gift and a curse. After the numbers started to reseed we decided to try to get into some beauty supply stores which was very hard because the harsh reality was no one wanted to deal with a small us business owner when they can get the same product dirt cheap from China, it was hard! A lot of No’s and “we’ll get back to you’s”. finally I was able to get into a U.S. Beauty Mart and a black owned beauty supply as well. But to me that wasn’t enough! So in 2020 my husband asked me about getting some lash vending machines I agreed and we started working to get things going. It was really challenging because our design team,manufacturers and vendors were all overseas, but it worked out. We secured 2 locations Miami international mall and Las Vegas North premium outlets and after about 6 months of waiting, a ton of paperwork a lot of back and forth with our team we finally got the first Machine placed in Miami September 17,2021, Then the second Machine was placed in Las Vegas September 30,2021. Now this was by fare one of the hardest task that I’ve ever encountered in my life, but in the end it’s so worth it! I think the lesson I’ve learned from all of this is to NEVER give up keep going even when you get a million No’s you only need 1 yes! Simon properties gave us that yes. After going through this process I’ve learned a whole lot more about business that I ever fathom that I needed to know and because of that I became a business owner in several states and looking to expand in several more.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Definitely to the Martin Luther king memorial, we also like to take people to ride the Ferris wheel down town, we always recommend shopping at Cumberland mall also TangerOutlets. My husband loves to fish so we invite our friends to go out to the Henry County Reservoir to fish with us. Our restaurants of choice are sweet Georgia’s juke joint, Cheesecake Factory (white chocolate truffle cheesecake is a must try) Benihana’s or of Chang’s. But to be honest we love to entertain at our home! We have the most fun there! During the pandemic we finished a lot of projects at our home, we added a back deck, a pool and a gazebo! So our out door space is awesome for entertaining and having fun!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I definitely would shout out my husband because without him believing in me and pushing me and being right by my side in all of this I know I wouldn’t be as far as I am today.