We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Mason and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
As an entrepreneur you are always going to have a battle with yourself on whether you should keep going or if you should just give up especially if you are just starting out. One day you might make $1000 and the next 4 days you might not have a sale at all. For me when this battle begins I just always tell myself and keep at the forefront of my mind is the “why?” Why did I start my business? Why did I choose to do this.
Sometimes people’s “why” is because they want to make money. Yes making money in a business is the goal but it shouldn’t be the only goal or your only “why” reason. For me, my “why did I start” is because I genuinely want to help people and make a difference. For women our hair is our crown and too many times, us as Black women, we go into beauty supply stores owned by those who don’t look like us and we get treated differently and get looked at as if we are going to steal something, and that is not fair. Or those who work in the store aren’t knowledgeable to help us pick out products for our hair. I want to change that narrative.
So when it comes to the battle of whether to keep going or to give up, I always remember my “why” and that gives me enough strength to keep going and NOT give up.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business is a mobile beauty supply store located in Portland, OR. What sets me apart from others outside of being Black Owned is that I offer local same day delivery. I like to say that my beauty supply store is the door dash for beauty products. I deliver up to a 15 mile radius from where I am located. Customers can have the luxury of going online, placing their order and having their products delivered to them within an hour as long as they place their order within the delivery timeframe. Who doesn’t love that? No other beauty supply store in my area does that. I also have branded my own brand of braiding hair which is one of my top sellers. I know for me as a customer who buys different things if I could hit submit and have my beauty supplies, clothes, etc delivered within an hour and didn’t have to leave my house, I would do it, sign me up lol.
What I’m most excited about is to continue to see how my business is going to continue to grow. I’m excited to see where my business is going to take me next. Is it going to take me to a brick and mortar store? Is it going to take me nationwide? Is it going to take me to the point where I am a franchise and have multiple stores all across the United States? That is what I am most excited about.
The way that I got where I am today is by hard work, dedication and staying focused. Was it easy? Absolutely not! I am not going to lie or sugar coat anything. The beauty industry, although it is a lucrative industry, it is a tough industry to break into and survive in. Just with any industry there are those in this industry who want to see you fail, will scam you, etc. But the way I overcame this was by not giving up. Every time someone told me “No we cannot approve you for a wholesale account” I didn’t let that stop me. I found ways to still get the products I needed for my store. I made connections with women in other cities and states by reaching out to them and asking “hey this vendor denied me but I know you have an account with them, can I go in on orders with you?” This was tough for me in the beginning because I am a shy person but I know being shy isn’t going to cut it. I had to face my fears and get out of my own way if I wanted to grow in this industry and have my business. And reaching out to these ladies to go in on orders helped me tremendously and was the best thing I could have done.
I want the world to know that I stand behind my brand and my business that we provide the best customer service to any and every one, from women to men and kids and it doesn’t matter the color of your skin, everyone is treated with respect. Elegant Boutique Beauty Supply is here to stay and our braiding hair is some of the best hair on the market. We have been done by top stylist in Portland, OR that it is some of the best hair they have used and is so much better then the big name brands you find in beauty supply stores. Be on the lookout because our braiding hair WILL be in salons and stores across the United States in months and years to come.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take my best friend to some of the best food carts/ restaurants in town. For breakfast I would take my best friend to Cadillac Cafe. They give you enough food for breakfast and lunch lol. Then for dinner we would hit a Black Owned restaurant called Everybody Eats. This food will have you licking your fingers and the plate lol. After that we’d be pretty full but for drinks and good music I would take them to Capital. This place has strong, good drinks lol and karaoke. I also would take them to Swift Lounge which is famous for their mason jar drinks. On a different day I would swing them by Hanas Snowball to get the best snowballs and popcorn in the city. I’d take them to Portland City Grill as well. It sits on the 30th floor of the U.S. Bancorp building in downtown Portland. Your over looking the city and at night it is absolutely beautiful.
I’d also take them to get pampered. Nails, feet, massages. What women doesn’t like to get pampered? My go to nail salon is Tiffany Nail Salon. I’ve been going there since I was about 15 years old, and I love it. For a massage I would take them to Zama Massage. They give you wine and chocolates, what women doesn’t like wine and chocolates? Then I’d introduce them to the best braider in the city Shaelynn Parrish and get their hair done (if it’s not already braided) and of course the braiding hair would come from none other then Elegant Boutique Beauty Supply.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to a few people who have supported me through this long journey and not just support in the aspect of financial. These three have pushed me to keep going when I wanted to give up. They pushed me to get out into the community knock on doors, and let people know a black owned beauty supply store is here. They encouraged me, they prayed with me and for me. They would stay up on the phone with me late nights when I needed to bounce ideas off them or just cry because my inventory was going to be late or my vendor messed up my order. These three people through this whole journey have kept me grounded and to this day continue to push and motivate me to continue to be better than I was the day before.
I want to shoutout my sister/my pud; my mom and my boyfriend. Without these three constantly pushing me and having my back I’m not sure where I would be in my journey. And for that I am forever grateful.
Other: Email: email@example.com Can also find us on Google if you type into the search bar elegant boutique beauty supply Portland, Oregon