Growth & Jobs | Make-up artist encourages youth to become business owners
For 28-year-old Shericka Morgan, turning her childhood passion for makeup into a lucrative business was a dream, but one fraught with trepidation because she wondered whether she would be able to attract customers.
But with a resolute spirit and some support along the way, she overcame her fear and has become the owner of Eika’s Makeup Artistry, a sought-after beauty establishment in Junction, St Elizabeth, from which she has lifted the spirits and features of hundreds of women with her artistry, and has also functioned as a lash technician for almost four years.
“I’ve loved make-up since I was a child growing up. At 13 and 14 years of age, I was wearing make-up, and my grandmother used to beat me to stop wearing it to church, and so on,” she explained. “Honestly, I didn’t know then that it was my passion. I enrolled in food and nutrition in high school, and then I went to Knox Community College to further my studies in tourism and hospitality [management].”
She wanted to become a pastry chef, which she still pursues part-time; but her love for make-up was her real passion.
HOW IT BEGAN
The Plowden, Manchester native pointed out that she learned that JN Small Business Loans, now JN Bank Small Business Loans (JNSBL), a division of JN Bank, was facilitating make-up sessions for its employees at its Mandeville location in 2019. She was invited to join the group, even though she was not working for JNSBL, because of her interest in make-up artistry.
“I used to leave school in the afternoons and go to the classes. I went there for four months and got certified in make-up artistry. I realised that I [was] really good at it and it [was] something that I really loved, so about a month after, I decided to seek a little spot in Junction, St Elizabeth,” she said.
Noting that she was able to get a small area in a hairdressing salon to start the business, Morgan said the only supply she had was her own personal make-up that she used on her face, and $6,000 to her name.
“I said to the owner of the hairdresser shop that even though I am supposed to make a deposit, I am unable to because I was still attending school and I had no money. On the first day I started, I said, ‘Lord this naah guh work out because I don’t know anybody, and it’s the first I am going out into the field.’ But on that same day I made $8,000, and I told God that I am going to continue in faith because He is going to do more for me,” she revealed.
Morgan said that after the first year, business was booming and she received clients for special occasions, such as weddings, parties, school graduations, and baby showers. She noted, however, that although business was thriving, it was also difficult, as all her profit had to be reinvested in the business to purchase make-up supplies, which she said are expensive.
Someone advised her to borrow from JN Bank Small Business, and she did.
“I borrowed $100,000 and I was able to buy make-up and fix up [my] station,” she explained.
She experienced a downturn in business during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the situation has improved since the removal of restrictions placed on events, public gatherings and interactions.
Since opening her business, Morgan has received assistance from JN Bank Small Business Loans about four times, which have helped her to expand her business, especially her make-up stock.
“I took the last loan in 2022 to renovate my new shop, which I recently acquired, because I wanted my clients to feel more comfortable and relaxed. It is located at Shop 8, Manley Horne Plaza in Junction, St Elizabeth,” she said.
SKILL IS NECESSARY
Now a confident businesswoman, Morgan is encouraging other young people to get a skill and venture into entrepreneurship.
“Having a skill is very good because it helps you to gain independence. You work your own money, and it’s flexible,” she outlined.
She noted, however, that being an entrepreneur comes with its unique set of challenges, such as the struggle to find the money to fund the business, or being forced to operate within another business. And for her, the major challenge was building a brand and a customer base in a new and unfamiliar location.
“Being a young entrepreneur is hard. For me, I did not have much capital to buy products. So, thank God for JN, I was able to get a loan in order to structure the place how I want it, and get the necessary tools and things I need to put out the work,” she explained. “Besides that, you have to believe in yourself and your craft, and be the best that you can be. Once you believe in what you’re doing, nothing can break you.”
Similarly, Deputy Managing Director of JN Bank, who oversees the bank’s micro and small business portfolio, Gillian Hyde, thinks it is important for youth to explore entrepreneurship.
“There is so much creativity within our young people, and the entrepreneurship space presents an opportunity to maximise on that. There is also flexibility around entrepreneurship in terms of it not being as strict as a 9-to-5-type of operation. Also, it feeds the fact that micro and small business is at the heart of creating opportunities for other persons, so we do need persons starting up businesses so they can create greater job opportunities,” she stated.
Hyde noted that there is help, financial and otherwise, available to persons who want to start their own business.
JN Bank Small Business Loans, she said, offers loans and support to entrepreneurs who are at various stages of the business development cycle, including those who are just starting a business.
“With MSMEs being such a big part of Jamaica’s [Vision] 2030 plans, there are a lot of investments being put into small businesses in terms of capital, access to credit, as well as capacity-building, which is being delivered through various agencies for entrepreneurs,” Hyde noted.
Morgan, who is further expanding her business and intends to employ a team to support the customer experience, plans to capitalise on the growth of the Junction township.
“I am not 100 per cent where I want to be, but I am very grateful for where I am at,” she said.