Kicking off #SmallbizSaturday has been exciting for us here at WEI! Atlanta has countless amazing business owners who are energizing the city as they are passionate about what they do, and the businesses they’ve built. While it’s been great to experience a side of each business that everyday customer’s don’t, the privilege is in the inspirational stories the business owners share with us about their entrepreneurial journey to success. With 18 years of experience in entrepreneurship, Fleur Fleur, the owner of Soak Indo Nail and Foot Salon, was happy to be the first to share her story with us and answer a few questions about her journey in the beauty sphere thus far.
What do you wish you knew about business ownership when you first started, that you know now?
I wish there were a magic way to have senses on all things beauty. What are age group beauty requirements? What do they really want? What do 15-20-year-olds really like? Do they like acrylic? Do they like gel? What is my target market? Where is my market? Is it nothing but adult 35 and up that I should focus on?
Do you feel like you know it now?
Oh yes, most definitely! All thanks to trial and error. Even if there was a pamphlet on what to do, I think every business needs to experience failure on their own. The best way to learn is trial and error, but the bottom line is you have to figure out the error, accept the error and, then change it your next go around. You can always see the error, but if you don’t implement what you did wrong the next time around, you’ll continuously fail.
Who has inspired you in business and how do you stay motivated to continue pursuing your passion?
My mother – my mother was an extremist and she was a jet setter. She owned several boutiques in her lifetime. She was in a place where she was importing and exporting things back and forth to Ghana West Africa, supplying tons of vendors throughout the United States. All praise to my mother. She was actually the one that helped me open my first business ‘The House of Fleur Fleur.’
My mother was laid to rest during the entire project. It is only right for me to never let this slip or go in vain. This was something we both set out to do. So, If I stop, she stops. It’s pure legacy.
What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur who wanted to get into the beauty industry?
You have to passionate about it. You have to love it. You can’t be a person who doesn’t like makeup, nails or being around a lot of women because you’re catering to women. To get up every day and deal with beauty, you have to love it. Beauty is public. I dealt in the private sector for 18 years of my life. I owned an inspections company, real estate firm, and insurance company altogether. I was the first, youngest, black women to have an inspections company and to win an RFP in northern and southern California. It was my claim to fame, but I didn’t love it. It brought me tons of money, but I didn’t love it. But this, I love, so I enjoy getting up every day. When you love something, things are easy.
What is the biggest or proudest moment of your entrepreneurial journey thus far?
When I received a letter from Mayor Kasim Reed congratulating me on not only opening a business on Auburn Avenue but congratulating me for opening two businesses on Auburn Avenue.
The second would have to be the verbal compliments and the joy that I see on the client’s face after they receive their services or after they buy a bag. Hearing the “oohs” and “aahs” knowing I’m the owner of all of this is just the best thing.
For more information about Soak Indo Nail Salon and Fleur Fleur head over to their website: www.soakindonails.com
Soak Indo Nail and Foot Salon
171 Auburn Ave NE H2, Atlanta,
*Students receive 10% off services.