By Danaé Reid
Najiyah Roberts is a 25-year-old, recent college graduate and new esthetician located near Philadelphia. In a scramble to figure out what her future holds, she decided to take a leap of faith and start a body waxing business.
The decision — which admittedly seems to be untimely — has actually worked out for her well. And even though her business — Keep it Cute Wax Studio — is still in its early stages, she’s experienced massive success in a short span of time.
DR: You didn’t go to school to be an esthetician, but now that’s how you spend your day to day. Explain how you ended up here. Furthermore, your wax studio, Keep it Cute Wax Studio, was established during the height of COVID-19 — what prompted such a risky decision during this time?
NR: I’ve always been interested in skin care, and after graduating from Shippensburg University this past May, I made the decision to continue my education and pursue a career in esthetician, thus landing me in esthetician school. After graduation, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to find a job because of the state of the world, this country, and the economy, but I knew I needed something, so I decided to take a waxing class to establish some sort of side hustle and I fell in love instantly! I believe that without risks there is no reward. I invested in myself and I’m so grateful I did because the result has been so fulfilling.
DR: For years, the Black community — Black women specifically, have sought out people outside of our community for our body waxes, nails, etc. But recently, there’s been a surge in Black-owned beauty businesses.What do you believe is the catalyst behind this recent surge? Additionally, why is it important to you that Black people own their own businesses?
NR: Black businesses are on the rise and I love that! We need to be putting our money back into our community and putting each other on as well. COVID has shifted my perspective on a lot of things as I’m sure it has for everyone; it exposed me [to] what’s truly important, which is investing in myself and the people around me that continue to fuel my passion. It’s imperative that we constantly see women who look like us winning, especially young, Black girls. We [Black people] really achieve anything we put our minds to no matter what society says, and I think we’re finally starting to fully realize just what that means.
DR: You are a part of a tribe of so many other millennial entrepreneurs. Why do you think that people in our age group are starting their own businesses at alarming rates, and what’s been your biggest struggle in that regard?
NR: Social media has greatly contributed to the rise of millennial entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, we aren’t taught entrepreneurship in school, so a lot of us learn how to grow and build our brands through the use of social media. We’ve been afforded the ability to see that it’s possible for people in our age group to start and maintain [successful business/businesses.]
My biggest struggle currently is marketing. With so many businesses on the rise, I want to make sure my business stands out — which is a daily struggle — but I’m constantly learning new things about business, marketing/branding, and myself as I go.
DR: Some people find themselves apprehensive about getting waxes and would still prefer to stick to the razor or Nair.As a professional, which would you say is best for the skin and why?
NR: “Break up with your razor” is my motto. What a lot of people may not know is that shaving ONLY removes the top layer of hair. As soon as you leave the shower, the hair starts to grow back that fast. Waxing is the best form of hair removal because it’s inexpensive and lasts for up to a month. The hair grows thinner and more sparse over time, so if you prefer to be hairless “down there,” waxing is your best bet. Also, as far as Nair goes, due to the chemicals in it, I wouldn’t recommend using it to anyone. Waxing is quick, and I use techniques that make it as painless as possible.
DR: How do you take different skin types into account when you are waxing or purchasing wax?
NR: The wax I use is great for sensitive skin. None of my clients have broken out and any pain or irritation they feel is natural and always at a minimum. Each client is asked to sign a new client questionnaire prior to an appointment so I can cater to them and their skin type specifically.
DR: Waxing has gained popularity in the past few years; what do you attribute this to? Why do you think there was such a stigma around getting waxed in the past?
NR: We all want to look and feel our best. I’ve found that waxing makes a lot of women feel confident and sexy, and I love that. A good wax will make your entire day! A common misconception is that people get waxed for sexual reasons, so I think it was stigmatized in the past because of that, but now people are more open. I genuinely believe that waxing should be a part of everyone’s self-care routine!
DR: Can you share the craziest waxing horror story you have up to date?
NR: I’m lucky because I haven’t had any bad experiences, but in the beginning I struggled and was really embarrassed, self-conscious and shy, but all of my clients have been so sweet and understanding thus far. First-time clients are always fun, but I always make the experience as easy and as fun as possible, because I do understand that it can be a bit uncomfortable for some people.
DR: Please include a link to where we can find you.
NR: I can be found on Instagram at: KEEPITCUTEWAXSTUDIO!