Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Interview with Kobe Ellis

Since I'm not a reporter, nor a journalist, it's not every day that I get to interview amazing and inspiring people. But for this post I was lucky enough to interview Kobe Ellis. Below: Just to be clear, my 'questions' are in black courier text, and Kobe's responses are in purple text. Hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I did reading her responses. I would like to take a moment to thank Kobe for participating in this interview. I really had fun with it!

Name: Kobe Ellis
Occupation: Freelance MUA and Groomer, Paramedical Aesthetician, Salon & Demi Spa Owner
Company /Salon: EBK Beauty LifeSTYLE Salon & Demi Spa
Slogan (if applicable): “ We’re not just a salon.”
Contact Info: Twitter: @KobeEllis & www.ebkbeauty.com

1.Tell us about yourself.
I am easy going, fun, love to laugh, love to network & meet new people, don’t take myself too seriously (at least try not to), can’t drink enough sweet iced tea, long for rainy days - nothing on the schedule - & a good book, can’t resist holding a baby, would rather someone else cook, still love playing dress-up (thus my career choice!), feel daily joy at helping others see beauty in themselves, favorite role in life: Mom
2. What is a typical day like for you?  
"Wow, a typical day?  A typical day for me is never the same and I expect it to be that way a month, and six months from now.  I have many irons in the fire right now, a new salon opening and a freelance makeup career I am trying to expand and grow.  So, what is going on now will be quite different from a few months once the salon is open.  I spend time of course serving clients, but I also spend a considerable amount of time working on my skills and trying to stay up to date and current on new products and their use. It is easy to just get settled, or comfortable and I don't want to do that, I want to stay in a mode of learning and offering the best skills and products that I can to my clients.  I am also a single mom of two children and I try to make time for them and have a life outside of work.  That is a struggle in itself, but I think it shows them that hard work has rewards and you have to make time for those you care about. Then there is the social media, paperwork, etc.  as an entrepreneur and owner of a business that is never ending and I try to limit my time in those areas while still giving the attention needed.  So, all in all, a typical day for me is different from the one before, challenging, and busy, but I love it that way and feel blessed I have the opportunities that I do to work at what I love."

3.What drew you to this industry?   One evening, while in my final year of college, I prayed for guidance as to how I could do what needed to be done for me to provide for my family.  One day, my sister, mother and I traveled from West Palm Beach, Fl. to Miami to get eyelash extensions. They were terribly uncomfortable so we removed them just hours after getting.  As a result of that experience, my sister and I developed a technique for placing eyelash extensions so that they were “Barely There.” I felt the answer to my prayer had come: I would Introduce Eyelash Extensions to the city of Jacksonville, Florida. Before long, my business became a niche market. From there, my business grew and my services expanded; first brows and skin care then I learned hair replacements when my mother became ill with Breast Cancer. I found that I really enjoy providing services that help people with self image.

4.How long have you been in the business?
I have been in the beauty business for almost 10 years. I initially started my business, Eyes By Kobe LLC, with the primary intent to introduce Eyelash Extensions to Jacksonville, Florida I added other services as I found a demand, which included eyebrow shaping. Eyebrow shaping is actually one of my specialties.  I was taught how to do Threading when I was about 12 years old.  So, you could say I have had a “few’ years to hone my technique!  
5.What’s your favorite beauty line/product and why?
The beauty industry is forever changing. Every day, it seems, there is a new beauty product on the market designed to give better coverage, reverse the signs of aging, last longer and so on.  I do my best to keep up with the industry by constantly studying. For the most part, I am interested in products that are healthy for the skin. Products that contain the least amounts of toxins capture my attention the most.  I am not actually brand loyal, but rather purpose and quality loyal.
6.What’s your go-to outfit “recipe”?
 When it comes to work, my go-to-outfit is anything fashionable for the season with pockets, comfortable, black with a splash of color, a nice hat (sometimes) and manicured nails, since I work with my hands.  My shoes are always lightweight and comfortable.  I have to dress comfortable and be ready for a long day on my feet.

7.  When do you feel the most confident?   
After church for sure, and then when I have a customer who truly feels renewed by my efforts for them.

8.What makes a person beautiful?
What makes a person beautiful? A positive attitude, inner peace and a great makeup artist who can add to all of that!

9.You’re opening a salon soon.  That is such an amazing accomplishment.  What’s that experience been like for you?
Opening my own Salon & Demi Spa has been quite an educational experience. I have learned more about the construction industry than ever expected. I am now well versed on city codes, inspections, paint, refurbishing, making the best use of space, money and time.  I have learned how to make the best of what I have, how to seize opportunities when they arise and pay ONLY when the job is complete! I have kept very extensive notes along the way and I would love to help others who are thinking of undergoing the process of starting a salon.  I may write a short what to do and what not to do eBook someday!
10. What have you learned along the way that sticks with you every day?  
Muy importante: You don’t have to do everything yourself.  Hire professionals who are skilled in areas I am not.  I’ve learned to “stay in my own lane” and let others do their jobs without me putting in my 2 cents.  Above all, I have learned to “Be still” allow things to happen as they should, in natural order and time.
 11.Giving back is important. What’s your favorite non-profit organization?
Giving back and paying it forward are two things I was taught from a young age and have been practicing for as long as I can remember.  From the very day that I conceived the idea of my business, I knew I wanted to incorporate some type of community service activities.  I have had the honor to work with many non-profit organizations. Two of my favorites are The Pink Ribbon Symposium which is a non profit organization organized in 2008. It is dedicated to educating the Northeast Florida community on recent advances and related topics in the detection, treatment and survivorship of breast cancer patients as well as the understanding of the importance of healthy lifestyle choices. Another is Soles for Souls, organized in 2005, they facilitate the donations of shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide regardless of race, religion, class or any other criteria. Shoe companies, retailers, and individuals can donate footwear (both new and used). My new location will have art pieces from several local and distant artists. I do not take a commission from the sales, instead I only ask the artists to donate a percentage of their sales to The Pink Ribbon Symposium. I have set up for my salon to be a drop point in Jacksonville to collect shoes from the community for Soles for Souls.  I am also hoping to get more involved with Dress for Success at some point.
12.What's your favorite inspirational quote?
As an English Major, I have read many through the years but there are actually two poems that inspire me often. So much so that I have taught them to my sons. They are “It Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Albert Guest and “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. 

13. Add anything else here.
I’ve been learning how important and advantageous it can be to network.  One thing I am aiming to do is further network in my community.  I am hoping to network with more people in my area of all ages, ethnic background, male and female for modeling my freelance makeup skills in photo test shoots.  So anyone interested is welcome to contact me.  

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