Build it, and they will come: From 900 square feet to 15,000
She went on to build one of the biggest spas in West Virginia and continues to do what she loves every single day. She never strayed from her vision and should inspire us all to do the same.
Build it and they will come: From 900 square feet to 15,000
by Michel Blankenship
My father’s parents came over from Italy to pursue the American dream.
He grew up with an entrepreneurial spirit ingrained in him. He started his first business when he was just 17 years old, one of many companies to come. My Mom, who lost her mother at the age of 11, learned early on how to survive and the meaning of hard work.
I am one of 5 children, all of which own their own businesses. So I guess you could say that it was ingrained into all of us.
My passion for this industry began when I was a little girl. I attended college for business
but that bored me, so I decided to go to beauty school. When I told my father I wanted to go to beauty school he said “You can do what you love but you better find a way to make a living doing it!” and so I did!
My career in the industry started in 1985 working for Nick Romanoli, and we’re friends
to this day. I began as a stylist and then went back to school and became a Medical
I opened my first spa in 1993, it was 960 sq ft. From there I built my next spa on the grounds of a golf resort expanding to 15,000 square feet making my spa the second largest in the state of West Virginia.
My career with permanent makeup began over 2 decades ago but I went deeper into
medical esthetics and therefore didn’t do much PMU...until the last two years!
Microblading has revived my love for permanent makeup. I never loved doing eyebrows
the “old” way, as I call it the “sharpie” look. Now I am so proud and excited by this new
technique, I can’t do enough of them! I want everyone to have the eyebrows they’ve
always dreamed of and to top it off, the new and improved Harmony Microblades that
Tina has developed.... I’m BEYOND EXCITED!
When I first started my business, people would always ask if I was scared. Looking back, I had no fear, I suppose I should have been afraid, but I had tunnel vision because I knew exactly what I wanted to do. This is why it is so important that what you want to do is your passion. I can remember loving and being interested in beauty since the 7th grade! The advice I'd give to anyone starting their own business in the industry..have no fear! Go all in!
With owning and operating your own business, there are many ups and downs. By far my biggest success in my life was getting pregnant with my daughter after 5 IVF attempts!
But, my biggest success in business was making the jump from 960 square feet rented space to building my own 15,000 sq ft spa on a golf resort. Needless to say, until I got the "systems and procedures" in place, there were some growing pains in the beginning.
Something that I think helps me stay in touch with my business is still being one of the "worker bees" and constantly in the trenches. It keeps my finger on the pulse with my clients and my employees. Having said that, it can be quite the juggling act to stay on top of being both the business owner and a technician, but loving what I do gives me all the energy I need for both.
In closing, I would say to anyone thinking of starting their own business - stay true to your dream. I too can get caught up in what the competition is doing. But I find I am more successful if I focus inward and keep looking forward. Good luck to all who are following their dreams!
- Michel Marrara-Blankenship
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