This is part 2 of our Lounge Q&A with Mandi Chisholm.
Click here to read part 1.
[PocketSuite] has made things pretty seamless and I’ve noticed that you guys grow and add things as I was also growing and adding things. So it was magical that I found you guys.
PocketSuite Tattoer Pro
Tattoo & MakeUp Pro Mandi Chisholm is a Cosmetic Tattooer in Ohio. As an expert in her field and now teaching her craft to others, Mandi has been a great asset to the PocketSuite Pro community for the last 5 YEARS! Mandi talks to CEO, Chinwe Onyeagoro, about how she knew when to set-up her own shop and the impact on her business with the increase in vaccinations and stimulus checks.
Thanks for taking the time on a Sunday to chat with us again. I’m really excited because we had an initial conversation where you educated us about the permanent makeup industry. I want to go a step deeper and learn more about how someone becomes successful in this industry. We see a whole slew of folks who are coming on board in the beauty industry. They are making tough choices about how to run their businesses.
Definitely, I’ve been praising the app, Pocketsuite, for a long time. It has made things pretty seamless and I’ve noticed that you guys grow and add things as I was also growing and adding things. So it was magical that I found you guys. I don’t know if you have my history or anything like that, but I think it was like 2015 or 16.
Yeah. 2016. You’ve been with us since the very beginning. We’ve watched you grow, you’ve seen us grow, and we’ve helped each other. Nothing beats that! The economy’s opening back up. How is that impacting your business? Are you seeing a difference in the last month? People getting stimulus checks, people getting vaccinated, is that making a difference for you?
Yeah, I think conversationally, it’s been making a difference. Thankfully, we were open the last week of May. We were closed for about eight weeks and we had a lot of backlogs of appointments to get to, and then it just sort of kept going. We weren’t really sure what was going to happen because what we do is specialized and it’s really not a necessity, but now that everyone’s covering this part of them.
It’s all about the chin up, right?
I have to go to these Zoom meetings. I want my brows to be on point or my eyes to show a little bit better in doing liner. It was very interesting in that transition. We haven’t really slowed down, maybe a little bit around the holiday, but now there’s lots of conversation “Hey, I got my stimulus check, as soon as that hits I’m going to get on the books”. “Yes, I have my vaccinations, we’re ready to go and start kind of moving and grooving.” We have a pretty broad spectrum of people. 20’s, 30’s, up to 60’s, sometimes 70’s. So everyone has their own wants and needs and preferences. We’re here for it.
I’m so glad to hear that. You haven’t skipped a beat since May. There are a lot of industries where people are asking “Wow, has demand permanently changed?” Like in the dog training industry, so many people adopted dogs that there’s a whole new level of demand. With everybody on Zoom doing video conferences, are certain people saying, “I’ve got to focus on the chin up.”
There is a lot more awareness because they have been looking at themselves talking. I think that was an interesting curve for us and our awareness. How we look and compare. I think there are a lot of conversations happening online, showing up on Live and a lot of information being posted on our walls. We’re educating anyone interested in obtaining cosmetic tattooing. So there’s a lot of education happening. A lot of people are showing up to help give all that information out for free. You can learn a lot.
For people who have not done permanent makeup before, what’s typically the thing that finally gets them to say “Okay, you know what, I’m ready.”
So you are asking what makes them change their mind? What kind of gets them to take the leap? I would say either their sister or their mom helps. I would also say lots of research and the time put in during the day, maybe first thing in the morning or having to reapply and the frustration. So we get to solve that problem for them.
Okay, so shifting gears for a minute, as we think about some new folks who might be coming into the industry as business owners who are just starting out and are trying to minimize the expenses of investing in the business while they learn and build their client base. One of the things that you’ve shared with us in a past interview, which was really fascinating, is this concept of not renting a full salon, but maybe renting just a seat initially and being able to move geographically to different areas and build your client base. Can you talk a little bit about that model as an option for folks? What should people consider in going down that path and at what point do you decide it’s time to get a full salon lease?
Yeah, absolutely. So it’s sort of what’s going to fit you and your schedule and what you’re capable of. For me, it was across the city, almost into another city. So I was certain days at one place and then certain days at another place and they were completely different. One was a salon and one was in a medical spa. So it was a little bit of a different mindset and reach for clients coming in and talking and being able to be introduced to different people. Then once you start figuring out “Hey, I don’t want to take all of my stuff everywhere.” That’s huge. That’s one. And also I can afford to rent in one place and have my home base.
The first two, those places I was speaking of were commission-based. Then as I was transitioning to my own location where it was a hundred square foot room, they have stuff called Salon Lofts, or MySuites or Solo Lofts. So it was like that. That’s when I brought PocketSuite in because I was having to manage all of my locations. You guys were able to put that in there – where I was going to be – and then just sort of make it feel like it was all consolidated into one location. There’s no exact timeframe. It’s all going to be in the feel and the intuition of how it will work.
It’s interesting. You went from renting by the day or the week to now hiring team members who are helping you in your business. Can you share a bit about one or two things that are the secrets to your success? You are at the point where you can actually hire additional people and get additional support.
Oh gosh, I just don’t stop. I don’t have it in me to stop. It’s wanting the freedom of time. So if you feel as though you want a little bit more time and you’re having to put a lot of time into paying rent, maybe a loan or mortgage, whatever it is. You can partner with somebody or bring employees on or bring anybody in to help alleviate that pain point and also service more people. I got into the larger location that I’m in now to be able to bring people in as well as be able to have the square footage for teaching. So that’s been a really interesting endeavor, much different. I mean, you can absolutely do it in 100 square feet. Now we actually have to have breathing room, you know, six feet rules. It’s just all intuition, I think.
Well, you’ve got great intuition because you’ve made these strategic bets all along the way that are really paying off. I’m starting to see more and more folks in the beauty industry who are at the top of their game, moving into teaching. What was the decision point for you to add that as an extension to your business?
Well, there’s a couple things. One thing was to change the way in which things were brought to the table and taught. There wasn’t somebody like me around me. So I was alone a lot and trying to figure it all out. When I started to think about wanting to teach, it was very much the mindset of I want to be the person that I needed 10 years ago. There’s that. Also, once you have the wear and tear on your body of doing something for 10 plus years, you start thinking about these things and you’re like “Oh, I’m going to be 40 really soon”, and there’s another 10, 20 years. I’m right around the corner. So, you want to start thinking about that. And you’re like “Oh, I don’t know that I’m going to be able to do things physically, into my 60’s and 70’s. What’s the plan?” So a lot of sharing as well as preparing.
As usual, really, really smart thinking. So how did you find out about PocketSuite? Can you tell us a little bit about what your experience has been?
Yeah, absolutely. I believe that I just dug, dug all through the apps. I did give a few different things a try and I think I landed on PocketSuite because at the time you were the only app that allowed me to take a deposit. Since I was traveling to different locations, I needed that ability and security, because if I was packing my stuff girl and going across town. I’d set up. If somebody wasn’t securing that appointment, then time is money and also energy.
So that was huge. It was the deposits that you guys enabled. That was the first feature. Then from there, it just continued as you guys started to add more and more, things started to just fit. One of the biggest things that you guys did was adding team members that allow me to pay my other providers through it. It was really nice that you are able to download and get all of your financials at any given point and really see what’s going on. You guys keep track of everything – really, really nice. It’s organized and very easy to navigate. Really. It was just easy and pretty seamless.
When you first came on board in 2016, you actually made a few testimonial videos that people can actually go and Google and see. You’ve been an awesome ambassador. It’s Pros like you that have inspired us to create a broader rewards program for our community. So we’ve rolled out our first rewards program cycle and it has been running from February 1st to the end of April. Then we’ll have another cycle. In this rewards cycle, the big referrer reward is a trip to Hawaii!!!
I know. It’s huge.
All expenses paid for two. We’re really excited about it. We actually have a fair amount of team members who actually are based in Hawaii. So it was a no brainer. Where would you want to go? So we have things like an Apple watch. We have Yeti cups, we have these awesome bags.
We have a $500 cash prize for whoever’s the front runner. There’s no minimum threshold. Whoever the front runner is, that’s paid out. We really want to say thank you for sharing information about PocketSuite with others. It really makes a difference. This is just the beginning. In the next rewards cycle, you’re going to hear lots of new and exciting things. We’re sponsoring people to go to conferences in their own industry. We’re sponsoring folks to host meetups and Clubhouse events.
Our whole thing is look, you do your thing in community, build your business, have your network, and then share the things that have made a difference for you. That’s all we’re excited about. So we want to just keep it in your spaces and support you where you are. So stay tuned on that front.
That’s huge. I haven’t heard of any other platform doing that as far as being that involved. One of the things that I didn’t see coming from PocketSuite was when we were in quarantine, that there was already a team in place to show support and be there for us to navigate, just creating a sense of community, to the “OMG, what the heck”, kind of vibe that was happening.
Yeah, we put out a fundraising guide that showed all the funding available by state. We also reached out to folks by industry to share best practices for folks who were having a tough time of it. We shared things that others in their industry were doing that were helping them navigate that made the difference as well.
That’s huge. It’s set apart from anything else that I saw happening. Oh, we have a question. How can we win? How do we refer people? You have to refer people to PocketSuite. So if you go in, I have the link already in my bio.
You click through there and you can add PocketSuite and get in there and put all your info in. You get a phone number with PocketSuite. I’m just going to go all sales here. You get reminders. Your clients will know how to get in touch with you. You’ll be able to text back and forth. It’s a really easy app. It was so magical when it’s just like one person doing everything.
All in one place is what people tell us is mind blowing. You can go to Pocketsuite.io/rewards, just check out all the rewards you’re potentially eligible to win. Again, this is just the beginning. We want to reward you for just being you and for sharing the things that have made you successful in your community. That for us is everything.
Yeah, thank you. That’s awesome. We love feeling like our app appreciates us.
Well, that’s the thing. There are 24 million businesses that have no employees. 24 million. So we think, gosh, if those businesses could hire one person, just one person, we’d be at a negative, super negative unemployment rate. We’re just focused on helping build businesses that have no or just a few employees and it has been game changing.
Yeah, you’re right. Absolutely, wow!
So, lots more goodness where that’s coming from. Mandi, you’ve been a champion right from the beginning. Anything you need, we are going to follow up with you knowing that you’re a master teacher now. We’re actually coming out with a new version of the app where you can have the Pretty In Ink edition of the app where anybody that you teach gets a version with your defaults in it, contracts, forms, any default messages, videos from you. So I want to demo that for you and see if that’s something that would be cool for you and your students.
Okay. I would love to know more. Yeah, thank you!