Interview with Tori Prince
Tori Prince Beauty Pro Tori Prince is an Esthetician and Makeup Artist in Illinois. Her extensive knowledge of skin care, authenticity and self-confidence makes her a great asset to our team of PocketSuite Pros. Tori talks to CEO, Chinwe Onyeagoro and Managing Editor, Sean Litteljohn about her “ah ha moment” and how meditation and prayer were tools that helped curate her path.
What do you do and how did you get here?
I call myself a nontraditional traditionalist, meaning that I have some very traditional hard core values, but I’m also a creative. So, it’s the right brain always battling with the left brain. I started in beauty I guess I could say in childhood. I wanted to be a dermatologist. I was dealing with childhood acne. So, I would be at home just making concoctions, using toothpaste, all kinds of stuff, just to try to clear up my skin. I didn’t know what I was doing. But growing up through my childhood and also teen years, I dealt with self esteem issues, being tall and skinny and wearing glasses. All the things you can’t control. I used to say people are so dumb for teasing you for stuff you can’t control. I would create different personalities using makeup and different things to try to mask that pain and that hurt.
Did these early experiences send you down the path to beauty?
So, I got exposed to a lot of different things early on, which I’m glad about. But when you try to go the non-traditional route, it’s very expensive to go to a specialized school. So, I went the traditional route in school and got my bachelor’s from Northwestern University. And I got my masters from Mizzou [University of Missouri]. But even throughout that education, I still had my hand in beauty. I started doing makeup first and then went on to become an esthetician after I was already in corporate. So, I chose a life in HR (Human Resources). I was still dealing with people. In HR, I loved training, development, and compensation. Being in HR, you’re like a therapist. I did HR full time. I had a family. I opened a spa and I wasn’t giving my business my all because people are like, “Oh, that’s your side job.” I was like, “Nah, that’s my full time job.” I’m like this is my full time job because being in HR as high as I was, it’s a 24/7 job.
What was the “ah ha moment” that led you to truly turn beauty into your full time job?
I tried to step away from it so many times, but I couldn’t. I said, well, no, I’ll put my all into my job and get promoted. I went through all the hoops and loops in the interview process and when I didn’t get it, I was so crushed. I learned that I didn’t have a chance of getting it in the first place, if ever. So, I left them. I ended up going into higher education as a compensation director. I’m thinking, okay, this is cool. I’ll be able to do that and still do my thing on the side. And, no.
So coming in, I was shorted on my compensation, and what I do is determine what other people are worth. So, that messes with you when you know, and I’m telling the VP of human capital, “You know this is not priced right. This my title.” And she’s begging me like, “Well, yeah, let’s just work on everybody else.” So, I’m giving everybody six figures and huge bonuses and I’m there like, “You’re not even paying me what I’m worth.” At that time I said, you know what? I am done. And so, right before COVID hit, I made the decision to resign. I haven’t looked back since.
But I would say, follow your heart and try. Try it. If you never try it, you won’t know if you’re really good at it or you’re interested in it. You’ll find the unknown because you never know what’s out there or how you’ll pivot from what you think you want to do.
What kind of guidance would you give folks who want to pursue a solo-career in beauty, but like you are finding it hard to go all in?
I would say listen to your heart because at the end of the day, I tell people, I could have been a lot of things. I wanted to be a lot of things. But the reason why I didn’t pursue a lot of different things is because of what people, other people putting their fears on me said. But I would say, follow your heart and try. Try it. If you never try it, you won’t know if you’re really good at it or you’re interested in it. You’ll find the unknown because you never know what’s out there or how you’ll pivot from what you think you want to do. You might think you want to do something until you do it and you’re like, I hate this. And it’s never too late to restart anything. Because people are watching and being inspired by the decisions you made.”
Were there tools that helped you curate your path to where you are today?
Well, I wouldn’t say tools. Well, I guess some might say tools. A lot of prayer and meditation. Journaling, spending time with yourself to know what it is that you enjoy. Like what can you do? I always say to people, “What am I good at?” Well, there are so many things that you wouldn’t even think that you would be good at and can make a career out of. What do you do that you can just do, people say for free. I’m like, there are a lot of things you do for free that I wouldn’t necessarily want to do as a career. But what can you do that passes the time and you just do not know? I always joke, “Look, I want to travel the world, eat, and teach women beauty.” And I’m serious.
You’re a woman who does not lack self confidence. What would you say to those people who are fearful and don’t have the courage to go out on their own?
A few things I would say, you’re working to build someone else’s dream. You’re working towards someone else’s dream. It’s sad but once you leave, you’ll be replaced. You’re talking to someone who was in HR who hired and fired people. If you give a resignation letter today, we’re posting a job really quick and we will fill that position. Working for someone else also hinders you because you’re safe. I’ve made more money just in my business – letting it go – than I made in my corporate job because all I have is me.
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What’s your legacy project?
I want to have a spa. I don’t even want to call it a mega spa because it’s going to be much more of a collaborative space. So, it will be a legendary brick and mortar where you can get services, education, and collaboration and all that stuff in the beauty and skincare, wellness realm.
What’s the best business decision you made and why?
Becoming a full time entrepreneur. Because you learn so much about yourself, good, bad, and the ugly – not all glitz and glamour.
There’s so much information out there now for beauty professionals. How do you cut through the noise?
So, I guess the academic in me researches. I know the who’s who, the top magazines, the credible magazines, and organizations. That’s just something that I’ve always researched. So, I kind of know. But the new ones or the ones I’m not familiar with, I watch them a lot. I sit back and I watch. I look for reviews. I look at resumes. I look at the interactions.
So, I’m sitting in your lovely brick and mortar spa. What playlist am I listening to?
Oh man. You’re listening to Paul Hardcastle. You’re listening to Boney James. If it’s after hours, you’re probably listening to Future or 2 Chainz and Jay-Z. Maybe if it’s a Self Care Sunday, you’re listening to some spa vibes. Might even be listening to some Billie Eilish. I love music, so it just depends on what’s going on. But those are going to be on the top. Those are my top people that I’ll listen to.
Any message to the PocketSuite Community?
Utilize the app. It is amazing. Man, it is amazing. I am the biggest advocate for your app and I’m sitting and tell people about it all the time. Use the services and the chat. You guys always get back to me for questions. You send inspirational messages. It’s just the bomb app.