Interview with Tiara Calhoun-Smith
From pediatric oncology nurse turned esthetician, Tiara shares her story on the career change and keys to her huge Instagram following.
How did you find your job?
I was a pediatric oncology nurse for a while, and then I did traveling nursing for a little bit. My husband was fortunate enough to play in the NFL for ten years. During his retirement, I was going to open up a spa for kids, and then I went back to school to learn about skincare. It was a blessing that fell in my lap. So I’ve been doing this now for four years, and it’s been amazing. I have a cosmetology school that’s directly next door to this place. It just really took off.
Why do people come to see you?
A lot of my clients come in for corrective skincare as far as hyperpigmentation. They have dealt with severe acne for a long time. They’ve gone to dermatologists and have gone to different estheticians and haven’t been able to get what they need. And so I customize my own treatments for each client of mine. We have goals that we put together and it works like magic.
It’s really important because you have to be passionate about what you do. I know that my clients know that. So the vibe and the energy has to be there.
What makes your business special?
I prefer not to use over the counter products. You need to research what’s going onto your skin. So with a nursing background, I kind of play with a lot of ingredients and different stuff. I just really go into detail as far as that’s concerned. I’ll start people off slow and I don’t rush. It’s not an overnight process. It is something you have to dedicate time and dedicate money to because it is an investment in products and maintenance. You have to be dedicated to it.
You are a very humble person, why is that?
I’m an only child from Louisiana, raised by a single mother. I live in Dallas now. I have always been the same way since I can remember, very chill. It can all be taken away in the blink of an eye, so I am grateful.
How important is your vibe to attracting and keeping clients?
It’s really important because you have to be passionate about what you do. I know that my clients know that. So the vibe and the energy has to be there. You won’t always connect with people. You guys see the return rate for my clients. You see that I do have a great return rate with my clients. So it’s really a little different in my spot. It’s not gonna be a lot of mellow ocean music. You’re probably going to hear early nineties and R & B. It’s really like a Jagged Edge type of feel. My wall is here. It’s a cool vibe.
Is it just beauty treatments or free therapy too?
Oh my gosh. So you have no idea. I’ve counseled people through divorces through funerals, all kinds of stuff you hear. I hear some good stuff in here and I always keep it to myself. What I do is very therapeutic on so many levels. You have the single mom who has children that needs to come back and relax. You have the mom that’s working so much and wants to get away. You have all your attorneys tired of going to court. I have so many people that come from different areas, and it’s, it’s beautiful. So I’m happy to be able to give them something.
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Who takes care of you?
I know, right? My husband, my husband, does. I say that because I’m here. I don’t know if you guys see the schedules or watch, but I’m here. I’m here. I’m always here. Like I work my tail off. So when I get home, it’s my husband.
Has Covid hurt your business?
Not really, not my clients per se. I recently hired an assistant. I’m booked until February of 2021. For my clients, they’re not leaving. They’re hoping that a shutdown doesn’t happen. I think we were closed for about six or seven weeks, but I still paid my staff. My lead, my assistant, I paid her. I had to bring her on part-time to help with some of the overload that I had as clients come in. But for the most part, it’s actually been a blessing. I haven’t really had a problem.
Tell us about your school.
It’ll be two years, I’ve had the school. My school is next door. I have three programs that run daytime and evening. My mom works for me, my cousin works for me. Yeah. I keep it very small and intimate. There’s only ten students in each class. So there are three classes. I don’t overload students, we can have 25, but I prefer not to.
What happens when they complete your cosmetology school?
I’ve hired students. My assistant that came in, she went to my school. Then, my receptionist that I have now, she went through the school. So I just teach them that there is hope, it’s okay to work for someone or under someone and learn some things while you’re in school. Some students go a different route, I have a lot of nurses that come. I’ve had police officers come in here. A lot of my own clients transitioned over to my esthetician school. It’s just been a blessing.
When did you know that you had to do this for a living?
When my husband was not going back to the NFL and not that I needed to work, but I was just sitting in the house, and I was looking around like, I don’t want to do this. It’s cool, don’t get me wrong. Being at home cooking and cleaning and spending money is fine, but I was just like, I can’t do this. I gotta get back. And so when I did it, it was just very fulfilling. It was self-fulfillment, more so than anything. So that was the moment where I was like, I got to do something. That was five years ago.
Do you have any advice for people who are unfulfilled in their careers?
You have to be happy on the inside and the outside, and you have to be passionate about whatever you do. You know, I love my husband. I love my kids. Don’t get me wrong, but it’s also about self-fulfillment. A lot of things that I’ve learned as far as, even with other NFL wives or NBA wives, is that sometimes we lose ourselves because we are so focused and wrapped up in our husband and making sure that they’re able to play and able to be fed and this and that. We get so caught up in making sure they’re okay, because of course they’re the breadwinner and we lose ourselves. So for a moment, you’ll sit there, you’ll lose yourself for a moment as a woman, we’ve all been through it. That’s what happened and I was like, I’m not going to sit here and do this. It’s funny, my husband is my biggest cheerleader. Now the roles have reversed.
So, do you handle his skincare?
You have no idea. Yes, he is all into skincare. He goes to the skincare shows with me with his SSL (Sugar Suite Lounge) shirts on, and he’s in there. My husband’s from Brooklyn. So he’s in there working deals, and he’s a big boy, 6’3, 350. You should see him. He is sugar-coated all the way!
What is your schedule like?
I just get a day off. I have an off day now that is Tuesdays. But other than that, I am here from 9:30am til about, oh gosh, 6:30-7pm, every night. So I see eight to ten people a day. People always ask me on the Pocketsuite Leaderboard, are you a one-man show? They see my numbers, and I’m like, it’s just me. People are always amazed. I think it’s really sweet. I think it’s so cute. I’m like, I’m here. You know, I’m not one of those three days a week, four days a week. I’m always here. Like this is it. I planned it out. So I love it. I really do.
Is there anything else you want to share with the Pocketsuite community?
I think you guys do a great job. I think the app is absolutely amazing. I’ve had so many people ask me, I’ve introduced a lot of people to Pocketsuite from hairstylists to nail techs, to skin people, everything beauty. I think what you guys have created is great. I like that you can take your deposits, upload your contracts, and communicate with your clients without using your own cell phone number. So I think what you have created has been absolutely amazing. And I think that it is very reasonably priced. I think for what you offer to someone who works for themself, especially being by yourself and a one-man show, you can do so much. And you know, you guys do respond with the updates, you’re very responsive, and you’re very communicative. So thank you.