Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in beauty and cosmetics but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bisi Essien, owner of Crystal-Eyez Makeup & Beauty Lounge, located in Chicago, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Crystal-Eyez Makeup & Beauty Lounge is a multi-award-winning upscale Salon & Spa conveniently located in the south loop area of Chicago. We are a strong team of experienced and talented beauty professionals makeup artists, permanent makeup artists, hairstylists, estheticians, brow experts providing a host of first-class beauty services for all your special occasions, including weddings and all celebratory events, photoshoots, as well as for the everyday people and even celebrities. We also provide a variety of makeup classes for everyone from pre-teens to everyday career women and men, empowering them with the knowledge and skills needed to build self-confidence by appreciating both their inner and outer beauty. In addition, we train professional makeup artists, which has paved the way for many Chicago artists who have now been able to take their careers to the next level.

Tell us about yourself

I'm actually an architect with a master's of architecture degree who left a successful career at one of Chicago's leading architectural firms to pursue my passion in the beauty industry. The road to entrepreneurship for me began almost 15 years ago when I realized a huge gap in the industry that needed to be filled. It was when I was planning my own wedding and was unable to find a makeup artist online with a diverse portfolio that featured brides of color. Again, this was almost 15 years ago, and thankfully times are very different now. But being able to fulfill my purpose and provide value to others while making a great contribution and positive impact in my community continues to motivate me daily.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I've had a lot of great accomplishments as a business owner, from being able to provide gainful employment and empowering a lot of Chicago's makeup artists with the knowledge and skills to build their own successful businesses and, in turn, make positive impacts in their communities, to the accomplishment of launching my product line, and many others. But I will have to say that my biggest achievement has been opening my current beauty lounge, which has been a solid foundation for many of the other accomplishments that have been birthed at this location.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things about being a business owner is giving up a great deal of your precious time. The shift from being an employee to being an employer takes you from working 8 hours a day to now practically working almost 24 hours a day. Even when you take time off for a vacation, you are never truly fully on vacation. But with proper time management, efficient business strategy, and a perfect dream team in place, you can sometimes overcome this challenge.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Life is too short to live with regrets, so follow your passion and take risks, but make sure they are educated and calculated risks.
  2. It is not enough to be a master of your craft, but also to study the business aspect of it. Find a mentor, network, and never miss an opportunity to learn.
  3. Understand that running your business is no easy task, but be patient and find your purpose and how you can provide value to others. This will play a vital role in keeping you focused, grounded, and most importantly, consistent...all the attributes needed to run a successful business.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Although the Crystal-Eyez Makeup & Beauty Lounge is based in Chicago, we also travel nationwide and worldwide. Our work has taken us for jobs as far as Dubai, England, Canada, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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