Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in beauty services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dana Persia, owner and founder of Beautiful Brides Philly and Beautiful Brides Florida, located in West Palm Beach, FL, USA.

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

We are a luxury, on-location hair and makeup company. Women-owned and fully staffed by women, we provide wedding and special occasion hair and makeup in the Philadelphia and S. Florida regions. We are one of the largest with over 25 artists, booking over 200 weddings a year. As our portfolio will attest, we can accommodate a variety of cultures and unions. Unlike a traditional beauty salon, we provide personal, one-on-one, private bridal trials at the client's convenience — seven days a week, including Sundays—unlike most bridal beauty companies.

Tell us about yourself

I followed my passion after 20+ years in the corporate arena working in marketing, communications, and public relations. In 2006 I embarked on a vigorous "side hustle" in helping women — and men eventually — transform their personal image using makeup, grooming, wardrobe, and styling as the main components. I also conducted "Dress for Success" workshops and seminars for small and large groups, including Deloitte Consulting, Penn State University, and Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority.

I ultimately founded the Women's Image Project, where I volunteered for three years conducting life skills and image workshops for incarcerated women inside the Philadelphia Prison System. Unfortunately, the crash of 2008 caused individual financial hardships and corporate budgets to dwindle, so survival meant rebranding my small but mighty company into a recession-proof niche— bridal hair and makeup.

In 2010 I rebranded my company to Beautiful Brides Philly and never looked back. Since then, Beautiful Brides Philly has beautified over 2,000 brides, bridesmaids, moms, and flower girls. A combination of business savvy, stylist talent, immaculate reputation, and client satisfaction is what I truly believe makes us one of the most referred hair and makeup companies in the Philadelphia and S. Floria areas.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Two things really. The first is to become financially independent by growing a business that is completely my own after working countless hours making other people money — there's so much satisfaction in that. Second, enabling others (as many as 20-plus) fellow artists to make money themselves. Providing jobs is truly rewarding!

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

When you own a business and no longer depend on a corporate paycheck, things can get pretty dicey. I'm not going to lie. The cost of doing business is fairly high, and most new entrepreneurs realize that. And there are your own personal expenses like medical insurance that you are now responsible for paying. Going from receiving a paycheck with all the perks to depending solely on yourself takes a bit of getting used to. It's not for the faint of heart! But there's the satisfaction you get from all of the hard work, sleepless nights, and long hours when you start to see it all pay off and that now YOU are providing jobs for others.

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

  1. Don't quit your day job until you have a solid business model making income or you have significant savings.
  2. Understand that you will work long hours for several years. Consider family obligations and quality of life.
  3. Research competition BEFORE you launch any business. Learn who's doing what you want to do, what they charge, and what the market is like. Find out who the big and small players are and learn from what they are doing. Then do it better!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Just to say that you have to keep going. You need a good support system and a lot of guts to start a business. Listen to your instincts and follow your dream!

Where can people find you and your business?



If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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