TONIKA BRUCE

The Business Leadership Watch

the business leadership watch: Julissa Badgett

The Business Leadership Watch

Business Leaders highlighted in our Leadership Watch Series hail from different industries, their journeys, insights, and advice for our professional community.

In this edition of the Business Leadership Watch, we interviewed Julissa Badgett, the Founder of Beauty Brought Out LLC. Julissa shared her journey of starting a business out of passion and shares anecdotes of her experiences and insights for the beauty and fashion industry.

Julissa Badgett

Julissa Mercado Badgett

Founder Beauty Brought Out LLC

Born and raised in Waukegan, Illinois, Julissa moved to Florida in 2003, residing in beautiful Rocky Point, Florida. 

A mother to three handsome men (Nico, Jovanni, and Julian) and a grandmother to four adorable little ones (Angelina, Izaiah, Bronson, and Ximena) who call her “Mimi”. She also counts herself lucky to be the wife of an exceptional man (Theo). 

The founder of Beauty Brought Out LLC, a full-service salon in Downtown Tampa, doubles as an Instructor for Continuing Education on SkinCare, Hairstyling, and Makeup. Badgett boasts a strong educational background from Pivot Point International, Chicago Campus-where she was taught by a world-renowned artist whose work has been featured in the Bazaar Magazine. The licensed cosmetologist and Esthetician has extensive experience in the beauty business. She has been in Makeup and Hairstylisting since 2003 and the wedding industry since 2005. 

Aside from these accomplishments, the beauty queen is also an Author and Licensed Realtor! 

Julissa tries her best to lead a positive and peaceful life filled with laughs and inspiring people. She meditates, prays, and tries to share her experiences with those who will listen and hopes to learn from them. 

Julissa’s hobbies are painting and anything that involves creating and learning new topics.

1. What led you to start your business? What makes it unique?

My cousin worked in a salon when I was a little girl, and I remember helping her sweep and just admiring the atmosphere. At that moment, I knew that would be my journey.

When the time came to work in a salon, I wasn’t in my element-I needed more freedom. A client asked me to work for a modeling agency helping with a photo shoot in 2003, and after that day, it was a wrap for the salon world. I freelanced for years until we became empty nesters, then I gave birth to my new baby- the Salon, Downtown Tampa.

We have been here since 2014.

What makes it unique; our full-service Salon is a one-on-one experience. I have a SkinCare professional working in the back while I handle the customers in the front. I even call in more girls depending on the job at hand, and our clients LOVE the personalized experience; it is calm and classy. My girls go to our clients’ location for most Hairstyling and Makeup Events.

2. Evolution is a key part of any successful business- it must adapt and change to survive and thrive in the ever-changing marketplace. How have you seen your business evolve in time? What informed these changes and growth?

I started as a freelance producer. However, when weddings came into the picture, I created a home studio with fully licensed, annual inspections right out of my den area. As my business grew, I knew I had to find a location, but I waited until my kids were grown and out of the house because I liked having everything under one roof.

Tampa has grown like crazy in the last few years. But even before it evolved to become busier than a ghost town, we were already busy.

Our service list was increasing by the day, and social media became a big help for us. Everyone wants something they have seen on Pinterest, IG, Snapchat and recently, TikTok. They want to learn something they have tried to follow on YouTube, but do not realize that most makeup artists leave crucial steps out, so it will never look the same.

With these trends in the beauty industry, we have embraced social platforms to market the business and educate customers.

3. What are the biggest challenges, as a Latina businesswoman, you’ve faced running or starting your business, and how did you overcome them?

This topic is a touchy one. 

What some fail to realize is minority groups face discrimination from every side. For instance, when some ask me where I am from and I respond, Chicago, they always do a double take and say, “no, where were you born?” To which I then respond very kindly with a chuckle, “Chicago, where were you born?” I do this because it makes them think about why they asked. 

I have had Caucasian women, yes, women, on two different occasions come in to tell me that I am over dressed to be in Tampa. One of the ladies opened the door and said, ‘this isn’t Miami’, then walked away. The other one said I would get more business if I wasn’t so made up. 

I have also had an African American lady make an appointment over text. When she showed up, she stopped at the door and said, “you are not Black, I only let Black women touch my hair,” and then she walked right out. She was in town for a church convention.

Fortunately for me, I have had many conversations on race, especially during the protest/election time. I did see many of my long-time clients in a new light as they had the opportunity to be rude and disrespectful. I intentionally chose to stay neutral on these topics because I felt like I had a platform to educate people.

4. How has your leadership style evolved?

I am no longer a control-freak, at least not like I used to be. I have learned that I need to trust the process. I can not have Faith and Doubt at the same time. I have FAITH tattooed on the back of my neck, so I cannot have doubt in my life.

5. What lessons have you learned that you can share with other entrepreneurs and business leaders?

There are so many, but one stands out. When you do what you love for a living, it makes it that much harder to do the parts of the job you dislike-every job has them.

6. In what ways do you think your company culture contributes to success?

Professionalism and care. I take pride in my art and so I always look for a team with the same values. We care for our clients to ensure they have the very best. I also carry my passion for this art from my Latin roots.

My mom has always had hair down to her bottom, but she always wore it in a high bun. I would sit and watch her style it in many different ways. I feel that has helped me grasp the art more easily.

In my culture, our hair is our crown. If we do not do anything else, our hair must be neat. That goes for both genders- my dad always has a little black comb in his shirt pocket. 

Also, both of my parents instilled hard work and pride in everything we do.

7. What impact do you hope to make in your industry or community?

I would love to help people feel like the best versions of themselves. 

That is why the name of my company, Beauty Brought Out.

8. What automation tool or software do you use that has immensely improved your productivity and operations?

I use HoneyBook to keep us organized. Jessie with FotoBoho recommended it, and I could not be more organized.

9. Today running a business has shifted almost completely digital and more digital changes are underway with the metaverse talk. How have you adapted to the ever-changing landscape of online business? Do you think metaverse marketing will give companies an edge in the current market? 

I am still adapting. We have to be on ALL media apps, which is one of my hardest feats. Still, we are doing everything online.

Yes, for the generations to come. I think baby boomers and older are still old school, relying on referrals and review-based business.

10. How have you managed fundamental growth while maintaining a quality product or service offering? What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to achieve similar success, especially online?

Providing exceptional, caring customer service is vital. Use the available media channels to your advantage.

Hire help. It is hard to keep up alone when you scale, and outsourcing can help a great deal!

11. What informs your discipline in business? Take the readers through behind-the-scenes on your typical workday.

Like a true Leo, I take pride in my art. I love what I do and hire people that have the same professionalism. 

We care about our clients and want them to feel and look their best on their major milestones. Often, they will only have one shot, so there are no redos…at the end of the day, all they will have left are their pictures. We want them to love their look. 

Every day is totally different, so I will never get bored. Let’s put it this way, there are a lot of therapy sessions- sometimes happy tears, others drama-filled tears, but always a whole lot of laughter.

12. How do you see your industry unfolding in the future? Trends for businesses in this niche to brace for?

With social media and YouTube, so many people are self-taught. Which I love because of the ambition, although, I hope to see more people going back to school and educating themselves. It is so important.

In my industry, fashion trends repeat every 20 years. 

The big hair, blue eyeshadow, and red lips are making a comeback. I recently did a wedding party that requested blue eyeshadow. Of course, we neutralized the look. We didn’t add blue eyeshadows on the eyebrows. It was pretty!

13. What advice do you wish you had before or during the early stages of your business?

Just start; it does not have to be perfect, and don’t be so hard on yourself.

14. Do you feel the Latin culture is better prepared for business innovation? Why or why not?

Yes, many of us are doing exceptionally in the business and professional world.Also, because of the many Latin Business Associations, we have places to turn to for guidance.

15. What quote or lesson resonates most with your work ethic or personality that you wish others would also live by?

“Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.”

16. If you were to write a book about your life, what would it be titled? Subtitled?

A book about my life would be titled “I Refuse To Be A Statistic”. 

I also wrote a book based on stories that happened in my professional life, Wedding Day Drama, Before The “I Do”.

17. Lastly, let’s have some fun. Fill in the blank. Everyone would be so much calmer in life if they just ate more empanadas.

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My name is Tonika Bruce. I am a registered nurse, a renowned author, and a serial entrepreneur passionate about leading and inspiring people.
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