Local esthetician forges a path for herself and others
In this week’s spotlight, we spoke with Tiffany Washington, owner of The Black Threadist in Brooklyn Center. Washington has been in business for five years. She spoke to the MSR about her journey, overcoming a challenging year, and how she’s broken barriers through threading, a hair removal technique that originated in India.
MSR: How have you fared this last year during the pandemic, civil unrest, etc?
TW: My business, in particular, is up close and personal with clients when giving services. Being face to face, you think about how to make both parties safe and protected. What extra steps can I take to prevent spreading COVID?
I was hit very hard because there was no alternate way to offer services on a face-to-face basis, during COVID.
While dealing with the pandemic, the George Floyd situation happened; it took me totally out. Being the mother of two boys, this particular situation took my soul and spirit to a different level.
I could not eat, sleep or channel my energy to not feel for George Floyd. The situation took an even greater toll on my performance at work. I could not and did not want to focus on my business. I wanted justice to be served!
I was tired of talking about a change; I wanted to be a part of that change. I did what I could to help by prepping water, making care packages, and walking miles to fight for justice.
MSR: How did you get into business?
TW: I always had a passion for beauty. I was about 11 or 12 when my sister and I decided to arch our own eyebrows, and from that point on it just came naturally. I had no idea I had a gift and this would be the start of my own business.
I slipped into this business accidentally, I began as all-around stylist who chose the clothes, did the hair and makeup. I would style clients with the hottest items I found from local thrift stores.
I noticed people who held their esthetician licenses got paid more money than freelancers, so I decided to attend school to enhance my skills and get a license.
While working on my license, I met a lady from India who was also in school to get her license. She already had a business, so I went to work for her. I also met a younger India woman who did threading.
I have never seen a Black threadist. It became a goal to learn how to thread. I did not only learn the removal part, I also learned the art that came with threading. This was the beginning of the first Black African American eyebrow threader in Minnesota.
MSR: What advice would you have for others thinking bout going into business?
TW: Go for it! Pay attention to what your true gifts are. We are all given something special, you have to build off what originated for you. Know your worth, write it down, make it simple, pray and ask for guidance, then move accordingly.
MSR: What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you opened your business?
TW: Nothing is impossible. There is no business idea that’s too small or too big; all things are possible. Build a foundation and create a space with good energy, a team that believes, supports, and invests in you. Do not share all of your ideas—let some ideas manifest within, and move on them when it’s time to move on. Opportunity presents itself; know it when you see it.
MSR: What’s your most popular service and why do you think that is?
TW: Eyebrow threading without using hot wax or a razor. I have time to care for the brows on a face and I can perfect an already-perfected face. Eyebrows show a type of expression.
MSR: What sets your business apart from similar businesses?
TW: My gift solidifies the art of eyebrow shaping. I can visualize the shape and customize it for any type of face. I breathe, eat and sleep brows and never get tired of seeing or doing them. I broke the mode by learning and perfecting an art form that was never taught or offered to my culture.
MSR: Is there anything else you would like to add?
TW: I am a woman from Chicago who broke bars on so many levels. I believe that God gave me this gift to spread it as far as I can. My passion goes beyond threading, I hope to one day start a school for young girls and boys of all ethnicities to teach the art of threading.
It is an unregulated service that can create a great career path for someone. Teaching this class could break the mold of having one ethnic group providing a service to all ethnicities. I have about 15 certified Black threaders that have taken my class and are on their way to success here in the Twin Cities.
The Black Threadist is located at 8525 Edinbrook Crossing, Ste. 111 in Brooklyn Center. You can also find The Black Threadist at Wilson’s Image Barbers & Stylists, located at 2201 W Broadway Ave., in Minneapolis. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 952-451-4310.
Nikki Love is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.