We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Stephanie, what are you inspired by?
I am inspired by a good “hustle”! I am inspired by women who hustle! the women who get it done by any means necessary. I come from a grandmother who was the first in her town to build her own beauty salon from the ground up. I come from another grandmother who was a private duty nurse at night so she could see her husband and kids off to work and school and makes time to still be an active member in her church even today at 103. I come from a mother who has been a nurse since she was 18. She worked in the hospital for 23 years, while working part time at other area hospitals to make extra money. My mother went back to school when I was 14, to become a Registered Nurse. She went to class at night and worked during the day then became a home health nurse for 20 more years, I am inspired by women who put in the work. The women who do whatever needs to be done to survive, take care f their families, and ultimately be successful. . The hustle has been nothing short of amazing this past year of COVID19. I have seen more women of color starting businesses this past year than I have ever seen. It’s truly inspiring and it makes me want to go harder. The pandemic has revealed passions and talents many of us didn’t realize we have. Many were placed in a position where they lost their livelihood and hustling was the only option. I believe in selling your favorite dessert, home cooked meals, washing cars, doing hair, and so many other things to take care of yourself and your family. As always, women remain vigilant and strong even in a pandemic. I am inspired by all of those women!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
i am a makeup artist, brow stylist, and licensed esthetician in Jacksonville Florida. Makeup has been my passion since 2015, but not on purpose. It was never a goal of mine to become an artist and I certainly never thought about making it a career or business. I reached out to a local makeup artist to learn how to do makeup on myself and she talked me into doing an artist training instead. I realized this could be a good hustle and she became one of my mentors and a good friend. I had the opportunity to train with some pretty amazing celebrity makeup artists who have clients like Tiffany Haddish, Iman, JLo, and Missy Elliot. Becoming an artist wasn’t hard but it definitely takes dedication and practice. What was and still is hard about this path I have chosen is balancing a family and a full time job that I have been with for 23 years that is completely unrelated to the beauty industry. My artistry is different from what we tend to see social media. I like for my clients to look like themselves when they leave my chair. I don’t follow what the hottest trend is in the industry. Most of my clients are busy professional women who have families and don’t want to spend too much time applying makeup. Most like to keep it simple. I am an esthetician, so I try to educate my clients about taking care of the skin beneath the makeup. My brow artistry has blown up since going back to work during the pandemic. Women are tired of having their naturally beautiful brows over waxed and over plucked and I love to help them see the potential in leaving them alone and letting them grow. I am most proud of the new solo business I started in February 2021. I decided to move into my own studio space. Refined Artistry & Waxing(RAW) is MINE! Refined: Cultured, polished, stylish, and elegant are all words that describe my brand, esthetic, and my clients. It has been a learning experience but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Since I have been on this path I have learned that you cannot please everyone, everybody is not your client, and learn what works for me and you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing in order to be liked or popular. I have had to find my lane, be an individual, and create my very own spotlight! When you are passionate about something, it shows in everything you do. I also learned that you really just have to do it scared or you will still be stuck in the same place wondering when it will be a good time. Do it on your terms and Gods time.
I want the world to know that it’s never too late to find your passion. I will be 50 in two years and I don’t see me slowing down anytime soon.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shout out to every person who came to my home to get their makeup done in my living room when I was learning! shoutout to every person who encouraged me to keep going and not quit when it seemed like it was so hard to gain clients in this beauty industry. A special shoutout to those who supported me in the opening of my own studio space this past February. Shoutout to those who continue to show support and still keep me encouraged because being a business owner is hard work and it is not for the weak.

Website: refinedartandwax.com

Instagram: @rawstudiojax @sspromua_

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rawstudiojax

Image Credits
Photographer James Schlefstein

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.