Empowering People
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A Moment with an EDTP Graduate: Meet Deyonna Phillips

Posted on 12/25/2017 by EDTP Coordinator in LAEDA News
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Deyonna Phillips is the owner and chief make-up artist of M.A.D. Pretty. She is also a graduate of LAEDA’s Entrepreneurial Development Training Program. We had a chance to sit down with her to ask about her experience with entrepreneurship and LAEDA's training program.

LAEDA: Entrepreneurship is a very challenging path to take with many different possible directions. What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

It is a fact that I am a born entrepreneur. Growing up, I have had the privilege of watching both my grandfathers run successful businesses, doing things that they love. I have also had the pleasure of being raised by entrepreneurs. Both my mother and father have successfully managed their own businesses in the arts. The drive to want to run a business, and work hard at it, comes easy because of this, but it has been a learning experience and challenge to keep up with the industry.

As a young girl, I watched my mother work in the retail makeup industry, in addition to her other businesses, so this really inspired me to learn the skill. Overall, I was born to a hard working family. The values they instilled in me -- enjoying how to make money in your own way and investing in yourself for your future and family -- are essential. In college, I decided to turn my skill into a business when I realized that the learning phase for the position I was in was over, and the company was getting a lot more out of me than I was working for the company. With the demanding hours of school, and eight hours per shift a week working in cosmetic retail, I decided to build my own business based on my skills and knowledge. I didn’t feel I could keep growing at the company, but more than anything I needed to challenge myself more than I was doing.

LAEDA: Why did you choose your industry?

I chose my industry because art has always been my passion. I was raised around the arts.

LAEDA: Tell me about your experience while attending EDTP. What have the major takeaways been from the program? Have you had any “Ah-ha!” moments? How did the program help you?

Participating in EDTP was one of the best business decisions I've made. It was a very humbling experience; I was challenged in so many ways. Traveling from Trenton to Camden throughout the week in traffic, trying to make it on time from work, was a challenge in itself, but it was the push I needed. While I had taken a lot of marketing and entrepreneur classes when earning my bachelor’s degree, I wasn't sure if I would walk away with a lot of knowledge - but I was wrong.

I was also intimidated in the beginning because I was the youngest person in the class, but every week I became more and more comfortable and inspired knowing that like-minded people surrounded me. Along with more business knowledge, I was able to learn how to organize my business, and that was something I needed!

LAEDA: Tell me about your journey on the road to business start-up. What have been some of the challenges, successes, failures, etc.?

I started out working for Sephora my sophomore year of college, as a cashier. I would be working eight hour weekdays and weekends, then going to school for eight hours a day throughout the week. The schedule was very demanding, yet I still managed to make the dean's list. I eventually moved on to MAC Cosmetics, made some more connections working in a boudoir studio, and finally landed a gig working for VH1! With that experience, I also did some HGTV home improvement shows, too. Before that, I traveled to people's homes for prom season, working for close to nothing, and I even did make up for free sometimes.

I also assisted other makeup artists who were better than me in order to gain knowledge of the business. It was not easy, but all worth it! Once I began making my way through the industry I became smarter with business, what I should be charging based upon my credibility, worth, and competition’s rates. I would soon get some flak from the clientele that I began with because of my prices and the way I operated business differently, but there are plenty who stuck with me.

LAEDA: Could you tell me a little about where your business is today?

Today, I comfortably run a studio space where I live. I have about four - six clients a week, and bridal season gets very packed. I offer a host of services and also have added apparel and custom design to the business. Most importantly, all my bookings are done online through the website. I am currently in the process of remodeling the studio space and I have strong hopes that M.A.D. Pretty will have a new location come Summer/Fall of 2018!

LAEDA: Do you have any advice for future (or existing) entrepreneurs?

My best advice to entrepreneurs is to be consistent. If you believe in yourself, others will believe in you too. Lastly, only invest in what you’re passionate about! When you’re in love with what you do, even though it can get hard, and you’ll fall, you’ll still find the beauty in it all.

As far as LAEDA, coming in I was at first intimidated, being that I was the youngest person in the program. I was quickly excited to learn that I was surrounded by like-minded people and that was very inspiring in itself!

Congratulations to Deyonna Phillips for completing EDTP and recommitting to her journey on the path of entrepreneurship. M.A.D. Pretty stands for Makeup Art Design, representing everything pretty. M.A.D. is your one-stop-shop for makeup needs. They provide professionalism, reliability, and high quality service. The name of the business and the title for the owner was inspired by the owner, Deyonna Phillips, because of her love of art through makeup, her background in fashion design, and her passion for the the arts and music that was instilled in her from her early childhood years on. For more information, contact Deyonna Phillips at madprettymakeup@gmail.com or 978-2PR.ETTY (978-277-3889) and check out her website at mymadpretty.com.

The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP) is a free, nine-week business skills training course offered in Camden, NJ in the Winter Spring and Fall each year. Qualified entrepreneurs receive 72+ hours of training from industry professionals, business planning, and one year of technical assistance. Apply online at www.LAEDA.com