From fashion model to beauty stylist
When we look at a magazine cover or the pages inside, we can’t help but revel at the beauty of it all. Especially captivating is the flawless look of the models, due in part by makeup stylists such as Jalia Pettis. Once a model in the pages of a magazine, Jalia now has a styling business called 3Jay Productions.
Her specialty is makeup, but she does hair and clothing styling as well. The Kalamazoo, Michigan native began her entrepreneur journey in South Carolina, where she launched her career as a beauty professional. For more than a decade, she has built a brand on beauty, working with myriad clients, from celebrities to magazines.
I reached out to Jalia, who currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, to chat about her entrepreneur path to build her brand.
Describe your path to becoming a stylist?
Becoming a beauty professional was not ever something I imagined I would do. I started in front of the camera as a child and remember always being told how exotic I looked. As I grew into my adolescence, the makeup artist would always want to cover up my freckles and I despised that.
So, when I began my business, I remember reaching out to other beauty pro’s and none of them were comfortable working on women of color. I didn’t understand that, so I began to teach myself, and I got it wrong a lot and sought out others for mentorship. I went to school for makeup artistry as well as skincare and became licensed. Since then, I have had many accomplishments and continue to grow and gain experience to share with others.
Tell us about 3Jay Productions and what you do specifically.
3Jay Productions is my baby and what I refer to as my umbrella brand. It houses my individual brand, that of my creative partner as well as offering services to others who are entrepreneurs in the fashion, beauty and entertainment industries. Those service include contractual writing, business and marketing plans, event planning, stage management, public relations/press kits, artistic direction, photo styling, custom garment design, nail art, hair and makeup artistry.
“Having a plan mapped out on a calendar with deadlines for each quarter of the year is a huge help.”
What is your process for developing your business?
When I think about how I developed my business when I started, it takes me to a moment of wow. I did not have anyone to guide me through the steps of what to do or how to do it. However, my process was well thought out, organized and ahead of my years.
Following the time of its inception I have taken a pause to rebrand and that has been the difficult part. Staying on trend with best practices to ensure we can cater to our demographic, attending networking events and social media advertising—is a lot to manage. Having a plan mapped out on a calendar with deadlines for each quarter of the year is a huge help.
What are the challenges you have faced as an entrepreneur?
One of my biggest challenges was relocating from South Carolina to Arizona. I left one region where I had built my brand which was doing extremely well, to another region where I had no connections and no clients.
It was an enormous challenge being that I had this established reputation, yet no one knew who we were or what we were capable of. There was a time of reintroduction and proving ourselves, which took me back to our early years. It was frustrating but a necessary process.
“I am up against challenges as a woman of color in business daily…As a beauty professional, I pride myself on working with all skin tones and skin types; which allows me to have a diverse client base.”
Have you had any challenges as a woman of color while building your business, if so, how did you address it?
I am up against challenges as a woman of color in business daily. The challenges come from both sides, those within my community and those not within my community. As a beauty professional, I pride myself on working with all skin tones and skin types; which allows me to have a diverse client base.
I have received comments from other women of color who believe I should have more clients who represent my ethnic origin. Then I have potential clients who seek me out because they don’t want anyone else to work with their team members who are women of color. It is so strange and completely contradictory.
Another challenge comes from those who believe my rates are too high. I have colleagues with the same skill set who are not women of color whose rates are higher than mine and don’t have to negotiate to get people to book them.
But, I don’t ignore these challenges, I face them head on by standing my ground as it relates to my fees. I also prefer that my clientele remains diverse, I don’t want to be put in a box. I love who I am and my southern roots. Yet my clientele is a display of the friendships I have with people. That is all that matters to me.
“At times we allow people to cloud our judgement. When you are on the cusp of making a passion a reality you will come across many people who won’t understand why or what you are giving up. So, until you are ready to unveil in totality, work it in silence.”
What is your most memorable project to date?
There are several awesome memories and one that stands out is my business being recognized as the 2018 American Small Business Champion for the State of Arizona. I was ecstatic when that recognition came from SCORE Mentors. Another is beginning my education tour, which kicked off in January of this year. I travel to various tradeshows educating others in the beauty industry on topics related to both makeup artistry and branding.
What advice do you have for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
The biggest piece of advice I can give to an aspiring entrepreneur is to move in silence until you have everything in place. At times we allow people to cloud our judgement. When you are on the cusp of making a passion a reality you will come across many people who won’t understand why or what you are giving up. So, until you are ready to unveil in totality, work it in silence. Absolutely seek guidance from mentors or others who have a successful blueprint, but do so with a non-disclosure in hand to protect yourself!
What is your favorite quote?
I have two: “Faith without work is dead” which to me means I can have all the faith in the world but until I apply action behind my faith nothing is going to move forward. I cannot be idle and just wait for things to drop out of the sky, I must WORK!
The other is “Overlooked to Overbooked” this has been my declaration since the end of last year. It is on my vision board and at the forefront of my mind when I start to get down.
What’s next for you?
There is no pause for me right now.
There’s an exclusive project that will be launching in about a month. I have already begun planning projects for early next year and tightening up a few projects for the end of this year.
I have a checklist of to-do’s: Work with more up-and-coming brands locally, collaborate with more established brands nationally, travel internationally and encourage my children to start their creative entrepreneurial journeys.
For more information on Jalia and her company, visit Jaliapettis.com.