Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Interview with Shauna Magrath, PMU & SMP Expert, MFX Artist. Educator and Founder of Beauty Ink®️ Cosmetics Tattooing (Vancouver)

Please share a bit about yourself as an entrepreneur and what your business entails - brick and mortar store, online, product, etc.

I grew up on a farm and started art pursuits at the age of 4 when I could control a pencil and paper. I found art a great outlet to release my expressions and feelings at an age that was still hard to convey. I followed my art pursuits though school. If it wasn't for all the classes I could take in drawing, sculpting, painting and more, I don't think I would graduated. I'm dyslexic, so learning the conventional way with words and reading did not make it easy to learn. Once I could start learning visually and hands on, I was able to excel. I still find it a challenge even today, but have figured out ways to work and live around it.

Becoming an effects artist was a very natural progression. I started in theatre production and moved into film where I could use my skills in a great way to build a career. In FX make up you need to know how to draw, paint, sculpt and problem solve in a second. All are characteristics I naturally had, so it seemed like a great way to utilize my gifts for the greater good. Falling in to creating Beauty Ink was a bit out of my hands. I never thought I would become a business owner, let alone a entrepreneur. When my grandfather passed away in January of 2008, I received what I can only understand as a divine vision. In a split second, during a relaxed state, I was downloaded all the information of my new mission. It happened so fast. It was like watching a sped up movie of all the things I had to do.

I took that information and put it into play. In September 2008, I opened my brick and mortar business - The Beauty Ink®️ Gallery - where I offer clients permanent make-up, scalp micro pigmentation, 3D areola restoration and scar revision. I also help those with disorders or disease look and feel better though cosmetic tattooing. Yes there's a lot to this story, but that's for another time.

I have spend my last 12 year consumed by the field - training, learning everything I can to help those with issues such as scaring, hair loss, and lack of normal physical features like nipples or eyebrows. I have gained an international reputation because I am one of many pioneers in the industry and so willing to share. I love to empower other artists in our field and thrilled to help them grow. It's an exciting time, full of so much possibility. Now that COVID-19 has hit, I am trying to pivot my business to access more people on line where I can share my knowledge and skills with the world.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, how did you work with your regular clients and reach out to new ones. What type of marketing worked best for you?

I was very blessed to gain media exposure from day one of opening. TV was my main go to place to share knowledge and build awareness. I never had to advertise because my clients are walking bill boards and their glowing results advertised themselves.

I would also give annually to local charity events with services, which helped to grow my trusted brand within the community. I found Instagram a great outlet to share on and still receive clients from sharing my personality on this site. That resonates with them. People go to those they align with, so the more I grow and share, the more clients are draw to my brand.

How has the social isolation required to combat the spread of COVID-19 affected your business? What about this has been hardest for you personally?

My business has been closed since regulations were input in mid-March. As I work within inches of my clients face, it has dramatically impacted my work as well as that of our industry as a whole. The hardest for me is not knowing when we can go back. Trying to keep my location alive is just driving me deeper into debt. If we don't come back soon, I may have to pack up and close like so may others.

I guess it's the uncertainty of it all that gets to me. Being an OCD A Typical personality, it's so hard when thing are not in my control. Meditation has been key in helping me cope and focusing on how to pivot my business online has been all consuming. I miss my clients as well! They have become like family over the last decade. I try to call and keep in touch regularly so they know I'm still here working to assist them in one way or the other.

Have you found new ways to interact with your customer?  Have you developed any new products or services as a way to help your clients through this time, or to fill a new need you see? 

No... because there is nothing I can do for them from a distance besides helpful tutorials on YouTube and Instagram. I created a DIY disposable mask which I have shared on YouTube and Instagram to help give clients ammunition in a time when personal protective equipment is so hard to find. I am currently working on a APP to help my students in the future and to help me stay relevant if this social distancing continues and I can't do procedures. Training and sharing is something I love, so learning to leverage this effectively is key to my survival.

What type of marketing seems to be working best for you in this time of social isolation?

I have put a pause on all my social advertising. It's just money going out the window during a time we can't work. I do, however, keep up on my content to my followers so they still get value out of my brand even when I can't see them. Live tutorials or informative posts seem to be a big draw, so as long as I can give value, they still come to check out my posts.

I'm so grateful to have a long time brand that is known around the world. I feel for those just starting out as it was so hard already, and now they have a hill of quick sand to climb. That can be so defeating for a new entrepreneur. If I can give them hope, or help them during this time... then I can help to keep their dream alive.

Anything you'd like readers to know about you and your business? Any last words of encouragement you'd like to share with everyone?

After experiencing intense trauma so many times in my life - abuse, loss of identity, fire, death, sabotage, and homelessness - there are a few things I have learned that keep me rooted.
  • The divine spirit will always he there to give you support even in the darkest hours. 
  • Hang on... there is a greater plan at play and it will show it'self with time.
  • This too shall pass.
  • Follow your heart. It will always guide you.

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