Young entrepreneur talks fighting self-doubt, lifting up other aspiring business owners, and her plans to break into the international market
Story and photos by Shahein Fitzpatrick.
After taking the plunge last year to launch her own business – and despite receiving limited support from some friends – a young creative woman is encouraging fellow entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.
Erika Pearson, who is just 20 years old, owns and operates Easy-Beauty from her Villa home incorporating her talents as a makeup artist, hair-stylist, painter and tailor.
She told Observer how her love for styling hair was the inspiration behind her venture.
“I realised that I was actually good at it, so I shifted my focus onto being a braider/hair stylist. I became fully committed to makeup in 2019 when I realised that I can actually do makeup too,” Pearson explained.
She said while she had long had an interest in cosmetology, she felt under pressure to follow a different route.
“Everyone knows the saying while growing up with their parents, ‘I want you to get you education, get a good job’,” she recalled. “My heart was pinned on being a lawyer, but my heart was also on cosmetology.”
Today, Pearson embodies her “anything is possible” ethos and now plans to expand her offerings further.
“My plans for the future are to launch a few products that I have my mind on, and I am looking forward to creating my own palette and being able to be an entrepreneur, not just in Antigua but an international entrepreneur,” she said.
And while sometimes endless appointments can be intense, she said she is still enjoying her work.
“It is not tiring at all when it comes to these things that I love; I would have about three to four hair to do for my clients and still have makeup looks to do right after. Time management is my best friend, I respect it every time that I get it and use it wisely,” she explained.
“Support is however a bit challenging; a lot of my friends don’t show me the love and support that a young business owner such as myself needs. Some support me but many don’t. My family members on the other hand show me a lot of support.”
An entrepreneurial spirit is in Pearson’s blood.
“I have around nine to 10 family members whom I live with – and they all own their own business,” she said. “Even my little brother started an ice-pop business at only 12 years old. He is now 13 and has been doing this for a year.”
Still, self-doubt can be a tough battle to overcome.
“My biggest fear is me failing. I grew up with a lot of confidence in myself and faith, but as the time flew and I got older, I was super fearful to start operating my business,” she revealed.
“I was fearful of what people would say about what I can or can’t do. I am not perfect at what I do but I am aiming to go as far as I possibly can. My aim is to open up my beauty store and clothing store in the very near future.”
She also wants to give back and support others beginning their own journeys.
“For me, to build others is for me to build myself and we all can then rise to the top. From my heart, I just want to motivate young entrepreneurs out there – don’t matter the struggle that you’re going through, don’t matter the challenges that you’re facing, don’t matter the hardships that you’re going through, you can make it, you can do it, I am pushing, If I can do it, you can do it also.”
Pearson said many aspiring entrepreneurs will testify to feelings of trepidation.
“But I took it upon myself to say no, I am not going to listen to what the outsiders say about me, I am going to do me and motivate myself, I am going to be my own motivator.
“I encourage other entrepreneurs out there to just push yourself to the best of your ability; it’s all about taking risk,” she said.
She added, “Do not let your fear of failure get in the way of your desire for the future. You can do anything you put your mind to – just let go of the fear and run with the faith.”