Elizabeth Fernandez Eliza Beauty Academy

Elizabeth Fernandez owns a small room in a building on Broad Street. As you enter the room, it’s hard not to notice the color pink and the piles upon piles of Mary Kay make-up products. There is an unmistakable glitter about the room. In the last year and a half, it is these piles of beauty products that have helped to teach beauty treatment skills to forty students.

Run by Elizabeth, with the help of her daughter Alice Moya as a translator, the Eliza Beauty Studio has not only paved the way for young cosmetologists and their careers, but has also provided services for weddings, beauty pageants, fashion shows, and fundraisers. Elizabeth doesn’t just apply make-up onto individuals’ faces, she also teaches others in her expertise. Elizabeth had practiced cosmetology for ten years before opening up her business.

She was inspired to share her knowledge with others when so many people in her life had expressed interest in learning from her. She helps her students learn the skills they need to get a job in the area of cosmetology, opening up a number of career options to them; one of her former students already has a job working at the Providence Place Mall. Elizabeth has found that, “because all the schools here are [taught] in English,” her ability to speak Spanish makes her business unique and has undoubtedly contributed to the success surrounding it.

In meeting with Elizabeth it was very apparent that she not only enjoyed what she was doing, but truly believed it made a difference in others’ lives. She convinced me that her business made her community better. The joy and happiness she expressed while telling her story was the same enthusiasm that helped her to build such a successful business. When I asked what the best part about her business is, Elizabeth responded, “it’s like a party, its not like a regular school, it’s a fun place, and people love to be here.”

At the Center for Women and Enterprise, Elizabeth got her first lessons on building a business plan. She found that “everything is not like a game.” “Building my business plan at the CWE,” she said, “helped me organize my business plan, do the right thing for my business, and look for the information I needed to know for everything.” Even just understanding the importance of an announcement over the radio and an advertisement in the newspaper helped the Eliza Beauty Studio start off on the right foot. Elizabeth hopes to move her one-and-a-half-year-old business into a larger room by December of 2010. With the rate at which her popularity is growing, it is clear that this goal is realistic. The three-month-long classes that she holds for her students are gaining legitimacy and her client base is increasing.

With the help of the CWE, Elizabeth was able to put into action a vision that she is passionate about.

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