Today we’d like to introduce you to Leilani Sanders.
Leilani, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am the oldest of 16 children from combined marriages. Being the oldest, you learn how to do your younger siblings hair. When I was a kid, I used to have dreams of being a pediatrician or pediatric Registered Nurse. As I started my family, I completed medical assisting and attempted LVN and EMT while married, working and raising two children.
After having to drop out of LVN schooling at UAV in order to step up and get a full-time job due to my husband injuring himself, I put those dreams on hold. I began to work at bank of America and after two years, went on to work at Macy’s. There, I moved up quickly from an on-call associate to part-time lingerie associate, to full-time women’s apparel associate, to an I.N.C. specialist and finally, I ended up as an Estee Lauder beauty advisor. I learned to do makeovers while demonstrating and selling Estee Lauder products. I left Macy’s and went to Dillard’s Estee Lauder counter. During which, My brother and myself had discussed going to cosmetology school together because he had opened up his own barbershop in the mini-mall and wanted to get his license. He enrolled but I had just started at Dillard’s at the time and had to wait to get past my probation period.
After a year, I was able to enroll into Marinello School of Beauty and between work, home and school, I finished 14 months later and passed my written and practical exam and received my license on April 23, 2015. I learned how to braid and had dabbled in layered cuts and simple box color from the age of 16. So I’ve always been into hair. Receiving my license was a great accomplishment to me. I went on to work with my brother until he sold his business in September 2015, where I began my career at In Tha Game Barbershop. I dedicated five years to the shop, building my clientele up and perfecting my craft. I spent that time learning from stylist friends in other locations as well as the barbers that I worked side by side with. Some helped me to step out of my comfort zone and become more confident in my skills, expanding my list of services. I left the shop August 29, 2020 and have since became a mobile stylist. I travel to my clients providing superior 1-on-1 service at their home or work location. This has allowed me to get to know my clients on a more personal level and some on a more spiritual level as well. So, God has truly blessed me on this journey, and all I can ask is that he continues to bless my hands and be with me and lead my career down the path it should go.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Lol, nothing worth doing or having is easily obtained or always runs smoothly. So no, there were times I wanted to quit and go back into working for corporate America. But God wouldn’t let me give up. I’ve never really been a quitter, so I stuck through it. From not being confident in my own work to not knowing how to keep the knot tight on box braids, to “why isn’t my silk press silky?”, and “why isn’t my blend on this fade looking right?”. Sigh… it took practice, a lot of prayer, asking the owner of the shop a million questions, watching my brother cut, watching the other barbers, watching videos on youtube, and more prayer. There were lots of disagreements and heated discussions that I endured. But, there were also good conversations, encouragement from other barbers, and plenty of laughter and good vibes that made me push through. Quitting wasn’t an option. I have a husband and three children that look up to and depend on me. Plus, I’ve always had a hustling mentality and have always been determined to reach my goals.
Please tell us about Beauty By Bamb LLC.
Beauty By Bamb started as my makeup page on Instagram. When I graduated from Beauty school and earned my cosmetology license, I expanded it to all things dealing with what makes my clients look and feel good as far as haircuts, waxing, braids, makeup, weaves, etc. I’m proud to have expanded my company from just providing services, to offering home-made hair products. I now have been formulating my own hair grease made of natural products that helps promote growth and helps with dry scalp and itching. I also am working on a facial scrub and body butter, as well as a second hair cream for moisturizing dry, brittle hair. My clients that use my “Afterlife” grease are loving it so far. So I couldn’t be more grateful and thankful to them for their support. I use it on all of my loc clients when I retwist (as long as they don’t have allergies to any of the ingredients). I also have started a t-shirt company and am trying to design my own clothing line. I would say I specialize in braid and fades right now. That’s where my creativity and passion are displayed the most. Although I’m good at alot of things and need improvement in others, my braid and fades are quite popular. My clients love that they can get their hair braided and then cut without having to leave the chair to go to another chair or to another shop. My determination, hustle mentality and my faith, I believe are what sets me apart from others. I give you a good service and a good word at the same time, lol. It hasn’t always been that way, Lord knows because everyone that knows me knows I’m quite fiesty and my tongue cuts like a two-edged sword. But, He’s working on me and through me.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, the only thing I probably would’ve changed was taking extended color classes and man unit classes earlier in my career so that could be a specialty service I offer. I’ve always been into color and would like for it to be a service i specialize in. Hmm, maybe i would’ve started my career sooner than I did in life, but things happen for a reason. And because I’m not perfect and very outspoken and opinionated, I probably would’ve tried to be more mindful in my words when discussions or disagreements arose, as to not allow myself to get out of character and definitely been more mindful as to not offend others. Other than that, good things come to those that wait. So I have to put in my time and be patient, my time will come and I’ll get to where I want to be in my career and this industry. Thank you for the interview and God Bless!
- 4oz Afterlife grease $15
- 8oz Afterlife grease $30
- Website: www.BeautyByBamb.Booksy.net
- Phone: 16619028836
- Email: BeautyByBamb@gmail.com
- Instagram: Instagram.com/BeautyByBamb
- Facebook: Facebook.com/BeautyByBamb
Photo credit @BeautyByBamb, Photo credit @ CheeneezTheRascal