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Meet Latoya De’Shaun of The Patent Leather Project

Today we’d like to introduce you to Latoya De’Shaun.

Latoya, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have always been an educator at heart, going so far as to complete a Master’s degree in higher education. With the recommendation of my professor, I went on to pursue my creative passion in makeup artistry. Like anyone with a passion to succeed, I worked tirelessly in retail makeup.

When I was let go from my job, I had the awakening that it was time to consider pursuing my efforts in a different sector of the beauty industry. I prayed and listened, and finally received a sign from God that said, “Latoya, in six months you will move to LA with no job and pursue a celebrity makeup artist career.” This one decision changed the trajectory of my life, and I’ve been soaring ever since.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I struggled finding my life’s purpose, even though I knew moving to LA would be purposeful. I knew I was a woman who was determined and showed up for herself every day, but the one thing that continuously held me back was living for the approval of other people. Throughout my first few years in LA, I experienced job instability and was in a deep depression due to a few family let downs. It was hard, to say the least.

I realized that I needed to focus my vision on looking within, stopping the fruitless cycle of relying on validation from everyone else. I had to do the work. Once I started doing the work, my passion for education and helping parents reignited. Currently, I have a life coach, a business coach, and a therapist. They help me to see the many opportunities available to me without having to dishonor myself. This is by far my greatest investment to myself and my business. On my journey, I have learned to love myself in a way that is purposeful, compassionate, courageous, and growth-minded. Practicing this radical self-love led me back to my educational purpose. I’m still on this journey and continuously learning and growing as I go.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Patent Leather Project story. Tell us more about the business.
I own a business called The Patent Leather Project. I teach underserved parents of high school students goal setting strategies to live out their purpose and the purpose of their children, starting with the college application.

  • What I love most about what I do is that I give hope to parents who desire a better education and see a valuable future for their child. I hold each parent accountable and always lead with kindness.  

We are different from other companies in that we understand that we first have to create and enforce positive behaviors with parents if we want a chance to motivate their children. Sure, like many other companies, we could do this work without parents, but that is not our goal. We are here to serve, and to do so in a way that is intentional, and that makes a difference for entire families that did not see higher education as an option. 

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Wow, this question is powerful. If I could do it all again, most importantly, I would start with holding a mirror up to myself and affirming myself daily. I would also create healthy boundaries. So much of my energy was exhausted on people who did not serve me. In the end, I learned a lot and know that my past is the reason why my future is so bright.

I’ll leave you with this:

  • Sit down and write your vision for your life
  • Identify your strengths and weakness 
  • Get focused and cut the noise
  • Make mistakes, it is a part of the journey
  • Realize that everything happens on purpose
  • Know that every day obedience is better than sacrifice

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