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Meet Santa Monica Eyelash & Makeup Artist: Quynh-Tram Vu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Quynh-Tram Vu.  Below you’ll find edited excerpts of our interview with Quynh-Tram Vu.

Quynh, please share your story with us.  How did you get to where you are today?

It all started out with I would like to be perfect at things that I do. I came to the US when I was 22. Not certain of what career choice would be best, I attended college majoring in Accounting at Cal State Fullerton and at the same time doing bridal makeup and hair on the side. Couldn’t wait to learn more about the life in this country, I took another job as a freelance reporter for Little Saigon Radio. I graduated college with honor and started working at a CPA firm. It seems like a dream job for most accounting graduate. However, I soon quit my job. I then started producing QT Beauty Show aired on Litlle Saigon TV. These shows are still continue being aired on Saigon TV and many other Vietnamese speaking channels. Along the way, I have also worked for Viet Beauty Magazine (contributing editor and reporter), Little Saigon TV (news anchor and reporter), Viet Tide weekly magazine (freelance reporter), Vien Dong Daily Newspaper (freelance reporter), Nguoi Viet Daily News (Women section). With my presence in the Vietnamese Community Media, it helps fuel the demand for my beauty service. I so opened QT Beauty Center (Garden Grove), then 95 Lash Salon (Santa Monica). At the same time running these 2 salons, I’m still working at my husband’s tax office processing individual tax returns every tax season.

Has it been a smooth road?

In the past, I collapsed after I graduated college and started working in accounting. After 4 years of constant full-time school and 3-5 jobs at a time and no break/vacation, I reached my limit. Current challenge: as the mother of a 1 and a half year-old son, I cannot fully dedicate and execute my career plans.

Let’s dig a little deeper into your story.  What was the hardest time you’ve had?

Personal life:

The hardest time was when I tried breaking up with my ex-boyfriend. Grew up in Vietnam, I believed I would marry and live the rest of my life with the man I was in a relationship with. The fear was tremendous, because it was not just breaking a relationship, it was breaking a belief.

I was a pretty private person so I rarely talked to anyone about what I was doing. To get through it, I wrote self-encouraged, self-talked sticky notes and put it on the mirrors, and in my car, where I saw them every day. I got through it by forming a new belief.

Career:

The hardest time was when after I quit the accounting job and signed up at Paul Mitchell The School. For almost 2 years, I did not make a solid income nor have time but so much drive in career advancement. I did not have the wisdom to tell myself: “wait, perfect your skills and have a solid business plans first before you could live your dream.”

I wasn’t so mature but I’m quite a methodical type. Subconsciously I knew I needed to do something to get to my dreams. So few months before graduation, I started doing photo shoots, I approached Little Saigon TV to help me film and broadcast my beauty show. At the same time, the TV station offered me one job, then more jobs. I became popular. More and more calls started shooting my way. Then came the demand for a professional place to do business.

So I opened QT Beauty Center, but how I would be able to afford expensive rents? So I still kept my TV jobs, all those salaries helped cover the expenses. When I first opened QT Beauty Center, business hour was 9am – 9pm. I woke up at 4am, got ready to do news anchor job for Little Saigon TV, then went open the shop, then came back to Little Saigon TV to do some more jobs, then come back to the shop. Very often customers came in at 9pm so I stayed till 10pm to finish, then 11pm to cleanup, went home, slept at 1am, then woke up again at 4am the next day.

The “vicious cycle” was consistent for 5 months then I reduced the work load at the TV station. I realized regardless how popular I became, my goal was not to become a star, but a stylist. I needed to be always available at the salon, not running around. Then I became more present at the salon and the business started doing better and better every day.

Then the opportunity came and I opened 95 Lash. I had a big business plan, but I got pregnant before 95 Lash even got grand-opening. I was pregnant and drove 2 hours to Santa Monica and back to Garden Grove few times a week. I got really discouraged but my resilience never died out on me. I settled keeping QT Beauty Center and 95 Lash as is for a little while to maintain a balance in my new life with a baby. I do not want to become a successful business woman and later in life regret not spending precious time with my son. Success can wait.

What are your plans for the future?

I planned opening extra locations for my business. However, right now my son is too young. I do not have the heart to put myself to work 12-16 hours a day to carry out that plan. So what I am doing is going back to school for the MBA program. I think that’s the best solution right now. While studying, I have 3 more years to mature my businesses, setting an academic example for my son. The school may shed some brighter light to help me build up a more solid plan and of course I’m still taking clients and managing the salons. This time, I know how to wait. My son and a bigger picture is worth the wait

Pricing:

  • Eyelash Extensions $85
  • Bridal Airbrush Makeup $75 

Contact Info:

Check out her work below:

9556-543837_663052460391557_940665943_n 9555-6ead97_7090486738bc4eb99459d790cf4a809d 9554-6ead97_03883edfa31cc5b6e59c8fdf2c188f64 9553-6ead97_119c7f1dfb8047a5960382fdebf15e75 9552-10603907_10152599089259522_8726032445132555564_o 9551-6ead97_c43b3ef9e2e76bad48b269c69195c5d1 9550-6ead97_4467a4c2c38e30e4dc29d09d901cbd0d 9557-6ead97_fdeda69f53e99274563e1b7d3a97b95a

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