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Rising Stars: Meet Wilhemina Samson of Fussy Brow Studio in The Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wilhemina Samson.

Wilhemina, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
In August of 2018, after attempting to open what would have been my first business in New York City, I went into a deep depression. I felt like a failure. For months I dragged myself to work and counted down the hours till I could go home and be alone. I never told my friends what was going on or how I was feeling. I felt they wouldn’t understand. It was a pit-in-the-stomach kind of defeat. In my mind, my business plan was solid so when it didn’t work out, I was nowhere near prepared for the emotional weight of its downfall. I would come home, change into pajamas, eat cereal in bed, cry myself to sleep, wake up the next day, and do it all over again. This went on for a while and the early nightfall that came with the colder months didn’t help at all. I wanted isolation because being out meant having to explain to this person and that person why I was no longer working on “that business”. When I finally came out of that, I said to myself that no matter what I chose to do next, I would follow through on it—despite any struggles. I figured any challenge that would come with the next venture could not be any worse than the heartbreak I would feel if I failed at something that big again. So, when Covid restrictions hit in 2020, I had already decided I was going to move to Los Angeles for “a change of pace”. I had no idea at the time I would end up stumbling into the world of permanent makeup and wind up being a microblading artist. I just knew that NYC was weighing on me and that I needed to get out. Now that I look back, I think the city morphed into a reminder of the leftover shame I felt and what I was doing was running away from that. Fast forward to May 2020 and we were still in the middle of the shutdown in New York. There was no end in sight and I needed to figure out whether I was going to follow through with my decision to move to LA or if I was going to stay in NYC for another year. My brain took me back to those months of feeling lost in 2018, and I knew I had to leave.

So, I booked a one way flight to California. At the time, I was still working my full-time 9-to-5 job remotely and wasn’t happy in corporate America. I had been feeling that way for a while and that’s when I decided I was going to quit my job and find something that would allow me to work for myself. A couple of weeks later, I remembered a friend telling me she had been training for PMU services overseas and without really researching a ton, I booked a microblading training in LA. Immediately after my training, I started working on free models. I would work my normal job from 7am to 3pm, then I would rush to my studio to take a client for the evening. That continued for about two months before I decided to take a leap of faith, quit my job, and dedicate all of my time to microblading. Since then, it’s been an exhilarating journey as an entrepreneur. In a way, I think my last business not working out prepared me for all the small failures that I’ve experienced in my microblading business. When you go through something like that, it’s hard for things like dishonesty from industry people you thought you trusted or not knowing where the next client is coming from — to get you down or out. Now I choose to recognize my failures (and I’ve had many), I acknowledge them, but I don’t let them define me.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh, it definitely has not been a smooth road at all. I remember in the beginning just being so stressed out about how good my work was. I spent hours on Instagram comparing myself to other artists. I did nothing but draw eyebrows everyday. Not to mention, I was still working my full-time job while learning and doing microblading at the same time! I didn’t know it then but those were the easy days! Now, I’m trying to figuring out how to balance my friendships, family, my clients and students —with sleeping and eating. I absolutely love what I do but as I tell my students being an entrepreneur is definitely a 24 hour 7 days a week gig. Being a business owner completely changes your view on things. It puts into perspective how important time is. It’s the most precious yet scarce resource we have. And it’s such a frightening feeling when you feel like you’re running out of it. However, at the end of an appointment, when my client sees their brows for the first time in the mirror, holds their cheeks, smiles and says “OMG I HAVE EYEBROWS”, time doesn’t really matter. I get to make people happy. Not many people can say that is their job!

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m a permanent makeup artist and instructor here in LA and I specialize in microblading. Microblading is a semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo but my clients come to me because I don’t make it look like a tattoo. It’s a very big thing when someone trusts you to tattoo their face! I take it seriously. That’s why my approach to microblading is to simply enhance the brows they already have. When my clients come into my studio, the first thing I do is ask what their brow goals are. We have a conversation before I proceed to mapping out the perfect eyebrow shape for them. I am all about making the brow shaping process a collaborative one, so you will always see me asking my clients for approval and their thoughts on the shape. When you look at my Google reviews, you’ll see just about every client saying “Wilhemina was very thorough in explaining the process to me” and that could not be any more true. I think it comes from my time in corporate America, but I love making sure my clients know what’s going on throughout the appointment. Something as simple as letting them know “hey I’ll be using a brand new blade on you today” goes such a long way. It builds their trust me. And it’s one of the reasons why they all feel so comfortable coming back to me again for their second session. Well, that and my amazing Sade and R&B playlist. 

I also offer Masterclass training in microblading. I felt it was important for me to offer this because there were a lot of things I was taught in the very beginning that weren’t necessarily good for the skin or integrity of the eyebrows. Once I learned proper technique, theory, and skills, I knew I needed to start sharing it. There isn’t a high barrier to entry in this industry right now and so you really need skilled and informed instructors teaching correct techniques to minimize a lot of the mishaps that have been associated with microblading. It’s amazing and almost surreal to see the progress of my students because I never thought I would be here doing this, but here I am and I wouldn’t trade any minute of it. When you’re running a business, it’s hard to stop and take a look around at everything you’ve accomplished but I can honestly say I’m proud of how far I’ve come. The goal is to always be learning and improving and so the next step for me is definitely taking the Masterclasses to other cities in California and possibly out of state one day. I’m excited for everything to come.

What do you like and dislike about the city?
I moved here during the pandemic so I got spoiled when it came to traffic! Now that the restrictions are lifted, boy was everyone correct about LA traffic. It took an hour to get to work the other day when it usually takes 20 minutes! Despite that, LA is a very diverse city. I’ve become obsessed with Indian food since I moved here. My favorite place is Indian Masala house in the Valley. They make the best nan and you can find me ordering from here at least once, if not 4 times a week. Outside of the traffic, I love how diverse the people of this city are. Everyone isn’t doing the typical corporate job. One of my clients is a ballistics expert for LAPD. Another is the owner of a seven eleven. I have several music artists, probation officers and teachers under me as clients! The list goes on but the one thing that connects them all is the convenience that microblading provides. It doesn’t matter what you do, if you have eyebrows, then microblading is for you. And this city gives me the opportunity to give people eyebrows they can feel comfortable in all the time.

Pricing:

  • Microblading Appointment: $500
  • Microblading Masterclass Training: $990

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photos by Dopamin Media, Andrew Clark and Teresa McCullough Editing by Wilhemina Samson

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