October is National Women’s Small Business Month, where you can celebrate and support women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. This month is the perfect time to discover and support women-owned businesses, whether local or online. But the support doesn’t have to stop in October. We have many women-owned businesses on StyleSeat that can take care of your beauty and grooming needs for your next look. We’re highlighting two of our StyleSeat Pros as they shared their stories navigating the beauty industry, entrepreneurship, and how the beauty industry can support women-owned businesses.

Meet Jessica

Jessica Morse Rutamu is a StyleSeat hairstylist located in Portland, Maine. She is the owner of Balayage Portland. She is NYC Bumble and Bumble trained, specializes in balayage, and has been a StyleSeat Pro since 2015.

What inspired you to start your business and work in the beauty industry?

I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and was basically unemployable without getting my master’s degree. I knew I loved the human component of counseling and could also get that through client interaction in a salon with far less debt. After working in a commission salon for five years, I decided I wanted more creative control and a bigger piece of the pie. That’s when I went into business for myself.

What is your proudest achievement as an entrepreneur?

I opened my salon a year before the government shutdown. My most proud achievement is surviving the pandemic, followed by an incredibly divisive election while being very transparent with our company’s values. The emotional and monetary hits were hard, but they built resiliency and most importantly, trust with our clients.

How can the beauty industry support women-owned small businesses?

The beauty industry can support small-owned businesses by choosing women first! Men tend to get preferential treatment in male-dominated arenas. It’s time for women to get behind women in other spaces. The beauty industry needs to mention women first in a room full of opportunity. 

What is your favorite StyleSeat feature, and why? 

I have been using StyleSeat since 2016, when I began working for myself. My absolute favorite feature is the last-minute cancellation notifications it sends my clients! It prevents me from losing revenue and always having to post cancellations on my socials.

How has StyleSeat impacted your life as an entrepreneur and business owner?

When I left my big commission salon to work for myself, the biggest barrier to entry was the cost of booking software that most salons used at that time. StyleSeat was a huge disruptor for our industry because it gave scheduling and online booking access to startups who otherwise could not afford it. Not only that, it sent appointment reminders which saved me from hiring a receptionist or giving up my own time. 

What do you want your legacy to be?

When all is said and done and I’m hanging up my color apron for the last time, I want to be remembered for putting people before profit, being transparent in my values, and being grateful for the people who paved the way. I wouldn’t be here without the opportunities many others provided me. Hopefully I can pay it forward and do the same on some level for the next generation.

Meet Marissa

Marissa Mujica is a StyleSeat brow artist located in Artesia, CA. With over nine years of experience, she specializes in full-body waxing, brow lamination, and lash lifts. She is a five-star StyleSeat Pro with over 1,000 reviews. 

What inspired you to start your business and work in the beauty industry?

I wanted to work in the beauty industry since I was a teenager. I wanted to do everyone’s and anyone’s makeup for any occasion. Then I enrolled in beauty school to be an esthetician, that’s where I found my love for skincare. I felt like beauty school allowed me to let my creativity flow but still helped me learn more about what else this industry had to offer. My inspiration to start my own business was the encouragement I received from my clients and my family. I saw how much effort and time I put into my 9-5 job working at Ulta, and I thought, “What if I put this much effort into my own business and invest in myself?”. I’ve been reaping the benefits ever since. 

What is your proudest achievement as an entrepreneur?

My proudest achievement thus far has been keeping my business for eight years and making it through the pandemic. Happy to still be going strong.

How can the beauty industry support women-owned small businesses?

I definitely haven’t given this as much thought as I think we all should. But off the top of my head, I think creating a foundation/organization that helps women with small businesses to pay for (ex. supplies, education/trainings, advertising, listing studios for rent, etc.) 

Possibly partnerships with bigger brands to help fund and support similar businesses and ideas.

What is your favorite StyleSeat feature, and why? 

It’s an online booking site, so I don’t have to answer all these text messages and all these different phone calls. It’s just done for me, which is very nice, going from booking appointments in a book and writing with pencil and pen and having to erase or use whiteout and doing that constantly. It just kind of disappeared because I don’t have to do that anymore at all.

How has StyleSeat impacted your life as an entrepreneur and business owner?

StyleSeat has impacted my life in the best way. I was “old school” and used pencil and paper when booking clients. I was overloaded with text messages and phone calls that I was constantly on my phone, even while trying to spend quality time with my loved ones. StyleSeat really did give me “my time” back by allowing clients to book online. I no longer need to be on my phone as much.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want my legacy to be more than just making someone look pretty, I want my client to feel pretty, strong, and brave, for them to know that my studio is a safe place for them to be themselves and for me to just be me. 

Discover women-owned beauty and grooming businesses and entrepreneurs on StyleSeat.