ASHBURN — The desire to spend more time with her daughter motivated Iesha Davis, 25, to leave her job and become an entrepreneur.
Davis was attending Southern Illinois University when she learned she was pregnant at 19. She finished her freshman year in Carbondale and came back home to Chicago, getting a job with T-Mobile.
“I was focused on having things for her, so went back to work,” the Ashburn resident said.
The young mother said she soon found out just how difficult it was raising a child while working full time for someone else.
“I do understand business, but I’m responsible for my daughter, so I had to do what I had to do,” she said. “Some of these jobs have lot of the mothers away too long and it makes us miss out on the important things.”
Davis said she had "to find a way for my world to stop feeling like it was going into shambles.”
With her daughter approaching 2 years old, "I had to pursue something else,” she said.
She had been doing hair since she was 12, so she enrolled at a Paul Mitchell beauty school while still working. Later on, Davis started bartending.
“I would only see my daughter like two or three hours a day,” she recalled.
When she finished hair school, she began working in a salon until she felt ready to branch out on her own.
Helped by a sympathetic property manager and a GoFundMe account that raised $4,000, Davis opened AVA Heart Hair Salon at 3643 W. 83rd Place. She’ll be celebrating the salon's one-year anniversary in June.
Davis wanted to do more than hair, though. Aiming to make the perfect lipstick, she began experimenting with different ingredients and colors.
“I got on YouTube, looked to see how I could do it," she said. "I invested in the products, but I wasted over $1,000 trying to learn.”
After six months, she finally developed “a good stick,” she said.
One of the things that sets her product apart, Davis said, is the tube: There’s a tiny mirror on the top with a button for a light so women can apply the lipstick even in darkly lit rooms.
Iesha Davis opened her hair salon June 2016 and created her lipstick line AVA. [Provided by Iesha Davis]
The lipsticks can be purchased in the hair salon.
Davis said that her journey hasn’t been easy, but she continued to work daily toward her goals. She said she wants to inspire other women, especially young single mothers.
“Life throws so many different tricks and trades at you,” she said. “A lot of time, when under pressure, you feel like you want to fold and stay closed in a shell, and you forget about the happiness you were supposed to receive for yourself. Having a kid does not hinder you from doing things you want for yourself.”
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