No two brow artists share the same journey, but after talking to so many artists, we’ve found that they share something in common besides a passion for making people look good. There’s always an element of risk-taking, leaving behind what’s familiar and facing the unknown. The risk differs in scale, but the courage required in moving forward is something every PMU artist can speak to. After all, there has to be that first procedure where you are tattooing a person’s face! Steph McFadden shares how she moved forward from the most stable job to venturing out on her own. Read more to find out!
Tell us about yourself! Your background, history & the nitty gritty of all things you!
I grew up in a small town 90 minutes north of Toronto, where I live now and where my studio is. I always had this dream of moving to the city and exploring the bigger world. At 18, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. My boyfriend and I at the time traveled toward Vancouver in a 1974 VW van. I lived in that van for months, which was very carefree. We traveled all the way out west and worked at an apple orchard for a while. We came home through the northern U.S. states.
I’ve had lots of different adventures, but when I came back to Ontario, the bank across the street offered me a job. It had good pay and benefits, so I took the job. I worked my way up in the bank and moved to Toronto in the financial district. I worked in banking for 18 years, I was a mortgage specialist, helping clients buy their first house. I loved my clients but I started to get really burnt out.
How did you first get into the beauty industry? The PMU Industry?
I was always looking for a way to get out of banking. This is probably my 5th registered business -- I was a barre instructor, yoga instructor, nutritional coach. My girlfriends and I went to a woodfire pizza place and my friend told me “You need to do microblading.” So I went home and googled microblading, and that’s literally how it started.
How was your training?
I did the lash extension and microblading courses back to back at an academy in Toronto. Lashes did not come easily to me. I got a deja vu the first day of microblading. I remember sitting there and getting this overwhelming feeling that you’re supposed to be here right now. I came back so excited. There might’ve been one other person doing it at the time. I got started in a room rental in a chiropractor’s office. I worked all day at the bank and at night I took lash clients. I practiced for 6 weeks before taking models of my own. I was all in.
How did you transition from banking to permanent makeup?
I started to pick up steam. The trust I had at the bank seemed to transfer into my new business. worked at the bank until January 2018. I was working nonstop, probably 70 hours a week. When I gave my notice at the bank, I cried. I had so much guilt.
Tell us about a risk you’ve taken in your business!
My studio for sure! I signed a commercial lease and spent a month renovating. It used to be a cab station with blue carpet and yellow ceiling tiles. There was a wall that blocked the waterfront view -- it was awful. But all I could see was I could make this space beautiful. It took a month of non-stop work but I opened the doors November 1st, 2018. And two years later, it’s still home.
Want to learn more? Catch the rest of our conversation with Steph on Real Good Chats.