We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal Carter and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Crystal, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started Make It Pretty Today as a direct impact from the pandemic. While I have a full-time career in healthcare management, I was initially sent home to work remotely like a lot of others in corporate America. Entrepreneurship was never my plan, but God has a sense of humor. While home, I found myself in a dark place of solitude. I missed my colleagues as well as my team. While grateful to still have my career, I still yearned for interaction other than the computer screen filled with zoom meetings. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I looked around the house and found joy in my surroundings. From my love of cooking, I created Make It Pretty Cooking, where I hold cooking workshops both virtually and now in person.

I also have a passion for giving back. After recognizing a need in the community, I created Make It Pretty Mobile Nails & Concierge, a mobile nail salon. This facet fills a gap for those who may not feel comfortable with going into the salons, but desire to maintain a healthy self-care regimen. This also created jobs for many nail technicians who found themselves out of work.

Lastly, I have a love for home decor! Instead of me complaining about working from home, I focused on decorating our new home, which fed my passion to create the Make It Pretty Home firm. In this facet, we curate luxe home decor, whether someone is decorating their space for a special event, their daily lifestyle, or even seasonal holiday decor!

What should our readers know about your business?

I think initially people may be under the impression that Make It Pretty Today is simply about making things beautiful aesthetically, but the name has a deeper meaning to me. Make It Pretty is my personal story of how I found the pretty throughout this ugly curveball that life has thrown all of us.

What sets us apart from others is the brand inspiration and core values from each branch of the brand. I think so many people have experienced heartache and stressors throughout the pandemic, and while there have been many business ventures created, we focus on not just the financial gain, but on our clients and helping them tap into those stressors and create ways to mitigate them. For example, our Make It Pretty Cooking class reignites the excitement in cooking and also teaches our clients how cooking can be a therapeutic process instead of a chore. We teach in-person and virtual cooking classes, with our most popular workshops focusing on creating charcuterie boards. For some reason, people absolutely love charcuterie. Our workshops are offered for both personal and corporate events, and naturally bring people together.

Our mobile nail salon has been one of my favorite ventures! I have been able to create jobs in an industry that is rare to have African American women as an owner. To see our team grow from just me to include a team of professional technicians gives me so much gratification. We also work a lot with children and bridal parties. When I thought of this branch, I thought of people like my late grandmother who enjoyed getting glammed up, but the nail salon in a COVID environment may not be the safest place for our elders, so I wanted to bring that luxury experience to the safe haven of their homes. It’s been a lot of fun seeing this baby grow.

Lastly, our home decor branch is just flourishing! While still in its infantry phase, we are moving faster than I could have ever imagined! We launched just before Christmas, and it was a blast working with clients who wanted the Make It Pretty touch in their homes!

How did I get where I am today business-wise? So, even though I have a degree in business management, I never envisioned being a business owner. The pandemic allowed me to tap into hidden, talents and run with them. I wanted to do things at a slower pace, but with the support and gentle nudging of so many people in my corner, I’ve been running full speed.

Was it easy? Absolutely not, but I try not to focus on the hardships, rather the vision and the goal. My husband, Sterling made a joke recently about me starting my own business. He said I’ve never seen someone say they are going to create three businesses, and in less than a year, they are all up and running!  When faced with challenges, which there have been many, I lean on those who may know more than me. I learned a long time ago that egos don’t maintain good relationships. I place people on the frontlines who know more than me and I let them fly, while I take notes. There is always something that a business owner can learn from their team. I also do a lot of research. When I don’t know something, I’ll take a course, or figure it out the best way possible.

What do I want the world to know about me or my brand? Make It Pretty Today is a direct reflection of how one can turn a negative into a positive. There will always be setbacks, challenges, and obstacles we have to face. I’ve personally cried and even complained from time to time. But the most important lesson is how to turn the situation around and find your pretty!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

Oh wow, I love when my friends come to visit! My friends travel in a group, and when one finds out the other is coming they all book a flight!

Monday – Everyone knows I love to cook, so we’d relax at our home, and I’d cook a fabulous meal, and spend time catching up over a decadent dessert, and a nice bottle of wine!

Tuesday – We’d grab some great Texas BBQ for lunch from Gatlin’s BBQ!

Wednesday – Houston has some amazing shopping, so River Oaks and the Galleria is a must-do. Lunch at Willie G’s or another cute outdoor area to enjoy the nice weather.

Thursday – I’d schedule this as our spa day. The spas in Houston get pretty packed during the weekend, so this would be a great day to avoid the crowds. We’d head to Trellis at the Houstonian. Their updated space with outdoor pool area is always relaxing. Next, grab a nice dinner that night at Eunice restaurant. I love their ambiance and customer service.

Friday – Hang out poolside at the house during the day, and since I’m a Louisiana girl, I’d take them to the Boil House in the heights for some of the best crawfish in Houston! Most of my girls are from the East coast so I think they would enjoy the seafood.

Saturday – High tea in the afternoon at St. Regis because we love to get dolled up. And depending on the season, we’d catch either a Rockets or a Texans’ game that night.

Sunday – It wouldn’t be a weekend at the Carters if my guests didn’t wake up to a Sunday morning breakfast prepared by me. We’d dine outside in the courtyard while preparing for our guests to depart. A departing Make It Pretty signature mimosa bar is a must-do!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m extremely grateful for our son, Garry. He motivates me to be better each day. Parenting has taught me so many things about myself and how to gracefully handle anything that comes my way. Your children open your eyes to view things from a different lens. I’d also like to shout out my husband, Sterling. As a serial entrepreneur, he’s absolutely rubbed off on me. I love his tenacity and drive! Hands down the most driven person I’ve met.

Website: www.makeitprettytoday.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/makeitprettycooking/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/makeitprettycooking

Other: https://www.instagram.com/makeitprettyhome/ https://www.instagram.com/makeitprettynails/ https://www.instagram.com/makeitprettytoday/ https://www.facebook.com/MakeItPrettyHome https://www.facebook.com/makeitprettynails https://www.facebook.com/makeitprettytoday

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