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

Hi Dai, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University for undergrad. I enrolled as a Pre-History Education student; I wanted to teach 11th and 12th grade Geography, then go on to be a high school principal. I have a passion for teaching and learning, but it took me a minute to be realize that the classroom is not the only place one can learn. I was a sheltered child.. school, home, and church were basically the only places i went.

During my first year of college, my mom supported me financially. That came to an unexpected end about three weeks into my sophomore year; she told me that I would have to find a job. I remember telling her, “Don’t worry about it, I will figure it out.” Finding a job was not as easy as I thought it would be for me. Part time wages were trash and I was a full-time student. So, I decided that instead of getting a job, I would live off of my refund checks, They were enough for me to pay my rent for 6 months at a time. After my refund check hit and i paid my rent, I realized i had a spending problem and didn’t really know how to save so I still needed additional income,

I was laying in bed one night and my cousin called me. Someone she knew needed their makeup done, it was her birthday and she was in town to celebrate. I was eager to accept and I did. I sent over all the details she would need and began to put together my set up, I was working from my bedroom in a student housing complex. I had practiced makeup all the time on myself and my friends for fun, but this would be my first paid client.

After her appointment was complete, I took the payment and I walked her to the door. I remember walking back to my room thinking, “Whoa! I just got paid to do someone’s makeup?!” And then it hit me, this is my additional income!!! I started to practice everyday and post my work all the time in the campus group chats. The more I would post, the more people came to get their makeup done. During this time, I didn’t consider it a business. I didn’t know anything about starting owning, or operating a business. I was just hustling to have money to eat, shop, and put gas in my car.

In January 2017, I saw a girl from the next city over post a flyer in our group chats, she was advertising her services for an upcoming party and I thought, “Hold on… I need to step my game up.” After finding her Instagram account and stalking her page, I learned that she worked with a photographer who took the pictures for her flyers. I couldn’t afford a photographer so I planned my own Valentine’s Day themed photoshoot to have pictures for a flyer I was attempting to make myself. Right here is where I learned what is means to advertise and market yourself.

In February 2017, I came across a post on social media that compared the difference between a hustler and an entrepreneur. It said something along the lines of “hustlers mostly do it for the money and entrepreneurs organize and operate (a) business(es). An entrepreneur can be a hustler, but a hustler is not an entrepreneur.” It was in that moment where i decided that I wanted a professional business. I wanted to be an entrepreneur! I did a lot of research on being an entrepreneur and starting a business. The first thing i did was register as a DBA with the State of Florida and it was up from there.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Dai Picasso Beauty Connoisseur is a beauty makeup artistry business in Houston, Texas. Dai Picasso is skilled in all skin tones and skin types and offers makeup services for all special occasions, such as, birthdays, photoshoots, and more. We offer 1on1 and group masterclasses, male grooming, bridal services and skincare tips with every service. I’m excited to say that I will be exploring more of my artistic side with editorial makeup in the near future.

What sets me apart is that I’m versatile without trying. I use the exact same techniques on all of my clients and models and they never come out the same. I use to beat myself up about it, not understanding how I was doing the same thing over and over again but consistently getting different results. Then I realized, that’s my sauce. Every canvas is different in its own unique way, so my brush isn’t going to always stroke the same. Either way, the results are fire so I put my focus there and celebrated that.

I had to learn business from ground zero and I taught it to myself. It was not easy, but it’s definitely worth it. There’s been plenty of times that I put makeup on the shelf, but somehow i always find myself picking it back up. There were many nights I stayed up all night trying to edit my own graphics, learning marketing, and how to cater to my clients in the most professional ways. There are plenty of cases where I was missing something vital and didn’t know until during an event or client. I found myself going back to the drawing board often and playing catch in a lot of areas, contracts being the biggest. In the beginning, I was always negotiating my pricing just to get someone in my chair so i could have a look advertise. Overtime, I grew tired of dealing with inconsiderate clients and overworking myself for pennies. I had to learn how to put policies and procedures in place and stand firm on them. I use to be afraid that standing up for me, my business, my prices, policies and procedures would hurt my business and my clientele would decline, instead of grow. I lost clients for sure, but for every client i lost, I gained two more. It was extremely refreshing to go home at the end of the day and not be beating myself up for selling myself short and dealing with non-sense.

I want the world to know that I did it, I do it, and so can you. I wasn’t made overnight. I am a real person and Ive faced many setbacks. I understand what it means to be first generation and the trials that come with it. I understand what it means to be doubted, what it looks like to doubt yourself. But I also understand what it means to stare adversity and the naysayers in the face and say “Fuck you! I’m doing this no matter how hard it gets and I’m going to kill it with grace!” .Makeup isn’t a just a hobby anymore, I have a real passion for my art and I’m blessed to be able to turn it into a paycheck. I’m here to slay the stay! If your ready to slay with me, book your appointment today at https://daipicasso.as.me!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my bestfriend was visiting, we’d eat at Taste Kitchen and Bar. They have the best oxtails and grits. Then, we’d slide to Prospect Park or Kamp Houston for Sunday Funday.

On Monday and Wednesday, I’m taking him to Benefit Training gym to catch a killer Hip Hop Aerobics and Boxing class. If we decided to workout outside, then I’d take him to Arthur Storey Park, The Buffalo Bayou, or Memorial Park.

We’re going to Gloria’s for lunch on Tuesday because their bean dip is out of this world and the food is bomb.

The Texas shaped lazy pool is so nice for relaxing and has an amazing view.

For drinks and a good time, we’d bar hop near in the Montrose area.

My favorite museums are Seismique and The Color Factory. So, if we don’t visit both, we’re going to one of them for sure.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to myself, my mother, my bestfriend, and God.

To me:
Shodai, you are an amazing young lady. You wear the hats to so many things and sometimes I think its impossible for someone to be so talented, then i see you in the mirror and I’m reminded, I’m possible, because unicorns do exist! It’s been a long, difficult, and tough journey for you, but I am still so proud of you, girl. Despite everything, you always manage to get back up and mend the pieces. You are golden. You are my superstar, let your light shine bright. I wouldn’t ever want to be anyone besides you.

To my mom:
Mommy, you mean the world to me, you are my rock. When I first began to pursue a career as a makeup artist, you were not hearing it, lol. I honestly believe I get my strength from watching you always have to be so strong when people doubted you and it’s how I was able to keep going even though you didn’t believe.. I know that it wasn’t me that you didn’t believe in but it the fact that you had never seen it done before. I’m so happy to have your unwavering love and support now. I promise to always stand up for myself and what I believe in and to make you proud.

To my bestfriend:
Edwin.. *laughs out loud* You are a real one. You know how far we go back, you understand what it feels like to come from where we started. You never let me forget how dope I am, even when I’m doubting myself. Thank you for being a listening ear, a cheerleader, and a real friend!

To God:
Hey Skydaddy! Lol. God thank you for keeping my wrapped in your arms. Thank you for the wisdom and being my strength to hold on during my darkest days! Thank you allowing my guardian angels to always walk with me, and for protecting me. Thank you for never leaving me. I love you and I appreciate you so much!

Website: https://daipicasso.as.me

Instagram: @daipicasso

Facebook: Dai Picasso

Image Credits
Shodai Williams

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