We had the good fortune of connecting with Eliane (Lily) Adebiyi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eliane (Lily), what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my own business for several reasons but two of them were most important to me! 1-I wanted to service clients in an environment that was more suitable for them. I was working in a hair salon where my clients lacked privacy and so, by owning my own business I thought I could give them that privacy while servicing them.
2-I wanted to be in control of my own schedule and make my own rules.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started braiding when I was about 7 years old back home in my native country of Cameroon. My passion for hair made me stand out among my peers as I would braid little kids’ hair in the neighborhood until I came in the US (Maryland) as a teen. I continued doing hair for my fellow classmates in high school and eventually went to beauty College and graduated to become a cosmetologist. I later opened my own hair salon. My passion for transforming women with their appearance, allowed me to also witness a transformation on how they felt on the inside. Hence, this gave me the idea of publishing a magazine that would both highlight a woman’s beauty from the inside out. Hair Elegance magazine was born then, was later renamed “Lady Elegance Magazine” and due to lack of financial sustainability, the magazine only lasted one year. I continued to do hair including makeup artistry. I started traveling and servicing clients in the entertainment industry and was crowned “Makeup Artist of the year 2009” on the stage of the Golden Scissors Awards held each year at the Washington convention center. Unfortunately, I went through a rough divorce in 2014 which took a toll on me but I never wavered when it came to my business. In the mist, I also gather the courage to go back to school in the attempt of obtaining a business degree while carrying for four daughters as a single mother. My ex husband moved to Texas and remarried. As we shared the kids, the distance and the traveling back and forth took a toll on them and 2 years ago I made the decision to move to Texas so that the girls can be closer to their dad. I had to close my shop in Maryland but I still travel once a month to go service a few clients there for a week and the rest of the month I have been servicing my Houston family/clientele. I believe that God allows things to happen for a reason! I love it here in Houston, Texas and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to do what I love which is “to enhance women’s beauty” one client at the time! The money may be great but the smile that I put on their faces is priceless and that is where lies my happiness. Due to the pandemic last year I started servicing clients from my home as well as traveling to theirs.
Ps: It took me 7 years but last year I finally graduated with my degree in business marketing from the University of Maryland while grieving the loss of one of our daughters.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since I am fairly new to Houston myself, I would say that I would take them to the Galleria mall for some shopping and to visit the Water Wall, then go to Galveston beach which is my late daughter’s favorite place to be. I would also take her to one my favorite seafood spot called captain crawfish. I really like the way they prepare the food and I live their hospitality. I also love Raffi by the water by West lake Houston. It’s a restaurant and bar the love the atmosphere and the vibe.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My children (All girls four of the) are a big contribution to my success as I have used them as models to practice new styles and they never wavered since they were babies lol
Other: Tiktok @theessenceoflilysalon