‘I was ready to lose it all’: Baton Rouge entrepreneur beats odds of pandemic

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Back in January, Baton Rouge makeup artist, MakeupbyJess, was fighting to keep her business afloat. 

She lost thousands of dollars after the pandemic shut down big events like weddings and proms.

“I literally refunded 30 thousand dollars in one night, I never saw that much money come out of my bank account,” Haynes said.

Nearly a year later, Haynes got creative and found a way to do makeup despite hundreds of canceled appointments.

“I hopped on Zoom started doing viral classes. The first class we did, it sold out in 12 minutes,” she said.

She started offering virtual makeup lessons. Using this tactic her following grew in thousands. Her classes are now global.

“I’m teaching classes to students all over the world, in different countries, in completely different time zones,” Haynes said. “My very first class was ‘Brows That Wow’. We all had masks on, nobody was wearing foundation and lipstick, but everyone was doing brows.”

Haynes said her business is more successful than ever. She was even recognized by Disney+, allowing her to do work her magic on celebrity faces.

Once COVID-19 restrictions began to ease off, Haynes realized she lost clients and is still feeling the effects of the pandemic.

“It’s been hard to find makeup. A lot of stores have been sold out of products,” she said.

According to a study by the Federal Reserve, around 80 thousand small businesses were forced close during the first year of the pandemic. Hayes said she refused to have her business be just another statistic.   

“I was burnt out. But during that pandemic I was able to get myself refuel and refresh and come back with a brand new set of inspiration and set of eyes,” Haynes said.

The MUA is taking her talent to Atlanta where she got an offer to do makeup for a popular TV show.

Haynes will continue teaching makeup online. Those interested in a class can visit here.

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