The Art of Beauty with April Patio
Today we’d like to introduce you to April Patio.
April P., let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
WOW, okay. I have always wanted to be in the beauty or fashion field, ever since I was young and in high school, thinking about what I wanted to do in life. Growing up in Augusta, that did not seem realistic or feasible if you wanted to be able to afford a house, have a family, etc. I opted out for being a Chemistry major when I started my undergrad because I could. I knew I could go to school, and become a Pharmacist and make a decent salary. At this time, I began working at a local Hilton hotel in my hometown, and within a year and a half, I was offered an interim position as the Front Office Manager. I accepted, and it was only supposed to be for 3-6 months. It ended up becoming permanent, and I was offered the position at the end of the interim term. I accepted, and dropped out of college about a year later due to the demands of the position as a 24-hour business. So, three years into my undergrad (in which I had switched my major over to Business Management after being promoted), and I dropped out to pursue my career with Hilton full time. Throughout all of this, I had been dating my fiancé, soon-to-be husband, for 3 years now, and our third year together was when we found out we were expecting. We had our son in 2014, and I stayed with Hilton throughout my pregnancy and after. That year, we moved to North Carolina, relocating (perks of being a military family), and I transferred properties. This is when I began to feel like this job was not something that made me happy to wake up to. I could do it, sure. It paid the bills, sure. But I was no longer happy. Was it becoming to repetitive? Was it too boring? Was I becoming tired of the phone calls and texts at different times of the day when I was trying to spend time with my newborn son? I began to feel like this was not a job I wanted to be doing for the next 20 years, and even though I felt this way, a part of me would always brush it to the side. I thought "You have a good career. You are able to take care of your family. You make a decent income. You aren't struggling. You could do this job anywhere that you wanted."
Fast forward to my move to Jacksonville, in August 2015. I was still working for Hilton, but I had even begun a part time job working for MAC. When I moved to Jacksonville, I knew it wasn't in my heart to work for Hilton and I had always wanted to do makeup, so I went to every MAC location and got applications, and was hired with the company by October 2015. It wasn't until 2016, when I really felt like I wanted a break from working with Hilton (or just in operations, in general) and doing something else that fueled me. This was the year that my son was diagnosed with Autism. I was a new mom, he was only two, we have never dealt with ANY type of disability within my family or my husband's. I did not know what it all meant, but I became overwhelmed COMPLETELY. All of a sudden, I was taking my son to so many therapy appointments a week, and then there were so many programs reaching out to get started with assisting him. He was pulled out of daycare and began going to an elementary school at 3 years old to fall under an IEP. I didn't even know what an IEP was! This was all so foreign to me, and I was honestly afraid. What kind of life would he live? What does this mean? How can I support him if I know nothing about this? How do I find the time to do all of this when the hotel business is taking over my life? I could not find a work/home balance, and it did not help that the industry I was in was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I would get off at 5PM, receive texts at 9PM/10PM, and phone calls at 2AM/4AM of an issue, etc. I felt like there was so much to do, and I did not know where to start. The best decision I ever made though was just taking THAT leap. I put in my notice with the company in March 2016. I decided to go back to school and finish my Bachelor's degree, since I was only at MAC part-time. And this was the start to my journey in Jacksonville.
Since 2016, I have been working for MAC and focusing on my degree. I have declined higher positions with MAC throughout my three and a half years with the company, at this point, due to not wanting anything to get in the way of completing my degree, but also I had begun to freelance a lot. I created April Patio MUA in June 2018. I loved it! I would never complain about getting up at 3AM to prep for a wedding out of town, or only getting two hours of sleep because I spent the night traveling to my wedding destination for a Saturday. I saw the demand, and I began to market my business, and I was so much more happy. The most important thing, that honestly still gets me teary eyed when I tell people, (and I am not an EMOTIONAL person), is I work a job that allows me to make my own schedule which is SO IMPORTANT for my son and his needs, and I still can make a living off of it. It is that reason alone that I always feel grateful when I think about April Patio MUA. It's not just that I love what I do, but what it does for my son. I can schedule my clients around his school time, his therapy appointments, parent support group meetings, etc. I could not do this with Hilton. I mean, I could, but I would miss staff meetings, I would feel like I was a burden on my staff for not being able to be there for meetings or other occasions. So now fast forward to the present timeline, April 2019, I will be officially getting my bachelor's degree at the end of the month, and my last day as a "permanent" artist with MAC is the first week of April. I will still be with the company, but only when I am available. I could work with them once a month, or not even, but April Patio MUA will be available to my clients ANYTIME now! Currently, I am not opposed to working full time somewhere else to learn or network even more. I believe in learning and growing, and moving on to do that. MAC has been my home for 3.5 years, and they assisted me a great deal in giving me the knowledge to confidently start my business, so now it's time to move on and GROW. I can't wait to see where I end up next!
Has it been a smooth road for you?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! So the year I started my business, 2018, was the same year I became physically a single mother. Kai's father had moved to Texas to pursue his own career goals, with my blessing, of course. :) I figured I decided to follow my dreams in 2016 when I quit Hilton, so he should do the same, too, if we could manage. At first, maybe a month or two after it was just me, I was thinking "What were you thinking April? You are about to go to school full time, work at MAC 20+ hours/week, manage everything with Kai his school and appointments, AND start your business all on your own with a three-year-old child?" Man, when I tell you all that my support system in Jacksonville is A REAL ONE!!!! My friends, who have become my family now, held it down for me HARD in 2018. I have NO family in Jacksonville. We relocated here as part of being a military family. So, my support system here are people that I have built close bonds and relationships with since moving here. I had friends coming over as early as 8AM to help with Kai when I had a meeting at school, but the closest hourly care didn't open until 10AM. They would come over as early as 7AM if I needed to for a wedding that I was booked to do and needed an 8AM call time, or if I had to open the store at MAC. Another struggle was knowing where to begin. How do I begin pricing? How do I build my kit? All of these questions. Thankfully, I had a good support system within the MAC community in Jacksonville to give me pointers and answer SOME questions, and some I just had to learn through trial and error.
Please tell us about your WERK:
April Patio MUA is here to make makeup as simple or as detailed as you want it. I want to make sure you feel beautiful, confident, and happy for your special event, engagement, or for an everyday occasion. I do not only offer day-of services, but I am here for the girl that wants to learn how to apply an everyday look for herself. I am here for someone that needs assistance when shopping for makeup. I am proud of the growth and support within my company. When I decided to pursue my business, I never thought I would be able to just make income off of this business and no where else. I just didn't know the demand in Jacksonville would be as big as it is, but with the support and networking with others here, I have been giving the opportunity to work on April Patio MUA full time until I find my next adventure or grow the company into something even bigger. ;)
Please share any words of wisdom sister to sister.
If I had to start over, I would not have waited so long to pursue something I was so afraid of pursuing because there wasn't a for-sure guided path. And what I mean by that is, I could have went to school to become a pharmacist. There is a defined path for that. There isn't one for starting your own business, and becoming a makeup artist. I remember googling "How to become a makeup artist" when I was younger. I was so afraid because I didn't know where to start that I pursued what I did know for the first few years out of high school.
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