#womenwhoinspire: Andrayah Parker, Geometry Hair + Makeup Studio
I've known my dear friend, Andrayah, so long that I almost couldn't remember where we met! But alas, it came back to me. Many moons ago, when we were young, naive hair and makeup artists, Andrayah and I were working on a bridal styled shoot out in the middle of nowhere Durham, North Carolina. I don't remember much else from that day other than the fact that we hit it off, and she became one of my awesome hairstylists, co-artists, and good friends. In the past several years, I've watched Andrayah develop as a person, artist, and entrepeneur. She pours her heart and soul into everything she does, so I really hope you love her as much as I do. (And feast your eyes on all the pretty hair and makeup photos, too!)
J: As long as I’ve know you, you’ve been progressing steadily in your work as an artist. First, as a hairstylist, then makeup artist, and now adding photographer to the mix. What brought you to the hair industry? Was it something you’ve always wanted to do?
A: As a child I was always interested in hair and makeup. I’ve always loved the transformational aspect, both for the physical “wow” factor and the way it transforms people emotionally. I never thought of it as a career. Mainly because I was worried that my family would not approve. It was not until my first year of college that I realized that I was miserable living my life on other people’s terms. That’s when I decided that I wanted to be a cosmetologist and that I would be successful regardless of what anyone else thought.
J: You recently made a huge change in your career and opened your own salon, Geometry Hair + Makeup Studio. What brought you to that point of deciding it was time to go out on a limb and work for yourself?
A: I’ve been working in the beauty industry for nearly a decade now. I’ve been lucky enough to work for and along side some extremely talented people. I think every artist goes through periods of time where they question themselves. Question their choices. Question their worth. I had to reevaluate. I knew that standing behind the chair day in and day out would never lead to my happiness no matter how much money I made. My passion; my desire to create is fueled by having a variety of options within my career. For example, an ideal week for me consists of in-salon clients, teaching classes with my independent education company, and photoshoots or special events. I also wanted to be more involved in my community and travel. In order to do these things and to have the flexibility I so desperately yearned for, I had to take a leap of faith. Quite honestly one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.
J: With these new changes, what do you feel has been your biggest struggle professionally? How did (or are you) you endure it?
A: There’s a quote that really stuck with me by one of my favorite authors/motivational speakers, Tim Ferris, “A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” I have a tendency to lean on the introverted side. I can get super anxious. I overthink. I get awkward. I’d really prefer to just avoid confrontation all together, But if you want to be successful you can’t do that. You have to face things head on whether you’re scared or not. I just continue to remind myself of that anytime I’m procrastinating over a not so easy conversation.
J: This blog focuses primarily on inspiring and encouraging women. And I know for a fact, our hair is something we all struggle with. Do you have one or two pieces of advice you could give for healthier, happier hair?
A: *Steps up on soap box*
When your hairdresser is recommending take home maintenance products, they are not trying to swindle you! You pay the price you pay at the salon because you are paying for quality and expertise. We prescribe you specific products because we know your hair goals and what it takes to get you there and keep you there. You are also a walking billboard for us so we want you to have the proper products to recreate the look and protect your investment. Are salon products pricey? In general yes, but think about it this way: If a product is $40 and you use it for a minimum of 8 weeks, you’re spending less than 72 cents per day to have a good hair day. Basically what I’m saying is invest in good products. What’s the point of finding a great hairdresser if you don’t follow their recommendation?
J:The beauty industry is a non-stop source of inspiration and development. Where do you derive your ideas from usually?
A: I’m a big fan of mixing old an new. I really love the hairstyling from the 60’s and 70’s and I’m a huge Vidal Sassoon fan. I love looking through vintage Vogue. Quite honestly as cliche as it sounds I pull inspiration from everywhere. I see a flower and want to try a new color pattern. I see a plate of food and want to recreate a texture. I travel to a new city and have an idea for a photoshoot.
J: Is there a specific individual who has been monumental to your success? If so, who? And in what way?
A: I wouldn’t say there is one individual. I would say that I have been blessed with a network of supportive friends, family, and clients throughout the years and that has been the key to my success. I am so appreciative of all of the people God has brought in to my life, whether negative or positive because they have taught me to keep a tenacious pursuit of my dream.
J: We all have one book, blog, or podcast that we’d recommend to others as a “must” check out. What is that for you?
A: I love Evan Carmicheal’s Youtube channel. He interviews and researches successful people from around the world and creates easy to digest inspirational videos. Perfect to listen to when you’re getting ready in the morning for a positive start.
J: I find most people have a mantra or words that resonate with them. Do you have a motto you repeat to yourself daily?
A: I don’t have a consistent daily motto, but I should.
J: Do you have anything else you’d like to share with the readers and I?
A: Obviously my studio is my baby, but I am also very excited to start a new chapter as an educator with Skillpop. I have taught other stylists in the past as an educator for product lines, but this will be my first venture teaching the general public!