The inspiring journey of St. Vincent’s top cosmetologist

In her earlier years, Auldine Brown wanted to become a nutritionist.
Today, however, Auldine is a renowned cosmetologist in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who has won several awards in her field and who has trained over 1,000 females.

In December 2020, Audline celebrated 20 years in the cosmetology industry with four of those doing professional makeup and even launching her makeup line.

But how did her dream switch from catering to nutritional needs to beauty?

It all began in the 1990’s.

“At first, I wasn’t quite aware that this was really my God-given gift. It wasn’t a career objective for me because I wanted to be a nutritionist. But then it just so happened that I was practicing it at home, then I decided if I am going to practice it at home, might as well I learn what is correct so I can give my friends and whoever I was dealing with my best,” Auldine told One News SVG in a recent interview.

Auldine said she did some training in St. Vincent then the opportunity came for her to open a salon which had equipment and clients (it was then the Barnett’s Fair Hair Fashion in Arnos Vale). Then in 2016, she rebranded to Auldine’s.

“So, after I got into it, I realized okay, this is really my calling, so I need to make the best of it, I need to educate myself as much as possible, so I got myself involved in lots of different training, then different institutions like the Marion House or the government’s Youth Skills Training Program and Adult Education. That’s how I actually got into the training of young ladies,” Auldine told One News SVG.

The trained cosmetologist does cosmetology assessing and is an internal verifier with the Ministry of Education.

Auldine is one of 7 entrepreneurs being featured by Ignite Consulting, in association with Specs Visuals and One News SVG this year for International Women’s Day.

She said that some of her high moments so far include working as a consultant in Trinidad between 2007 and 2009, having a beauty column in the local Searchlight Newspaper that ran for a few years – The beauty beat; being a local hair technician with an international company – Alberto Culver – where she represented the Motion line of products and winning the Best of SVG award twice for her field.

For the Motion line of products, she said “I was responsible for ensuring that the salons here used the product correctly, organizing seminars among the salons, workshops, etcetera”.
She also won a Trailblazer award in Barbados through the International Institute of Trichology situated in Alabama, the USA where she started her degree program to specialize in hair and scalp diseases or problems.
One of the most successful moments she says was launching her makeup line – a move that was fueled by passion and fate.

Auldine posing with her makeup product – Auldine’s

“I’ve always had the love for makeup. I’ve always been dabbling in make up since in school. I decided to get some formal training in Trinidad and Tobago, that was in 2003. So, I did my beginner’s course then I went up to doing my advanced. Then I did other courses when I was working with a company that would send trainees to the US every 6-months to do training,” Auldine said.

“After leaving Trinidad in 2009, because my husband was ill, so I had to come back home and take care of him. A lot of persons kept asking me to suggest make-up for them to wear, so I kept suggesting them to other brands. So, I said you know what, why don’t I have my brand,” she added.

The entrepreneur said she did research and met with manufacturers in the US to decide on a design a name to brand her full line of makeup ranging from foundations to lip colours.

For Audline, training has been center state in her rise in the industry.

“For me, what brings me most joy is the ability to pass on information to others,” she said, referring to training other young ladies to help uplift themselves.

Auldine taking care of a client.

She said that from 2001 when she started training, to now, she has trained quite a few persons in the field. Quite a few have migrated and are practicing abroad, she said, while about 4 or 5 have their own businesses.

“I feel proud of them. More so, I feel proud of them because it makes me realize that my whole objective behind the training has been fulfilled and I like to see that people take information and build on it. They didn’t just take what I taught them, but they decided to build on it and improve themselves, something for which I always advocate; don’t just settle for what you are taught always try to do your own research and try to educate yourself,” she said.

Though Auldine has experienced huge successes, she has also faced several difficulties to the point of almost quitting.

“There was a time I was planning on closing up and migrating,” the entrepreneur said.

“When I was living in Trinidad, the way people look at the beauty industry is different than here. There, I would have been like well sought after. Here, it is the same to some extent, but there is less value placed on the beauty industry,” she added.

A defining moment in that tough period for her business, however, was the launching of her makeup line which brought back some life into her business. She said she also used the services of a marketing person to help improving things.

Another of her challenges was the COVID-19 pandemic which she said she prepared mentally for.

“Patronage has fallen drastically. We operate by appointment only because we have to limit the amount of persons that can be in the salon at one time,” she said.

She said that though revenue has fallen, there is a good side where client management is concerned.

“This business is not an essential business the beauty business is always deemed as a luxury business that no one has to beautify. It forces you to be more creative to get the message across that it is still necessary for you to still want to take care of yourself in a time like this – it is going to add to your mental wellness- because when you look good, you actually feel good,” she said.

She said the beauty industry can empower women in two ways.

“If you are a student, it gives you independence because you can create employment for yourself and for others. As a client, it gives you the confidence because I am in this business and I’ve seen people walk through the doors and they are feeling down and they use the salon to kinda lift their spirit,” she said.

“It also gives me confidence because there are so many times I would look at a hairstyle that I did and I was like: I did that? I cant believe I really did that” – she said.

Auldine wants females considering the industry to know that passion and training are important.
“Passion is the key to making it in this industry. Yes, you have to be skilled and trained and have some natural skills, but what passion does is that it allows you to look at something and say “I can’t send this out of my shop because this is not my best. I can do better than that. Passion will allow you to do your best, put your best in and send out your best . Passion is the key for you to be successful in this business,” she said.

Auldine hopes to continue to grow in the industry and train more females.

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