Today we’d like to introduce you to Ardajah Jones.
Hi Ardajah, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I started my journey in middle school when I went to an open house at my soon-to-be high school North Point. North Point was a unique school that offered a variety of vocational, science, and technology programs. At the open house, middle schoolers from the whole county were invited to tour each of the individual programs.
I immediately walked into the cosmetology lab and was enamored by all of the doll heads, hair tools, and mirrors. As I listened to the instructors and students speak about the program I know I wanted to apply. I was always really obsessed with beauty content on youtube, specifically makeup. I would always follow tutorials on different makeup looks and try the craziest looks I could.
I was the girl in middle school with blue eyeshadow all the way up to her eyebrow. I thought the cosmetology program would help me get better at makeup and I also just thought it would be fun. After being admitted to the program and learning about all of the different avenues the license covered I actually fell in love with doing hair as well.
I passed my state board cosmetology exam in April of 2015 and officially became a licensed cosmetologist at the age of 18. Soon after graduating, I got my first job as a stylist at Hair Cuttery. During the time, I worked at Hair Cuttery, I was also a full-time student at Towson University. I had amassed a pretty decent clientele while working for the Hair Cuttery and started doing a lot of freelance makeup work on my own so, I started seriously considering this as a possible long-term career.
I graduated from Towson with a degree in Mass Communication in the spring of 2019. After a ton of soul searching, I realized beauty was my passion and made me extremely happy. I started a new job at Bubbles Hair Salon got a part-time job at Sephora and freelanced doing makeup. Through these jobs, I was able to build up a completely new clientele in the Anne Arundel County area.
When the pandemic hit, I was without any job and struggled with the idea of maybe I made the wrong career choice. Everything was different after the pandemic and there was a lot of time to reflect on what I really wanted to do with my life.
When everything started to open back up and I went back to work, I felt like I needed to be doing something bigger with my life. I was no longer feeling fulfilled working for someone else so, I quit both of my jobs and opened up a business for myself, AMJ Allure Studio.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road has not always been smooth. Being a new business owner I am still learning and making mistakes, but I have the most amazing support team and network of people that want to see me succeed.
This will be my third time packing up to a new area and hoping my clients follow me. The transition from being a worker bee to being your own boss has had its challenges, but I tend to view these challenges as adjustments.
I had to adjust to being my own accountant, receptionist, human resources, and marketing team.
We’ve been impressed with AMJ Allure Studio, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a professional hair and makeup artist with over 8 years of experience. I opened in March of 2022 and I specialize in coloring hair, hair cutting, and styling natural hair.
I am known for my gorgeous silk presses and intricate makeup looks. What sets me apart is my attention to detail in everything I do. My clients appreciate the extra care and time I put into any of their services. I pride myself on maintaining the health of my client’s hair while also educating them on proper hair care.
I will go above and beyond to make sure my clients leave my chair feeling a little more confident, beautiful or happier than when they came in. I want people to know that the services I offer and the products I use are of the utmost quality and that I am a forever student always perfecting my craft more and more every day.
What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
The beauty industry is always pivoting in new directions and I love that. I love seeing people who have been in the industry for 20-plus years adapting to social media as it is now key to success in our industry.
Before, word of mouth was a stylist and makeup artist’s best friend, and now it’s your Instagram profile. In the future, I see fewer people working in traditional salon settings and more people going into business for themselves. I see more artists finding new and innovative ways to make money besides simply working on clients.
I see more hair brands and makeup brands being created by actual artists. I see growth in digital content creation as a means to promote business and creativity.