Today we’d like to introduce you to Shalon Burruss.
Hi Shalon, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Shador Studio was established by two sisters who have a love for beauty. For years, Dior Davenport and Shalon Burruss were regular clients of some of the most popular lash spas in the Seattle metropolitan area. Dior and Shalon realized at one of their appointments how lucrative the beauty industry was. After both were laid off from their jobs on the same day, they realized it was a sign from God that something new was coming. That is when they both decided to return to school to become licensed estheticians. After graduating from an esthetic program in 2010, they received an advanced eyelash extension certification. Dior and Shalon then became certified in the art of body sugaring with Alexandria Professionals and received an eyebrow specialist certification from the Lash and Brow Academy. Thus became the birth of Shador.
Shador first opened at Saks on the 2nd Beauty salon in Renton, WA, and operated out of Saks for a year and a half. Shador’s services became so highly demanded that they needed to expand their space. In April 2015, Shador expanded its business and opened Shador School of Esthetics, a licensed post-secondary school where students could become estheticians. Shalon, who was a single mother, wanted to design a school that would allow single parents the opportunity to work and gain the education and skills needed to make a career change as an esthetician. Shalon, who also has 25+ years in the dental field and has a dual master’s degree in education, created a hybrid approach to esthetic education before the pandemic by incorporating her attention to proper infection control protocols, in person’s hands-on training, and the use of Cengage -MindTap via Schoology (an LMS Learning Management System) to allow this to be possible.
In 2018, a fire destroyed the school leaving the sisters fighting for two years to rebuild their business. Due to the struggles that come with trying to rebuild, along with the COVID pandemic, the school and business, unfortunately, had to close temporarily. During this closure, Shador took time to replan and revamp Shador Studio. Perfected manufactured developed online continuing education classes, magnetic eyelash strips, and a continued approach to building a hybrid learning environment. Today, Shador has a new location in Cary, North Carolina, soon in London, UK.
Shalon still resides in Washington State and North Carolina and spends time building her studio with her daughter Quiarra in Cary, NC. Dior currently is London UK branding and building Shador London.
Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Owning a business is never a smooth ride. It would help if you went through constant challenges to grow as an entrepreneur. There are so many regulatory agencies that are ready to punish businesses instead of showing them the support that is needed to be successful. Agencies that are supposed to be there to help you navigate your business do not provide support and leave business owners lost and having to struggle on their own. So many good business owners have made a bad decision simply for lack of knowledge but are punished by these agencies instead of assisting them.
Shador was really set back when the fire happened. We had insurance and were not found liable for the cause, which was great, but unfortunately caused the property owners to mistreat us. There was no one there to provide us with the emotional help and support we needed during that difficult time. This is why we are so passionate about helping other business owners who experience adversity in their business. We understand the mental turmoil and sense of failure they will go through. We want to encourage them that they do not have to go through the same mental and emotional struggles as we did, so we try to offer our support and advice merely to show others how to care. Shador believes what you do with the challenge determines your position in this industry. It is the comeback that proves you are resilient. Do you cave in and give up or restack and push forward? No matter how often you have a comeback, keep coming back!
After the fire and COVID, we have decided to restack and push forward. We have made a comeback!
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Shador is known for the quality of care and services we provide. We are master trainers that have traveled and trained worldwide, from Washington State to Washington DC to London and Austria. We are known for the quality of service, as we take pride in learning how to perform a service that will not compromise the integrity of the client’s well-being. This means we will not just do any service to make a dollar. We always inform the client that we both must be happy when the service is over. We will say no as our reputation and brand are on the line. Our clients love us for that honesty; they respect our opinion and value our knowledge as it relates to the industry.
In terms of your work and the industry, what are some changes you expect to see over the next five to ten years?
Shador has always been at the head of the curve regarding trends. We were one of the first to bring Irina Levchuk from Russia, one of the pioneers of microblading, and Selen Shenlap from the UK, the nano queen herself, to Washington state and California and have since trained 100’s artists since 2016 in both of these now super populated industries. We are also known as Masters of Eumelanin skin and provide tremendous educational support for those wanting to learn more about PMU on Black and Brown skin. In 5-10 years, Shador will also be a pioneer in the industry as the Educator’s Educator.
- Website: www.shadorstudio.com
- Instagram: shadorstudioraleigh, shadorstudioofesthetics
- Facebook: shadorstudioraleigh, shadorstudioofesthetics
Dante Jones Photography Maganda Photography