Love & Hip Hop Atlanta star Sierra Gates is the definition of beauty boss moves. She has gone from having her car repossessed in front of her salon to owning a million-dollar beauty empire. She not only owns The Glam Shop, a full-service beauty salon in Atlanta—she also owns the building it is housed in.
Sierra’s beat-the-odds success is not lost on her, either. That’s why she has made it her mission to show other young women how to build their own empires—even during a pandemic.
With 13 years in the game, she teaches budding beauty bosses money-making techniques with her microblading and scalp hyperpigmentation courses. She’s helped hundreds more open up e-commerce shops stocked with items from her own vendor lists. And, she’s penned an e-book, aptly titled Make A Million, Maintain A Million, with more tips and tricks.
Here, the beauty mogul talks about her passion for building up Black women and the key to lasting success.
HYPE HAIR: Congratulations on your success! Your “Microblading The Sierra Way” classes are making waves in the industry. How did you get into it?
SIERRA GATES: Thank you! I started out as a makeup artist. I did Toya [Johnson], Reginae [Carter], Deelishis. They loved my makeup, but they were always in love with my brows. So, when this new wave [microblading] came back out, I said, “let me try it out.” I mastered it and have been doing it ever since. That was in 2016.
HH: It’s been pretty lucrative, too!
SIERRA: [Laughs] Microblading got me to my building where I am at now—I bought the building about two years ago. Now I show girls they can do it, too.
HH: What should beauty hopefuls know before taking your class?
SIERRA: Microblading is like a mini surgery. You’ve got to make sure you really love it because you’ve got to be patient with your clients. It’s not like a rush thing.
HH: That’s right; it’s pretty permanent.
SIERRA: Once you get it, it’s on there. You can’t take it off! It’s literally going to be on for a year-and-a-half.
HH: How has it been touring with your classes during the pandemic?
SIERRA: I make sure we wear our masks, and our students sit six feet apart from each other. We stay safe, but I still want to give them this six-figure technique because when this whole thing lifts, they can take off running.
HH: You have been very vocal about building up Black women. Why is that so important to you?
SIERRA: It is my honor. I was a teen mom and told by numerous people I was going to be a statistic. I know that other little girls are put in that same predicament, and they are told that they can’t be great in life. So, it’s like I have a point to prove to make other girls—other Black girls—successful. I market to Black girls, my clients are Black, and my consumers are Black. It’s just been like that since day one. I need them to know if God did it for me; He can do it for y’all.
HH: Speaking of all-Black everything, you’ve also been celebrating other Black-owned brands since day one. Can you share three you are rocking right now?
SIERRA: I love Shimmer Elite Extensions by Bambi, The Crayon Case by Supa Cent, and Milano Di Rouge.
HH: Reflecting on your own growth, what is one thing you wish you knew before getting started?
SIERRA: Family and friends are not going to be your biggest supporters. It’s always going to be the people you don’t know. It was always God sending somebody who I knew nothing about that knew hardly anything about me who pushed me into my next season.
HH: What advice do you have for the women you’re pushing into their next season?
SIERRA: Stay consistent in everything that you do. Even with this whole buy Black movement, we are going to have our ups and downs. When I didn’t know how I was going to feed my daughter if I didn’t stay consistent, then I wouldn’t be where I am today.