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Meet Kawana Baldwin of Dearborn Heights

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kawana Baldwin. 

Kawana, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I grew up on the westside of Detroit and raised in a household of siblings possessing natural gifts, skills, and talents. My brother played football, was a natural comedian, he could dance so well that people paid him to dance and he also had the gift to gab. My naturally beautiful, and youngest sister played basketball, was a talented singer and rapper which made her musically inclined, and she could dance like a pro too.  My siblings learned all their dance moves from my mother.  I recall my mother trying to teach me how to dance and although I tried, I just couldn’t follow the rhythm and flow of the beat.  I could not dance as well as my siblings, nor pick up the dance lessons my mother was trying to teach me. However, at the early age of 12 years old my mother taught me the “technique” of styling natural hair and installing hair extensions so that I could assist with doing her hair, my hair, and my sister’s hair. We had the dancers in the family and I was the stylist. Even though I was never really interested in styling hair, I mastered this technique and women were willing to pay me for it. 

By the time I went to high school I was hustling braiding and styling hair. I went from just styling my mom and sister’s hair to styling and braiding other women’s and girls’ hair in my parent’s basement. My boyfriend at the time, who is now my husband, asked if I was planning to enroll in beauty school after high school.  My immediate response was “No!” I hated standing all day and my fingers would get numb after braiding for long periods of time. 

Upon graduating high school, I did not pursue beauty school, instead, I enrolled in college at Central Michigan University earning my Bachelor’s of Science degree and embarking on over a 16-and-a-half-year career with the State of Michigan Department of Corrections where I assisted Returning Citizens redirect their lives from a path of criminal destruction to a career-focused path to success as they reintegrated into our communities and restored relationships with their families. 

In 2015, after a decade into my career with MDOC, I encountered a friend who shared an opportunity with me to earn some extra income by selling mascara and becoming a makeup consultant.  Two years into selling makeup and growing my makeup business exponentially it reignited my interest in the beauty industry along with God also revealing to me that I did not just learn a “technique” from my mother at 12 years old. I acquired a skillset from her and inside of me a divined artistic gift from God was waiting to be discovered. 

This revelation literally moved me to tears because all my life I never thought I had a natural talent. I never equated styling hair as a natural skill or creative gift. I equated it simply as work, nothing more and nothing less. No, it was not the identical gifts and talents my brother and sister possessed, but it was a unique gift carefully wrapped in the hands of God, prepared and hidden in my heart waiting for me to discover it, receive it, embrace it and make it my own. 

It was that very moment of revelation I sought out beauty school to advance my hair artistry skills to the next level. Not as a hairstylist in the traditional sense. I desired to master the art of extending the natural hairs of women’s eyelashes, shaping and sculpting eyebrows, and removing unwanted body hairs. This self-discovery led me to resign from my 16-and-a-half-year career with the Michigan Department of Correction on July 9, 2021, to follow my newly discovered passion and to walk in my purpose.  Today, I am professionally known as the Eyelash Kween and am the Owner and Manager of The Eyelash Kween, Skin, Brow, and Lash Studio in Dearborn Heights, MI, a Licensed Esthetician, a Master Lash Artist, a Permanent Makeup Artist, and a Licensed Instructor. I also operate an online retail business where we provide eyelash extension tools and supplies for other Lash Artists and provide 3-D Lash Strips and Magnetic Eyelashes for women whose natural eyelashes are not suitable for eyelash extensions.  I provide clients with top-notch quality services, products, and educational training. I started this business so I could help meet the needs of artists locally and globally with a focus on empowering both men and women to discover their true purpose in life and owning their own lash business. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
When trying to build anything especially a business it comes with a sacrifice. I often reflected on the quote “if you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice. There were plenty of sleepless nights. There were also times I missed spending time with my husband and my daughter. I had to take a step back in my social life, and I had to live on a budget while I built and continue to build my business. It’s most challenging when you’re building a service-based business and you’re unable to assign duties to others, because you realize it’s going to take more time for you to train someone to do what you can do yourself in half the time, and eventually that becomes taxing on the body. Having a full-time career, being a wife, mother, going to school, and running a business is almost insane. When I reflect on how I did it, I realized I was not operating in my own strength, but in the strength of God, and having passion for what I do is what fuels me. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
At Eyelash Kween, Skin, Brow, and Lash Studio we specialize in skin-care services. Our philosophy is skin care and self-care is healthcare. We are professional licensed Estheticians that provide an array of services that include Glam and natural makeup services, Facial Massages, Beard Care, Hair Removal -Body Waxing, Eyebrow Shaping and Sculpting, Eyelash Extensions, Permanent Ombre Brows, Dermaplaning, and Educational Training. I’m most proud of the recent opening of my Studio Salon. I take pride in this great accomplishment because it came during a time, I least expected it and I didn’t have to look for it, it literally came to me in the middle of a Pandemic. That’s how I know it was by divine design. I’m also proud of my brand of 3D Magnetic Lashes. They are our best-seller among women who desire an alternative to lash extensions. Our magnetic lashes are lightweight, easy to apply in a matter of minutes with our magic 3-in-1 eyeliner. What sets us apart is our amazing high-quality products and customer service skills. Not only do we specialize in skin care, but we also specialize in spiritually uplifting, inspiring, empowering, and transforming the lives of our clients. Our goal is to be a resource network to impact our community one brow, one lash, one facial, & one beard at a time. 

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
For me, there’s no math formula to defining success so I define it by seeing the fruits of my labor, persevering through tough situations, being able to balance business and my personal life by meeting the needs of my clients and my loved ones, and seeing the joy I can offer them. And, even if and when I fall short, knowing ultimately God will sustain me. 

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Image Credits
Q11 & Sa’Rae Gonzales

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