From Teen Mum To Salon Owner
One question I get a lot is how I ended up doing what I do, how Feathered Inc came to be. Well basically, it came to me in a dream. No seriously, it really did. But before we get to that I will take you back to the beginning. I was born in 1979 in Morwell, a town in Gippsland which is notorious for family violence, drug addiction, high school dropouts and teen pregnancies. I grew up in a housing commission estate with my Mum, step dad, my brother and 2 step brothers. We didn’t have a lot so I never really learnt the value of money. Sometimes it was a happy house, sometimes not. Especially when my step dad was having a bad day but we won’t get too deep into that. Most of the kids I went to school with were in the same boat. Young parents, no money. It was very common for teens to drop out of school around year 10 and quite a few girls became teen mums. I was one of those Mums. I had my first child in 1998. I was a month shy of 19. I had my son with my boyfriend at the time. I had been friends with him since primary school and thought I knew him. But boy was I wrong. We lived in a little housing commission house which coincidentally happened to be directly across from the house that I lived in from the age of 5-12. My baby’s Dad was only a few months older than me. He wasn’t home much so I was left to do everything by myself. A few months after our son was born his Dad became very violent with me. He would stay out all day and all night drinking and come home absolutely intoxicated. Well I thought he was intoxicated. I came to find out a few months into the violence that he wasn’t drinking, he was injecting. I was living with a junkie. Things got so bad, one night he actually tried to kill me. My baby woke up due to the shouting and my baby’s Daddy told me once he got the baby back to sleep I was dead. So I quickly snuck to the phone, called 000. When they answered I said “I need police to 11 Hare Street quick, he’s going to kill me” I snuck back to my room and got under the covers praying that the police would arrive in time. They did thank god, just in time too. Just as my baby’s Daddy was about to walk back into the bedroom and finish me off there was a knock on the door. “Police, open up.” We went to the door together and he whispered to me not to say a word. He put his arm around me as we opened the door. The police asked “Is he hurting you? ” I was so afraid to tell the truth, but I did. “Yes,” I said. One officer took him to the car, the other officer came in and comforted me and we called my mum to come watch my baby so I could go and make a statement. You would think I would have left him at that stage wouldn’t you? Well I did. For about a week. He promised he would get clean and he would change. He even started letting me go out with friends. One night I went out clubbing with an old friend, and got home at about 5 am. The lights were all off. I unlocked the door and opened it and baby daddy was sitting in the arm chair like he was some sort of godfather. He proceeded to ask me what time I thought this was? He didn’t lay a finger on me that night as I begged and cried and said I was sorry and I would never go out again. The next morning I called my aunty to come and pick me and my baby up. I didn’t have a car, I actually didn’t get my license until I was 23. Anyway, my aunty came and picked us up and I didn’t go back home. He found me later that afternoon. He came to my Aunty’s house begging for forgiveness. I stood my ground this time. I was done. And that was that. He packed up his stuff and left me alone. I was pretty shocked that leaving him was so easy. Turns out he had a little junkie girlfriend on the side who lived 3 doors down.. I was actually grateful for that. Although he lived 3 doors down for a short while, he never popped in, didn’t bother with his baby either. But I preferred it that way. I was free finally.. Life went on pretty smoothly after that. I moved house to a little flat away from the public housing estate and my baby and I were happy. Well at least for a few years. In 2002 I started dating a guy. We were together for about 3 week but something was off about him, he was nice and all but there was just something telling me to stay away. I trusted my gut this time and ended things with him. It wasn’t very serious anyway. But he still tried getting me back, he sent me flowers to work, which was actually my first ever job. It was a charcoal chicken place with the worst bosses ever but I’ll talk a little bit about that later. So back to the flowers. I ignored them and him. I saw him out at the pub a few times, we became friends again but just friends. That was until one drunken night at the bar. It was his birthday, I was drunk and he suggested it would be nice if I could go home with him considering it was his birthday. I was 22, drunk and stupid so I agreed. I didn’t hear from him again after that, which was good. It was such a regret. About 6 weeks later a friend of mine suggested that I could be pregnant as I was late for my period. I was on the pill, but also young, drunk and dumb on that night and didn’t use protection. But to humour her I went to the chemist, took a test and those 2 little lines showed up immediately. Pregnant again, single again. But did I stay single? Nope. Not sure I could do this by myself with 2 babies, I decided to try to make it work with baby Daddy number 2. WELL…… That was almost as disastrous as baby daddy number 1. He was verbally abusive and controlling. He was a little bit physical at times too.. How did I manage to get myself in this situation not once but twice? After 3 years of cheating, verbal and physical abuse I left.. Single again, but boy it was a lot easier on my own than being stuck in another toxic relationship. By this stage I had my license and a part time job at a pizza shop. I had great friends and was even able to go out on weekends and have some sort of a social life. I was single for 3 years before the next guy came along. He was great, great with my kids too. After we were together for a few years, he told me he would like a baby of his own. We were in a pretty good place, so why the hell not. It would be nice to experience a planned pregnancy. So in 2010 baby number 3 was born. A few years passed and baby daddy and I simply fell out of love. We tried doing the separate rooms thing but it just wasn’t working. I was a clean freak, he was messy. I was a saver, he was a spender, not the type of opposites that attract. We decided to go our separate ways but boy was it nice to have a friendly break up. After that I was done, done with relationships. It was time to focus on me and my kids. Let’s fast forward a year.
In 2012 I was a single mum with 3 kids and my job at the time was as an Intimo consultant. Intimo is a party plan like Tupperware but for underwear, still the only brand of bras that I wear.. Prior to Intimo I did heaps of party plan businesses, I did the body shop at home, I did salt lamp parties and I also did Scentsy. I got into party plan because as I stated earlier, my first job was at a chicken shop with terrible bossy bosses. I decided I would try working for myself, having my own hours. They didn’t pay much. About $200 extra a week, but that $200 went a long way for a single mum. We definitely weren’t rich but we had what we needed and lived a pretty comfortable life. We didn’t get to go on holidays or anything like that but we were able to go on fun outings and the kids had everything they needed. I did end up working in retail at Ishka 1 day a week and had a great boss. That only paid me $75 a week but all the little extras made a huge difference.
Anyway I had an Initmo stall at a market fundraiser. While I was there I bumped into an old school friend, she was dressed like a fairy and was carrying a suitcase. Turned out she had just started her own face painting business and this was her first gig. A few months went by and my fairy friend messaged me on Facebook asking if I could help her out as she had double booked herself for 2 face painting jobs. I couldn’t paint so I politely declined. She wouldn’t take no for an answer and told me the face painting gigs were for kids who were in the foster care system and it was a DHS organised event. That pulled at my heartstrings. I used to have a foster daughter so this really hit home. I agreed. I went to my fairy friends house the morning of the party, picked up my paints, my very own fairy dress and my photo board and off I went. I was so nervous. The first child to sit on my chair was a gorgeous little girl, she wanted a dolphin painted on her cheek. I was like how am I going to paint this? Anyway, I started trying to paint this dolphin and to my utter amazement it was actually really good. I had no idea I could paint like that, I had never even tried. The rest of the kids I painted were all actually not bad. After that I had a fire in my belly, I started watching heaps of face painting tutorials and practiced for hours on my own face while the kids were at school and when the kids were home I practiced on them.
Julianne, my fairy friend, started booking more parties and giving me more work. We got so busy that I was working almost every Saturday and Sunday. I was getting really good at the art of face painting at this stage. Then she trained me up as a make up artist to help her out with her other business which was a makeup artist for weddings and Debs. I was loving all this extra work. At the end of 2013 I met a man called Matty May, I thought that was the coolest name ever. There was nothing romantic about it. He was just a good friend. That was until I accidentally fell head over heels for him. He lived just over 2 hours away from me. So probably not the best move, falling in love with a guy who lived 2 hours away from me. But the heart wants what the heart wants. It was different this time though because I fell for him. The previous guys all liked me first and wooed their way into my life as such. This time it was me doing the falling. So on December 15th 2013 Matty and I shared our first kiss and that was that. I had a new boyfriend. I had to tread very carefully though. I need to make sure this was right before getting too serious. I was not going to find myself in anything toxic like I had done too many times before. I decided that if in 12 months we were still together in a blissful relationship with no fighting, no drama I would move the 200+kms to Doreen from Morwell. Well 12 months passed and we were so in love, we had never even had a single fight. He never upset me, I never upset him. We were and still are in a perfect loving happy relationship. In fact I married the guy.
About 6 months before moving to Doreen I was spending almost every weekend there, which meant not doing my face paint gigs in Gippsland. I figured I might as well start my own face painting business in Doreen. I bought a whole heap of products, started a Facebook business page and began advertising. I got very busy very quickly. At the majority of these parties I would have parents watch in awe as I created these beautiful masterpieces on their children’s faces. I would often get asked if I was a tattoo artist. My answer was always no, it’s a bit easier to wipe away a face painting mistake than a tattoo mistake haha. I had been living in Doreen for about a year and one night I had a dream that I was tattooing this amazing glamorous eyeshadow on a ladies face. The dream must have come from the suggestion of tattooing my art from the parents at the parties. When I woke from the dream I was so excited about this concept so I googled cosmetic tattoo. I didn’t even know it was that much of a thing, I thought cosmetic tattoo was those god awful block brows that you saw old ladies. Well google showed me it could be done and done beautifully. I got in contact with a cosmetic tattoo school and got some information. The course was to cost a little over $7k. How could I justify that kind of money? I really wanted to do it but had no idea where to start. I thought maybe I could start a little salon from my home, but that just wasn’t an option, our house was far too small and there were so many rules and regulations that had to be approved by the council. I called a few beauty salons to see if I could rent a small space from there. One of the salons I called said YES! I was so excited. So I worked my little butt off with my face painting and saved every penny until I came up with enough to pay for this course. It took me about 12 months but the time had finally arrived. I completed my course and called up the beauty salon to see if the room I was going to rent was still available. It wasn’t, my heart sank. What was I going to do now? I had just spent so much money and now had nowhere to start my new business. I spoke of this to a few mum friends at school. One of the Mums at school told me she knew a lady who owned a home salon, but wasn’t working due to an injury, maybe I could lease her space. So I got in contact with this lady, it turned out she had recovered and was back working, BUT she was planning to renovate her garage and make more space and would have a space for me. This took about 2 months and then I was all set to go. Matty made me a beautiful website and I made a Facebook business page and together we created Feathered Ink. Back then it was ink with a k its now inc with a c, I will explain that part soon. When I first started cosmetic tattoo my prices were very low, as I was a beginner and it’s just not right to be charging $600 for apprentice brows. But people jumped at the chance. So to you ladies who came and saw me back in 2016, thank you for trusting me as I would not be where I am today without you. For the next 3 years I rented beds anywhere and everywhere I could. I worked from a salon in Churchill back in Gippsland once a month. I rented a bed in a hair salon in Templestowe and Wallan. I still rented a bed occasionally in the home salon/garage in Doreen. Then one day my friend Jess (who now works in my laser room) told me her tattooist was looking for a cosmetic tattooist to join her team at her new studio in South Morang. I jumped at the chance. It was time to stop bed hopping and find somewhere for my little business to settle. I learnt so much in that little tattoo studio and got even more busy. The busier I got, the more I wanted to do. I did a course called bb glow. It was meant to be a semi-permanent foundation. I was heading more into the beauty direction than the world of tattoo so it made more sense for me to rent a place of my own. I had enough clients and was making enough money to justify the overheads of paying my own rent. I loved the location of the tattoo shop and felt a bit sad to pack up and move, but would you believe it? The studio next door became available to rent. So I applied and was approved. I didn’t even have to relocate to a new area!!! Finally I had my very own salon. I completed the bb glow training course, the results were terrible. I called a few people that I found on the internet who trained in bb glow asking if they had any idea why my results were not so good. One lady told me you need to set it with LED light. A good led light machine would set me back about $20k. I did some research and found a company who sold them. They also sold laser machines for hair and tattoo removal. What a great addition to my little business. I mean the machine I wanted was over $50k and the led light machine was $17k but they had a deal that if I bought the all in one laser machine I could get the led light free. It was a huge gamble to invest in such an expensive machine, but my gambles so far were paying off so why not?! The BB glow still didn’t work the way I expected with the LED light so I scrapped that altogether but without that mistake I never would have even considered the laser machine.
Boy did I get busy, it was almost getting hard to keep up. One day baby number 2, who is our Jade, was having trouble with drama at school. She was 15 at this stage. School was nothing but drama and it was really affecting her mental health. So I decided it was time for her to join the business. She got all trained up in lash extensions and came to work with me!! The laser room started getting busy too and I needed help. So I called Jess and asked if she wanted to do a few hours a week in the laser room, she was renting a space off me anyway doing nails. So there you have it. This is now why we are Feathered Inc without the K because we are no longer just inc.
That was a snippet of my life. I pinch myself every single day. From a world of poverty, violence and fear I am now happily married to the kindest man on the planet with a successful business that I built all by myself.. I still have no idea how my life flipped like this. Well I kind of do.. I started a gratitude journal in 2012 and things just got better. Was it a coincidence? I will never know. But I do know one thing, I am so grateful for my life, I’m even grateful for my past, for without my past I would not be where i am today..
So who is Feathered Inc?
Me, Mindy founder and eyebrow tattooist. I now have 3 kids, 2 step children, a grandchild and an amazing husband.
Jade, my daughter, baby number 2. Our amazing lash artist. She is so passionate about her work and the business. I could not be any more proud.
Jess, my friend, nail lady and laser room professional. Jess is a hard working single Mum of 3 boys.
Tammy, we have been best friends since 2007, Tammy is also a single Mum to a beautiful little girl.
I love being able to have these amazing girls work for me so I can give them the flexibility they need to work around their busy family lives. We are not just a beauty salon, we are family. I am so blessed to have such amazing girls work for me that I can trust with my life.
What makes our salon so unique is when you become our client, you become our friend. We care about your needs.
To anyone who is and has ever been one of clients, thank you so much for your support. To anyone who has never been to our salon but is considering it, we cannot wait to meet you. To everyone who read this all the way to the end, Thank you for taking the time to read my story and my first ever blog!