If you’ve had the chance to visit eleMINT and chat with owner, Shauntavia Ward, then you’ve experienced the warm and welcoming spirit that she brings into her space each day.
With a background in medicine, Shauntavia was eventually drawn to the more holistic side of things and wanted to create a space that focused on natural skincare practices. After spending a few years carefully planning and curating her business, she opened her facial studio in the summer of 2019.
Below, she shares what drove her to open eleMINT, how she dealt with imposter syndrome, and the steps she took to invest in herself and her business along the way.
Tell us about your background. What were you doing before opening eleMINT, and what led you to start the business?
I started my career in medicine, first as an ER nurse and later became a Family Nurse Practitioner. I’ve always been interested in skincare, so I welcomed various roles as an NP in medical aesthetics, plastic and cosmetic surgery. Through those experiences, I came to realize that my true purpose was to elevate women by helping them realize the power of their own natural beauty, beyond cosmetic enhancements. In my spare time, I started blogging about my passion for natural approaches to healthy hair, skin and nails. That blog was short lived, but what grew from it was my desire to empower women to be confident and love the skin they’re in. I wanted to create a dedicated space for skin and wellbeing to thrive holistically. A natural habitat, for skin. And that is how eleMINT was born.
What were some of the first steps you took to get started?
The very first and most important step was getting out of my own head. I spent about three years dreaming up the plan for eleMINT. Most days during those three years I talked myself out of it. I told myself it wasn’t the right time, my idea wasn’t good enough, I didn’t have enough business knowledge, and the list goes on. I was the only barrier standing in my way.
I was in good company with imposter syndrome. So I decided to shift my mindset, stop engaging those thoughts, and redirect my energy into actionable steps that allowed me to walk in my purpose. Knowing how easy it is to get pulled back into self-doubt, I made it a point to attend different networking and entrepreneur events around town to keep me motivated. Then, I stumbled across an article about the best advice a multi-billionaire once gave an aspiring entrepreneur, that advice: to invest in yourself. That hit home for me. I realized that the only way I would truly connect with my market and scale my brand, was by expanding my knowledge base and mastering the art of conversation. So I enrolled in an esthetician program to really hone my craft, and spoke my dreams to anyone that would listen. Education and effective communication are intangible qualities that can’t be taken from you.
What is your ultimate vision for eleMINT?
My vision is for eleMINT is to become a destination lifestyle brand for holistic skin health. Skin care has long been tied up in the spa industry and viewed as a luxury. Through eleMINT, we’re creating a shift in the skincare narrative, designating space for beauty and wellness to coexist, and make skin health a lifestyle while inspiring optimal wellbeing.
Take us through a typical day in the life. Do you have any routines in place?
My body naturally wakes around 6am. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check social, email and news as soon as I opened my eyes, so let’s just say I’m working on a better rising routine. Mornings are easy going for me. They usually include lots of cuddles with my pup, breakfast, prioritizing duties for the day or week, and fighting with myself to squeeze in a gym sesh. I get to the studio around 10am and see up to 4 clients each day. I’m always on social, a healthy balance between work and leisure. IG is my jam, but I’m highly considering a personal Twitter account. Lunch is usually a smoothie with added collagen, major props to JuiceLand for keeping me alive and glowing. I wrap things up around 7pm and head home to cook. I enjoy cooking, it’s calming. I’m usually asleep by 10pm because a girl has to get her beauty rest 😉 I don’t have many specific routines that I lean on. I go with the flow a lot which can be a gift and a curse. But I see that fluidity as my strength, for now.
As a creative entrepreneur, where do you go for inspiration? What does your creative process look like?
I allow myself to find inspiration in everything. I’m very optimistic and I find beauty in all things (go figure, lol). However, I go through bouts of creativity. It waxes and wanes. When I’m flowing creatively, I disburse that energy into multiple projects. I heard a podcast once about maximizing your creative moment, so I try to live by this. It helps to get my creative energy going by browsing Pinterest, watching a Masterclass, or brain dumping my ideas into a notebook. I’m a very visual person, so once I see it in my mind, I have to bring it life.
What do you want people to take away from their experience at eleMINT?
On the surface, eleMINT is a facial studio, but when you peel back the layers, we’re ultimately a self improvement space. We want our clients to feel seen and be heard. We focus our time together educating on skin health, building confidence and inspiring optimal wellbeing. This is The eleMINT Experience.
At Movers + Makers, we believe in the value of storytelling as a way to connect. How has storytelling played a role in your work?
Our skin tells the story of our lives. As an esthetician and medical professional, I am able to analyze skin in such a way that I can “read” someone’s lifestyle and habits, solely from how their skin presents. I use these “stories” as the framework for our treatment. Being a storyteller of sorts, helps me to develop a deeper connection with my clients, build trust, teach and inspire.
Is there anything you’ve read or listened to that’s made an impact on either your business or personal life?
I actually like to go to various networking and entrepreneurial events around the city. I find inspiration in the journeys of others, rather it be failure or success. About a year and a half ago I attended an event titled “Take Action and Level Up”. This event was a pivotal moment in my life. I had been sitting on the idea for eleMINT for years, researching, fine tuning my business plan, and developing idea, after idea, after idea. I had yet to take any true action to make my dream a reality. This event was the catalyst for pushing me into my purpose and challenging me to “level up.” I left with actionable steps to take in order to get eleMINT off of paper and on a street.
What is your best advice for fellow small business owners?
It’s fairly simple…Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and use that energy as fire to fuel your dreams!