Shy and unassuming women are often placed in a box of limitations where their potential and dreams run the chance of being stunted while their growth and development become a thing of the past.
However, Nicole Ferguson, future certified esthetician and personal branding consultant, being shy is the right fuel to her achieving her goals.
“As a teenager, I used to play around with different foods in the kitchen and in the yard at home. Food items like pear (avocado), oatmeal, aloe vera, and even papaya were my go-to stuff. I’d mix them together and use them as masks on my face. At the time I was doing it for fun but there was also an unspoken purpose behind it. I had a book that I used to note the ingredients for each mask I created and I noted the results for each,” she said in an interview with Our Today.
For a while, that trial and error approach was Ferguson’s way of identifying what worked for her skin until she matriculated to university.
“When I was in college, I was introduced to the Earth Elements store and at the time, they only had one location in Savannah Plaza in St. Andrew. I used to go there excited by the variety of products and I was eager to see how the store-bought products would work on my skin. As the store expanded, I also expanded the range of products I used,” she said.
Though there was no immediate desire to become an esthetician, Ferguson realised that her passion for skin care made her the go-to person for skin care with her friends and acquaintances among other people.
“Two things really brought it home for me that I should go further into my passion for skin care. Firstly, at the time, I introduced all my associates to Earth Elements and because of that, they were able to develop their own skincare regimes that worked for them. Those same people would then ask for my advice on what products to use based on their specific needs. The second thing is that I found myself giving strangers advice on what products to buy as if I worked there,” she shared.
She said that it was based on those experiences that she became more purposeful in her pursuit for proper skin care and began her journey to being a professional and certified esthetician.
Ferguson, who started her journey to being an esthetician a few years ago explained that she only needs to complete a few more classes and then sit her license exam at HEART.
“That’s something that I’m planning on doing this year or next year,” she said, highlighting that in the meantime, she practices the skills she has already learned through her skin care business, Milanix Naturals.
The story of Milanix Naturals
Ferguson has described Milanix Skincare as a, “wholistic natural skin care service where she conducts customised facials for her clients in an effort to create a relaxing environment”.
Currently, Milanix is a roving skin care business where the offered services go to the client in the comfort of their own space.
“The business name came out of a brand name change. Initially, I had submitted ‘Melanix Skincare’ to the Companies Office of Jamaica. It was a play on words of ‘melanin skin care’. However, it was too close to other business names. So, I thought of something that would mean more to me and I used my daughter’s name, Milan, and my nickname, Nix, to coin Milanix,” she explained.
The business, which was registered in 2021, was initially geared towards skin care products for sale. Though not yet materialised, Ferguson has shared that she intends to delve into the realm of retail and product development because, “that’s how I started my skincare journey – amateurishly creating products for skin care. So, my plan is to do it professionally a few years down the line.”
In lieu of starting out with product retail and product development, Ferguson shares that she began offering facials as a friend encouraged her to get the ball rolling. The friend was aware of Ferguson’s desire to become an esthetician and opted to be the first client.
“She was so patient with me because it was my first time and I was nervous. Though I had the ‘first time jitters’, it was clear that I took pride in my passion. I felt like I was in my territory,” said Ferguson.
Ready, Set, Go to Unlocking other dreams
While living out her passion in skin care, Ferguson told Our Today that she also wanted to use her creativity to help people become better versions of themselves through the development of their own brands.
“I consider myself to be a creative person and one day at work, it dawned on me that there has to be more to my life. I said, ‘Nicole, this is not something that you truly want to do’. In that moment, it felt like I had opened the door for different ideas to come flooding in. I felt like I held myself back by confining my skills and potential to a small aspect of the marketing field, which was stifling” she shared.
Ferguson, who is also a mother of one, works as a sales executive. She studied Communication, Arts and Technology at the University of Technology (UTech).
“With that thought, I approached one of my entrepreneur friends and asked if I could work on her branding. At the time, she had no sort of marketing strategy. She said yes and I immediately began to work out a strategy for her business,” she added.
Ferguson then revealed that with that experience, her personal branding idea was born and it gave life to Get Set Branding Consulting, her branding consultancy which aims to help start-up entrepreneurs to effectively brand themselves. She admits that the consultancy is in its infancy stage but she is encouraged that it will grow and become even better.
Since starting Get Set Branding, she has been involved in a number of speaking engagements about brand development. She has also hosted live virtual sessions on her LinkedIn account about branding as well as develop a newsletter called ‘The Unbossed Strategist’ that she often sends to her subscribers.
The Milanix and Get Set Branding boss added that her consultancy also aims to prepare start-up owners to gain more exposure through various speaking engagements, noting that her the consultancy is likened to the preparation for and execution of a race.
“Years ago, I never envisioned myself speaking in front of people about anything. It’s something I used to fantasise about but to get up and actually do it is a totally different thing. I’m not a natural public speaker and so a lot of the work I do through the consultancy is also beneficial to me. So, I have to prepare days or weeks in advance and envision myself on a stage in order to feel more comfortable when I actually enter the space. It’s helping me to build my confidence and also work on my nerves because I am a very nervous person,” she explained.
“As a result, in working on myself, I’m helping others along their own journey. Based on that, the people I speak with can see the sort of strategies I use and adjust those strategies to best suit their reality,” she added.
“A lot of my strategies in terms of practicing before I speak and doing things that will build my confidence before every speaking engagement. I have to practice. I have to know exactly what I’m going to say and how I’m going to say it. Taking my journey using this route is good for me because it makes all the things that I share more meaningful and even more intentional.
“All my messages are intentional. Every strategy, newsletter, and presentation is from my personal experience. The reason for that is because I believe in storytelling. I believe in inspiring people using real life through my own situations,” she said, highlighting that she has gotten to this point because of the support from loved ones.
Ferguson credits loved ones, including her partner, friends, and family, who are in her corner supporting her as they “help me to be better and they allow me to be the best version of myself. They are there for my initiatives and presentations, always cheering me on.”
She noted that in the digital age, success is no longer one dimensional. She said if people can show up as their best selves, then that’s building on their personal brand. She stressed that it is a lesson she hopes to impart on her daughter.
“I want her to see the work that I’m putting up to become a better version of who I am building my legacy. It is my hope that it will inspire her to do the same so that she can also build on her own legacy in the future,” she said.
Into the future
“Ultimately, I just want to be able to help people with the same things that I struggle with. So, I want to be able to fix and help improve skin conditions. I’ll continue to do this through the skin care treatments I provide. This will also include product development and creation,” said Ferguson.
“I want to see those products on shelves and being used in hotels through the tourism and hospitality industry,” she added.
Ferguson also hopes to own a spa club and wellness centre where her clients get to experience skin care services in a space that offers relaxation and rejuvenation.
For her branding consultancy, she said she hopes to develop herself and become better with her speaking engagements so that she can more comfortably help those she interacts with become better.
“Certain things don’t come naturally to me, so I have to be intentional about putting the effort into my development and that’s how I will better help people who are on their own personal branding journeys,” she said.
Ferguson expressed that she is aware that people may compare her to well established speakers and brand strategists in the field. She shared that she knows people may say that she copies or mirrors what they do. However, she has a quite gracious response to that.
“There is a space for everybody. Everyone has their own way of serving the world and these people also had to start from somewhere. If anything, I look up to them. Terri-Karelle Reid is actually one of my role models. Regardless, if I can help at least one person out there, then that is success for me. If that means that one day I will be sharing on TED Talk stage or in other public spaces, then I am going to continue with what I am doing. I will ensure that I work on my public speaking, continue to build my brand and also help others with theirs,” she said.
Connect with Nicole Ferguson on LinkedIn and on Instagram @milanixnaturals and @getsetbrandingconsulting
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