Can you survive a year without a job in the windy city of Chicago?
Seems Impossible, Right?
Well, I did this impossible, and let me tell you, I walk out of it as a winner.
Let me formally begin my story with my introduction. I am Kamala Scott, a 28, brown skin toned girl from Huston, Texas. Yes, my skin color is essential for this story. I came to Chicago to get my college education when I got into the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
I am not among those motivated people who want to be something. I am an average jock who wanted to stay in a major city on my own. And so I did.
After college, I got a good job in a cosmetics company with decent pay. I rented an apartment in Bridgeport, a neighborhood with mixed races and cultures. I was very happy with my newfound independence.
I loved my life. Work in the day, party, drinks, this was my life. This is all I ever wanted. My Indian mother and American father had taught me to save since childhood, so I was a financially responsible kid.
I would always save 50% of my pay and live another half. Let me tell you, for a young single girl. It was more than enough to survive well. Everything was fine at work as well.
And then came into my life, “Andy.” A beautiful but “Thanos” of a woman who would turn my life upside down. She was my new boss, and I called her Thanos because of her habit of snapping her finger at everything.
Our old boss, Mr. Smith, retired and his replacement was Andy Rogers. I could tell she didn’t like me for quite a few reasons. She would always insult me for even a small mistake.
Finally, I confronted her in a lift one day. She said,
“You do not belong in a cosmetics company that sells make-up products. You belong in the basement of a software company where clients do not see you.”
Her words were as hurtful as mean. I picked up my bag and ran to my home. I was not made up. I never liked to apply make-up because very few color pallets matched my skin tone. I could never find the proper foundation for my skin tone as there was none available.
The next day I got a call and asked to meet the boss. I went to meet Andy. She told me that if I have to continue working there, I must endorse the brand. I told her my problem of not being able to find the right products for me.
She challenged me, “well, why someone would waste time making a make-up product for brown skin? It is a waste of time and resources. Not to mention a recipe for failure.
“What if I could design the product, will you launch it?” I spoke in a challenging voice.
“She raised her eyebrow. Maybe but I would not spend a single penny out of the company so unless you can whip it up in your kitchen don’ come knocking back”.
“Andy, I want a year of sabbatical,” I told her, cleaned my desk, and left.
I had left but honestly, I had no idea where to begin. I did not know anything about make-up. Let alone make an entirely new range for brown skin. But I was determined.
I started with internet browsing. And then moved to Netflix, then Slept and when I was up it was already a new day. Now my reality hit me. I had a job to discover a new makeup line with no money.
I sat down on my computer and crunched the numbers. I had enough savings that would last for a year but considering the supplies that I would need to develop make products, my savings were going to last only 3 months.
If I quit partying and lived a stingy life, still it would last only a month extra.
First thing first, I had to plan everything to make my savings last longer. I decided to switch the apartment to a smaller one. It would save me some extra bucks. I had enough money that would last for 7 months, including all the supplies.
I began working on my make upline, starting with the knowledge I needed to know. My kitchen counter literally became my laboratory, where I would try new formulas every day.
It turns out my calculations were not as accurate. My savings were halved in three months. I realized I needed to be stingier. But on the plus side, I had learned a lot about make-up recipes.
I have very little money, and I did not want to ask my parents. I knew I could do it. I had to save up for my work, and my landlord was on my door asking for rent.
I asked for a day. This was when I decided to get a loan. I got an emergency rent loan on bad credit and successfully avoided the crisis for a few weeks. I could not give up at this time.
My hard work paid off, and I finally discovered the right recipe for a stable, long-lasting foundation that blended very well with my skin tone. It had another specialty that it was hiding dark spots very effectively.
I was overjoyed. I got the sample and ran to my office. And I showed it to Andy. She liked it, but she said,
“It is not a profitable venture, so I am sorry I could not launch your product but you can join your job back.”
I was very disappointed. Months of hard work and this response. I could not give up. I declined her offer and left the office on a very bitter note.
“No one is going to back you Kamala” Andy had challenged me yet again.
I had my product with me. I was working on the whole range while meeting investors every day. Let me tell you this. Every investor liked my idea, but no one was willing to back me up. I was all out of money.
I needed more money for an entire range of products. It was time for another loan. I got an emergency loan for unemployed people. It was enough for a few more months.
I was ready with an entire range of products, but I had no investor. I decided to be my investor. I decided to make TikTok videos and show my products off. My first few videos failed with very few views.
I was highly disappointed. I did not know what to do. My mother was calling me home for Christmas.
You see I had not told my parents about my situation. They still thought I was working in the same company. And I wasn’t about to reveal it yet.
I got loans for Christmas from direct lenders, bought some presents and new dresses for myself, and visited my parents. My mother and I shared the same skin color. I did make-up for her with my new range.
She was so happy. We made a lot of videos over Christmas, even with my make-up. I upload those to my TikTok. It was a fun time, and then I came back to Chicago.
Here it was time to go back to work. Back in Chicago, I had a meeting with a new cosmetics company. I had little to no hope, and I met the investor.
It was a very young guy named Adam. He called me into his office and stared with my TikTok. One of my videos with my mother went viral over Christmas, and people were asking for my products.
I was surprised. I had never opened my TikTok since Christmas. I had nearly a million followers and many comments asking for my products. They were asking if it works on darker skin. Which other shades do I have?
Adam was interested in backing my product launch, but he wanted me to launch different shades for darker skin. He was offering a huge sum of money, an office, and a well-equipped lab in exchange. I had enough funds to hire people for help.
After one whole year, I launched my product. It was an instant hit. My products are everywhere and very popular. And today, I am a successful entrepreneur.
A crazy turn of the event turned me into a make-up brand entrepreneur. It was tough and required a lot of sacrifices and dedication. So, all I can say is if you are dedicated and persevere, you will be successful.