For a choice few, being an entrepreneur and an advocate comes naturally. Mimi J. happens to be in that minority. After getting her degree from Clark Atlanta and securing herself a “real job” in IT, she quickly learned that if you’re destined to do something in this world, your destiny will find you.
When she finally explored the artistry of doing makeup after serious urgings from friends, her journey began. She started glamming the faces of reality show stars such as Erica Dixon, and Kenya Moore (also actress, entrepreneur, and former Miss USA). From there the ball moved quickly, expanding her client roster to include Lil Mama, Angela Simmons, Toya Wright, and many more. Mimi could have stayed there forever, leveling up her MUA status each year. But that’s not what the universe had in store for her.
“I had a son. He’s my world but that changed things for me. I couldn’t move how I had previously been moving. I had to have a real conversation with myself about what I was going to do because the answer wasn’t to quit,” she said. “I started to think about what can create wealth for my future so me and my son can stay stable. That’s how the Glamatory came about.”
The Glamatory (glamorous laboratory) was that sweet spot. Started in Atlanta in 2015, it’s a brick-and-mortar that functions as a place for beauty artists to pair with clients, to host pop-ups, for consumers to book services and participate in tutorials, and for new brands to be discovered. The Glamatory carries its own line of products as well as promotes and supports other beauty brands. It’s part of Mimi’s legacy in paying it forward—that, and her newest venture Grind Pretty, as a platform and a subscription box service.
“I thought to myself, I’ve worked with the owners of these hair brands and beauty brands and have a personal relationship with a lot of them. Why don’t I have this platform that drives inspiration and motivation to other women, where we can share these stories. That was one part of Grind Pretty. The box was a recent idea, because I never really saw myself having a magazine, it just kind of happened,” she told ESSENCE.
The online platform for Grind Pretty launched in 2017, and this July it launched its first quarterly subscription box, equipped with lifestyle and beauty products as well as a 30-page ‘zine. The goal is to highlight products from female-owned brands in a unique way. Subscribers can also expect tips and advice from industry heavy hitters and other lesser known women making their own waves in the business.
For Mimi, the point is to touch as many women, especially Black women, with new knowledge, and moguls that they can look up to. The first Grind Pretty box includes deluxe samples of Skinglass by Noorface, The Glamatory Universal LipDrip, Jones & Rose Island Girl Body Souffle, Curluxe Naturals Jojoba Mint Cleansing Tea Shampoo, along with other samples and lifestyle items.
And it seems like she’s still only getting started in her work to empower women, and specifically women of color. With her drive, and the momentum she’s built inn just the twelve years that she’s been at all of this, it’s clear that she’s well on her way to even greater things quickly.
“I just love seeing women that look like me that have made it. I didn’t come from money. I’m the first generation to go to college out of my family, and I draw from the strength of the black women that have been in my life like my mom, my grandmother,” she said.
“I just always strive to be better. I have younger nieces that look up to me that are brown girls looking up to me. I feel like I always put that within whatever I do, and the times that I want to stop I think about how I have to be a good example. With the Glamatory it’s a very diverse team full of brown women who are beautiful. With Grind Pretty it’s the same thing—very diverse and you can see so many powerful Black women that are highlighted.”
To purchase the July Grind Pretty box or subscribe visit grindpretty.com.