ICT Girl Boss: Sheona Sleinman



   Sheona Sleiman owns Backstage Makeup Studio, offering customized makeup group classes, parties, personal applications and artist workshops. 
    As Wichita’s exclusive makeup studio, Backstage offers services to educate, excite and empower clients. Backstage sells locally made beauty products, such as lipsticks, body scrubs and jewelry, and is a starting platform for aspiring beauty product makers to shelf their goods for first time exposure. 
    Sleiman also owns Backstage Makeup Academy, providing effective, yet fun, educational classes to those who want to learn the art of makeup and be successful in The Midwest. Sleiman’s passion is to create a makeup academy for driven, passionate, professionals while building bridges for the makeup artist to cross and continue on their path after completion.  

What inspired you to start your own business?
   Backstage was inspired by the sheer love of empowering women through beauty and inner confidence building. It all started as a crazy beauty concept, but I knew it was going to be tough. I decided if I was going to do it, I’ll give it all I have. Enhancing a woman’s beauty is like a superhero costume. It’s not what makes her powerful, but it gives her the confidence and the enhancements she aspires to have to take on her day. 
   I was working a series of jobs in the beauty industry and I had an unrelenting dream to bring the makeup artistry industry to The Midwest. I felt drawn to make a direct impact to the makeup artists who are looking for support or education. We didn’t have a beauty hub to support artists and their entrepreneurial dreams. The closest makeup school is 300 miles away. To fill the growing demand for artists, we needed a training program. As a past educator in the beauty industry and makeup artist, I set out to open the makeup academy to support all the woman in search of further education. 

Do you have a mentor or someone who influenced your life professionally?
   When I think of significant professional influences, I think of all the local entrepreneurs I have met since I started my journey. Every individual has offered some insight or words of encouragement to help overcome obstacles or give advice in their areas of expertise. Surround yourself with people who are good at what you are not. Knowing your weaknesses and where you need help is important to your overall success.

What’s your most significant professional accomplishment so far?
   My most significant professional accomplishment so far was when I was recognized by my professional peers, being awarded Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 by Wichita Urban Professionals. 

What’s your favorite aspect of Wichita’s business community?
   My favorite aspect is the passion for empowering others displayed by the business community. The community is in constant build mode - startup groups, community project groups.

What are your professional aspirations for the near future?
   I want to focus on the academy by building partnerships and moving toward further education platforms that will enable Backstage to reach a larger audience, while working on a potential location change. The studio is working on building more partnerships with local beauty handcrafters to have a more unique selection of beauty goods in the studio. 

What advice do you have for aspiring female entrepreneurs?  
   Here are the tips I would pass on to other women launching and running their own business. First, even though it will feel impossible sometimes, try to balance your life. If you have kids, you will feel guilty all the time when you’re working 24/7. You’ll feel like a horrible mother. When you take time away from the business to be with your kids, you’ll feel like you’re neglecting your business. It’s a vicious cycle, but do everything you can be cognizant of not losing your life and know that you are doing what most won’t.
   Second, don’t listen to people who tell you it’s a bad idea. Listen to your heart. If everyone shared your passion, someone would have already done it. Dream big! Step forward! 
   Lastly, having a great idea is one thing, but actually pulling together the thousands of little details necessary to bring that idea to reality is another story. It will draw out all of your fears, anxieties, passions and determination. The reward lies in tiny incremental success moments. The trick is allowing yourself to appreciate even the little accomplishments and not lose sight of your milestones. It’s okay to happy dance and encourage your other #ictgirlbosses to do the same. Let’s celebrate together!

Sheona Sleiman
Backstage Makeup Studio
 Backstage Makeup Academy
209 East William, Suite 105