At WE of A, we meet amazing women completely owning it in their Alaskan businesses and we couldn’t be more excited to tell about Sonia Cox of Firebird Esthetics! Though she says she never intended to be an entrepreneur, she’s got direction, spirit and fire on her side. Read our interview to learn more about Sonia’s journey.
Tell us about what you do?I am a licensed Esthetician and Makeup Artist, Certified in Threading/Advanced Brow Techniques and Sleek Brows/ Brow
Extensions. I love my job because it allows me to be of service to other people—to make them look and feel beautiful. It allows me to be creative, expressive, have a flexible schedule and—more importantly—it gives me the opportunity to know amazing people. Being trusted by them and having relationships with them is priceless to me. I've literally watched many of my clients go through school, get married and have babies. Often, I get to play a supporting role in their major life events. What’s not to love about that!? I love people, I love beautiful things, I love beautifying and I love being of service. It’s awesome.
How did you begin your journey with entrepreneurship?
I became an Entrepreneur by accident. I worked for a big spa for several years before that. I was very outspoken when I saw that clients were not being given the attention and care they deserved and were paying for. The environment was not safe or clean and corners were being cut to save on costs. After speaking up, I was let go by management. Best thing that ever happened to me! So after hearing from a friend of an available room for rent, I took out a loan and went for it. Although terrified and broke, I was confident in my skills and knew how to work hard. I was motivated by what I did not want to do or experience again. I was motivated by hunger…and bills!
After 10 years of working for myself, the joys outweigh the challenges by a landslide. It’s been tough at times: learning things mostly on my own; countless hours of research and study; trial and error; and thousands of dollars invested in continued education and products. And fear—plenty of fear. I was afraid many times that I would fail, that I wasn't good enough or that I simply wasn't enough. I no longer had the backing of a "Big Spa" name or the money behind the advertising and staff. I was alone, afraid and completely dependent on myself and my own drive.
What are some of the challenges and joys of your work?
I persevered though—one day, one referral at a time. Slowly (very slowly) I built up a reputation that I could be proud of. And thankfully, my reputation paid off and business started to pick up. There have been times that I have tried new things that haven't panned out or taken off the way I had hoped but I am always grateful that I am the one that gets to make the choice to try or not. The joy in being the one that people trust and come to for advice, to be the one that people believe in enough to bring their children to—that is special. That is joy.
How did you get connected with Women Entrepreneurs of Alaska?
I was introduced to WE of A through a good friend of mine who is a powerhouse in her own right. She new that I was looking to expand and, after working so many years on my own, I was looking to branch out, get some connections made with other women that had similar work ethic and ideas about being “The Boss Lady”.
What advice would you give other women looking to go into business for themselves?
If I had any advice for women looking to go into business for themselves it would be to surround yourself with smart, creative, resourceful people. Take time to plan and never stop learning, never lose your motivation, be open to new ideas and feedback and be willing to adjust your path—but always trust yourself. Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind and remind yourself often why you wanted to do it in the first place. Communicate clearly with your family and friends about your needs and take time for yourself, even if it means driving to Target to sit in the parking lot for 20 minutes playing Candy Crush.
Sonia specializes in spray tans, make-up application, waxing and taking the perfect selfie. Pay her a visit at her Anchorage studio where you’ll feel pampered and beautiful and you might get to meet her lovable husky/lab Huckleberry.
Interested in becoming a member of WE of A? We’d love to have you join our group of powerhouse women! If you’d like to check us out and meet some like-minded women, check out our list classes and networking events. Can’t wait to see you there!