Robins Hays

Hello friends,

Here is a story from a woman and artist that I greatly admire. She was one of my earliest mentors in PMU back in the day when everyone was still wearing shoulder pads and getting perms.

She shares her wisdom from "back in the day". 20 years in the business, WOW nothing but #RESPECT. I hope you enjoy this story and that it brings you inspiration and reflection.

Up thru the Ranks
by Robin Hays, CPCP

When Tina asked me to write this, I felt privileged and honored as she remembers when she reached out to me some 15 years ago. Somehow, I made an impact on who she is today, though I don’t recall the moment as well as she. Of course neither of us knew at the time where either of us might end up, but obviously she saw my passion for the field and wanted to know my secret. It’s definitely no secret that I am passionate about this field and have been since 1993. Since day 2 of training, I knew this was for me.

The passion I have comes from two main sources. First it comes from my background in Art and second, it is also fueled by a wonderfully powerful mom with a cosmetology background and strong business acumen. She dedicated over 20 years of her life to this business and sparked my interest to enter into the business immediately after her. Being raised by a single mother, I saw the sacrifices she made for my brother and I, working evenings and weekends to provide for us. Yet, we never lacked. From 8th grade on, I decided to go to boarding school. It taught me valuable lessons, like making my bed, being on time, managing money and how to make lifelong friendships. Much like to PMU family we all love, these are friendships you will have forever.

I bought my mom out in 1998 and that is also when I got my Atlanta office off the ground. I met a wonderful man, got married a year later and pregnant the year after. Prior to having two wonderful kids seventeen months apart, I fought through two miscarriages. I’ve always been a determined individual and just kept on trying until I got the boy and girl I always wanted just as I had when I was growing up.

As an alpha female, as most of us are, I chose to control everything. I also chose to climb the PMU ladder, becoming President of one PMU Organization, and on the Board of another, trying to make changes and help to pave the way for the next generation of artists, possibly even one of my own kids. In the meantime, I was losing in my marriage. After 12 years, I got divorced and have remained single since. Certainly there are some things I would do differently, but loss and hurt is another life experience that makes us who we are. I have learned now how to strike a balance more. I volunteer with a breast cancer scholarship organization, which is near and dear to my heart. I started taking a day off to go on school field trips with my kids and I don’t work weekends. I’ve gone from seeing 8 people a day to seeing 4 to 5. I’ve learned to listen to my body. My lower back thanks me, as well as my knees since I alternate between sitting and standing during procedures.

I was trained with a coil machine, illegal anesthetic and traditional tattoo ink since that is all we had. I had to mix my own colors since there were no pigment companies geared to the permanent makeup field at the time, and I was left alone after my first day of training. I didn’t know the difference between a liner and a shader. I had no clue about speeds, ink flying everywhere, doing my first two eyeliners completely by myself. To top it off they both sued myself and my trainer. I can't say I blamed them though they didn’t win. Now if that doesn’t make you want to get out of the business, nothing will. We were all considered renegades back then. The traditional artists wouldn’t’ acknowledge us because of 2 day trainings. No one would sell to us. Now, maybe I understated a little bit more how traditional artist felt, as that is my feeling with 2 day microblading classes with no fundamental training.

If you don’t pay your dues in this business, you will never respect the trade or those of us that helped to pave the way. There were no Facebook forums and back then everyone was in competition. Conventions were the only place to learn, yet lawsuits were flying around between groups and individuals who used to make great teams. Many got greedy and decided to branch out and become trainers, distributors, etc.. Some of these individuals began making assertions and informing the public that their machines were the best, they didn’t hurt, and their inks or dyes were better. Education once again went to the wayside, which is exactly what we are seeing again, some 20 years later. One of the biggest reasons I am so intensely passionate about this business.

You are only in competition with yourself. Don’t compare your work with anyone else. If you feel you need more training in a given area, then do the research, find someone you admire, find a way to pay for it, and go train with them. Network with those you respect. Belong to an organization that truly works for you. I still train at least once a year and do a convention every year. This is a family, there is enough business for everyone, and good permanent makeup makes us all busier, so here’s to another 20 years!
— with Robin Hays.

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“I set out to design a microblade that I knew would put our needs first as artists.”

- Tina Davies