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Meet Laurel Uko of Afro Luxé Hair & Beauty in McKinney

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurel Uko.

Laurel, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Growing up, I enjoyed playing in makeup a lot. There were times when I would play in my mom’s make up, mainly her lipstick because I wanted my lips to look nice and red like hers. Aside from playing in her makeup, I enjoyed braiding every last hair on all the heads of my barbies. By the time I turned 12, I was playing heavily in makeup, thanks to me being on the dance team at my middle school. I would also spend my summers styling my little cousins’ hair and painting their faces with the small amount of make up I had. At that point, I knew I wanted to do hair and makeup. By the time I was 13, I started doing my own hair and knew how to curl the mess out of my clip-ins. By the time I turned 15, I was doing my own sew-ins.

At 17, I came up with my former business name, Afro Luxé Hair. The name was symbolic for the richness of African hair and the versatility that black people have to pretty much rock any and every hairstyle. The day before my 18th birthday was when I had my first client and that was the beginning of where I am now. I’ve spent the last seven years doing braids, sew-ins, making wigs and doing makeup. I just recently added makeup to my repertoire back in 2018 once I built up enough faith to do it. Earlier this year, I prayed for an idea for my business, which is how I ended up with Afro Luxé Hair & Beauty. I started producing my own homemade cosmetics such as lip gloss and eyeshadow palettes. I spent weeks doing research and writing and rewriting formulas for my eyeshadow palettes, spending hours making different eyeshadows from scratch and after some months, I finally was able to perfect the formulas for my loose eyeshadows and my eyeshadow palettes.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I would be lying if I said this road has been smooth. To be very honest, I struggled every single year prior to 2020. I had an idea and I had a plan but I did not know how to execute it. Aside from that, I really did not have the funds I needed in order for my idea to become a reality. Time and time again, different people reached out to me about helping fund my business but would pull out at the last minute. And being that I was a student and the jobs I was working weren’t giving me much, I was stuck.

Afro Luxé Hair & Beauty – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Afro Luxé Hair & Beauty is what I consider a one-stop-shop. Not only can you get your hair done (braids, sew-ins, wig installs, etc.) and get your make up done (prom, graduation, bridal, photoshoot, etc.) but you can also purchase a wig or two and even purchase makeup while you’re at it. I’m proud of the fact that Afro Luxé Hair & Beauty is inclusive. Everyone of any race can use our products and book our services and achieve the same results. The thing that sets us apart from other companies is that we do everything with love and God always comes first and we want everyone to be a partaker of that. This is simply the beginning.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is allowing yourself to fail. I believe that if I didn’t go through all the struggles and let downs, I would not be where I am today. Success is not just looking to have a fat bank account but looking to be impactful and change lives for the better.

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