At AFETT, our aim is to "make women winners", so our focus is not only on climbing the Executive ladder, but also the Entrepreneurial journey, so here is our first, featured AFETTpreneur:
Her quiet demeanor would not reveal the deep desire, effort and planning she pursued throughout the years, to become the successful entrepreneur she is today. Whereas she found her passion for cosmetology - make-up and natural hair-styling between the ages 24 to 27, her entrepreneurial skills were founded as early as her Primary School years. Leneika’s uncle was a caterer and unbeknownst to her family, she brought extra of her uncle’s delicious pizza for lunch but would sell most of it to her classmates daily. This occurred until the teachers informed her mother. Her uncle then used this as an opportunity to officially become the schools caterer. At a young age, Leneika embraced her family’s business sense and learned from her mother how to make pastelles for sale. Years later when she worked at Royal Bank (RBC), she made and sold her own cheese cakes.
From as early as 2007, she had a natural talent for make-up artistry. This quote from Dr. John De Martini’s book The Breakthrough Experience "Don't look for opportunities in the far distances of space and time, but embrace them right where you are” taken from her LinkedIn profile, truly reflects her beliefs, as she embraced the opportunity to provide free make-up services at friends’ weddings and other events. Her love for enhancing a woman’s natural beauty quickly became her passion and in 2013, when the opportunity presented itself she accepted VSEP from RBC and a grant to retool her skills.
Today, Leneika has established a name for herself, and having officially registered her business in 2015, is a trained Makeup Artist and Natural Hair Braider. She will allow your natural hair to shine with her unique Crochet Braiding extension technique while accentuating your natural beauty with make-up (www.facebook.com/LeneikaCOS). Leneika Cosmetology offers services for personal, corporate, bridal, and carnival
Perfectly Natural: Living her Passion
As the AFETT board members hurriedly rushed in one by one after their hectic day, Leneika calmly organized her work station to begin make up on the eight (8) ladies in preparation for their official board portrait. While the photographers prepared the set, Leneika was focused, professional, and prepared for the diverse canvases that she was about to enhance.
This is just another day at Leneika Cosmetology’s mobile office, working 20 hours per week and ensuring she is on schedule for each event.
events. She is experienced with various make-up applications using special techniques and has worked with all skin types and conditions, from covering scars to open pores. She has found her niche with the use of natural tones and prides herself in knowing that no two person’s needs are exactly alike. She has created her own personal blueprint: developing good sales and interpersonal skills she created a strong customer service foundation to satisfy her clients’ needs. Embracing her true “Naturalista”, she also offers consultation for women wishing to transition to their natural hair. The Boston Globe reported that chemical-free black hair is not simply a trend and Leneika states that with so many product options available now, women can transition easily to chemical free hair. Leneika shows her work by donning many of the natural hairstyles she offers, which is a great way to show people how to love their hair.
Owning and operating a sole trader business is no small task but her true entrepreneurial spirit and her focus on the abundance of life ensures that she remains motivated within the very competitive beauty industry. With her multitalented family foundation and the encouragement from her mother, she continues to persevere overcoming her fear of public speaking to confidently articulate her business. No doubt, her feet are securely grounded with family support. Even though her loving mother, her number 1 supporter, has since passed on, her husband,
whom she refers to as her 1.1, is now her biggest supporter. He understands what their family goals are and the sacrifices they make now will allow them to build a better future. Leneika believes that the key to success is following your curiosity and passion where it may lead, and that aiming for perfection brings no true reward, but rather striving for mastery by honing your skills is the most rewarding path.
Leneika is modern and stylish but understands that trends are cyclical. A happy customer excites her and she puts her heart into giving of herself and sharing her knowledge. “You are a robber and a thief, if you hide your gift and not share it” – she states emphatically. The gift you are given is not yours to shelter, but yours to share. The sky is the limit for this Naturalista as she intends to broaden her scope to cater for persons with Alopecia or other scalp issues and envisions having her own space in which to conduct her own training within the next 5 years. Viewing her Facebook and Pinterest profiles will leave you with a sense of positivity, creativity, connectivity and encouragement.
By joining AFETT, Leneika was encouraged to pursue her goals while interacting with like-minded women. She is hoping for more collaborative spaces and with her background in Business Administration and degree from the University of New Brunswick has proven that switching careers from the financial industry to the beauty industry is not an inconceivable task.
Her advice for new entrepreneurs: foster more talks, network and make conversations more impactful. Know your core message for your business idea and who your target market is. Understand the needs of your market and what message you want to portray. Your gift is not yours, use it to help others and better serve your customer. Her motto: “It’s natural to be natural. Be you”.
Author: Tricia Leid can be reached at and is the 2015-2016 Director- President- elect for the Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago.