click image to zoomMaisie Dunbar found a home in beauty. "When my parents died, the outpouring of love and support I received from my clients and co-workers would never have come from the corporate world."
A native of Liberia, Maisie Dunbar was working in the corporate world of Washington, D.C, but beauty was calling. She loved doing her own nails so much that when a co-worker signed up for nail technician training, Dunbar went along, too.
“Growing up as a child in Africa, I was always fascinated with fashion,” says Dunbar. “We had to wear uniforms to school and I would always do a little something extra. I would put pleats in my skirt, I would polish my nails when I wasn’t allowed, I would shine my shoes with Vaseline. I got my license to do nails because I liked doing my own but I soon realized that I had so much to learn. I sought out continuing education and my passion went to a whole different level.”
Dunbar is a “triple threat” –a salon and spa owner, an accomplished nail, makeup and skincare artist and an entrepreneur who started her own line of cosmetics, Bluffajo. To get to this level, though, she displayed the perseverance and commitment that has made her an industry leader.
“I was working with the FDA during the day and doing nails at night to make ends meet for me and my child. I even traveled to New York to work in a salon there. I did what I had to do. After a year and a half, as I continued to educate myself, I kept meeting all these women who were so excited and happy about their job. I decided I wanted to do this full time.”
Dunbar opened a nail studio, expanding it to a wellness center. She pursued an esthetique license, took massage classes (hoping to provide healing touch to help her ailing mother) and also became licensed as a makeup artist. She was poised to start her cosmetic line, Bluffajo.
“I know that I am going to do beauty until my last breath so in addition to training and speaking, BluffaJo is something I want to do as I learn and grow. In my language, a ‘Bluffajo’ is a person that is always well put together. We tested the market with lip glosses and then, typical of my overzealous self, we launched a full line. “
At her Masie Dunbar Spa Lounge in Silver Springs, MD, regular wellness events are held where Dunbar shares her blessings. “I feel like I’m a vessel and that means I open up myself to people. I’m very cautious, nonetheless, and I pray for discernment so I make good choices because the energy is very important. I wish I had a dime for every time someone came into the spa and told me how calming and restful it is.”