Tamica Belony is the face behind The Doll House. She describes herself as a fun-filled person who is highly motivated and strives for what she wants. She’s also a passionate woman, and is focused on doing what she loves.
A graduate of the Corinth Secondary School, Tamica is a certified cosmetologist and has started her own business. Many people know her as the founder of The Doll House, a beauty spa in Castries that is basically a hybrid business. Dazzle had the pleasure of interviewing her about her business venture and the services that The Doll House offers.
Dazzle: How long has the Doll House been established? Tamica: The Doll House has been opened for two years. One year as an online store and the other as an in-store business. Before opening the physical store I used to work online only with deliveries and drop offs. Now that we have a physical store, we include instore service as well. The store is located upstairs Blue Coral Mall in Castries, Unit 109.
I kind of miss the online store. Now it’s only for people to see what we have available but since we’re established at a physical location, it’s different. We don’t really do deliveries anymore. The online store was a bit easier, you know? I have help with my husband, Stephen Belony. He has a barbershop next door so we share the space.
Dazzle: At what point did you realize that having a career in beauty was what you wanted?
Tamica: I can’t give a specific date, it just kind of happened. I would put on lipstick and people would inquire about where I’d gotten it, and I would refer them to other stores. Then I’d ask myself, “Why are you sending them to other places when you could have your own?” So I started buying and selling makeup online just for fun. For me, it wasn’t a business. It became a passion after a while. Whatever you do should be something that you’re passionate about. It’s a skill that I’ve learned, because I’m a certified cosmetologist. The only thing that I don’t do is hair care. But I’m currently learning how to become a certified nail tech. I do makeup, eyebrow tinting, eyelash extensions, pedicures, manicures, ear piercings and facial waxing.
Dazzle: Apart from what you’ve already mentioned, what else can people expect from your brand?
Tamica: When you come in, we want you to say to yourself, “I have to come back!” We want you to be relaxed and comfortable. We don’t only offer services for the ladies, the men are included as well. That’s what makes us different. It’s called the Future Star Barbershop, which I co-own. We do both women and men’s hair. We don’t only offer a service, we sell products as well.
I’ve gotten positive feedback for sure, but I’ve also had to deal with the negative comments as well. Some young people try to break me down and criticize the way I do my work. Initially, it bothered me, but you can’t let little things like that get to you. If you can’t take constructive criticism then you can’t do business. You have to be strong and self-confident, and just move on.
Dazzle: What level of progress would you say you and your business have achieved thus far?
Tamica: Just the other day I was like, “How was I able to do all that in such a short space of time?” because it went from an online store to a full-blown business at the Blue Coral quickly. I’m always so amazed and thankful for how much the business has grown. At school, I always wanted to own a spa. I never thought I’d actually have one but this became much more than that. It became a movement.
Dazzle: What were your original aspirations aside from owning a spa?
Tamica: I wanted to be a model, actually. I wanted to travel the world and be a Victoria Secret model. Wild dreams, right? But I always had a list of things I wanted to be. I had so many things written down — police officer, teacher and flight attendant. I was able to achieve a few things on my list. I was a flight attendant for a short while. I have my own store and my own spa.
Dazzle: What sets you apart from your competitors?
Tamica: That’s a good question. I guess, being myself. You’ve got to have confidence and a lot of people don’t. They start a business and end up abandoning it when things get hard. They don’t stick around for the challenges. As soon as they see a slow day, they close down. They don’t think of solutions to their problems. That’s what sets me apart. I always think of something new. Everything I do is fresh.
Dazzle: What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced in your line of work?
Tamica: To be honest, I don’t have that many challenges in what I do. I don’t get any bad customers at all. The only real challenge I’d say is probably the slow days. You know when business isn’t what it’s supposed to be? I don’t get people complaining about my work. Very few people will see what I do—that’s those who aren’t customers—and leave a negative comment, but that’s about it.
Our slow days are definitely outside the carnival season. We do better during the carnival season. We go all out. We sell stockings gems, we do hair, nails and makeup, so it’s our busiest season alongside Christmas. Outside of these two seasons, everything else is just regular.
Dazzle: Who or what inspires you to get up every day and do what you do?
Tamica: My son is number one. I have to leave something for him for when I’m no longer here. That’s my main goal, making sure he’s secured. There’s no stopping until I can’t work anymore. He’s my main inspiration and before he was there, it was myself. I wanted to prove to everyone who said I wouldn’t be able to do it, wrong.
Dazzle: Where do you see your brand in the future?
Tamica: I don’t want to spill the beans yet. However, we have plans to work with different people. It has moved up so much. The Doll House started selling hair pills—pills to make your hair grow—then it transformed from that to selling makeup, and from that to doing makeup, and then it just continued to grow. It has changed so much within a short space of time. In the future we have plans to grow the business but we’re taking it one step at a time.
Dazzle: What advice would you give to someone who is at the same stage you were when you had just started your business?
Tamica: Don’t listen to people. Just do what you feel you need to do or to improve yourself.
I started doing nails in 2011 and then I gave up on it because people were saying things I didn’t like. However, I’m going back to Barbados to be certified. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, don’t stop to listen to pessimistic people.
We wish Tamica great success with her business, now and in the future.
For top-class makeup and hair care, visit The Doll House at the Blue Coral Mall or visit Tamica’s page on Instagram; @thedollhouse_bbc