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The life of a college entrepreneur

Yena Kim standing next to her mentor holding her microblading certificate
UMKC senior Yena Kim with her microblading certification. (Instagram)

After getting tired of working long hours waiting tables for little money, Yena Kim decided to open her own business.

In the winter between her sophomore and junior year, Kim, a UMKC communications studies major, decided the impoverished college life was not for her. Unsure of her future job prospects, Kim looked to expand her options through non-conventional methods.

Inspired by a personal experience, Kim enrolled in a tattoo apprenticeship to begin learning how to microblade. A process where a skilled tattoo artist tattoos hair to make eyebrows seem fuller, microblading is a form of semi-permanent makeup that has been gaining popularity over the years.

“I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life,” Kim said. “I am really good at makeup though, so I was determined to make it work.” 

She invested in herself beyond college and began to learn how to turn microblading into a money-making machine.

Starting a new business solo is no walk in the park. After getting licensed as a professional tattoo artist, things became difficult for Kim.

“I started off microblading people in my living room after class for months,” Kim said. “I had to put in a lot of work marketing and growing my business while trying to find time to do homework.”

After months of accumulating debt and countless sleepless nights, her hard work paid off. Kim was able to open her own studio in the Brookside area and move into a better apartment on her own. 

Kim has continued to grow her business, and now offers new services, including lip and eyeliner tattoos. Kim’s next goal is teaching others how to start their own microblading careers.

For anyone considering starting their own business, Kim emphasized the importance of beginning the process as quickly as possible.

“Start now, the sooner the better,” Kim said. “When you start, you’re going to wish you had started sooner.”

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