November 13 2014
When Forbes magazine published a list of the “top 32 quotes every entrepreneur should live by,” it placed one by the late management guru Peter Drucker at the top: “The best way to predict the future is to create it."
That could be the motto for two Washington, D.C., women who share an entrepreneurial spirit who are doing something essential to a prosperous economy but that has been increasingly rare in recent years: taking risks to launch a new business. “We both feel like we’re ready to go big or go home,” says Tracey Dunning Garcia, 47.
Garcia and her business partner Amanda Moran, 36—both hair and makeup artists known for more than a decade to grateful denizens of the Fox News greenroom—just started a new business named Style Me Bar. It should be noted: providing hair and makeup services at Fox and other news stations is a highly competitive, top-of-the-line business. If you send one guest out looking like she’s not ready for prime time, you’re like the caterer who puts too much salt in the soup for a fancy embassy party. There just may not be a second chance to impress a client in this atmosphere.
Style Me Bar—which opened for business November 11 with a party at a downtown D.C. restaurant—is based on a business model Moran and Garcia say has made headway in New York and Los Angeles but is new to the D.C. metropolitan area: on-demand styling that brings client services directly to their houses or offices at affordable prices. They do makeup, blowouts, updos, cuts and color for both women and men. They still consider themselves part of “our Fox family.” “We love Fox but also decided to start this new adventure,” says Tracey.
Moran says, “We’re giving lots of other people the chance to get out there and become entrepreneurs and make their own money.” She says that they are offering a “great split” for people who meet their standards. They will keep their overhead low by having no salon and stylists will work on a contract basis. “We will have limited overhead,” says Moran. This was a decision they made early on. “We asked ourselves ‘Do we want a storefront?’ and decided that no, we didn’t,” said Amanda. All services will be transacted via a website by credit card, tip included, with no cash involved.
In their new careers as business owners, Garcia and Moran are doing exactly what Amazon founder and now Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos advised in his tip in Forbes magazine’s 32 quotes for entrepreneurs: “One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you,” Bezos said. Tracey, a former trainer for MAC Cosmetics before she joined Fox in 2000, realized she wanted to be a stylist in her teens. She pursued this interest at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California. Amanda has been a stylist since she was sixteen and can’t imagine doing anything else. “My training is basically hair school and being out there and doing it,” says Amanda. They think nothing of starting their work day at 5 am and ending after 9 pm. “We’re both up at four to get to Fox by five,’ says Tracey.
Moran and Garcia see their services as especially appealing to hard working Washingtonians, both male and female, who have to attend numerous business functions or may need to look their best for an early morning TV appearance at a studio that doesn’t supply makeup and hair styling. Job interview? Moran and Garcia think they can help you ace it by helping you look your best. “Going somewhere to get these services done takes a lot of time and it’s a luxury that can be difficult for busy people,” said Amanda.
Style Me Bar may be the perfect service for a city of workaholics: You can sit at your computer and finish a report while getting highlights, which in a busy environment such as Washington clearly beats wasting time reading the same magazines you read last time. Think of Moran and Garcia as innovators: they offer something new and convenient, accessible through a phone call, that will help you put your best face forward.
The idea for Style Me Bar came to Amanda and Tracey about a year ago, and they have been working on it since. “It started as just an idea,” recalls Amanda. “We went back and forth with each other. Doing this kind of stuff takes working a lot of hours,” she adds. Tracey’s husband, Joe Garcia, a former studio engineer at Fox, who has worked more than 30 years in television, is the COO. Like Tracey and Amanda, he loves what he is doing and is often at work in his home office before the rest of us have tumbled out of bed before most of the world is awake. Tracey says that Joe “has put his all into this company.”
Amanda, who lives downtown D.C. and loves the urban atmosphere, was raised in Virginia by a single-mother who was not affluent but always stressed that Amanda could do anything she wanted to do as long as she was happy. Amanda says that she was “pushed to be ambitious.” Tracey was a military brat who was born at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and grew up in Virginia and California. Before she married Joe two years ago, she was a single-mother for many years. “There were times when we had $50 in our bank account, and that was all that was there, but my daughter never knew that,” Tracey recalls. She often worked at Fox early in the morning and took her daughter to dancing classes in the afternoon. She instilled confidence in her daughter, now 19, and a stylist who plans to work with Style Me Bar.
Amanda and Tracey put their own savings into Style Me Bar, a commitment which requires courage and optimism—qualities also famously associated with entrepreneurship. “We’ve put our money into this, and we’ve put our blood, sweat and tears into this,” Amanda says. She adds, “I’m a goal-oriented person. I’ve always been driven to work hard and look for the next opportunity. What it takes is ambition, and I’ve always had the push to work hard.”
In an environment in which we often talk about the lack of opportunities, Tracey and Amanda are vibrant with optimism. “I want to work hard, but I want to work for myself,” says Tracey. Both women believe that they have an opportunity to, as Amanda puts it, “make a lot of money.”
Which brings us to Donald Trump’s quote in the Forbes 32 quotes for entrepreneurs: “As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big,” says The Donald.
That sounds like Amanda and Tracey. If hard work and an entrepreneurial idea can predict the future, Forbes will one day have to update the story with 33 quotes—to include a tip from Amanda and Tracey after they have made it big.