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Conversations with Ezra Acton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ezra Acton.

Hi Ezra, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My story starts in Nashville, Tennessee. I was a little girl living here with a single mother and grandparents to raise me.

As a young girl, I remember taking the TV trays out at my Mawmaw’s house and setting up my “makeup counter”. I would give her and my mom makeovers and make them sit there while I did their hair in curlers and cover their entire face in makeup.

In the years to come, I ended up moving in with my dad in South Bend, IN, and really took a liking to photography, especially portraits. I began finding myself being the makeup artist on set and the photographer, but when I learned about shading and lighting the makeup techniques helped me achieve the images I wanted easier without all the photoshop.I eventually went on to receive my very first award for a photo that my teacher submitted for me and although I really thought I was going to school to be a photographer, I just couldn’t love it enough to spend my career doing it. I rerouted a bit and ultimately decided to go to cosmetology school and do makeup part-time.

While putting myself through cosmetology school I worked 2-3 jobs at a time, one of them being at a beauty wholesaler. I really hadn’t put any feelers out for any salons jobs because I wasn’t graduating for several months and to be honest, I was working so much I couldn’t even think that far ahead; but one day a woman walked into the beauty supply and asked me all these questions about makeup and in the weeks to come I accepted a part-time makeup artist option with her.

Eventually, I was able to quit 1 job, then the other, then graduated from cosmetology school, and before I knew it I was a full-time employee at one of the best salons in my town and I didn’t even apply for the job.

I was so thankful that she took a chance on me and gave me such a great opportunity. Working for that salon opened so many doors for me and taught me so much about life. Not only did I make up lifelong friends, but I was able to travel, took classes, and learned a lot that would help me grow in the years to come.

Eventually, my boss asked if I knew what eyelash extensions were and I truthfully did not, which is so funny in hindsight, but she asked me to get them done with one of the girls offering them at the salon, so I did.

This was almost 7 years ago, so the experience was definitely different, but I was interested. I shadowed one of my coworkers for a little bit and then a few months later went to Chicago to train and get certified as a lash artist. I grew my clientele and started lashing full time!

A short time later, I wanted to move back to Nashville, so I packed up and my best friend helped me move down here. It was really hard, but I needed to have a fresh start and see what I could do here. I again was working 3 jobs, but completely invigorated in this city.

I was hustling blowouts, waiting tables on broadway, and trying to grow a new lash clientele. And then again, my clientele grew, I quit one job, then the next, and was a full-time lash artist at the cutest little lash studio in Brentwood.

A couple of years later, I went on to work at a new lash salon with some of the most talented ladies and had more opportunities to learn and grow. I found out during that time that I was pregnant with my daughter. I began really struggling with the idea of working so much to pursue someone else’s dreams and completely ignoring my own.

I realized that the hours I was spending at work wouldn’t be realistic if I wanted to be a present mother. That day my lash studio, Rori J Lashes, was born and 2 days following so was my daughter.

I was able to take 4-month maternity leave to be home with my daughter and when I had a clearance from the doctor, I was in my studio with my 3-month-old getting my lash business set up. I bet my neighbors thought I was crazy, but all I could think was ‘wow I am crazy but this will be better and this is for myself & my daughter”.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. I give a lot of thanks to my family because they are the most supportive of my dreams, but if I didn’t have a small army backing me I probably wouldn’t be here.

I grew up with a mother was struggles with addiction and we were not well off during my adolescent years. I was raised in a home that dealt with abuse, drugs, & unstable finances.

I chose to move to Indiana to live with my dad to escape that lifestyle and it was really hard, but I made that decision at 12 years old and I truly think it set the scene for my life today. Over time I have definitely felt the effects that a child carries with having a drug-dependent parent, but at the end of it all, I have always tried to remain steadfast in self-sufficiency.

As far as struggles in the beauty industry go, I definitely have struggled with feeling the ever longing weight of, I could be better, I could do better. I’ve learned my biggest obstacle is myself.

There will always be a client you won’t make happy, a co-worker you don’t vibe with, and a workplace that isn’t exactly what you envisioned it would be. I think everyone’s path to success and happiness is created by making decisions that are ultimately best for them.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a full-time Lash Artist and I now own my very own lash studio next to Centennial Park! Rori J Lashes is named after my daughter and was created to inspire people to chase their dreams even when it’s challenging. I specialize in textured volume and mega volume eyelash extensions, creating a look that gives you a mixture of natural and glam.

I am currently partnered with Soco Lashes California as one of their nationwide educators, specifically their Nashville educator. I offer certification courses for new and experienced lash artists at my studio and it has been so much fun. My studio is also a local retailer for their lash products, so other local lash artists can do product pick-ups at my studio if they need any last-minute products for their back bar.

I truly love what I do every single day, I am passionate about everything at my studio from the lashing to the branding/marketing/ to choosing the best products I can use on my clients. I want my clients to come in for their lash appointment and feel completely taken care of, as they can just lay down and unload if they need to.

I make sure my lash bed is comfortable, we even have a bed heater in case you’re cold. I give options if clients want to chit-chat, pick a podcast, or relax to music. my studio is completely curated for my clients because without them I wouldn’t have a studio!

They are so important to me, so I just want them to feel appreciated and catered to.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
My grandparents in Indiana have just always been my support. My sweet grandma used to come in and let me wrap perms on her every single week to get credits to graduate. She always jokes that she deserved a cosmetology license too because she was at school with me all the time.

My Mawmaw and Papa here in Nashville helped raise me and just would do anything to help me be successful and truly believe in me. My mom and her husband helped tremendously with opening my studio. My Mother in law and Father in law watch my daughter for me during the week so I can work with clients.

My husband, is the most supportive and is fully on this crazy rollercoaster with me. I’m probably missing a lot of people, but I have a small army of friends and family who just root for me and love me always. I’m very blessed.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @rorijlashes

Image Credits
Kirsten Balani

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